Now I have very fond memories of the Isle of Wight, golden sands, long summers, coloured sands and dinosaurs slowly falling into the sea! The island was my parents holiday destination of choice through most of the 80’s, and I haven’t had the opportunity to return since, so when I heard that there was going to be a Chilli Festival there this summer I couldn’t wait to get on the ferry, and it seems all the movers and shakers in the chilli world will be there, selling their wares including Matt Simpson of Simpson Seed’s. Matt is now well known for tasty sauces and he now makes a special sauce for each big event in the chilli calendar, and for this event it is called Great Wight Bite.
Matt’s sauces all have very simple labels, white label and black font. Some may say that it they are too plain but I view it differently. If a company produce their own labels, I would rather 90% of the love, care & effort go into the recipe and the making of the sauce to ensure the taste is great instead of flashy shiny labels. After all what happens to the bottle in the end? It goes in the recycling.
So on to the sauce itself, it is a nice orange colour with a few flecks of seed here and there. The label tells me this is a very hot Habanero Chilli Sauce but I also see Bhut Jolokia in there too along with Turtle Claw… Turtle Claw, yes you read correctly. Now don’t worry, Matt hasn’t started adding endangered species to his creations, the Turtles Claw is actually another variety of Chilli, a member of the Chinense family, and looks a bit like large insect grubs or indeed turtles claws!
Once the bottle is open I can smell the Chillies straight away and the vinegar which get the taste buds flowing.
White Onion, White Wine Vinegar, Fruit Juice, Grapefruit, Turtles Claw, White Habanero, Bhut Jolokia Chillies (20%) Salt.
Bottle kindly supplied by Simpson’s Seeds
The sauce is fairly runny which is no bad thing so pours really well on the spoon. It has an initial sweetness which then gets overtaken by the chillies, I can definitely pick out the Bhut flavour but I have never tasted Turtle Claw before. The heat builds nicely and for me is strongest on the throat and tongue. This is quite a hot sauce for Matt.
It’s nice to see another sauce which is not overpowered by the vinegar, and as it is the second ingredient on the list is no mean feat. There is enough sweetness to balance it up nicely.
I can taste the onion and the sweetness fights it’s way back as the burn levels out. Be under no illusion, this is no sweet chilli sauce! There is no sugar added other than the natural fruit sugars.
The heat stays for quite a while which should be no surprise considering the chillies chosen, in fact 10 minutes after tasting, I’m still feeling the heat, it is not uncomfortable but for the uninitiated in the chilli world, this may be too hot. It certainly has ‘Bite’ !
Potential uses for this sauce are endless, drizzled on salads as an instant dressing or in wraps. I think this would go well as a baste/marinade for roast chicken.
So in summary, a great all round sauce with another classic name. This is going to be available from this coming weekend at the Isle of Wight Chilli Fiesta, and then at other events if there is any left as Matt only makes his sauces in small batches.
I expect the price to be £4 for the 140ml bottle so if you are coming to the Island this coming weekend grab yourself a bottle and I will see you there.