Imported from Scotland: Mackays’ Chutneys
You might be accustomed to the tangy contrast cranberry sauce can bring to a plate of turkey and rosemary potatoes, or the way a tablespoon of sweet pickle relish can enhance the flavor of a hot link. In the United States though, we’ve only glimpsed at the potential of relish and chutney pairings with savory dishes. That’s why we’re featuring Scotland’s Mackays chutneys and preserves this month. This is your chance to experience a culinary tradition that began in the Scottish lowlands two hundred years ago.
According to legend, on a stormy night in the 18th century, rough seas forced a Spanish shipping vessel to drop anchor off the shore of Dundee, a port town on the north bank of the Firth of Tay. The ship carried bitter oranges, ripened in the sun of Seville.
A local grocer brought a case of the oranges home to his wife, who, finding their flavor too harsh for standard use, boiled them in sugar water and created the first iteration of an iconic recipe: Dundee marmalade.
Mackays, founded in 1938, was by 1995 the sole remaining commercial supplier of Dundee marmalade, employing 16 people. Paul Grant, a food manufacturing veteran and entrepreneur, acquired the firm and expanded its operations. Over the next twenty years, the Grant family introduced the Mackays line of marmalades, chutneys, and jams to over 80 countries.
As Mackays grew, the Grant family never strayed from the small-batch methods that produced the Dundee flavor two hundred years earlier. They still bring their bitter oranges from Spain and slow-boil them in steam-heated copper pans. They have developed a range of relishes and chutneys that are perfect for enhancing the flavor of savory dishes. Amp up your roasted vegetables with a spoonful of Mint and Rosemary Jelly. Grill a pork tenderloin and top it with the Caramelized Red Onion and Chili Marmalade to dominate your next BBQ.