January 2013

There must be something special in the water in the Lake District, because it doesn’t seem to matter what Mr Vikki’s turn their hand to, the products are always something special, in appearance, smell and taste.

Today I have the pleasure of sampling Mr Vikki’s Chilli jam, a Great Taste Gold award winner, rated three red chilli’s on his scale it doesn’t pack the heat of the legendary King Naga, but on your toast at breakfast time, it gives a happy heat start to the day.

Ingredients:

Red peppers, fresh tomatoes, onions, British sugar, vinegar, garlic, Habanero chillies 5%, spices, mustard, salt, Naga chillies 1%.

The jam comes in Mr Vikki’s usual hexagonal jars (the best shape for the most efficient storage) and is a nice invitingly deep red colour, which screams eat me. There are plenty of flecks visible through the glass, including some big garlic flakes along with a few chilli seeds.

The jam doesn’t emit that much of an aroma once the lid is off, but with a heaped spoonful ready to munch on, you’re in for a sensational taste journey.

Initially you can taste the sweetness of the jam but as you chew, the aniseed flavour from fennel seeds gets released, along with the bitterness of the garlic. Then the heat of the chillies builds up giving a pleasurable mouth burn, it’s a mild to middling heat. It’s so moreish that it’s impossible not to want another spoonful.

There are so many uses for this jam it would be daft to just have it on toast – it’ll work lovely in boiled rice or with a good cheese board, but know this – once you try Mr Vikki’s Chilli Jam, it’ll be the start of an addiction, as it’s that tasty. Highly recommended and at £3.50 it’s a bargain.

Jar kindly supplied by Mr Vikki’s

Flavour
(10/10)
Heat
(5/10)
Packaging
(6/10)
Value (8/10)
Overall
(9/10)

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Here is a product from Hot-Headz whose name is bound to send a shiver down the spine of any RSPB member – Kickin’ Chicken Wing Sauce & Marinade (Very Hot). For those not in the know, Hot-Headz is an established business which has been catering to the needs of chilli-heads since 1994. In addition to stocking a staggering range of products from across the globe, they also have their own extensive range of over 50 products. In the past few months we have reviewed several of their own brand including beef jerky, ketchup and even gummy bears!

The Hot-Headz Kickin’ Chicken range currently comprises of three Buffalo-style, Cayenne pepper sauces and a fourth smoky chipotle sauce. Today I will be taking a look at the hottest of their Cayenne sauces which features a helping of Naga Jolokia too.

Picking up the bottle, I’m not sure which aspect grabbed my attention first – the size of the bottle or the striking design of the label. At 354ml this bottle is 2-3 times larger than most of the products we get sent for review. The branding is very familiar with the Hot-Headz logo taking centre-stage, but this time the logo is emblazoned with flames and wings which leave you in no doubt as to the nature of this product. The other noteworthy point is the “Made in the USA” statement which resides on the right-hand side of the product label.

Ingredients: 

Water, Distilled Vinegar, Dried Cayenne & Naga Chilli Pepper (5.5%), Salt, Natural Butter Flavour, Canola Oil, Xanthan Gum, Dried Onion, Black Pepper, (less than 0.1%) Sodium Benzoate (Natural Preservative).

Bottle kindly provided by Hot-Headz.

Looking at the list of ingredients there is one item that stands out – natural butter flavour. Traditionally a Buffalo wing sauce is made by combining a Cayenne pepper sauce (Such as Frank’s RedHot Original) and melted butter. By adding natural butter flavouring to the sauce, Hot-Headz provide the convenience of a sauce that’s ready to use straight from the bottle.

Upon removing the seal and opening the bottle I am greeted by a slightly earthy smell which I attribute to the use of dried Cayenne pepper. There is also a hint of vinegar and Canola (Rapeseed) oil too.

The sauce is brown in colour and speckled with ground spices. It pours easily from the bottle and whilst the texture is smooth, the use of ground chillies is noticeable.

The initial taste is a combination of cayenne and butter – exactly what you’d hope for in a Buffalo-style sauce. Unfortunately, that flavour is short-lived and the aftertaste is a little bitter. The overall flavour isn’t bad, but the lack of fresh ingredients or use of a pepper mash is reflected in the overall flavour.

At first I didn’t think this was a particularly hot product, but after consuming a plate of wings coated in this sauce I was starting to break into a bit of a sweat. The heat built slowly and by the end of the meal my lips, tongue and throat were well and truly ablaze.

In addition to using this product as a wing sauce, it would work equally well as a marinade or condiment. Each sauce in the Kickin’ Chicken range is priced at £3.99 a bottle which is great value. You can purchase the Kickin’ Chicken sauces and many other products from the Hot-Headz website.

Flavour
(6/10)
Heat
(7/10)
Packaging
(8/10)
Value (9/10)
Overall
(7.5/10)

 

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As Christmas is now a distant memory, all eyes are turning to planning the Summers Chilli Festivals, one of the very first is Chilli Fest UK’s Blackpool event, and here they are to give everyone a little more information about it;

“After a number of successful events organised by Chilli Fest UK in 2012, we now present the first Chilli Festival of the year and the debut of “The Great Blackpool Chilli Festival, 6th April 2013”.

Open to the public and admission free from 10am onwards, we at Chilli Fest UK aim to continue the successful run in making Blackpool Chilli Festival another landmark event, like The Great Shoreham Chilli and the North East Tomato & Chilli Festivals.

The venue is situated in the beautiful revamped St Johns Square which can hold many thousands of customers throughout the day, so it’s predicted to be quite a turn out. Also the venue owners, Blackpool Bid are also taking part in spreading the word, they are very keen in making Blackpool Chilli Festival one of its main attractions during its peak holiday season time of year.

At The Great Blackpool Chilli Festival 2013 consumers will get a chance to sample a whole range of Hot Sauces, Jams, Pickles, Chilli Cheeses, Chilli Chocolate, Fudges, Chilli Ice Cream, and purchase chilli merchandise, drink premium Chilli Vodka Mojito courtesy of Vodka Red Wolf, Chilli Shooters, Spicy Bloody Marys, Chilli Cider and loads more, list of exhibitors can be seen on our website there are also plans to have local live music too.

All in all, it will be a great day out for everyone friends, family, tourists and from your serious hardcore chilli heads to new comers. To find our more visit our site on www.chillifest.net and our Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/chilli.fest.5?ref=tn_tnmn

follow us on Twitter @chilli_festival

Venue Details.

St Johns Square

Church Street

Blackpool

FY1 3NX

 

Contact: info@chillifest.net

 

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You may think that you have to be in the South of the UK to grow Chillies, but that is not the case as Chillilicious is proving.

Chillilicious is Scotland’s first and only chilli farm, run by a Mother/Daughter duo, Patricia and Stacey Galfskiy, creating a superbly unique range of chilli products unlike anything currently available on the market.They specialise in delicious handmade chilli products that focus on the flavour of the chilli and how it balances and compliments the other ingredients of the preserve, not just the burn, therefore our products appeal to a very wide range of customers.
The truth is in the taste!Adding to the unique niche of the company they also have a glass fusing studio on the farm creating elegant chilli themed serving dishes and other kitchenalia.
These are created using recycled, or “upcycled” (as they call it) glass like old beer bottles, they create some new and inspiring chilli themed products which add a very nice touch to their stands at events.This can range from glass chopping boards to chilli shaped magnets.
This coupled with chilli chutneys, preserves and sauce produced from their own chilli crop, Chillilicious are going places. Look out for their stall at Chilli events and food fairs the length and bredth of the UK.

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