Worcestershire sauce (/ˈwʊstərʃər/ (About this sound listen)), (Merriam-Webster: \ˈwu̇s-tə(r)-ˌshir-, -shər- also -ˌshī(-ə)r-\ ), frequently shortened to Worcester sauce (/ˈwʊstər/), is a fermented liquid condiment of complex mixture originally created by the Worcester chemists John Wheeley Lea and William Henry Perrins, who went on to form the company Lea & Perrins. The ingredients are allowed to mature for 18 months before being blended and bottled in Worcester, where the exact recipe is kept a secret.
Lea and Perrins devised the recipe in the 1830s, however it was not to their liking and was set aside and forgotten about. It was not until the barrels were rediscovered many months later that the taste had mellowed into what is now known as Worcestershire sauce. A high court decided on 26 July 1876 that Lea & Perrins did not have the rights to the term Worcestershire sauce, and so the name is not trademarked. Lea & Perrins claims to be The Original Worcestershire sauce and may be the leading global brand of Worcestershire sauce, but other brands offer similar recipes. Some may be vegetarian or vegan, and may add other spices.
Worcestershire sauce is complex and unique in its flavour and aroma, and frequently used to enhance some food and drink recipes. For example, it is often an ingredient in Welsh rarebit, Caesar salad, Oysters Kirkpatrick, deviled eggs, and sometimes an ingredient in chili con carne, beef stew or other beef dishes. The sauce is also used to flavour cocktails such as the Bloody Mary or Caesar.
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