Best Relishes: Viola's Gourmet Goodies, The Vintage Hollywood Party Staple

Viola's Relishes, Vintage Furniture Not Included
Viola's Relishes, Vintage Furniture Not Included

There's nothing that says "Hollywood cocktail party" quite like mango chutney and corn relish. Or at least in the 1930s and 40s, an era when pillows of cream cheese were piled on top of just about every appetizer, and cocktail hour wasn't complete without canapé trays from the best private chefs and caterers. Viola Rowland's mango chutney and corn relish were among those that regularly made the rounds at parties hosted by Doris Day, Dan Duryea, and Max Factor.

Her granddaughter, Nancy, has been carrying on that tradition since the 1980s by bottling her own versions of her grandmother's relishes using local ingredients. Under her Viola's Gourmet Goodies label, that mango chutney morphed into an orange-apple-tomatillo version now called California relish (still a sweet chutney). Viola's corn version, now known as Baja relish, became a tomatillo relish with jalapeños and cilantro that does double duty as a spicy-sweet salsa for tortilla chips.

Viola's Baja and California relishes are available at Vicente Foods in Brentwood, Irvine Ranch Market in Costa Mesa, and online at About $4.50

Look for more "Best of L.A." pieces in our annual Best of L.A. issue, coming Oct. 7th.

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