2013

The Chilli Pepper Company is based in Cumbria and run by Gerald Fowler, the man behind the Naga Viper Chilli which held the World Record for the hottest chilli. If you pay Ged’s site a visit you will find all manner of chilli related powders, extreme products, chilli seeds, chutneys and chilli sauces.

Now with Christmas in mind Ged has converted some of his more popular sauces into smaller 50ml bottles with funky new redesigned labels which I am very impressed with. They come in handmade wooden boxes, something I have not seen before.

The 5 sauces given the update are Naga Viper, Scorpion King, El Diablo, The Beast and 5 minute Burn (not pictured)

The wooden racks are nicely made and have a thin dowel which is removable allowing the sauces to be released. The website only lists different box sets of two sauces, and these are priced at £7/£8 depending on which set you want. You can also buy all 5 in a hamper for £15.

They are available from The Chilli Pepper Company right now and would make a great stocking filler for the chilli head in the family.

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Every once in a while a chilli product turns up that’s a little different from the norm and this one is pretty special. Gran Luchito honey is a lush chilli product and one that everyone should try. Here’s why.

The product comes in a 250 gram jar and is adjourned by an attractive label and lid showing a Mexican wrestler’s mask. The informative label gives some ideas of what you might use the honey on, such as a glaze ham, BBQ marinade, with cheese or simply spread on warm toast.

Although this comes it at £5 a jar, double what you might pay at the supermarket, it’s worth every penny – this is some of the most luxurious honey you will ever have the pleasure of tasting.

Ingredients:

Mexican Honey, Gran Luchito (10%), Mexican Chillies (24%), Sunflower Oil, Onion, Agave Nectar, Balsamic Vinegar, Garlic, Vinegar, Salt & spices.

Jar kindly supplied by Gran Luchito

With the lid removed you get the saccharin aroma of the honey and despite there being other ingredients in the jar, this fragrance overrides anything else. It’s deep dark golden brown in colour, unlike the brighter thinner stuff on the supermarket shelves.

There are plenty of small to medium chunks of the Mexican chillies throughout the spread, which makes it ideal for eating but sadly less so for using as a sweetener in drinks.

The tasting is an event in itself as Gran Luchito Honey is absolutely sumptuous. The honey itself is exceedingly sweet and moreish with a smoky hint at first and then the warmth breaks through the syrupiness but not in a hornet stinging your tongue with hot rivets way, no the heat is far more subtle and this works brilliantly so. Used on toast for breakfast it gives a warm glow inside and a smile on the face, making it a great way to start the day.

This one comes highly recommended the only downside is that it’s so scrumptious that you could easily finish off the lot in under a week. Go and buy some right now.

Flavour
(10/10)
Heat
(3/10)
Packaging
(8/10)
Value (8/10)
Overall
(9/10)

 

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Lily’s Chillis are a husband and wife team with the company named after their daughter. They are already winner of Fiery Foods Amateur Best Taste award for their Lime & Ginger Chilli, I have tried several of their past limited edition products including the special @Thelurch Fireman’s Naga. So I was very pleased to receive their Blood Orange Chilli Jelly for review.

Like many Sussex and even UK companies Lily’s Chillies pride themselves on locally sourced ingredients. Something different I noted in the production of many of their jelly range is the use of apples from local Sussex orchards as the base for many of our jellies rather than the vinegar used by more commercial companies. This will not doubt have influence on the flavour removing the aftertaste vinegar can sometimes leave behind. Obviously in the Blood Orange Jelly there are no apples, but again no vinegar either.

The Jar looks a combination of very professional while at the same time maintaining a homemade feel with the style of the jar chosen. The label is basic but attractive and follows the same theme through their range with the colour of he label hinting at the contents. There is no need for fancy pictures on this one, you want to know what’s in the jar than eat it!

Ingredients:

47% Blood Oranges, sugar, lemons and a hint of Habeñero with 1%.

Jar Kindly supplied by Lily’s Chillies

But enough talk about jars colours and ingredients its time to brighten up my Sunday morning breakfast with this jar of sunshine.

On opening the jar, the 47% blood orange smell hits you and excites me to add to some life into my dull breakfast. You can see the zest of the blood orange set in the jelly too. There are obvious citrus notes from the fiery red coloured Sicilian orange. The lemon does not over power the aroma and there is a sense of the heat to come. Some jellies can be over watery and some marmalade to sticky.

