Chutney or Chatni

To East or West!

Chutneys have their origins in the East. Chutney types and their preparations vary widely across Pakistan and India.

As early as the 17th century, chutneys began being shipped to European countries, such as England and France, as luxury goods for the tables of the Great and the Good.

As such they did not filter down to the lower echelons of the market but very soon cheaper Western imitations, more suited to conservative European tastes, were coming into production to satisfy a steadily growing market for ‘the latest thing’

Chutney in one of it’s myriad forms, either traditional or hybrid, could be used to spice up ham and pork, chicken and fish and of course cheese.

From there the tradition of chutney making spread throughout the British empire, especially the Caribbean and the American South, where chutney is still to this day a popular condiment.

By the 19th century, different brands of chutney (Major Grey’s, Bengal Club &tc) that were better tailored to Western tastes were being shipped to Europe as ‘Authentic’ eastern delights. Chutneys have since become big business with a valuable world market.

Chutneys usually contain an idiosyncratic but complementary spice, fruit and/or vegetable mix cooked down to a reduction with sugar and vinegar.

They come in two major groups, sweet or hot. Both forms usually use a variety of spices, including chilli, but differ by their main flavour.

Theoretically there is no limit to the number of chutneys since they can be made from virtually any vegetable, fruit, herb or spice in equally limitless combinations.

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