March 2013

It’s not every day I get to open packages of such fortitude, but I must say that today I was a very lucky Lady indeed.  What girl can resist chocolate?  What goes best with Chocolate (besides wine, ice cream and cake)? Chilli. South Devon Chilli Farm are well known for their chocolate products, and if you are a chocolate fiend, especially with a taste for the more luxurious, keep your eyes here.

sdcf choc orangeIn a lively orange baggy, emblazoned with the SDCF label, 100 grams of non conforming shaped chunks of rich, dark chocolate stares up at me, begging for freedom!  Oh okay, you twisted my arm…

Ingredients:

Chocolate 98% (of which cocoa solids 60% minimum, Sugar, Emulsifier: Soya Lecithin, Flavouring: Natural Vanilla), Dried Chilli: 1%, Orange oil 1%, (may contain traces of milk and nuts).

Pack kindly supplied by South Devon Chilli Farm

The 1% of orange oil is all you need for this to beat any Terry’s chocolate orange hands down, none of this fake flavour lark. The scent is divine, fresh, crisp orangy goodness escapes the bag as I break off a reasonably sized portion. Melt in your mouth, creamy quality dark chocolate never ceases to please any chocoholic’s tastebuds.

But wait, there’s more! The orange oil is nicely played together with the dried chilli, keeping the flavour around for much longer. It warms the throat gradually and avoids any bitter aftertaste, the chilli within this chocolate is by no means invisible, whilst still being a mild product.

If you want to taste a real chilli chocolate product, and you love your chocolate and orange combinations, this is perfect for you!

Priced at £3.64 for 100 grams on their website, its a reasonable price for a stellar product

Flavour
(8/10)
Heat
(2/10)
Packaging
(6/10)
Value (8/10)
Overall
(8/10)

 

{ 1 comment }

These days there are not many food items which have missed out on the ‘Chilli’ treatment, and Cheese is no exception. But unfortunately there still seems to be a distinct lack of tasty chilli cheeses in our supermarkets, I can think of one major name but that is it apart from the supermarkets own labelled cheeses that appear at Christmas and are ultimately disappointing.

So it was brilliant to hear of Windyridge Cheese Ltd based in Devon who make a wide range of ‘Flavoured’ Cheeses. They sell over 30 different flavours, but sent us their complete ‘Bull at a Gate’ Chilli flavoured range.

These are Curry Cheddar, Tomato Twister, Jalapeno Jack, Moroccan Fruit, Mex Mix, Afterburn, Moroccan Spice and Flaming Inferno. I am informed that Afterburn is their best seller.

Windyridge cheeseWindyridge Cheese ltd is a blended cheese company originally formed in 2002 from its original base in Higher Holton, just outside Wincanton, Somerset. In October 2011 the company was taken over by Melvin Glynn and Olivier Chavanon who were previously Managing Director and Marketing Director of Ilchester Cheese until they sold that business to Norseland UK.

In May 2012 Windyridge Cheese was relocated to a new purpose built factory in Poyntington, Dorset.

All of their cheeses are handmade from specially graded Mature Cheddar, Red Leicester or Wensleydale and is ‘hand pressed’ not ‘extruded’ which gives a much better texture. All ingredients are sourced from local suppliers where possible to ensure a consistent product.

The products are available in 3kg whole wheels, 1.5kg half-moons or 200g pre-pack portions and are hand cut to order.

Now, in my real job I am a firefighter and a fire station favourite is a cheese toastie so who better to help me with this review than my fellow watch members.

These are reviewed in a unofficial heat order according to Windyridge Cheese, starting with the mildest.

All the cheeses below are made from blending ready made Mature Cheddar and adding the relevant ingredients then repressing the cheese to reform it in the same way Mexicana is made.

Curry Cheddar

 

Curry Cheddar

Although technically not a chilli cheese, the idea of curry and cheese is a great idea, and a curry always goes down well on a fire station! Once unwrapped I can detect the aroma of the curry spices, and tasting does indeed remind me of curry, however the lack of the chilli heat means these flavours are not a strong as they could be. The colour throughout the block is great and looks like marble. It breaks and becomes slightly crumbly but is not like the horrible cheap mild cheddar you can buy which feels like rubber.
This cheese is nice and subtle in it’s flavours.

