Product Reviews

Aji Amarillo is a variety of chilli pepper which originates from South America. Despite being relatively unheard of in the UK, these peppers have long been an essential ingredient in Bolivian and Peruvian cuisine. In fact, rock carvings from the Moche civilization show that these peppers were highly regarded almost 2000 years ago.

Rico Picante are relatively new to the chilli industry, but their authentic Peruvian sauces have already received several accolades. Today I will be reviewing their Amarillo sauce which landed a gold, 1 star award in the 2011 Great Taste Awards.

As I pick up the bottle, I can’t help but feel that I should be wearing sunglasses. The sauce is bright yellow and its vibrant colour conjures up thoughts of warmth and sunshine. The label is also very striking and my attention is instantly drawn to the Rico Picante and Great Taste logos. The mosaic border which adorns the top of the label is a nice touch and helps make the product look very enticing.

Taking a moment to admire the rest of the label, I notice that the product name isn’t immediately obvious as the light text on a yellow background is a little difficult to read. There is also a “Peruvian Chilli Peppers” emblem which makes the front of the bottle look a little cluttered. Both of these are minor criticisms and the overall presentation of the product is very good.

Ingredients: 

Aji Amarillo (70%), Vinegar, Vegetable Oil, Water, Garlic, Salt and Citric Acid

Bottle kindly provided by Rico Picante.

As I remove the cap, the familiar citrus tones of the Amarillo chilli emanate from the bottle. There is also a hint of garlic, but the chilli is the dominant aroma.

The sauce pours easily from the bottle with no coaxing required. I try a small spoonful at first and take time to savour it. I am promptly greeted by the delicate flavour of the Aji Amarillo chilli. There are undertones of garlic too, but they are nothing but complimentary. With such a high percentage of chilli making up this product, I would be disappointed if the subtleties of this chilli had been lost. Fortunately, the balance of flavours is superb.

The Aji Amarillo chilli registers around 40,000 SHU on the Scoville scale, so this sauce is pleasantly warm. I think the medium rating Rico Picante have given this product is appropriate.

During the past week I have used this sauce habitually. It works equally well as both a table sauce and a cooking ingredient. A few months ago, I remember seeing a recipe on Saturday Kitchen which called for the use of Aji Amarillo paste. At the time I was unable to source any, but this sauce would make a perfect substitute. The Rico Picante website also has some great Peruvian recipes including Tuna Ceviche. Personally, I am looking forward to mixing this with some mayonnaise to make a dip for some prawns or crayfish tails.

A 150ml bottle of Rico Picante Amarillo will set you back around £3.50, but I consider this to be good value given the high chilli content of this sauce. You can purchase Rico Picante products from Fortnum & Mason and several online retailers including ChilliPepperPete, Scorchio and The Devils Garden

Flavour
(9/10)
Heat
(4/10)
Packaging
(8/10)
Value (8/10)
Overall
(8.5/10)

 

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Got Beef?  In the past year or so, some of the UK folk have raised the bar in creating the tastiest jerky in my opinion, using the best quality British beef, fresh chilli and the finest blends of spices. Original Jerky London proved they have the beefy skills by creating ‘Original Dragons Blood Jerky’ using one of Chilli Pepper Pete’s bestselling sauces. So can Trailhead prove they have the X-factor? Just browsing their site makes my taste buds dance around like a monkey in a hot bath.

Talking about being passionate!! Trailhead have travelled many miles around the globe, flying across the tallest mountains fulfilling many of their dreams. When returning home to the UK they decide to create ‘jerky’ that captured the different cultures and experiences shared together. I’m also guessing that’s how they acquired the brand name ‘Trailhead’.

Their website clearly explains how they use the fresh and finest cuts and homemade marinades. Original, smoked, chipotle, BBQ and hot, these are just a few to mention on what they have to offer. Visit the website for more selection of products.

In this review I sample the hottest they have available ‘Sh.. it’s Hot Jerky’ using  XXX Hot Naga Jolokia.

Snuggled in this foiled fresh bag, lies what could be the hottest jerky in town? It even claims to have made grown men cry! I’m starting to feel a little worried. Not only that, I take a peek inside the bag and can visibly see Naga flake floating at the bottom of the packet, alongside the spices. I’m sensing a tasty, hot ride ahead of me.

Ingredients:

Beef, Pepper, Onion powder, Garlic powder, Brown sugar, NAGA JOLOKIA, Naga pickle, Cayenne Pepper, CELERY Salt, Water, Spices, Worcester sauce, (Malt Vinegar, (From Barley)  Spirit Vinegar, Molasses, Sugar, Salt, Anchovies (fish) Tamarind Extract, Onion, Garlic, Spices) Soy sauce (water, Salt, SOY bean, WHEAT flour) 

When I opened the bag a whoosh of naga hits me like a punch from a heavyweight boxer. The strong scent was very hearty accompanied by a sweet garlic and onion aroma with piquancy from other spices.

The beef was chewier than I expected, but the flavours were immense with a medium/hot ghost pepper burn. Slightly sweet, not as hot as I thought, but did build to a comfortable all round heat. This focused mainly on the tongue. It didn’t really attack my throat as I imagined it to.

The great thing is that you can really taste the other spices, not being too over powered by the great’n’mighty naga. As I finish the packet was gutted there wasn’t another 100 grams looking back at me (maybe a bad idea as it could wind my ass into retirement).

I’m looking forward to trying some other flavours, and if you want to grab yourself a bag or 2, please visit Trailhead Fine Foods for their full range. The price varies from around £2.50 – £2.99 for 50g, so not that expensive and definately worth every penny. Some discounts are available for bulk orders. 1kg? Yes please…..