If you turn the jar of blood orange upside down (seemed like a good idea) everything stays in place in prefect consistency allowing you to attach to food at will. I’ll admit with 1% habenero I prepared myself for a little disappointment on the heat levels. The jar gives this a 2 out of 3 Lily’s chilli rating, with such high fruit content the taste of this is just divine, it beats boring normal oranges any day! To my surprise the heat levels were a little higher than expectations.

As all chilli heads know the Habanero is a potent chilli with a level that some people struggle to reach, and sometimes avoid. However alongside this heat comes quite a unique fruity flavour not found in most chillis.

Lilys Chillis have expertly paired up the Blood orange and Habanero combo not to blow you away with heat, but to entertain your taste buds. The citrus flavour cuts through the mixtures of tastes on my stereotypical English breakfast. On toast, latched onto sausages and mixed in with hash browns every mouthful was something different. I love this stuff and their ever increasing range seeks to try different combinations and not sticking to the norm, this provides them with a line of stand out products in my opinion in an ever increasing crowded market.

Suggestions for use are quite varied, think not only where orange would complement but also a fiery citrus kick. Dazzle your duck and if you dare, dollop on chocolate pudding. Liven up a cheese board and one suggestion I spotted on Lily’s Chillies website was in their own version of a chilli martini….. I would also go for a basic breakfast bagel, perhaps even gammon joint…..

A 220g jar will set you back a mere £ 3.85 of your hard earned pounds. This I feel is very reasonable for the amount of flavour packed inside and depending on the addiction you develop for their product range it should last a respectable amount of time too.

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

 

 

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Now we all know that Chilli and Alcohol go together very well, and there have been a fair few alcohol based products in recent years, Chilli Sambuca, Chilli Cider and Chilli Vodka. Now comes the turn of a more refined tipple, a Chilli Liqueur from RubyBlue, made by the Hughes family in Northern Ireland. Now at this point,  I have to admit I am not a connoisseur when it comes to spirits but I am reliably informed that the company has used real fruits, Irish Grain Spirit and a “little magic” to create something special. In fact the bottle contains two Thai Chillies.

Unfortunately my only previous experience of Liqueurs is in the middle of chocolates that seem to end up in the house at Christmas. The definition of a Liqueur is:

An alcoholic beverage made from a distilled spirit that has been flavoured with fruit, cream, herbs, spices, flowers or nuts and bottled with added sugar or other sweetener

I was intrigued by this bottle as soon as it was delivered, a 350ml tall thin bottle with a cork and a see through label, the liquid is a rich red colour with two of the fresh chillies floating inside. Obviously this type of alcohol is not designed to sipped neat, it should form an ingredient in other drinks and foods. But where do I start?

The family discovered an old recipe for preserving berries, combined with that aforementioned Irish Grain Spirit which gets distilled 5 times and filtered through charcoal to produce a very clean taste.

They have a range of 4 fruit based Liqueurs, a Blackcurrant, 3 whole berry, Wild Blueberry and now the Whole Chilli Pepper version.

Fortunately the company supplies many different serving suggestions for their award winning product, and I have chosen the “Bloody Ruby”, a fresh take on the traditional tomato juice based beverage, replacing the usual vodka with the Chilli Liqueur and adding Worcester Sauce, Celery Salt, and Lemon Juice. This does really work and creates a sweeter version, the Chilli comes through nicely but does not overpower the other flavours.

And hot off the press, the company has just been given 4 new awards for their Craft Liqueurs by The Liqueur Masters 2013

Ingredients:

At Origin 350ml liqueur, 20g whole chilli peppers

Bottle kindly supplied by Spirited Drinks Ltd

Another serving suggestion is to make your own chilli ice cream. Luckily we have a basic ice cream maker in the back of the cupboard, the recipe asks for a decent glug of the Liqueur, double cream, milk, icing sugar and some dried chilli flakes. Once mixed and frozen for four hours the slightly pink creamy mixture is ready to taste and it is delicious.

The liqueur has a very clean taste to it, the chilli heat gives a nice warming but never overpowers and the more you dilute with other ingredients the weaker it becomes. Last night I put a splash in my cider and it lifted the flavours and gave a lovely warming feeling on a cold wet night.

So if you are looking for something to add a little chilli goodness to the festive drinks cabinet this Christmas, this is certainly worth a look.

Available to buy from Thedrinkshop.com or Thecelticwhiskeyshop.com  for around £15 plus postage.

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

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