Ingredients:

Mature Cheddar Cheese, Spices (Coriander, Turmeric, Salt, All Spice, Ginger, Fenugreek, Garlic, Black Pepper, Cumin, Red Pepper)

Flavour
(8/10)
Heat
(1/10)
Packaging
(7/10)
Value (8/10)
Overall
(7/10)

White

 

Tomato Twister

This cheese has great colour, a nice pink shade with large red flecks which must be the tomato pieces. The ingredients list state Habanero chillies but the percentage must be very low as I can hardly detect the chilli, I know its there but there is no burn, the chives give a good hint of onion. Tomato, cheese and onion are a match in any dish. The same comments about the texture applies, firm but nice and crumbly once broken apart.

Ingredients:

Mature Cheddar Cheese, Habanero Chillies, Tomato Powder, Tomato Pieces, Chive Rolls

Flavour
(8/10)
Heat
(3/10)
Packaging
(7/10)
Value (8/10)
Overall
(7/10)

Jalapeno Jack

 

Jalapeno Jack

This block is a fairly standard cheddar colour with large pieces of green Jalapeno visible throughout and the odd chilli seed. I would say again that the chilli taste is there but it’s so subtle, there is almost a hint of onion but according to the ingredients there is none included. Compared to the two types above, this has less extra flavour so if you get a piece with no green or seeds then all you will taste is Mature cheddar.

Ingredients:

Mature Cheddar Cheese, Green Jalapeno Peppers

Flavour
(4/10)
Heat
(3/10)
Packaging
(7/10)
Value (8/10)
Overall
(5/10)

Moroccan Fruits

 

Moroccan Fruits:

Now here we have a jump in the heat and flavour. This block of cheese looks great, with large pieces of Apricots and Raisins and reminds me of a spicy tagine in colour. There are also good size pieces of red which I assume are the Red Peppers. The heat comes from the Harissa seasoning, although traditionally a Tunisian ingredient, it has made in roads into Moroccan cooking in recent years.

As with the other cheeses, this crumbles nicely once broken, and reveals more of the added ingredients, every now and then you can detect chunks of Apricots, another traditional tagine ingredient. I didn’t think I would like this cheese as I’m not a big fan of fruit with cheese but this does work well.

Ingredients:

Mature Cheddar Cheese, Apricots, Raisins, Harissa Seasoning (Cayenne Pepper, Salt, Acidity Regulator: E262, Smoke Flavouring), Mixed Red & Green Bell Peppers, Red Chilli Peppers

Flavour
(8/10)
Heat
(5/10)
Packaging
(7/10)
Value (8/10)
Overall
(8/10)

Mex Mix

 

Mex Mix Cheddar

Next is a cheese which on first impressions, looks and tastes very similar to the Moroccan Fruits, except there are are no chunky added ingredients, I can detect the garlic and onion, and initially there is no chilli taste but after a few seconds I can feel it’s presence, but it’s very subtle, less that the previous cheese. It has good flavour but I feel this is not hugely different in taste from the Moroccan Fruits.

Ingredients:

Mature Cheddar Cheese, Spices, Spice Extract, Onion, Tomato, Garlic, Salt, Flavourings, Herbs, Pepper

Flavour
(6/10)
Heat
(3/10)
Packaging
(7/10)
Value (8/10)
Overall
(7/10)

Afterburn

 

Afterburn

This variety is the companies best seller, it is the most well known and the only one I had heard of prior to reviewing these. This block of cheese has a great look, keeping the pale colour of the cheddar with lots of lovely flecks of red and green, which is a mix of the red and green bell peppers and Jalapenos. The garlic comes through well to make this the tastiest of the cheeses so far. I can see why it is the best seller. The Jalapenos give a nice warming feeling and would definitely appeal to the masses who want chilli cheese, although I would say the heat is marginally hotter than the Moroccan Fruits, hot but not too hot. Very good all round.

Ingredients:

Mature Cheddar Cheese, Mixed Red & Green Bell Peppers, Garlic Powder, Jalapeno Peppers, Red Chilli Peppers

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

Moroccan Spice

 

Moroccan Spice

The second of the Moroccan named cheeses, this time with Harissa paste instead of Harissa Seasoning presumably to give more all round flavour as it doesn’t have the extra fruit pieces. The Harissa paste includes Rose Petals which does actually add a very subtle floral note the the flavouring and works well. The chilli heat level is slightly higher again and this a more all round mouth heat which lingers for a while and then fades. Again, the heat level is still fairly low which is understandable as all these cheeses are made for a wide audience. Not as tasty as the Moroccan Fruits but the Rose Petals do add to the overall flavour.

