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. 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.
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
- 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.
- 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?
- It has been used as the name of a group of young men who hung around together at university, with homosexual overtones, in Robertson Davies' book, The Rebel Angels.
- It is used as a euphemism in Top Gear Series 16, Episode 4 in a challenge in which used cars are being tested for cleanliness:
- 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".
- 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.
- The height of good paste The Telegraph, 28 December 2000.