Phil and Kay Palmer run the Dartmoor Chilli Farm located in the beautiful Dartmoor National Park, Devon. Unlike many other chilli farms in the UK they grow their chillies in a very environmentally friendly way – running their farm “off grid” using wind / solar power and rainwater harvesting for electricity & water, whilst growing their produce naturally & holistically using no pesticides or herbicides. In 2010 they won the South Devon Excellence Awards “Best Green Business”
What I have here to review is their most popular product – Dartmoor Dynamite. Although it’s been available for quite a few years, it’s a product which has had a recent re-labelling and tweaking to the recipe.
The heart of the new label is an emblem of a group of chillies connected like dynamite sticks to a detonator, where the question “Dare you take the plunge?” is posed. The combination of a black background and use of strong green & red colours in this emblem makes for a bold looking product, and naturally I respond to the dare.
Tomatoes, Sugar, Red Peppers, Naga Chillies (22%) Cider Vinegar, Tomato Juice, Lemon Juice, Oregano
Bottle kindly supplied by Dartmoor Chilli Farm
Opening the bottle and inhaling, I first get the sweetness from the combination of the red peppers and tomatoes which is then closely followed by the perfume of the Naga & vinegar. I can also detect some herbal notes in the sauce from the oregano. It’s a well balanced aroma with the sweet and sour tones working well in harmony. Although it’s quite a thin sauce, when pouring it onto a spoon I can see that there is some texture to the sauce with some chilli seeds and fleshy pulp therein – the latter I presume coming from the tomatoes used in its preparation. In a similar manner to its aroma, when tasting the sauce there’s a distinctive dual layer of flavours. At first there’s the hit of fruity sweetness from the tomatoes and peppers before the tangy flavours of the Nagas & lemon juice begins to come through. The array of flavours works really well together and make for a very moreish sauce.
Phil and Kay’s original recipe used just Bhut Jolokia in the sauce but the recipe tweak is that they now use of 3 different types of Naga: the Bhut Jolokia, Naga Jolokia PC1 and the Dorset Naga. The kick from this Naga trinity comes shortly thereafter and hits the back of my mouth. I must admit it seemed quite innocuous to me at first but another spoonful or two later and the Naga effect is in full swing with a blast of pain from the chillies consuming the back of my mouth and throat.
With the great natural flavours from the tomatoes, oregano & red peppers, I find Dynamite to be rather like an Italian passata sauce, so it’s no surprise that Phil and Kay recommend using this as a cooking sauce. To this end I think it would go really well as an addition to a ragu or pizza sauce, in a chilli con carne, or even on its own as a dipping sauce. It could even act as a replacement to the ubiquitous Tabasco® sauce normally added to a Bloody Mary. In trying it myself with some pasta, I found that the cooking process accentuated the natural flavours of the pepper and tomatoes with the flavour of the Nagas receding, though of course their presence was still very much obvious from the heat.
Overall it’s a great tasting product with a generous chilli kick – a winning combination that for me makes this a very addictive sauce. Dartmoor Dynamite is available directly from the Dartmoor Chilli Farm website and, at the time of this review, is available for only £3.00 for a 100ml. This is a recent reduction from its previous price of £3.50 making it fantastically good value for a sauce with a high Naga content and from stock that has been cultivated in the UK too!
My only niggle with this sauce is that due to its addictive qualities 100ml isn’t going to last long (or at least it didn’t in my case) but at £3.00 a bottle you can afford to stock up on it. Alternatively you could always purchase the newly released 150ml version for £4.50 (currently limited stocks).