The Merchants Mark

Soon after its creation, the company began to use a ‘balemark,’ which identified The Company’s products as they arrived in busy ports or were sold on the trading floor.

Initially a simple mark, this evolved by the 1700s into a heart shaped figure [denoting ‘good luck’] surmounted by a figure four (symbolising Agnus Dei – ‘Lamb of God’] and containing the initials of the company.

This symbol became known as “the chop” a word derived from the Hindi छाप ćhāp – which means stamp.

The chop was not only an easily identifiable mark of The East India Company ownership, for example on tea crates, it also became a symbol of the quality.

The Merchant’s Mark is still used today on all our products, now as then, the distinctive mark of The Company and of quality.


Strawberry & Pepper Jam

One of our most popular preserves, this Strawberry & Pepper Jam is an invigorating combination of vibrant pepper and soft whole cooked strawberries. A unique and delicious gift for the creative and curious alike.

The East India Company - Lifestyle

Food and Beverages

One of our most popular preserves, where West happily meets East, is our Strawberry & Pepper Jam.

Pepper quickly became one of the foundations of The East India Company’s early business, ships laden with pepper from modern day Java and Sumatra returning to London and beyond.

And strawberries? Well, strawberries were native to the Americas, but the first garden strawberry was grown in France and became popular across Europe including Britain.

On long ocean voyages, preservation techniques saved lives. Jam or “giam” as described by Hannah Galsse in 1747, was simply made as today by boiling fruits in sugar, thus preserving the fruit.
The jam was sealed in pottery or glass for the long voyages undertaken by the Company pioneers. Back in the day, it was an expensive luxury, reserved for the captain and officers.

We remember these pioneering ingredients and were inspired to create this interesting Strawberry pepper Preserve combination as a celebration of the fusion of east and west.

It’s perhaps a surprising combination, but the touch of pepper accentuates the sweetness of the strawberry, whilst delivering a tiny punch of spice.

Something different for the breakfast table or for a scone with cream in the summer.


Sugar, Strawberries (40%), Black Pepper (1%), Gelling Agent: Pectin (Pectin E440, Dextrose), Citric Acid.


See ingredients in bold. Made in factory that handles milk, nuts and lactose. May contain traces of these allergens.


Typical values 100g – Energy 1048kj/249kcal | Fat 0g, of which saturates 0g | Carbohydrate 62g, of which sugars 61.06g | Protein 0.3g | Salt 0g


Store cool and dry, once opened refrigerate and consume within 1 month.

Suitable for vegetarians.


Trade and Spice

Spices and the spice trade have been an enormous influence in global political, social, and economic developments for over 1000 years.

They were considered by those without as rare and valuable, prized for their preservative, medicinal and aromatic qualities. The East India Company realized the opportunity, but it arrived late to the game.

The Arabs in the Near-East dominated the spice trade and then the Portuguese trading in India, the Far-East and the Spice Islands [the modern-day Moluccas of Indonesia).

Of course, not all spices came from the Far-East - the Portuguese had brought chilli peppers from South America to their Indian colonies in the 16th century, which became a part of Indian cuisine and their richly spiced foods.

Captured Portuguese ships full of spice from the Spice Islands whet the appetite for the British, but it was the Dutch that made the first move, sending well-funded fleets to the Spice Islands in the 1590s, using navigational maps stolen from the Portuguese. By quickly establishing trade and being well organised and armed, the Dutch cut off the English, in the form of the East India Company, to the spice trade, who were forced to trade in the surrounding islands.
There was one nutmeg of consolation for the British. Polo Run, which was the only nutmeg-producing portion of the Spice Islands, fell into the Company’s hands from the Dutch in 1616.

The British stumbled upon the opportunity to trade in pepper in Bantam [Java], setting up a ‘factory’ [a fortified warehouse], and there was enough for all to avoid fisticuffs. The East India Company would continue to trade in pepper up to the 19th century.

When the Company arrived in India and started trading, its botanists were exposed to other spices, such as cinnamon from the cassia tree. It then benefitted from its network of Botanical Gardens to propagate seeds and it planted these in new countries within its trading routes. This is why pepper, cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon can be found in the West Indies today, now part of the distinctive Cajun cuisine. An enabler to this new trade were spice-grinding operations set up in the docks of London, as it was realised that ground spices were cheaper and easier to ship around the world.

Our spirit delivers no ordinary products

  • FAQ

    What other preserves do you do as well as Strawberry and Pepper?

    As well as our two Seville orange marmalades (one dark, one light), we have a rich Victoria Plum Extra Jam and a Rhubarb & Ginger Jam too, an interesting and surprising delight.

  • Delivery & Returns

    UK Standard Delivery: £3.95
    UK Next Day Delivery (mainland UK only): £9.95 (Order before 12pm)
    International Delivery is available, please see our delivery page for details. For more information and Terms & Conditions, please see our Delivery page.

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