Ingredients:

Mature Cheddar Cheese, Harissa Paste (Paprika, Salt, Rose Petals, Spices, Citric Acid), Soya Oil

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

Flaming Inferno

 

Flaming Inferno

So now to the final cheese in the set, the companies hottest cheese, a very simple ingredients list, the Cayenne pepper gives the cheddar the pale red colour and there are flakes throughout the block from the non identified red chillies. This does has a fairly plain flavour especially compared to some of the others in the range, the chilli heat is there. At first taste it took about 5 seconds to appear, a mouth and throat heat which then built, and I would agree this is the hottest in the range and more than hot enough for the average shopper who wants chilli heat in their cheddar.

Ingredients:

Mature Cheddar Cheese, Ground Ginger, Cayenne pepper, Red Chillies

Flavour
(6/10)
Heat
[Rating:/10]
Packaging
(7/10)
Value (8/10)
Overall
(7/10)

 

Cheeses kindly supplied by Windyridge Cheese Ltd

So there you have it, 8 Chilli Cheeses which vary in flavour and heat levels, but none of them are what I consider to be really hot and I can understand why, as these are not sold as extreme products. Having said that it would be great to see the company make a couple of extra hot versions using some super hot chillies.

Needless to say all these cheddars went down very well at the Fire Station, the watch are not hardened chilli heads so the Flaming Inferno was more than enough for most of them! One thing that was noticed by everyone that tested by making cheese toasties or cheese on toast, was that the cheddar melted very well. So many cheddars, when melted dissolve into a pool of liquid fat and a small amount of solids are left behind, but the cheddar used here seems to be a decent quality.

afterburn labelI haven’t mentioned the packaging in any of the mini reviews, but you can see from the pictures above they all follow the same design (apart from the Tomato Twister) with the picture of the Bull and a different colour background, some are very similar and I found myself mixing them up, not a big issue really. The labels are bright and clear which is all you want.

As mentioned at the start, these are blended cheeses, the extra ingredients are added in to previously made mature cheddar. This is a quicker way to make flavoured cheeses as the company will not have to wait for the cheddar to mature which enables a faster turnaround of orders.

The cheeses are available in various parts of the country from delis and farm shops, market traders and various food events during the year including some Chilli festivals.

For availability in your area take a look at the Windyridge website for details of stockists.

The 200g pre packaged blocks pictured are sold for a RRP of £2.49

The majority is sold by weight at delis or markets and the RRP is £11.99 per kg

 

{ 1 comment }

There are not too many chilli producers in Scotland, but Galloway Chillies are in that very small group. Sheena, who runs the company, makes a range of chilli jams from her own home grown chillies. She comes from a farming family and is passionate about local and British produce and is very community orientated.

With that in mind she and nine other girls are going to be shearing 500+ sheep for charity on the 31st May 2013 – An event called ‘Ladyshear’

There is a facebook page for the event here

Shearing sheep is something that Sheena has experience of, being a farming girl, but not for over 18 years.

The reason for doing this is to raise funds for two charities – her local community hospital and the Royal Highland Education Trust who help to educate school children on where the food they eat comes from.

Sheena is putting together a chilli basket/hamper for the auction and is hoping that other British chilli businesses could donate something to it to make a proper collection of goodies. So far she has her own products, Bountiful Seeds, Dartmoor Chilli Farm and Wiga Wagaa Chillis donating to the hamper.

Sheena told me “I feel in this area especially that people don’t realise the amazing chilli products that are out there and by doing this, we will not only be giving a great auction prize but also promoting the many chilli businesses that are out there

So calling all you UK hot sauce, pickle, chutney and jam makers out there, if you feel you can help by donating something to this worthy cause please contact Sheena via her website or her facebook page or via twitter @GallowayChilli

For those reading this who feel they could donate money directly, the group has a Just Giving page which gives some more information:

http://www.justgiving.com/teams/ladyshear

 

{ 0 comments }

Simon Barrett is The Chilli Jam Man, a larger than life character who manages to draw quite a crowd at the shows he attends. He is from Yorkshire and if you were to cut him in half, like a stick of rock, it would say ‘Yorkshire’ ‘Chilli’ & ‘Jam’. If you meet Simon, it’s very clear he has a passion for what he does. At Chilefoundry we reviewed some of his range before, his early Oak Smoked Chipotle Jam, the Ginger Chilli Jam, the newer Smokey Chilli Jam and his Jamonnaise.

