April 2013

The Mad-Ass Chilli Sauce Company was formed by three friends from Croydon who shared an enthusiasm for chillies. This enthusiasm mushroomed into a business that now sells a wide range of chilli sauces and achieved the accolade of winner in the ‘Best Super-Hot Sauce’ category at the 2012 Fiery Foods UK Festival.

All of their sauces are available in 30ml taster pots as well as standard sized 150ml bottles. A wide range of flavours and heat are available in their product range and ‘Red Mist’ is at the hotter end of their scale (rated as an 8 out of 10 rating on their website) and is their take on a West Indian hot pepper sauce.

Central on the labelling is the Mad Ass chilli pepper character, who with his opened mouth smile certainly comes across as being mad with a Dr. Evil esque grin.  The text on the 30ml jars is a little too small in parts – whilst the bold typeface used in the ingredients list is readable, other information on the small label is quite hard to read.  Nonetheless it’s an attractive labelling design which also rather uniquely has a QR code, although strangely when scanned the code only lists the product name rather than being a hyperlink to the Mad Ass website which was what I expected.

Ingredients:

Yellow scotch bonnet, ‘The Garlic Farm’ garlic, root ginger, malt vinegar, tomatoes, lemon juice, rock salt, cracked black pepper, demerara sugar, dried chilli flakes, cayenne pepper

Jar kindly supplied by Mad Ass Chilli Sauce Company

With almost a dozen ingredients to this sauce I have to admit to wondering how well the product will taste. Opening the jar releases a pungent aroma of Scotch Bonnets mixed with scents of citrus lemon & ginger. It’s quite a fresh and inviting aroma. The sauce is rich orange colour and, putting some of the sauce on the spoon, I can see it has a mash like consistency containing chilli pulp & seeds, pieces of garlic & ginger, flecks of red chillies.

When tasting there’s a strong citrus lemon & ginger burst swiftly followed by the flavour of the Scotch Bonnets chillies and the black pepper. The warmth from the chillies comes through almost immediately warming the front of my mouth and lips but the mainstay of the kick is short lived. As the kick begins to recede, a hint of tomato flavour comes through with the garlic & lemon flavours remaining by way of aftertaste.

So how does this large array of ingredients come together – well overall, very good. Although it’s hard to make out all of the flavours from the ingredients they balance well and come together to make for a tangy, sharp, sour & slightly sweet taste – it’s a combination that certainly appeals to my tastebuds. Heat wise, whilst it’s a pleasant kick from the Scotch bonnets, I think the 8/10 heat rating advised by the company is too high compared to what is actually delivered.

I think the sauce works very well ‘neat’ and so could be used as a dip or salsa; and as for cooking, with its citrus tones it would compliment well white fish.  For me it’s a very moreish product and my 30ml taster pot doesn’t last very long, so although 30ml taster jars are available from the Mad Ass Chilli Sauce website  for £2.00, I’d favour going for the 150ml bottle available for £5.00.

Flavour
(8/10)
Heat
(4.5/10)
Packaging
(6/10)
Value (7/10)
Overall
(8/10)

 

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South Devon Chilli Farm have been at it for a long while, gaining national publication in all aspects of the media.  Since 2003 they’ve been captivating the chilli scene with their fresh grown produce. Rocking two farming sites between Torquay and Plymouth, their Devonshire homes grow over 10,000 chilli plants and a multitude of fruit orchards filling these delectable sauces. They also have a shop and a cafe on site, encompassing all your local chilli needs in one go! 

Chilli Jelly is never an easy subject.  Do you go for the generic idea of jelly and have it quite hard set?  Do you have bits, no bits? Smooth blended, lumpy?

In their hexagonal 227g glass jars with a figure hugging green SDCF green label packed full with everything you could possibly need to know.  I am glad to see that the Jelly is suitable for Vegans and doesn’t contain any sort of setting agents. Relying solely on careful processing gives this jelly a delightful bounciness and a smooth consistency similar to what you get when you try an american ‘Jelly’ product; slow pouring, but not runny, with enough give to hold itself on a spoon. With me so far?

Ingredients:

Sugar, Apples (40%), Fresh Chillies (1%).

Jar kindly supplied by South Devon Chilli Farm

Sweetly orange tinged with some soft flesh pieces, this jelly smells of apples. The exact smell you would expect from an apple jelly, however, a dusky undertone of heat is present. You know you’re in for a ride when you can feel the heat in your nostrils before you even taste the product.

Rated as a ‘hot’ product, we’ll come back to that. First, lets talk flavour. Wow! sweet, ripe, flowery, Bramley apple taste, an all over spread of punchy goodness, smooth and simple. I was actually shocked when I tasted this jelly. I was expecting there to be little to no heat but don’t be fooled by the apples, they lie!

