Product Reviews

Image from  www.kentishcobnuts.comThe Cobnut? what is it – I must admit I knew very little about Cobnuts before a visit to the Postash Farm Web site I was amazed to find out that the Cobnut is a type of cultivated hazelnut (Bit like a Bramley is a type of Apple) and during the Victorian era the UK had around 7000 acres of them in cultivation, today that has dropped to just 250 acres.

Handmade Thai Chilli Sauce with Kentish CobnutsPotash Farm grows about 6 acres of Cobnuts, made up of around 1000 trees. Their web site full of products made with Cobnuts, from Cobnut Cosmetics to Cobnut Oil, Cobnut Fudge and Biscuits.

New to the range are a couple of sauces a Smokey Roasted Pepper sauce with Kentish Cobnuts and the one we are tasting today their Thai Chilli Sauce with Kentish Cobnuts. The sauce comes in a tall 250ml bottle with a stylish minimalist label, looks just the kind of sauce you would expect in a deli.

Tipping the bottle you can see that the sauce is quite thin with flecks of the ingredients floating nicely in it, on cracking open the lid, there is a very pleasant aroma of soya sauce, ginger and garlic. The taste is subtle, this sauce is not designed to blow your socks of but enjoyed and to enhance the flavour of your meal.

Ingredients: British Sugar, Water, Cider Vinegar, Kentish Cobnuts (3%), Chillies (7%), Red Pepper, Light Soya Sauce, Garlic, Lime Juice, Ginger and Salt.

Bottle Kindly provided by Potash Farm

I had wondered if you would be able to taste the Cobnuts in this sauce with such strong flavours coming from the Garlic and Ginger let alone the chillies, but I was truly astounded as how the nutty flavour of the Cobnuts was carried by this sauce, while the heat is nothing to such hardened tasters as we have at the Chilefoundry who could probably just swig this direct from the bottle.

As a sauce to use as a dip for spring rolls or as a condiment with some jasmine rice, this sauce cannot be faulted. The great taste of a Thai Chilli Sauce, not sugary and that British twist of Kentish Cobnuts…..

You can order this on-line at their web site at £6.95 for a 250ml bottle, I wonder how well it would go with Turkey this Christmas?

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

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Encona African Peri Peri SauceIt was not until 1975 that Econa first introduced their Hot Pepper Sauce range under the ‘Encona’ name and they haven’t looked back since. Having served the Caribbean community in the UK for over 40 years supplying quality sauces prepared to original recipes and containing blends of the most authentic chillies, spices and ingredients. Their iconic square embossed glass bottle has become the category symbol for quality, trust and delicious, authentic flavours in this community.

Encona now has a range of over 20 sauces and marinades. Today they have kindly provided me with a bottle of their African Peri Peri sauce to review.

Ingredients: Water, Chilli Mash (Chillies, Water, Acetic Acid, Salt ), Spirit Vinegar, Lemon Juice Concentrate, Lemon Rind, Salt, Modified Maize Starch, Rapeseed Oil, Sugar, Garlic Puree, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Stabiliser: Xanthan Gum, Birds Eye Chilli, Preservative, Potassium Sorbate, Colour, Paprika extract.

Their bottles are different to most with the square embossed glass and their labels are very to the point matching as a larger set and just telling you what is inside, usually with a small picture to match the flavour. In this case the bottle has a giraffe. Encona African Peri-Peri Sauce claims to explore the taste of Africa by using a special blend of African birds eye chillies, aromatic garlic, zesty lemon and spices, to me the aroma is certainly zesty and you can even see some of the spices in the sauce. Overcoming this aroma though is a rather chemical feel of the different preservatives and stabilising that are necessary for a sauce produced on this scale. I did find the sauce rather tasty though often reaching for more to add to my food, it does fit the bill of a basic Peri-Pieri sauce with the right flavours and heat coming through to your taste buds so you won’t be disappointed. I am a sucker for the sauces from a certain chicken restaurant though so in my head I am making the comparison and though they taste similar one is clearly above the rest, but this may be down to personal preference.

Encona Sauces are certainly versatile. You can use them as a dipping sauce, a marinade, a cooking ingredient or just an everyday table sauce. They can even be easily used to drizzle into stir-fries, rice dishes, dips and salad dressings. Being a Peri-Peri sauce this sauce lends itself naturally to chicken and great for a dollop onto burgers too.

