Gentleman's Relish

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The Gentleman's Relish

Gentleman's Relish is a type of anchovy paste. It is also known as Patum Peperium.

It was created in 1828 by an Englishman called John Osborn.[1] It has a strong, very salty and slightly fishy taste, and contains anchovies (minimum 60%), butter, herbs and spices. Today, the secret recipe is withheld from all but one employee at Elsenham Quality Foods in Elsenham, England, the licensed manufacturer.[1]

Gentleman's Relish is traditionally eaten thinly spread on slices of buttered white-bread toast, either on its own, or with cucumber or "mustard and cress" sprouts. It can also be added to minced meat for a different-tasting cottage pie or to the mixture for fish cakes, potato cakes and croquettes. Alternatively it can be melted into scrambled eggs or be used as a topping for jacket potatoes.

In popular culture[edit]

  • It has been depicted as an upper- or middle-class taste. For example, Gentleman's Relish is mentioned in Nancy Mitford's novel The Pursuit of Love as a favourite food of Uncle Matthew, an aristocrat. Nancy's sister, Jessica Mitford, chose Gentleman's Relish as her "luxury item" when she appeared on the BBC's Desert Island Discs.[2]
  • In Angela Thirkell's "Summer Half" the Gentleman's Relish sandwiches made by Kate, specifically for adults attending the river picnic, are instead wholly consumed by three adolescents, one of whom makes up a rude rhyme to "Patum Peperium."
  • In Ian Fleming's book, For Your Eyes Only, it mentions that at the time of the visitors, Mr and Mrs Havelock were having Patum Peperium sandwiches.
  • In Kim Cooper's novel, The Kept Girl, the author Raymond Chandler makes up with his wife Cissy over a gift of toast spread with Gentleman's Relish.
  • In the BBC's Monarch of the Glen there is mention of "Kilwillie Gentleman's Relish" as a product line for supporting the namesake's estate.
  • The period television series Mr Selfridge, mentions Gentleman's Relish in Episode 3, when Lady May asks a waiter for a "flavourful, personal" enhancement to a bland chicken dish.
  • Peep Show Series 3, Episode 5 has the following exchange:
Mark: Had a hard day Jeremy? Watching kids TV and eating kids cereal?
Jez: Why, what should I be eating, Gentleman's relish with olives?
Jeremy: You know what I'm worried they'll find in my car? Gentleman's Relish.
James: I quite like Gentleman's Relish...Right. You don't mean the stuff from the jar.
  • In the cooking programme Two Fat Ladies - Jennifer Paterson creates a savoury pastry dish using Gentleman's Relish. Series 2, Episode 9, "Afternoon Tea".

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Trust, National (2007-06-17). Gentleman's Relish: And Other English Culinary Oddities (A Gourmet's Guide). Warrington: National Trust Books (Anova Books). pp. 12–13. ISBN 1-905400-55-1. Retrieved August 2012. 
  2. ^

External links[edit]