February 2013

Devil’s Dynamite is a relatively new company from Buckinghamshire in the United Kingdom. The company was formed in May 2012 by the Salvin family and currently offers a range of 5 unique chilli pastes. Despite being newcomers to the UK chilli industry, their products are derived from family recipes which have been perfected over many years. In this review I’ll be taking a look at their Explosive Chilli Paste which is the hottest in the range.

Devils DynamiteI find the word dynamite quite intriguing because it has several meanings. There are two in particular which lend themselves to some of the products we review;

         i.            Something that is very exciting or wonderful.

       ii.            Something that could generate extreme reactions or have devastating repercussions.

Here’s hoping that this product embraces the first definition! Anyway, that’s enough of my musings – let’s take a closer look at the product.

The first thing that caught my eye was the bold company logo which spans 3 sides of the hexagonal jar. The red & white text which is set against a black background makes for a really striking label. The black lid is a nice touch too and the overall appearance is excellent.

Upon removing the lid, I am instantly greeted by garlic and ginger aromas. There is some fruitiness from the Scotch Bonnets too, but it is less prominent.

Ingredients:

Fresh Scotch Bonnet, Hot Chilli Powder, Fresh Ginger, Fresh Garlic, Lemon Juice, Vegetable Oil, Salt and Fresh Coriander.

Jar kindly provided by Devil’s Dynamite.

The red paste is quite thick, but has a smooth texture. I tried a little on a spoon to gauge the heat and the addition of hot chilli powder was very noticeable. On its own the coriander and garlic leave a slight bitter aftertaste, but fortunately cooking with the paste is an entirely different experience.

The ingredients in this paste make it a great match for Indian and South-East Asian dishes. I cooked beef rendang (a spicy dish which originates from Indonesia) using the paste and found that the garlic and coriander mellowed nicely during cooking. I also combined the paste with ketchup, honey and sugar to make a delicious wing marinade – one of many suggestions which can be found on the Devil’s Dynamite website. I’m sure that this product would work great in soups and stews too.

Personally, I would love to see another product added to the range which excludes the ginger and coriander. Call me a purist, but I struggle with the thought of adding ginger to Mexican or Italian cooking and feel that a chilli & garlic paste could have greater appeal.

Overall, I enjoyed cooking with this product and found it to be a great way of adding both heat and flavour to a dish. I wish the range of Devil’s Dynamite products had been available when I was a student because they are extremely convenient.

All products in the range are available in two sizes – 65g (reviewed) and 170g. They are priced at £2.49 and £3.99 respectively. You can purchase this product online from Devil’s Dynamite or Scorchio.

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

{ 0 comments }

If there is one thing to say about Matt Simpson of Simpson’s Seeds, it is the wealth of amusing and inventive names he comes up with like Sillius Soddus, Horny Goat and Fruity Frog He has some of the funniest named sauces around, and here we have 7-Potty, which is a clever play on words about the Chilli used and suggests the heat level is only for those who are slightly ‘Potty’. Matt makes small batches of his sauces so the range available does vary, but he always seems to come up with one or two new ‘specials’ for each chilli event.

Typically with all Simpson’s Seeds sauces, the label is simple in design, a white background with black text, but it is something I like, the label can sometimes make a product look a lot better than it is with lots of shiny designs. Matt is a great advocate for taste and flavour over extreme heat and generally speaking does not make his sauces overly hot, so what will 7-Potty bring?

Looking through the glass I can see a deep, rich orangy red liquid within, the odd seed but otherwise quite smooth in texture.

Opening the bottle, I get a very fruity aroma, not surprising really considering the main ingredient is fruit juice. I get the distinctive 7 Pot fragrance coming through and a hint of the red wine vinegar.

Ingredients:

Fruit Juice, Onions, Red Wine Vinegar, Pineapple, 7 Pot Habanero Chillies (17%), Lime Juice, Salt.

Bottle kindly supplied by Simpson’s Seeds

So how does it taste? Pouring out the obligatory teaspoon worth into the palm of my hand, I transfer to my mouth and am immediately hit with a lovely sweetness, but not overly sweet. This is interesting as there is no added sugar here, just fruit juice and pineapple. The sweetness is very quickly followed by the 7 Pot burn. As I move the sauce around my mouth, the burn encompasses my tongue, cheeks, roof of the mouth and the throat as I swallow it. My saliva glands go into overdrive which is something that only 7 Pots seem to achieve! There is tonnes of fruity flavour to balance that heat though

The burn lingers for a while but is never extreme, although the heat would defeat someone not initiated with chillies, luckily I am. In fact Matt has put a warning on the bottle “Very Very Hot Chilli Sauce! Be warned!!!!!!!” which is right if you are used to tasting his other sauces as this is a jump in the heat level.

