Oooh... What Sauce!
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Tesco

Manufactured by: Yet another anonymous Belgian for Tesco Stores Ltd. (www.tesco.co.uk), Cheshunt EN8 9SL. Without a doubt this shadowy and mercenary Lowlander is also responsible for Somerfield's identically packaged mayonnaise! You furtive Flemish fiend you...
Ingredients: Vegetable oil, water, egg yolk, vinegar, mustard, sugar, salt, pepper, flavourings. Please more on the 'flavourings' Tesco, just what are these mysterious ingredients that you seem so keen to hide? Am I inadvertently consuming powdered rhinoceros horn or panda spleen extract in my sauce? Just a subtle hint would to help ease my mind, after all every little helps
Taste:
Laurel wreaths around the head of a small stoat, bitter polished aluminium and salted pecan nuts
Colour: The muddied neck of a Berwick swan with traces of damp cotton wool
Comments: An undemanding Christmas stocking filler, this mayonnaise is neither offensive nor particularly charming, like the average British feature film. A charming fish salad picture on the front label, adorned with indeterminate vegetation and scenes of bucolic verdancy do much to charm the consumer as does the recipe suggestion handily crammed onto the rear label amidst nutrition information and the omnipresent bar-code
Overall: 7 out of 10 - I would be more overjoyed by the chef's special squirting nozzle, had I not discovered Somerfield's own attempts first. Judged solely on the merits of its sauce, Tesco's entry level sauce pales by comparison to its premium brand whimsies below

TESCO

Tesco's prime function in the complicated bickering world of British grocery retail is to annoy, perplex and infuriate the cantankerous red nosed Mr Sainsbury, its elderly creaking and snobbish neighbour from the house down the road with the peeling paint and feral cats. J Sainsbury's once mighty chain of supermarkets slip daily behind Tesco in the retail world, kept afloat often by the sheer unremitting awfulness of so many other retailers (i.e. Somerfield). Sainsbury's mission statement, once a thing of rare intricacy and beauty with vague notions of customer care and diligence, has now been changed to one simple almost moronic mantra; 'Be better than Tesco'.

The recipe for the continued irritating success of Tesco over J Sainsbury is not hard to fathom, even to the most casual of customers, although one would not imagine so from their rivals efforts at deduction. Take for instance the customer loyalty card scheme, whereby customers are rewarded with points redeemable instore each time the shop in a given chain of shops. Sound marketing all round at Tesco one would think. Yet Sainsbury lolloped along behind the victory parade of the Tesco Club Card like some medieval court jester laughing inanely, blind lame and gibbering, constantly mocking the achievements of others and muttering grimly of the imminent failure of everything in the history of the world ever.

Of course, history records that the Club Card scheme was a roaring success, so much so in fact that Sainsbury were forced to swallow their voluminous pride and bring out their very own Reward card, a hastily assembled rip off, as a matter of some major urgency. Similarly as Sainsbury's loudly mocked Tesco for its small inner city Metro store concept, braying howling and ridiculing like some hairy malignant ape, it was not long before a rash of similar Sainsbury's stores began to proliferate without any noticeable trace of shame.

Arrogance in retailing is deadly, as Sainsbury's once rivals Marks and Spencer will undoubtedly testify. All Sainsbury's efforts now seem geared to playing down years of marketing suggesting that were ever deemed to be a desirable high class retailer and purveyor of fine foods, an image that today only means that they are forever perceived as snobbish and expensive. Whilst Prunella Scales prostitutes her talents in a series of dreadful Tesco adverts that pull in punters by the million, Sainsbury's persevere with a refined cultured set of commercials that drive people into rivers with weights tied round their necks.

So, in conclusion, a fine mayonnaise by an equally fine firm, but hey guys, don't go getting complacent.

Peter Purves

Tesco's Finest!

Manufactured by: Presumably the by now legendary anonymous Belgian skulking on some unpronounceable industrial estate and mentioned at great length elsewhere, for Tesco Stores Ltd., Cheshunt EN8 9SL
www.tesco.co.uk
Ingredients: Sunflower oil, white wine (7%), pasteurized egg yolk, vinegar, water, salt, flavourings, mustard, dried tarragon, colours (lutein, paprika extract), pepper, stabiliser (xanthan gum). 7% wine, is that enough to get happily drunk on? Make mine a pint of Tesco mayo then good barkeep
Taste:
Dark and sinister intonations of peat and tree bark swim happily through a mayonnaise lake with tarragon chunks, to assault the tongue with a truly villainous bitter and sour taste explosion which beguiles and intrigues with complexity
Colour: Worryingly similar to the standard yellow matt paint with inexplicable black flecks favoured by educational institutes, mental homes, hospitals and police stations across the world
Comments: Not one for the children, this rich and challenging sauce should preferably be served on a silver platter lead into a hushed and reverential tasting room by an elderly and faithful manservant. This sauce should be kept in a mahogany display cabinet amidst single malts, truffles and Havana cigars
Overall: 8 out of 10 - just a little too ambitious to receive the coveted nine, but a marvellous sauce to impress the neighbours with

TESCO FINEST TARRAGON AND WHITE WINE

This is where mayonnaise truly shows its amazing versatility, to foodies, sandal wearers, well intentioned Guardian readers and fans of Tuscany everywhere. Could a gourmet range of ketchups storm the supermarket shelf space in such a spectacular way I wonder? Could salad cream possibly be enhanced with bushy herbs and lashings of fine Bulgarian chardonnay? Of course not, and were I not skilled in the cumbersome ancient art of rhetoric, these highly obvious questions would not even have been proposed in the first place. So much then for rhetoric.

