The Prince of Wales was guest of honour at a 100-year-old family-run pickling factory in Merseyside.
Prince Charles sampled some of Bartons' piccalilli
Prince Charles tasted the piccalilli at Edmund Barton Limited, in St Helens, which celebrates its centenary in 2005.
He had spent Wednesday morning visiting the Home Office's Immigration and Nationality Directorate in Liverpool with Home Secretary David Blunkett.
The factory, which produces 18 varieties of pickles, sauces and chutneys, was established in 1905.
The Haydock Brass Band played Food, Glorious Food when the royal visitor arrived.
He wore the obligatory white coat and hat for the visit to the production area.
Factory workers demonstrated the pickle making process and Prince Charles helped to stir a huge tub of Barton's piccalilli with a giant plastic spatula,
before tasting a sample from a silver spoon.
The Prince said: "Coming here just shows what a remarkable enterprise is run here, and has been for nearly 100 years.
"Bartons represents so much of what is best about small businesses in this country.
"I am now reliably told that the North West eats more piccalilli than anywhere else.
"Bartons are, of course, developing a new recipe - chillililli - but I don't think I'll be trying that one, it's a bit too hot for me."
Mr Barton Fairhurst, better known as "Pickle Eddie", said: "In my wildest dreams I could never have imagined such an honour as His Royal Highness joining us to celebrate our centenary."
Prince Charles was presented with a basket of pickles and chutneys before leaving the factory.