In conclusion, another tasty hot sauce from Mr Simpson. As mentioned above, the range of sauces Matt has in stock does vary, some are available on his website for £4 plus postage. The best place to buy his sauces however is at one the various Chilli Festivals this summer.

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

 

{ 0 comments }

This is the third and final review of the trio of new ‘Hot Sauces’ from Heinz, this time, The Fiery & Sweet Yellow Habanero Hot Sauce. Heinz have come a long way since their ’57’ varieties, goodness knows how many products have Heinz on them now but it must be in the 1000’s. Anyway let’s get on with the review.

The bottle is the typical Lea & Perrins shape and size, 150ml in volume and the the glass is embossed with the aforementioned ’57’ around the neck, something only a big company could afford. The label is as before, in the Heinz branding and uses yellow instead of the red and green of the other two sauces in the set. Its functional and does the job but the biggest lettering just says “Hot Sauce”, its only further down that you discover that it is the Yellow Habanero.

Ingredients:

Spirit Vinegar, Habanero Chilli (14%), Sugar, Onion, Salt, Garlic, Thickener – Xanthum Gum

Bottle kindly supplied by Heinz

Heinz have used a common pictorial Chilli for the heat guide from one to three, this being a three with the statement ‘Very Hot’. We shall see whether it lives up to this.

I have to mention here that the big companies are in a no win situation when trying to give the consumer a warning about the heat level, because an average Tesco shopper will have gone no further than Tabasco or Nandos for their chilli kick. These shoppers may well find these Heinz sauces ‘very hot’ and tasty, but compared to us, who are a little more accustomed to the world of chilli sauces available in the non supermarket arena, we expect heat and flavour which inevitably the big companies fall down on both counts.

To achieve better flavour means better ingredients, but that means the price will go up and Mr Average shopper won’t pay that, whereas we all know the ever expanding handmade chilli sauce business in the UK is growing and festival goers will happily pay more for a better product.

Back to the sauce in question, it is very yellow but there are no colourings added, so that must be entirely down to the pepper mash used. It is fairly runny but a quick look at the label reveals Xanthum Gum which is produced by the fermentation of glucose, sucrose, or lactose by the Xanthomonas campestris bacterium, so a natural additive and commonly used in the food industry.

So how does it taste? Upon opening the bottle I am greeted by the bain of my reviewing life, the dropper cap! This is ok in a very watery sauce like Lea & Perrins but with a sauce like this it takes quite a lot of effort to get a teaspoon full from the bottle and is really not needed.

Being as the first ingredient on the list is spirit vinegar, it is no surprise that this is all I can smell at first, there is no way I can pick out the Habanero aroma, just vinegar and onions. Pouring a teaspoonful with the dropper cap removed, I can taste the yellow liquid and it is consistant with the smell of vinegar and onions and a warmth. Spirit Vinegar will always give that vicious pickled onion flavour, which is why most smaller producers use wine vinegars or cider vinegar, giving the acidity needed but not the smack in the face you get with spirit vinegar.

The sauce is fairly sweet as the label suggests but also very sour and leaves a bitterness, similar to capsaicin extract but without the vicious heat. Once the taste goes away there is a half decent burn which carries on for quite a few minutes.

Another thing noted is that it has a slightly slimy texture to it, which would be due to the Xanthum Gum, although I appreciate that this is not designed to be consumed by the spoonful, if drizzled over food or added to cooking, this would not be detectable.

So in summary on the heat level, it is hot, although I’m not sure I would class it as very hot, the standard Encona is hotter than this. I don’t feel it is fair to directly compare these three Heinz Hot Sauces to the handmade Artisan sauces we are lucky enough to have in the UK.

I am impressed that the ingredients list is only 7 items long, usually these type of products have about 20! some of which I have never heard of.

Now I know that Heinz will sell millions of units of each of these mainly because they are Heinz after all, but part of me wishes that all these major players, sauce producers, supermarkets, crisp manufacturers who make chilli this and chilli that would actually approach people like us to help them make these products better, maybe they already do, but in such a growing chilli industry it is such a shame that the majority of the public are not getting a better experience when buying a chilli product in the Supermarket from the International brands.