There is more than you can see with this jelly, and you swiftly find this out after it has knocked your tastebuds for six. Hot is certainly the word.  This little number wallops you right in the chops with an intense Habanero heat that burns slowly in the background afterwards. What else could you want from an apple chilli jelly? Its warming, sweet, full flavoured and smooth.

“The new best thing with pork!” is certainly a phrase from the jar I would have to agree with. Instead of your normal apple sauce with your meats, give this a try. In a hog roast with crackling would be amazing, couscous is also another idea for taste. I personally would have this with felafels for a richer, warmer flavour. As a hot replacement for the Peanut butter/jelly idea, and on top of ice cream for definite. I’d give it a go on just about anything to be honest!

Priced at £3.57 on their own shop website, this will last a while as its bursting with flavours and a heat that keeps going!

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

 

 

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The word chocolate is derived from the Nahutatl word xocolatl which means “bitter water”. In both the Mayan and Aztec cultures, xocolatl was a cold, thick ceremonial drink made from cocoa, water and corn meal. Since sugar did not reach Central America until the 16th century, the Aztecs added chilli and spices to flavour this unsweetened drink.

BlackWidow-Front-OriginalFast forward a few hundred years to the present day and chilli & chocolate are still regarded as a congenial pairing. Today I’ll be looking at a product which aims to reap the benefits of these two ingredients – Black Widow by Grim Reaper Foods.

Bad puns aside, I’m actually quite excited about trying this product. Grim Reaper Foods was formed by Russell Williams in October 2009 and began trading a year later following Russell’s success at the National Chilli Awards with The Evil One. Since then Russell has scooped another 3 National Chilli Awards, 2 Great Taste Awards and a Scovie Award – an impressive haul for such a new company.

So I’m sure many of you will be dying to know how it tastes, but I feel that I have to give special mention to the packaging first. Quite simply put – it’s stunning!

The chocolate comes packaged in a glossy cardboard folder which depicts the Grim Reaper with a chilli scythe. Often packaging which features skulls or references to death can divide opinion, but I think the cartoon styling and choice of colours work really well. On the right-hand side of the product there is a hand-tied ribbon which adds to the premium feel.

BlackWidow-Open-OriginalUpon removing the ribbon, the product opens like a book revealing the bar of chocolate and details of the other chocolate products offered by Grim Reaper Foods – Hell Raiser and Purgatory.

One final note on the packaging – the ingredients list appears in Czech, French and Italian too.

Ingredients:

Dark Chocolate (Cocoa Mass 70%, Sugar, Cocoa Butter, Emulsifier-Soya Lecithin, Natural Vanilla), Essential Oil of Lemon, Essential Oil of Geranium and Naga Jolokia Chilli Powder.

Product kindly provided by Grim Reaper Foods.

The chocolate has a nice sheen to it and there was a reassuring snap as I broke off a square. At 70% cocoa mass I was expecting intense cocoa aromas, but these have been mellowed by the fragrance of the geranium oil. The overall aroma is inviting and reminds me a little of Turkish Delight which is commonly made with rose water.

I pop the square in my mouth and take a few moments to savour it. To my surprise the chocolate isn’t bitter at all. There’s still a pronounced dark chocolate flavour, but the essential oils add a subtle sweetness to the overall taste. The Naga chilli provides a lovely background heat which adds to the experience without being overpowering.

Where possible, I like to try cooking with chilli products too but have never cooked or baked with chilli chocolate before. Russell is an experienced chef and suggests that Black Widow would be ideal for making chocolate fondants, so I found a recipe and decided to give it a go.

ChilliChocolateFondant-OriginalCall it beginners luck, but I was very happy with the results of my chilli chocolate fondant. The chocolate was easy to work with and the essential oils enhanced the overall flavour of the dish. I found that the lemon oil became more pronounced during cooking whilst the geranium oil added a lovely aroma.

I have to admit that I was expecting the combination of dark chocolate, chilli and lemon to be too bitter, but Russell has created a unique product that has exceeded my expectations. The product is presented beautifully too and would make a fantastic gift for any chilli lover. Black Widow usually retails for £5, but if you hurry you can pick it up for £4 from the Grim Reaper Foods website. It is also available from several UK and international stockists too.

Flavour
(9/10)
Heat
(3/10)
Packaging
(10/10)
Value (7/10)
Overall
(9/10)

 

 

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March found the whole country shivering, most areas covered in a blanket of snow, people stuck in cars or staying at home not wanting to venture out. This meant we had more people keeping themselves warm reading our pages, maybe dreaming of the summer sun and festivals to come.

There are a couple of Darth Naga’s Videos in this months reviews which are definitely worth a watch.

So here are the articles published in March.

News & General Information (In order of appearance)

Reviews (In order of appearance)

This Newsletter is sponsored by Hot-Headz
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