ultra jamsSimon started the company in June 2009 and has gone from strength to strength doing what he loves, adding to his range of Chilli Jams. There are now around 20 products in the range, including the latest additions, the Ultra Jam Signature Series. These are a set of 3 Jams which stand out from the crowd and are quite special, each one has roots with one of the original range, but have been given some special treatment and a boost in the heat level through various additions but one key feature is that each jam has whole Bhut Jolokia (Ghost Chilli) Pods in the jar to enable the jam to develop more flavour and heat over time.

podfatherSo here we have each Jam with it’s own review starting with the first Ultra Jam, ‘The Podfather’

The Podfather has been developed from Simons Yorkshire Dragon Chilli Jam with the addition of Bhut Jolokia Flakes and whole Bhut Jolokia Pods. Looking at the jam through the glass, it looks very similar to the other standard jams, nice and red with chilli seeds visible. The label really works with it’s black & white graphics keeping it simple and the familiar red name alongside.

Ingredients:

Tomato, Sugar, Red Wine Vinegar, Garlic, Ginger, Chilli (Bhut Jolokia, Birds Eye 6.7%) Balsamic Vinegar, Thai Fish Sauce (Anchovy Extract, Salt, Sugar)

Now I am expecting this to be hot, so on with the tasting. Removing the silver lid I can see the thick jam, a deep red, almost brown. The aroma hits my nose and gets my taste buds going so I brave half a teaspoon. Wow, there is certainly heat here and for a non extract product it is incredible but somehow still allows the garlic and ginger to come through. The burn is intense as you would expect with Bhut Jolokia Flakes and whole pods just adding to that. My saliva glands have gone into overdrive and the heat is an all round heat, mouth, throat, lips and tongue. They are all getting an equal share!

My only criticism is that the Jam is not very sweet, I just feel it needs a little more sugar to cut through the intense heat.

But all in all, a great flavour and amazing heat.

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

 

MOJONext is the Second Ultra Jam in the series, MOJO

MOJO is based around Simons “Hot Smoky Bhut” Chilli Jam, but again with the addition of smoked Bhut Jolokia Flakes and whole Bhut Jolokia Pods.

Once open, this jam is a lot darker in colour to the Podfather and has a great smoky aroma, and sitting there staring at me is one of the whole chilli pods! The taste of this is different and not just the smokiness, a quick look on the label and I see there are Sichuan Peppers present. These give their own unique twist to anything they are added to. The heat is just as ferocious as before, but the jam seems sweeter than the Podfather.

Ingredients:

Tomato, Sugar, Red Wine Vinegar, Garlic, Ginger, Chilli (Bhut Jolokia, Birds Eye 6.7%) Balsamic Vinegar, Thai Fish Sauce (Anchovy Extract, Salt, Sugar) Sichuan Peppers, Poured over Smoked Bhut Jolokia Flakes & Pods

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

 

GINJA NINJAAnd finally comes the Third Ultra Jam in the series, GINJA NINJA

GINJA NINJA is based around the Hot Ginger Chilli Jam and like the other two Ultra Jams, has the addition of Bhut Jolokia Flakes, whole Bhut Pods & whole Sichuan Peppers. The ginger comes through the heat nicely and so do the Sichuan Peppers, more so in this jam than the MOJO, they really give the mouth numbing and tingling effect coupled with the burn of the Bhut makes a very unusual sensation! This will be due to the fact that whole Sichuan Peppers have been added as well.

Ingredients:

Tomato, Sugar, Red Wine Vinegar, Garlic, Ginger, Chilli (Bhut Jolokia, Birds Eye 6.7%) Balsamic Vinegar, Thai Fish Sauce (Anchovy Extract, Salt, Sugar) Sichuan Peppers, Poured over Smoked Bhut Jolokia Flakes & Pods and whole Sichuan Peppers

Flavour
(9/10)
Heat
(10/10)
Packaging
(9/10)
Value (7/10)
Overall
(9/10)

So there you have it, the Ultra Jam series from The Chilli Jam Man. These are extremely hot and I defy anyone to spread one of these on their morning toast. I think these would work really well as a marinade or a glaze for roasting/BBQ’ing meat.

One thing I haven’t touched on is the price, these jars are £10 each or all three for £27, and that makes these the most expensive jams I have reviewed, but as a little goes a very long way due to the heat and also the contents are premium ingredients, I think the price is justified but then the customer will ultimately make that decision and as far as I know, these do sell very well.

Jars kindly supplied by The Chilli Jam Man

{ 0 comments }