Simpsons Seeds are a small company, based in West Wiltshire, who specialising in supplying a variety of vegetable and chilli seeds. Matt Simpson is well known amongst the chilli community having written a book ‘Chilli, Chili, Chile’ which has provided many amateur growers with an abundance of information and advice on growing chillies. Matt’s expertise isn’t just for growing chillies though and he’s also a dab hand at making sauces with the chilli crop that his green fingers help to cultivate.
As with other Simpson Seeds sauces, labelling is straight forward and simple, being a white background with black text… no glitz nor glam just wholesome artisan with a clear list of list of ingredients, company info & best before date being presented.
Sugar, Red Wine Vinegar, Fruit Juice, Peaches, Trinidad Habanero Chillies, Honey, Lime Juice, Balsamic Vinegar, Salt.
Bottle kindly supplied by Simpson’s Seeds
Gladiator is a caramel amber colour and looking at it more closely I can see that it’s almost a completely translucent sauce with only a few seeds interspersed within it. It has a fruity, tangy aroma rather like tomato with hints of peach. Whilst the peach aroma I expect given it is listed as one of the ingredients strangely tomatoes are not – perhaps the fruit juice used therein is tomato juice? There’s also some sharpness from the red wine & balsamic vinegars which remain after the initial fruity hit.
Pouring some onto my tasting spoon I can see that the sauce has a smooth almost syrup like consistency, rather like the texture of some cough mixtures and I imagine the honey content has help to give it this viscosity. The initial hit when tasting is the sweet flavour of the honey before the fruity flavours begins to emerge and some sharpness come through at the end.
Heat for me is a little bit disappointing for a sauce utilising Habanero chillies. The burn level is surprisingly low and the longevity of the burn is brief, passing swiftly after consumption; however what lingers for some time afterward with this sauce is a pleasant fruity sweet aftertaste.
I think Gladiator would make an excellent alternative to a barbeque sauce – its fruity, sweet flavours would be well suited as a sticky glaze to brush over chicken wings or ribs. Indeed with its honey properties I think it would also work well as a glaze on many pork based dishes: – roast ham / gammon, pork belly or pork shoulder joint, where I believe on the latter it would make for some really tasty crackling.
Available for £4.00 for a 140ml bottle available directly from Simpsons Seeds