Its hard to imagine any other dressing, sauce, pickle or condiment possessing the robust body and consistency to deal with the large infusions of tarragon present in this one small jar. I could feasibly imagine salad cream with white cider and grass clippings as one combination, whilst tomato ketchup with fortified British sherry and fresh oak leaves would certainly be another interesting option. Tarragon is a strong flavoured and ruddy herb which certainly adds a complex taste to the standard mayonnaise, but which would completely overwhelm a sauce of lesser consistency and moral integrity.

So what of the sauce itself? Does this tinkering with the sacred sauce work? Well, yes it does. The colouring has perhaps veered a bit too much to the bright Day-Glo yellow, courtesy of lutein, undoubtedly one of the world's favourite deep yellow egg based pigments, but the lyrical nutty taste more than compensates for the more fluorescent aspects. The subtle hints of wine which provide a constant delight are often lost in the general melee of complexities and flavours and it is always a joy to neurotically pick out the perfectly preserved specks of tarragon leaves and flick them across dining rooms with casual abandon.

My one reservation would be that such a brash and ostentatious sauce is likely to overwhelm a standard meal with its deep braying voice and uninhibited charisma. Whilst not being ideally suited to a plate of streaming oven chips, a piece of sole or chicken breast could be improved beyond measure by this Anglo-Belgian experiment in vine and tarragon (Latin name Artemisia dracunculus seeing as you asked).

John Noakes

Lyra

Manufactured by: A genuinely anonymous Belgian for Befico N.V., Kennedypark, Kortrijk, Belgium. Are we at last at the heart of the Belgian mayonnaise trade? An expenses paid trip to Kortrijk beckons for the World of Mayonnaise. Read all about it at www.kortrijk.be
Ingredients: Soya oil, water, spirit vinegar, pasteurised egg yolk, modified corn starch, glucose syrup, salt, mustard, stabilisers (E412, E415), preservative (E202), acidity regulator (E330), colour (E160A). A cocktail of doom?
Taste:
Strong hints of processed cheese, bowler hats, fresh celery and snakeskin waistcoats battle for supremacy in this thick sticky paste with all the mass consistency and appeal of two day old custard
Colour: A bright startling white that could scare the beard off of a nanny goat
Comments: A mysterious sauce of uncertain origins from the centre of the world's mayonnaise trade, long may it remain undiscovered
Overall: 5 out of 10 - a sauce that is best used to stick non porous objects together or to cause minor skin irritation to crocodiles

LYRA

It is with some shame that I, as administrator in chief of the World of Mayonnaise, admit that next to nothing is know of the makers of Lyra mayonnaise, the shady 'Befico N.V.'. Whilst it would be unprofessional for me to ruminate too long as to the identity and skills of the Kortrijk based culinary crew, it would leave a large gap in the World of Mayonnaise's authoritative database of sauce, so offensive speculation and ill informed rumination is by necessity the order of the day, and farewell as ever to professional standards of decency and accuracy.

In a land where mayonnaise manufacturing seemingly accounts for 80%of GDP, lasting world wide fame is always going to be difficult to achieve. Belgium is famous in fact for not having very many famous people living there, rather unjust when one considers for instance the number of famous people from Canada, disproportionately huge and equalled in area only by Russia. It may be simply that Belgium does not suffer from the habit of self aggrandizement and unsubtle ego massaging that so defines the essence of its neighbour France. Whilst Belgians get along the with quiet business of making choicest mayonnaise, the French seem to be far happier losing ignominious wars, harbouring ousted dictators and just generally being famous.

So who does make the Hall of Mayonnaise famous Belgians shortlist? Many sources will offer views on fame and its relative Brussels centred merits, but these lists largely tend to ignore that being famous to other Belgians is not in itself a quantifiable way of achieving fame. But, even with that qualifying caveat applied, a reasonable top ten can still emerge... And, in particular order, they would be; 1. Adolphe Sax (famous for being the inventor of the egotistically named saxophone), 2. Jean-Marc Bosman (famous for not playing very much football), 3. René Magritte (famous for not being a pipe), 4. Audrey Hepburn (famous for not mentioning the fact that she was Belgian very often), 5. Jean-Claude Van Damme (the muscles from Brussels, not to be confused with the coat rack from Kortrijk), 6. Eddy Merckx (perilously close to running foul of the 'only famous to other Belgians' ruling), 7. Hergé (famous for the Tintin books), 8. Hieronymus Bosch (the fevered Flemish painter), 9. Sir Anton van Dyck (the sensible Flemish painter) and 10. Gerardus Mercator (famous for his maps). Please be contented at that, from personal experience I can confirm that any more research on the subject can start to rot one's brain.

Lesley Judd
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