The Papaya or “Paw Paw” is a large fruit which is popular in Caribbean and Southeast Asian cuisine. The flesh of the papaya is often used in curries, stews and salsas, whilst the flowers and leaves from the plant can be used in salads and stir-fries. The seeds are edible too and their piquancy makes them an interesting alternative to black peppercorns.
The Smokey Joe Sauce Company is a family run business based near Exeter in Devon. Since their inception in August 2009 they have developed a range of 5 products which each capture the authentic flavour of a different Caribbean island. Paw Paw Pepper Sauce is their latest creation and strives to capture the taste of Grenada.
The sauce is supplied in a fairly typical 140g bottle, but really stands out from the other products in my cupboard. The blue labelling and modest design complement the vibrant, orange-coloured sauce really well. Upon closer examination of the label, I notice that there is no heat rating. Whilst this is a minor omission, I do find ratings helpful when comparing a manufacturer’s product range.
Papaya (55%), Spirit Vinegar, Onion, Scotch Bonnet Chillies (3%), Sugar, Ginger, Salt, Garlic, Pepper and Nutmeg.
Bottle kindly provided by The Smokey Joe Sauce Company.
After removing the cap from the bottle, I take a moment to ponder the aroma. Initially the smell reminds me of pickled onions, but it is more complex than that. The tang of the spirit vinegar subsides after a couple of seconds and the ginger and nutmeg become more apparent. Nutmeg is one of Grenada’s largest exports and features on the country’s national flag, so its inclusion in this sauce is befitting.
The sauce has a nice consistency and pours easily from the bottle. The initial taste is reminiscent of its aroma – tangy at first with the spices becoming more prominent a moment or two later. There is some fruitiness too, but not as much as I was anticipating given the high percentage of papaya.
The heat is quite difficult to judge as the vinegar and spices seem to amplify the warmth of the scotch bonnets. I found the sauce to be pleasantly warm and its heat was on a par with other West Indian hot sauces that I have tried.
Since my initial tasting, I have reached for this sauce on numerous occasions. It can be used as a seasoning to pep up soups and stews, but works brilliantly as a condiment. My highlight so far has been slathering it over fish and chips.
A bottle of Paw Paw Pepper Sauce costs £3.50 which is the same price as a large papaya from my local supermarket. You can purchase a bottle via the Smokey Joe Sauce Company website or from one of their many stockists.
If you’re on the lookout for an exciting Christmas gift, be sure to check out the Smokey Joe Gift Bag which contains their entire range of products.