Simon Johnson Artisan Condiments
Tracklements condiments are the life and soul of the pantry
The latest in our series on Simon Johnson’s preferred producers is british brand Tracklements with their award-winning range of artisan condiments.
When William Tullberg was a boy, sitting down for a meal with his grandmother, she would say, “Pass the tracklements”, by which she meant the condiments that accompanied the main meal. It was this memory that William harked back to many years later when he was coming up with a name for his new brand of mustard.
It was 1970 in the heart of the Wiltshire countryside and William had just read John Evelyn’s Diaries, in which he came across a recipe for a traditional wholegrain mustard. He thought he’d try bringing the recipe to life and after a few trials, he achieved success, even selling some jars with their handwritten labels to the local pub. William’s mustard – now branded Tracklements – proved incredibly popular and in just two years he was selling it to their first London retailer – Harrods!
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The Somerset apple orchard that supplies Tracklements Cider Brandy; Guy at work
Since then, William, his son Guy, and his growing family of co-workers have been making outstanding products from classic recipes unearthed from distant countries and sniffed out of old recipe books. They are driven by the aims of producing the best on the market (tasting as good as, or better than, the best homemade) and of making it traditionally (by hand, in small batches, without artificial preservatives, colourings or thickeners).
All their products are gluten free - from the UK’s first wholegrain mustard to the original English onion marmalade. They were the first to introduce savoury jellies to a market that only knew of mint or redcurrant jelly.
They launched into the international market in 1992, first with Zingerman’s in America and then to more condiment lovers around the world, and, of course, ending up in Australia through SIMON JOHNSON about 25 years ago.
First for flavour
Tracklements continued its run of ‘firsts’ when they introduced the Caramelised Onion Marmalade to the UK in 1999 – again a recipe born from literary origins with William discovering it in a 17th century book by Sir Kenelm Digby.
Throughout their long history, Tracklements have stayed true to their small batch production, making things locally wherever possible – but also staying true to the authenticity of a product. For instance, their Dijon Mustard comes from Dijon, and their Indian Mango Chutney is made in India.
Tracklements work hard to build long lasting relationships with all the farmers and growers who supply them, from their onion grower in Lincolnshire, to their Bramley apple grower in Kent, and their quince supplier in Somerset.
The art of mustard seed blending; Tracklements mustards - strong English, smooth Dijon and robust wholegrain
The spices, which give the products ‘light and shade’ and individuality, come from all around the world and are used in a multitude of ways. For the mustards, they use yellow mustard seeds (for subtle heat and roundness on the palate) and brown mustard seeds (for heat that goes up your nose) along with whole spices to lock in the essential oils and flavour.
The ingredients are blended and then put through the stone-grinder – they check the grind by hand to make sure it is correct; the seeds need to have just been ‘kissed’ by the grinder, to open them and release the flavour. After mixing with the liquid, the mustards are steeped for 5-6 days to allow the flavours to mature.
Over the years, their products have won numerous Great Taste Awards and in 2007, Tracklements was awarded Speciality Producer of the Year in recognition of their commitment to using the best quality ingredients to make the best quality products, while respecting traditional, handmade techniques.
Their products have been recognised and featured by great British chefs like Jamie Oliver and Delia Smith in their cookbooks and shows. They have also released their own recipe cookbook of their award winning products.
Going the extra mile
While Tracklements goes the extra mile with flavour, they also go above and beyond when it comes to environmental responsibilities. They work tirelessly to set the standard and exceed the legal requirements in managing how they make their products and also how their supply chain and waste streams are managed.
With 10,000 square feet of solar panels, the company generates renewable energy and uses 100% sustainable electricity. They also strive to continually improve the green credentials of their products.
Still based in Wiltshire, Tracklements is today headed up by Guy. After 50+ years, they continue to share their obsession for ingredients and expressing the boldest and zingiest flavours from around the globe.