Product Reviews

Lets try this Habanero based sauce with a simple ingredients list we look forward to giving our verdict and where better than to do this, yep we use Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament to give our decision on this chili sauce.

Ingredients: Red Habanero Peppers, Garlic, Vinegar, Lime & Salt.

Made & available from: Mr Saucy

Priced at: $7.95 (Price correct at time of publication)
Bottle size: 5 Fl Oz (148ml)

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Devon Fire Chutney is an onion, pepper and orange chutney from Otter Vale Products a small Devon based family business who produce a range of hand-made chutneys, savoury jellies, and other food accompaniments. Their website and packaging emphasises that their products are handmade using the finest ingredients (locally sourced where possible) with no artificial colours or flavourings and they are gluten free. A quick look at their chutney range demonstrates a company who appear to be willing to experiment and try different and interesting flavour combinations (Curried peach chutney and Minted Goosebury to name but two). Their products have won a number of awards including Devon Fire Chutney which was a Gold Winner at the Taste of the West awards.

Otter Vale Products Devon Fire Chutney

The chutney comes in a typical 225g jar and costs £2.25. The packaging is clear and simple with illustrations of some of the ingredients in the product, in a style which you would typically associate with similar products from family businesses.

Ingredients: Sugar, Acetic Acid, Onions (26%), Peppers (11%), Maize Starch, Oranges (3.75%), Chillies, Salt, Spice.

Now, being a fan of all things chillies I like to know what chillies were used in a product, after all chillies have a diverse range of different flavours, smells and heat, so I’m always a little disappointed when a product’s ingredients simply states ‘chillies’, however a quick look at Otter Vale’s website informs me that the chilli used in Devon Fire Chutney is the fruity and fiery Scotch Bonnet.

I’ve never had orange in a chutney before and as someone who is not a fan of marmalade I was initially unsure whether this would be a product for me, however I’m pleased to say I was proven wrong.

When I open the jar I initially smell the vinegar followed by the fruitiness of the orange and a hint of coriander, which automatically reminds me of a good homemade Mango Chutney, my instinct is to grab a stack of poppadoms and get stuck into to the chutney but, alas there were no poppadoms, so I use a Jacobs cracker instead. The chutney has a nice sticky consistency with small chunks of onion, pepper and Scotch bonnet. From my first taste I’m won over, the chutney has a sweet tangy flavour from the orange and onions, with a hint of coriander. This is quickly followed by a decent, but not overwhelming burn from the Scotch Bonnets. The orange gives the chutney a subtle citrus flavour and it really helps bring out the fruitiness of the peppers and Scotch Bonnets. Every now and then I’m surprised by a burst of coriander in my mouth as I bite into a seed but it’s not unpleasant.

For me the great thing about this Chutney is how versatile it is. As I mentioned, it would go very well with poppadoms and other Indian cooking as an alternative to mango chutney. It would also be a great chutney to bring out at Christmas to have with cold meats or as a very welcome addition to your cheese board. The sweet tangy flavours would really complement a mature cheddar or stilton, but at only £2.25 a jar why wait for special occasions when a dollop would also enliven an otherwise dull cheese sandwich.

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

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Red’s Judas Ketchup is a smoky ketchup produced by Red’s True Barbecue, the American-style smokehouse restaurant chain who have a number of restaurants across the country. I’d never heard of Red’s before so paid a quick visit to the website and within seconds their menu had my mouth watering. They specialise in authentic barbecue food from the Southern states of the USA, which means smoked meats cooked slow and low. Menu items include ribs, pulled pork, beef brisket and burgers (including a donut burger!). They also produce a range of sauces to accompany their mostly meat based dishes, which includes their Judas Ketchup.

Red's Judas KetchupJudas Ketchup comes in a pretty typical 320g squeezy ketchup bottle and is on sale at Asda for a very reasonable £1.87. Their packaging has a light hearted evangelical theme (their logo is crucifix made out of a knife and fork) and has a Southern states feel. The label describes the product as a “Tomato sauce with smoked paprika and chipotle chilli” and has the following prayer on the back “Red’s authentic BBQ flavour. Taste and be saved. To worship Fries, Burgers or Meats. They’re going to taste better with a dollop of your new favourite ketchup. Amen.” I really liked this humorous theme across the packaging and their website (I found myself reading it in a stereotypical Southern drawl!), but am I ready to convert to their religion?

The ingredients are what you would expect from a typical ketchup with the addition of Chipotle chilli puree and Smoked Paprika.

Ingredients: Water, Tomato paste, Sugar, Spirit vinegar, Smoked Paprika (2.1%), Salt, Cornflour, Chipotle chilli puree (1%), Cayenne Pepper.

I’ve tried several chilli ketchup’s over the past year some which were very nice but the majority have left little to be desired, however as a big fan of smokey BBQ style sauces I was eager to give this a try.

