Marty Greenwell

South Devon Chilli Farm have an interesting range of hot sauces and they like to keep things fairly simple on the ingredient list, preferring to let the chillies they grow there do the talking instead. The range runs from the Extreme Bhut Jolokia to the humble Jalapeño. The one on review here is the Aji Chilli Sauce.

Ingredients:

Fresh Aji Chillies (60%), Cider Vinegar, Lemon Juice and Salt.

Bottle kindly supplied by South Devon Chilli Farm

That’s it, no exotic fruit or spices, instead just keeping it simple and there’s nothing wrong with that. The Aji chilli originated in the Americas and is used a lot in Peruvian cuisine; it has a citrus flavour with a medium heat level to it.

SDCF sauces come in smaller 100ml than are usually used and sit at around the £3.57 mark – if you want to try the six different sauces in this range, including the interesting 15 (a sauce made with no less than fifteen different chilli varieties), there’s a multipack for £18.

The bottle tells you all you need to know about the sauce with some suggestions to try it on chicken and fish. The label is clear and simple, just like the ingredients with a picture of a single Aji chilli on the front. It is a muddy orange colour and quite thin making pouring it out an easy affair.

Once the top is off the bottle the aromas that escape from the neck mostly seem to be the cider vinegar – there’s also a slightly sweet smell to it. On the spoon there are some seeds and flecks of chillies but not for long.

In the mouth there is initially a sweet flavour, quickly followed by a bitterer citrusy sting. The heat level is middling, it certainly won’t challenge the hardened chilli head, but it is a pleasant tongue tingle that soon mellows off leaving quite a refreshing almost fruity aftertaste with little hint of the more vinegary nose.

Given this sauce is very thin it doesn’t make much sense to be using it as a dipper but it would make a great ingredient for those dishes where a citrus zing would add just enough heat and flavour, such as the suggested fish dishes. In heartier cooking, the delicate flavours would probably get lost. Overall this is an interesting sauce and a worthy addition in the range – it’s nice to see simpler styles on the market so definitely give this one a go if you get the chance.

Flavour
(8/10)
Heat
(4/10)
Packaging
(8/10)
Value (8/10)
Overall
(8/10)

 

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From the Capsicana Chilli Company comes the Bhut Jolokia Chilli sauce and is the second hottest sauce in their range. Capsicana are relatively new to the chilli scene having been around for about three years, but they sport a good range of products; along with the hot sauces the website offers whole and powdered chillies,  beans and seeds, herbs and spices, recipe kits and a whole host of chilli recipes so is worth a browse just for those alone.

Although the sauce is monikered Bhut Jolokia this makes up 2% of the ingredients, but is bolstered by an additional 39% of a non-specific chilli mix.

Ingredients:

chillies (including 2% bhut jolokia) 41%, water, barley malt vinegar, spices (including mustard), salt, cornflower, stabiliser and xanthan gum.

The sauce comes in 150ml bottles at a very reasonable £3.80 a pop. The label designs are very professional looking with a deep black background and a clean white font giving the name of the sauce. Beneath this is a chilli heat rating in red chillies; this one is rated at 5+chillies and gives the overall impression that this might be quite hot. The label describes the style of the sauce as rich and fruity and also offers some rather broad suggested uses, from marinade to condiment.

The reddy brown sauce is quite thick with number of seeds visible through the uncovered portions of the bottle (which adds to the impression of heat). Once the lid is removed the overriding aroma is that of pungent bhut jolokias; it’s also sweet smelling. Despite the small content of Bhut Jolokias, it gives the impression there’s more packed in there and that they are of good quality.

On the spoon the chilli seeds are a bit more obvious but there are not so many of them that it impacts on the texture. The initial hit is very intense and burns everywhere it touches, there is no mistaking that there is Naga in this sauce it almost takes your breath away initially. Then something strange happens; normally Naga based sauces continue to build, but this one levels off quickly and begins to fade leaving a really gorgeous fruitiness with a brilliant lingering tingle on the tongue.

This is a great value everyday usable sauce for those that like some spice with everything they eat. I could happily dip my Friday lunch chips in this one and add it to my cheese and marmite sarnies. It certainly impressed enough to urge me to go and seek out the other sauces Capsicana have in their range. You should do the same.

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

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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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Many of us chilli heads are forever chasing the next hottest thing. Nagas are now for the feeble, Habaneros don’t get a look in much anymore and don’t you even dare mention the Jalapeno – only your grandma would think they’re hot. Sometimes though it’s nice just to sit back and relax a bit – sometimes you’re happy with a bit of Mr Vikki’s Max’s Urban Ketchup on your bacon sarnie, so long as it’s tasty.

This handcrafted tomato ketchup isn’t for man tests, that’s not really what it’s about. It is simply a spiced ketchup that tastes great. This deep red sauce, speckled with black and red flakes, stands proud in its 250g bottle filled with fruity goodness.

Ingredients:

Tomatoes (145g per 100g), Vinegar, Sugar, Garlic, Spics, Celery, Salt, Habanero Chillies and Pepper.

Jar kindly supplied by Mr Vikki’s

Unlike many of Mr Vikki’s products this sauce doesn’t have quite the same Indian infused aroma to fill the air when the lid is removed. It smells like any other ketchup you’d care to mention with the letter H in it. It’s ketchup, what did you expect?

It’s a little thinner than many ketchups, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing as it makes it far easier to pour out of the bottle, it’s still plenty thick enough to use it as a chip and chicken nugget dipper and a happy replacement as a table condiment.

In the taste department this beats the 57 other varieties hands down. The sauce is quite sweet, with a deep tomato taste, a little bit peppery and a touch tart. There’s a hint of heat there but it dies away very quickly. The aftertaste is pleasantly subtle, certainly a sauce that you can leave on the table for anyone to use without having to worry about stomach cramps.

The styling has been recently changed from a bottle to a jar and weighs it a £4.00 currently on the MrVikkis website – it’s perhaps a little bit more costly than other varieties, but bear in mind this is handcraft by an artisan, not churned out in gallons in a mass production factory.

So if you’re looking for a tomato sauce with a little bit more zing, it is worth giving Max’s Urban Ketchup a try (and why not give its older sibling Harry’s Brown sauce a go whilst you’re there too).

Flavour
(8/10)
Heat
(1/10)
Packaging
(7/10)
Value (6/10)
Overall
(7/10)

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