Marie Sharp’s is a American brand of chilli sauces that has grown from a venture started in 1980 by Marie Sharp from her home kitchen in Belize (near Mexico) to a well-established international brand. Falling in the ‘heard of the brand name but not previously tried any of their products’ camp and having recently read some good things about these sauces from my fellow reviewers here at the ChileFoundry I was interested to see how good this sauce was.
Like many other in their product range, the label is a simple approach with the company logo emblazoned towards the top and illustrations of the key ingredients in the central area. The sauces looks quite amber like in colour and seems quite thick from the outside so I give the bottle a good shake before opening to make sure the contents will pour more readily. Opening the bottle releases an aroma that is much different than expected. Given that orange pulp is a main ingredient I was anticipating a strong citrus hit but instead the scent of garlic & onion are very much dominant with only subtle hints of the citrus ingredients. There’s a strange acerbic quality to aroma, almost as if the garlic and onion still raw ingredients within a pungent vinegar. Despite being a real lover of garlic and onion, I have to confess that I don’t find it the most pleasant or inviting aroma but hopefully its taste is more inviting that its smell.
Ingredients: Yellow Habanero Peppers, Orange Pulp, Onions, Key Lime Juice, Vinegar, Garlic and Salt.
Bottle kindly supplied by Hot Headz
Trying to get the sauce out from the bottle to taste initially proves difficult. A plastic dropper is inserted at the neck bottle and, with the viscosity of the sauce, it’s nigh on impossible to get any of the sauce out of the bottle. Thankfully removing the stopper allows the sauce to pour more readily onto my spoon but how on earth anyone is meant to get sauce out from the bottle with dropper on I don’t know.
Pouring the sauce onto the spoon, I can see some seeds and fleshy pulp from the oranges. Tasting the sauce is disappointing. I get an overriding taste of onion, garlic and vinegar but not much in the way from the orange. It’s a rather sour and unpleasant taste and the balance seems to be completely wrong given that I would expect the orange pulp and key lime juice to add a strong citrus zing. There is a warmth from the Habaneros but there’s not as much of a kick as I would expect from a product where Habaneros are listed as the main ingredient.
Disappointed with its ‘as-is’ taste I figure I’ll give the sauce another try and use it in cooking some stir-fry vegetables, pouring a generous amount into the wok as the ingredients without adding any other seasoning or condiments. The aroma of the sauce changes considerably and the scent of the orange pulp comes more to the forefront during cooking. Tasting it is also a different this time around. The balance has shifted completely; the bitterness of the vinegar and rawness of the garlic & onion has dissipated, allowing the flavour from the orange pulp to come to the fore. However whilst it offers a more pleasant taste cooked, I still find it doesn’t have much depth or balance in flavours from the ingredient. It seems to have swung in a pendulum fashion from one side of its taste range to the other, without reaching a balanced middle ground.
Overall I’m left with an impression of disillusionment – I had anticipated good things from this sauce but I feel it’s a let-down. Whether that’s due to my over keenness or it really being a damb squib I’ll leave you to decide. Available from Hot Headz for £3.99