Flavour
(8.5/10)
Heat
(7/10)
Packaging
(7/10)
Value (9/10)
Overall
(8.5/10)

 

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At this time of the year, having a steaming mug of Hot Chocolate after a sunday afternoon walk is something that everybody should enjoy, its comforting after coming in from the cold and is a great way of warming up, and here we have Hot Chocolate and Chilli combined in Elements for life’s Fiery Raw Hot Chocolate.

Now Chocolate is one of those things that the food police will tell you that must be avoided due to it being so bad for you, but actually Cacao, the raw element of chocolate is really good for you, its all the other ingredients added by the big chocolate companies that pile on the calories. Infact here are a few reasons why you should be having good quality Cacao/Chocolate:

  • It is one of the richest sources of MAGNESIUM, essential for a healthy heart and clear mind
  • High levels of ANTI-OXIDANTS, much more than green tea or red wine!
  • Packed full of ESSENTIAL AMINO ACIDS, the building blocks of cells
  • Loaded with FEEL GOOD CHEMICALS and neurotransmitters
  • Lots of VITAMINS including B & C
  • It’s an APPETITE SUPPRESSANT!
  • Not forgetting it TASTES FANTASTIC

So we now know the benefits of raw cacao and also the health benefits of chillies and this product has chilli powder from the Aji Orange. The powder is supplied by Jamie from The Wiltshire Chilli Farm

Now, how you make Hot Chocolate is very much a personal preference, some will use water, some will use milk, I am firmly in the latter category and the label suggests using oat milk as it makes the finished product extra creamy and and thick. Unfortunately I do not have any handy so standard semi skimmed will have to do!

The instructions say to add 3 tsps to a mug while gently warming the milk, then pour a small amount of milk into the mug and make a milky chocolate paste before adding the rest stirring well and then enjoy! The powder mixes really well with the warmed milk. It smells like normal Hot Chocolate and you cannot detect the Chilli content at this point.

So for the taste, I look to Mrs Lurch for her opinion on the taste as she is the in-house expert on Hot Chocolate to see how it compares to others she has tried. I have to admit once the warm milk is added to the chocolate, the smell is amazing and something I would expect in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory!

The Chilli heat is instant,and compliments the chocolate well, it let’s you know it’s there as with other chocolate/chilli combinations but isn’t overpowering. It’s a nice warming feeling which is a great addition to the standard hot chocolate. Mrs Lurch isn’t a big Chilli eater and commented that it made her tongue tingle.

Ingredients:

Raw Cacao powder 50%, Coconut Palm Sugar/Blossom, Aji Orange Chilli

The ingredients are produced to ecological standards and are agro-chemical free.

Another thing worth noting is that the product is 100% natural and free from dairy, gluten, wheat, and refined sugar, suitable for vegans and also because they use Coconut Palm sugar, the chocolate is good for diabetics due to the slow release of the sugar as its not refined sugar like some bigger companies. It is sweet but without being too sweet.

It comes in a nice silver metal tin, at £6.75 for 175g it’s a nice premium product available from Elements for Life directly and especially for Chilefoundry readers, they are offering a 15% discount on their chilli hot chocolate and their Chilli Chocolate kit, in time for Christmas. Simply add the code ajiorange at checkout on the website until the 17th December to enjoy the discount.

This would make a good stocking filler for someone in the family.

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

 

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When I read a label on a chilli product which contains 6.4 and 12 million Chilli extract, it always fills me with dread, the thought of the stomach cramps you get with excessive consumption. Well here we have Chilli Pepper Pete’s “Sphincter Shrincter” chilli sauce, and sits somewhere between their Naga Headhunter and Dragons Blood heatwise.

The guys at CPP are no strangers to using extract in their products with the likes of Dragons Blood, Satan’s Sh*t which are top sellers. It makes me laugh that it is described as an everyday sauce, I would like to meet the people who eat extract based sauces everyday!

The labelling is similar to a few of their “novelty” sauces as I call them, with a cartoony look to them. You will always see tasters of these sauces at shows, allowing those showing off to their friends to be bought to their knees begging for milk!  This is actually a sauce I have not tried before mainly due to my extract issues!

The sauce itself is a dark brown chocolatey colour with dark flecks, and once open it smells rather nice. I can pick up the Soy beans and the tamarind but there is a very fruity element to it, but it is definately a savoury sauce.

Ingredients:

Onions, Soya Sauce (Water, Soybeans, Salt, Sugar, Wheat Flour), Green Chilli, Prunes, Fruit Juice, Urfa Chilli, Naga Chilli, Tamarind, Garlic, Ancho Chilli extract, Paprika extract, 6.4m and 12m SHU Chilli extract, Spices.

Bottle kindly supplied by Chilli Pepper Pete

As you can see the fruitiness comes from Prunes, so if the Extract doesnt make me go, the Prunes will!

So on to the taste, here we go, I put my finger over the end and invert the bottle. It leaves behind a thick dark brown residue on my finger and in it goes. I am immediately hit by the fruitiness, but not by the extreme heat I was expecting.

The heat level builds very quickly but its slightly slower than normal. Dont get me wrong, this is a hot sauce, the bottle says “Seriously Hot Sauce” and I would agree. Quite often the burn from extract affects different areas of the mouth but this is an all over burn, maybe because of the other chilli elements in the sauce.

To the unexperienced, this sauce would catch them by surprise, big time, I wouldn’t want to use this neat, you can forget trying a full teaspoon, it isn’t going to happen! Like most extract sauces, a little goes a long long way.

You can buy a 140ml bottle from the Chilli Pepper Pete website for £5 which will last you ages.

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

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