IT is an essential part of the classic Edinburgh fish supper. Now one entrepreneur has bottled the famous “chippy” sauce in an attempt to distribute a taste of Edinburgh across the world.
Daren Frankish, 43, from Roslin, is the man behind the Edinburgh Sauce Company, which is offering bottles of the classic sauce on eBay and Amazon.
But the taste of home comes at a cost – with each £3.50 bottle costing £10 to ship to homesick expats in places like Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and North America.
He also hopes the product will be snapped up by soldiers serving in Afghanistan and people such as oil workers despatched across the globe who miss hearing the familiar, phrase “salt ‘n’ sauce?”.
He said: “It was a bit of a light bulb moment. I thought it was the perfect idea for people living abroad, or for people who had come up to Edinburgh on a holiday or stag weekend and tried the sauce and decided they liked it – or even for soldiers serving in Afghanistan.
“The sauce is the real deal. It’s actually made from Gold Star brown sauce, which comes from the west, which is a thick sauce that you add water to. I learned how to make the sauce when I was working at a Chinese in Colinton, the Li.
“You can buy the sauce as it is, but it comes in heavy bottles, so now it’s repackaged in plastic ones and it’s light enough to ship across the world.”
The sauce is available in the classic brown chippy sauce flavour, featuring the Edinburgh skyline across the label, while those feeling more adventurous can order a tomato version.
Daren had the idea of setting up the sauce company after a friend sent him one of his favourite treats from down under.
He said: “I really like Kraft Peanut Butter that you get from Australia. A guy I knew sent some over and I was sending him back a Hearts 5-1 DVD – I really wanted to send some chippy sauce too but it was too heavy.
“Then I started thinking it would be an idea to start packaging it in plastic bottles instead.
“I don’t think it’s something that’s ever been done before.”
The product description on eBay has been setting the order books sizzling. It says: “In order for us to supply the best genuine chippy sauce for our customers around the world, Edinburgh Sauce Company uses the Capital’s leading chip shop expertise and significant resources to maintain consistently high quality standards. Our sourcing experts find ingredients from the best locations around the Lothian region that directly manage our supply chain.
“In this way raw materials are rigorously tested for safety, authenticity, taste, integrity and traceability resulting in quality products you can trust.”
The tangy sauce has been winning rave reviews from nostalgic nosh lovers abroad. One expat who moved to Wellington, New Zealand, five years ago recently ordered two bottles at a cost of nearly £30.
And despite the high cost, plumber Joe Cragg, 40, has plans to order more. He said: “I used to stay around the corner from the Chesser Fish Bar in Gorgie Road and they do great chips with salt ‘n’ sauce. It’s the one thing about home I really miss. I know I could make it myself a lot cheaper, but any time I’ve tried it, well, it just doesn’t taste right.
“I don’t mind paying extra because tasting this stuff takes me right back home.”
‘It’s all about consistency’
EACH Edinburgh chippy has its own close guarded secret recipe for sauce.
But most fans claim the best ratio is half brown sauce and half vinegar. Whisper it, some purists even use water instead of vinegar.
Chip toppings vary wildly across Scotland. In Glasgow, salt and vinegar is favourite while others often opt for the artery-hardening option of chips and cheese.
Mayonnaise and curry sauce are becoming other firm fry-topping favourites.
The Capital is unique in offering salt and sauce as standard in its chip shops. One chip shop worker said: “It’s all about ratios and you’ll find that each fish bar has a different, secret way of doing it. It’s synonymous with Edinburgh and I can see why people would miss it and be willing to pay good money to have it shipped to them.
“For me, it’s all about consistency. Too runny and it’s a sin. Too thick and you’ve blown it.”
Around 95 per cent of Edinburgh chip shops are supplied with Gold Star sauce from Walter Black Foods, Cambuslang. The firm manufactures thousands of litres a week.