August 2013

Chilli Alchemy is a recently established small business based in Northamptonshire specialising in chilli based jams, pickles, chutneys and relishes. Smoky Aubergine and Naga Chutney is one of their products kindly provided to the ChileFoundry for me to taste for you.

The jar is a small cute size with 120g chutney. The label is a basic white simply stating the contents. With a name like Chilli Alchemy as their products become more established some more colourful labels would be better to catch the eye. As Chilli Alchemy make their products in small batches with high quality ingredients each batch will no doubt add a touch of uniqueness to each batch.

On cracking open the jar you can pick out all the ingredients on the first inhale of the flavour delighting the senses. The contents certainly look how a chutney should with a perfect consistency with enough stickiness to stay on top of your chosen food. I like aubergine and it’s not often you see an aubergine chutney, so I am looking forward to dipping in my spoon.

Ingredients :

Aubergines, Cider, Vinegar, Brown Sugar, Onion, Sultanas, Naga Chilli, Nigella Seeds, Ginger, Tomato Puree and Salt.

Jar kindly supplied by Chilli Alchemy

As it looked this chutney has a perfect texture, the flavours are plentiful and a little hard to describe other than very aromatic and tasty. For a Naga chilli chutney the heat levels are very low, fans of the powerful Naga chilli may be disappointed at the lack of potency.

However as all chilli heads know the Naga has an amazing flavour of its own and it’s not always about the heat. This is top notch chutney with a nice warming background heat and fruitiness. If you are after power and deep smokiness these qualities are a little lacking. That said with a cheese board this chutney I believe would be the best I have ever had and would certainly stimulate more than conversation at the end of a dinner party!

For further information or to buy for £3.95, you can contact them on email info@chillialchemy.com or check out Chillibugs.co.uk

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

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In a 140ml bottle with a brightly coloured yellow/orange label, South Devon Chilli Farm certainly know how to grab your attention with the branding on this Smokey Chipotle Chilli Sauce.

A thick, deep brown, spicy sauce pitted with generous fleshy bits inside. It smells of sweet smokey onions with a touch of garlic working its way through.

The texture is soft with fleshy lumps.A very refreshing and almost thirst quenching sensation hits your tongue, were it not for the heat.The sweet smoked onion is the main flavour.The Chipotle is like an aftershock with lasting effects, carrying the heat of the New Mexico chillies.There is a little bitterness to the after taste of the sauce, but with the new mex varieties of chilli that is to be expected.The sugar and the cider vinegar make this soon disappear. 

Ingredients:

Onion, Sugar, Cider Vinegar, Garlic, Dried Chilli: New Mexico 4%, Chipotle 1%

Bottle kindly supplied by South Devon Chilli Farm

I would use this sauce exactly as the bottle suggests, as you would a ketchup.  Its sweet flavours would lend really well to any yoghurt dip for use with crudites or tortilla chips.I would also use this as a base for a sweet and sour stir fry sauce.

Available on the SDCF website for £3.57, I think this is personally a very reasonable price for a fantastic sauce.

Flavour
(5/10)
Heat
(4/10)
Packaging
(9/10)
Value (9/10)
Overall
(7/10)

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Kam’s South American Products are a company with real family history named after Mum Kamala who enjoys making and eating pepper sauces and has passed on the secrets to the fifth generation who give us their sauces today. This heritage and natural home made approach makes me immediately warm towards this product range and I haven’t even tried any of their products yet.

Today I have the pleasure of tasting Kam’s Homemade Pineapple Chilli Chutney. The jar is like a mini old fashioned jam jar with a simple label not focused on commercial design but just telling you what’s inside, the picture of a pineapple gives it away. The small label allows you to see the inviting colour of the chutney contained within and something red and powerful lurking in the centre.

The product, as the label says, is homemade chutney. Though I must admit on opening the jar the contents consistency is a mix between a jam, jelly and chutney with a slightly watery look. However the products mini identity crisis over what type of condiment it is trying to be is immediately overcome by the sweet, inviting smell coming from the jar.

If you are in any doubt this is a chilli product or what the chilli is you are about to taste Kam’s have place a subtle reminder in the jar with a generous whole chunk of that wonderful fruity chilli the scotch bonnet in the middle! The jewel in the crown.