This is a sauce for the consumer not for the enthusiast, that said if you like the taste go for it you can find it in all good supermarkets and you still get a tasty hit. Would I buy other sauces in this range, yes but they would be more of a tasty table sauce for use rather than to expand my hot sauce stash.

Flavour
(5/10)
Heat
(4/10)
Packaging
(6/10)
Value (5/10)
Overall
(5/10)

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We try this Bhut Jolokia(Ghost Pepper) Chutney made by a company called Ziffels-FeinKost which translated means Ziffels-Delicatessen based in Germany we crack it open and have a spoonfull…. Oh and we also know what ‘Scharf’ means and yep it is ‘HOT!’

Ingredients: Onion 39%, Orange, Naga Jolokia, garlic, sugar, soy sauce (Tamari 25% less salt and gluten-free), black pepper & olive oil.
Zutaten: Zwiebel 39%, Orange, Naga Jolokia 9%, Knoblauch, Zucker, Soja-Sauce (Tamari 25% weniger Salz und ohne Gluten), schwarzer Pfeffer und Oliven-Öl.

Made & available from: Ziffels-Feinkost

Priced at: €7.95 (Price correct at time of publication)
Jar size: 67ml

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Ever since I received my box of chilli products to review, this particular Hot-Headz product has sat on my shelf tempting me towards the Dark Side likes a Chilli Sith Lord (Darth Naga perhaps?). Looking at the ingredients I know that this product has 95% Carolina Reaper in it (currently the official worlds hottest chilli coming in at up to 2,200,000 Scoville Units {editors note: official world record is 1,569,3000 SHU}), which means it’s going to be painful and It’s likely to have some reaper-cussions but it tempts me nonetheless.

Hot Headz Hard Core Carolina ReaperThe product is a part of Hot Headz Hardcore range which prides itself on showcasing the flavour and heat of the chilli rather than any other ingredients. It comes in a 50ml bottle and retails at £6.99. The packaging is simple and effective and is consistent with the other products on in the Hardcore raneg. The ingredients (not many in this case) are listed as per usual, alongside the following statement: “The chilli, the whole chilli, and nothing but the chilli – That’s the Hot-Headz! Hard Core Range! No fancy herbs, spices or garlic – just pure unadulterated chilli puree flavour and heat. Just as nature intended. Only for the Hard Core!”

Ingredients: 95% Carolina Reaper® Chilli, salt, citric acid.
Bottle kindly provided by Hot-Headz

Now I have to be honest, I seriously considered whether or not I was going to try this product” Am I one of the Hardcore?” I thought to myself. “I don’t think I’ve ever considered myself Hardcore at anything”, I like my chilli sauce hot but this possibly the hottest extract free chilli product available. After much consideration, the fact it was unlikely to kill me became the deciding factor. So with some forward planning which involved me booking a Saturday in my calendar where, 1. I had no plans on the Sunday, and 2. also had the following three working days booked as annual leave, I decided to go for it.

I have to say I was unsure how this product should be used. Should it be primarily used as a food additive or as a hot sauce? Either way I opened the bottle and had a sniff. I instantly smell the fresh chilli and the saltiness, it doesn’t smell great to be honest, but I still load up a teaspoon of a puree and without hesitation shove it in my mouth. I can taste the flavour chillies and saltiness, it’s not a floral flavour but you can taste some of the fruitiness. This is followed by an intense burn that coats my tongue, roof of my mouth and my throat. My body is producing a lot of saliva and I literally feel the puree as it move down my throat and all the way to my stomach where it feels like it’s literally burning a hole. The burn builds and builds, my nose is running and I’m sweating. Strangely enough the burn in my mouth doesn’t seem too bad, but the feeling in my stomach is unreal. This sauce really is for the Hardcore.

Overall I found the flavour too salty for a sauce to have neat or as a dipping sauce. However, as a food additive this works great and as little will go a very long way, this product is reasonably good value. I added a teaspoon to a tomato sauce with meatballs which gave my meal a welcome kick.

With bonfire night fast approaching this is sure fire way of keeping warm when outside in the cold. You could easily add a teaspoon of puree to a chilli con carne or a sausage casserole, or even mix it with some ketchup to make an extra spicy hot dog, which is guaranteed to give you a bigger burn than any Guy you have sat on top of your bonfire.

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

Hot-Headz Hard Core Range

Also in the range are all the above.

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