As I mentioned in a previous post I am a huge fan of the humble cheeseboard. Give me a selection of cheese and crackers and I’m happy! For me, one of the key elements of a cheeseboard is a nice fruit chutney. Someone recently told me about Vivia Crump and her range of “extremely scrummy chutney” that’s made in Rutland so, since I’m a bit of a glutton, I’ve got my hands on 5 jars to review.
Vivia’s chutneys are all handmade and use quality ingredients with no artificial flavours. The packaging is very professional and I was surprised to learn that these aren’t stocked in more places. In fact, the only place you can pick these up are direct from Vivia through her website, at her market stalls or select shops in Rutland. Anyway, it’s time to dig in!
First up I tried the Bramley apple and date with root ginger chutney. Date and apple is a classic combination and the flavours work perfectly together. I found this to have a texture more like jam than chutney and it’s extremely sweet… like jam. The sweetness completely overpowered the humble smoked Appleby cheese that I was eating though I think it would work well with very strong cheddar. To be honest, I think this chutney would excel as a sweet pie filling!
Next up was another sweet chutney, and it’s Vivia’s apricot Whisky Mac. Who would have thought of mixing apricot and whisky in a chutney? Let me start by saying that the whisky doesn’t blow your head off like some alcoholic relishes do and it simply provides a nice background warmth. Oddly, the flavour was very similar to the taste of mincemeat found in mince pies. As such, this is probably quite a nice chutney to have at Christmas. Yes, I said the C-word in May!
Taking a break from the sweet chutneys I tried the lemon and mustard seed chutney. If you’ve ever had lime pickle at an Indian restaurant on your poppadoms then this tastes very similar – except it smacks of lemon rather than lime. This is very much a savoury chutney compared to the first two and is sour rather than sweet. I really liked the flavour and it was easy to pick out both the lemon and the mustard seeds. I think it’s too powerful a flavour for cheese but if you prefer lemon over lime, stick this on your poppadoms!
Continuing the savoury theme I tried the beetroot and horseradish chutney next. This one most definitely tastes of beetroot but I couldn’t really taste the heat of the horseradish. To be honest that didn’t matter as this was my favourite so far when combined with cheese. It’s a nice, but not overbearing flavour, and the pickley-vinegar taste from the beetroot was great with the smoked cheese. I’d most definitely buy this again as a cheeseboard accompaniment.
Last but not least is the red chilli and pineapple with roasted pepper chutney. Oh my goodness – this is awesome! I don’t rate things on this blog but this would get 5/5. This is truly delicious and was my favourite of the chutneys tried, followed by the beetroot and horseradish chutney above. It packs a spicy punch but is equally sweet and fruity. The only downside to this chutney is that it’s a bit like a salsa in that it contains quite a bit of water making it slightly messy on crackers. However, I’m willing to forgive for the flavour is truly remarkable. I’m smitten.
I’ve only scratched the surface of Vivia’s chutney and relish range and I look forward to trying another batch of chutneys in an upcoming review. The tomato and chipotle chutney sounds particularly appetising to me as I love the flavour of chipotle. If you are looking for delicious handmade chutneys to put in a hamper, or to eat yourself, look no further!
- Made in England.
- £4/200g jar www.viviacrumps.co.uk.