Ingredients:

Pineapple, Sugar, Cloves, Cinnamon, Scotch Bonnet Chilli and Salt.

Jar kindly supplied by Kam’s South American Products Ltd.

The jar now open you can pick out each of these spices by smell.

Salivating at the smell its time to taste, a wave of beautiful sweet pineapple with a fruity gentle fiery kick. Though you can smell the cinnamon and cloves I could not taste them in this batch. I decided this to be a good point as both these spices can easily overpower any sauce or dish. To balance these flavours right is a skill.

The short British summer was in full swing when I received this sauce so I tried it alongside BBQ chicken and it was perfect. The jar lists the uses as adding to marinades, glazing meat, spicing up a sandwich and using as a dip or marmalade. I think it will also go well with a cheese platter. Its numerous uses link back to its identity crisis I mentioned above, this does not hinder Kam’s chutney it makes is very versatile.

My only criticism is that Jar is too small for how tasty the product is, I then looked up their homepage and found out that there are two sizes, problem solved. If you’re not a fan of sweet sauces and chutneys then the level of sweetness from both the sugar and pineapple may put you off a little but I say it’s still worth a try.

One 300g jar of this delight will set you back around £6.50 and a 160g jar is around £4.00. My taster jar was the 160g size… it is empty by the end of writing this review!

Find out more at kamspeppersauce.co.uk/ and see the other products they have too.

Flavour
(7/10)
Heat
(5/10)
Packaging
(6/10)
Value (6/10)
Overall
(7/10)

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When I first heard there was a judging spot at the UK Chilli Cook-off in Brixton I jumped at the chance! I had never been to a chilli cook-off and had never been a judge so all it was all new to me. I know the cook offs are a big deal in America so was really pleased to see them here in the UK.

Whenever I think of a chilli-cook off I always think back to that Simpsons episode where Homer attends the Springfield chilli cook-off and Chief Wiggum has prepared a chilli which contains the merciless peppers of Quetzlzacatenango grown deep in the jungle primeval by the inmates of a Guatemalan insane asylum. Homer not to be beaten covers his mouth in wax and goes back for more and ends up hallucinating. I think most that Chilliheads who watch this episode find they can relate to what he experiences!

It was a lovely, hot sunny day in London and I met up with Darth Naga early as we wanted to go see the Ribman and try his famous ribs before they sold out! We arrived at Brick Lane and the crowded streets and endless street food stalls made him hard to find at first but we soon spotted his stall and went over not only excited about trying the food but to also meet the Ribman himself.

The food was better than I could have imagined, a huge soft white crusty roll filled to the brim with delicate, succulent rib meat then topped off with a good helping of the Ribman’s special Holy Fuck sauce.

It was delicious and clear to see why the stall had a constant queue of people all wanting to get their hands on this fantastic roll! I think the Ribman is selling himself short by saying they are the best ribs in London, they are the best I have tried and I would say they are the best in the UK!

Next we were off to the main event, Brixton. The venue couldn’t have been more perfect it was held at the Grand Union bar Brixton which has one of the largest beer gardens in London. Once there we were immersed in the fabulous, organised chaos which consisted of 13 teams hard at work preparing their chillis for us to judge and the public to sample. I went to the treehouse to meet my fellow judges and sit down, taking in the incredible atmosphere and watching the teams hard at work.

We sampled a range of different chillis, no two were alike and all had their quirks. Some used different spices; different cuts of meat, one team had even steered away from the usual beef to make a chicken chilli. There was one clear winner which we all scored highly and that was Billy Franks, the sauce was so thick and flavoursome with a nice afterburn, the meat was cooked to perfection and if his team ever decide to go into mass production I will be stocking up on it!

It was a really great day and I do feel a good day was had by all. The Chilli Cook Off association raised £ for the Clic Sargent charity by selling spoons to the public so everyone had the opportunity to sample these delicious chilli’s and the atmosphere was electric.

Everyone’s passion and enthusiasm was contagious and after the long day, I left tired yet ecstatic that I had been privileged enough to judge at such a great event. If there is a chilli cook-off near you I recommend you head over and enjoy the fun, you will not be disappointed.   

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