On first taste you instantly get the sweetness of tomatoes and a typical flavours you associate with a decent ketchup, this is then followed by a smoky depth that you would associate with a BBQ sauce, but this isn’t a BBQ sauce it’s a ketchup and that’s exactly what it tastes like. However, unlike many supermarket brought ketchups you can actually taste the sweetness of the tomatoes over the vinegar which sets this apart from your typical middle of the road ketchup.

In terms of heat there is a very very mild burn, which to be perfectly honest was difficult to detect. I would have liked the ketchup more if the heat was turned up several notches and lingered on the tongue for a few minutes, which it did not. I tried this ketchup with some chicken thigh and sweet potato fries. It went especially well with the fries and I would not hesitate to use this anytime I have chips, fries, wedges etc. It would also go nice on a burger, however I prefer a more spicy BBQ sauce with the majority of barbecued meat.

So has Red’s Judas Ketchup done enough to convert me to their religion and have me worshipping at the altar? Well, at £1.87 a bottle this a very affordable sauce and one that I could putting out when having family barbecues. It would be ideal for people who want something smokey to dip their chips into but without the heat. It is a very respectable tomato ketchup with a subtle smokiness but for me it needed to be a little bit hotter to have me shouting “HALLELUJAH!” from the rooftop.

Nonetheless this has been a good introduction to Red’s products and I am really keen to try more of their sauces and some of the mouthwatering dishes on their menu, so there’s still a chance I will become a believer.

Flavour
(7/10)
Heat
(1/10)
Packaging
(8/10)
Value (9/10)
Overall
(7/10)

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I admit it, I’ve become a bit snobbish when it comes to hot sauces, thinking only artisan producers make a worthy product and all major food makers cant put a decent sauce together because of all the focus groups and marketing bods muddying the waters, and why do they even bother because there’s no chilli in the things anyway!

So when my first package of sauces arrived from Chilefoundry for review I was surprised and sceptical at the inclusion of a bottle of Heinz ketchup! But in my defence Heinz hasn’t had the best of records when it comes to “hot” sauces, being more bottles of vinegar with a hint of something in the background.
HEINZ Firecracker Sauce

Like a true soldier and wanting to do my best for the site, I put my prejudice aside and cracked open the bottle, first appearances are that its just the same old tomato sauce we all grew up with, the bottle is the same and features the iconic Heinz label shape that’s on upside-down so that you keep it stored standing on the cap, its has the effect of having reluctant sauce hanging on to the base of the bottle, also the cap has one of those little diaphragms that are supposed to reduce spills but actually causes the contents to shoot out with the force of a solid fuel rocket booster from a Saturn 5!

Squirting some of the sauce on my silver spoon I got when I was in catering college, I do the usual reviewer thing of first sniffing the bottle and the spoonful to see what subtle notes I can pick up to indicate the flavours locked within. The initial hit is just as I’d feared, spirit vinegar! some people like a strong vinegar taste and I’m OK with it as long as its actually got a flavour like white wine or cider vinegar does, spirit vinegar is too harsh but is common because its cheap, and big brands are all about making things as cheaply as possible! Hiding behind that though is a sweet tomato and herby hint.

Ingredients: Spirit Vinegar, Water, Concentrated Tomato Puree (17%) Sugar, Date Purée, Chipotle Paste (5%, Tomato Purée, Smoked Jalapeño Peppers, Water, Onion, Spirit Vinegar, Sugar, Peppers, Salt, Garlic, Spices, Parsley, Spice extract) Modified Cornflour, Salt, Concentrated apple juice, Chilli powder, Smoke flavouring, Spice, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Preservative (Potassium Sorbate) Spice Extract.

Taste wise again i wasn’t expecting more than a ketchup with no actual chilli heat and a completely over exaggerated label design, but Im pleasantly surprised by the smoky kick and lingering tongue burn offered by the chipotle chilli, its not the main flavour (that going to the highly processed tomato) but does give a twist to your bog standard ketchup.This would be a good addition to your Tuesday night tea of burger and chips or as the Heinz website suggests pizza or hotdogs, Ive added the sauce to my beef chilli as I think the sweetness and chipotle would give a nice balance to a family friendly evening meal.

As I mentioned above the 220ml bottle is that of the usual Heinz design but the label emphasizes the 57 logo and this sauce is part of a range of 10 “signature” sauces comprising of a Garlic, Burger, Flamin’ Cajun, Mint, Tartare, Horseradish, Blue cheese, Cocktail, Caesar and a mustard sauce along with the Firecracker.

So, has this sauce swayed me back to the land of supermarket big brand sauce? simply, no, its a cheap n cheerful addition to your fridge only costing around £1.20 but with the dedication and inventiveness of our beloved artisan producers there are far better sauces out there that mass production cannot match, its worthwhile getting some if you’re throwing a BBQ and have kids and chilli virgins around that may want to play with a safely controlled fire.

Flavour
(7/10)
Heat
(2/10)
Packaging
(3/10)
Value (8/10)
Overall
(7/10)



Editor Note:- James also produced a live feed of his review, which is now below and also on his YouTube Channel.

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