Well there you have it, this would not be a sauce I would go back to, but saying that it has a half decent burn if you can get past the vinegar and bitterness. You can buy this in Sainsbury’s for £1.49

Flavour
(4/10)
Heat
(6/10)
Packaging
(5/10)
Value (6/10)
Overall
(4/10)

{ 1 comment }

From his secret dungeon in the village of Kilcoole on the East Coast of the Republic of Ireland (about 15 miles south of Dublin), Mic has developed a range of chilli sauces that have recently been arriving on mainland Great Britain. Mic got bitten by the chilli bug back in 1994 during a trip to Belize in Central America and upon returning home to Ireland he decided develop his own hot sauces for the masses and launch Mic’s Chilli

The first thing to notice about Mic’s products is the fantastic design of the labeling. These have been developed by the artistic mind of award winning designer Steve Simpson, who has previously worked on the Beano comic and Danger Mouse cartoon series. The skeletal figures featured on the range of Mic’s sauce have clearly drew inspiration from the skeletal ‘Catrina’ figures seen in the ‘Día de los Muertos’ (Day of the Dead) festivals in Mexico.

On the bottle for the Extreme Inferno sauce the skeletal figure is fitted out as a Grim Reaper figure (scythe included) amongst burning flames with the hood. Steve has clearly had a lot fun designing these labels and the attention to detail is second to none such that even the barcodes have been illustrated too.

Currently Mic has a range of four ‘Inferno’ sauces with the Inferno Extreme being the hottest and the winner of a ‘Gold Taste Award’ in 2011. As a chilli product reviewer, when I see words like ‘Extreme’ used on labeling I can’t help but think that chilli extract has been used therein, but looking at the ingredients list I’m very happy to see that this isn’t the case with this sauce – it’s a completely natural extremity achieved through the use of 12 Habanero peppers.

Ingredients:

12 Habanero Chillies (40%), Water, Distilled Vinegar, Lemon Juice, Spices, Salt, Garlic, Xanthan Gum

Bottle kindly supplied by Mic’s Chilli

Twisting off the lid releases the unmistakable fragrance of Habaneros and it’s clearly evident from the pungency that this sauce has a high percentage of chilli pepper usage. I can also note hints of the vinegar coming through too. Given that water, the second highest ranked ingredient, has been used as the solution for the Habaneros and other ingredients it is not surprisingly to see Xanthan Gum has been added to thicken it the sauce and hold the blended ingredients together. However its use has been judicious and the sauce, which is a caramel brown like colour, pours easily from the bottle onto my spoon. I can now more easily see that the sauce contains some chilli seeds and flecks of black pepper to give it some texture within the body of the sauce.

Tasting it brings an immense Habanero flavour along with hints of lemon, garlic and black pepper. Whilst vinegar has been used as an ingredient its usage has been well balanced so that whilst I can also detect it, it presence is not by any means overpowering or interfering with the other flavours. As for burn, well not surprisingly – Blamo! There’s an instant burn at the back of my tongue and after a slight delay its pervasiveness builds and spreads towards the front of my mouth, warming my lips. It’s an intense kick which is just what you would expect from 12 Habaneros. A few more spoonfuls and the crescendo of the burn still continues as does the other side effects of capsaicin – my mouth is now salivating like a Pavlov’s dog.

Overall this is a great tasting sauce that meets the needs of chilliheads who like a good, natural burn without having to resort to extract. I can see this working well with meats such as pork and beef. I’ve used it with some pork belly and the robustness of the Habaneros worked really well with the salty, caramelised flavours of the pork.

Mic’s Chilli products are available in the UK via Harvey Nichols, Planet Organic in London and via the online chilli wholesaler Scorchio priced from £3.79 for a 165g bottle.

Right, I’m off to try this sauce on a bacon sarnie…..

Flavour
(8/10)
Heat
(8/10)
Packaging
(9/10)
Value (8/10)
Overall
(8.5/10)

*Please remember the heat ratings in reviews are reflective of the personal tolerances of each individual reviewer. We hope that this explains the apparent disparity in the heat marking given to the ‘Inferno Extreme’ sauce reviewed above and the ‘Inferno’ sauce reviewed recently which had a slightly higher heat rating.

 

{ 5 comments }

<div align="left">
Page 2 of 812345678
<br /></div>