We review this West Indian Pepper Chili Sauce called Voodoo Mango made by Angus & Oink. With this stye sauce we are expecting some great strong flavours and looking at the colour of it it certainly looks good, so what did we think? Would we buy it again?

Ingredients: Mango Pulp(40%), Onions, Garlic, Chillies, Ginger root, Malt vinegar (from barley), Turmeric, Mustard, Cumin, Coriander powder, Golden syrup & Seasoning.

Made & available from: Angus & Oink
Also check out their recipe page using this sauce: http://www.angusandoink.com/recipes/

Priced at: £4.50 for a 250ml bottle (Price correct at time of publication)

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Something I was not expecting to receive to review but was most welcomed, a product kindly supplied by Seggiano, their Crema di Peperoncino Chilli Paste.

Reggiano Crema di Peperoncino Chilli PasteSeggiano is the name of the small hilltop village on Monte Amiata in southern Tuscany, where Peri Eagleton and David Harrison have farmed organic olives since 1985. Twenty years ago they started selling their local Olivastra Seggianese extra virgin olive oil and a selection of artisan foods from small family food producers. This quickly grew into their brand today ‘Seggiano’, named in honour of the village where the story started.

Italians have a passion for food; I should know my girlfriend is Italian! Often the food is simple and made with the finest ingredients one can source to create a wonderful taste experience. That said there is a lot of bad Italian around where people do not follow these rules, just churning out any old pasta dish and charging the public for the privilege. Seggiano appear to have stuck to their principles and although clearly doing well, exporting far and wide, keep the honoured traditions alive and haven’t gone too mainstream. Indeed their website states “When we say handmade, we mean handmade. Our artisan food is freshly prepared in small batches using current harvest ingredients”

Ingredients: Fresh Calabrian Chillies 80%, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Wine Vinegar, Salt.

The packaging is not eye-catching and more that of an ingredient of basic food stuff you keep in the cupboard ready. Italians though not known for keeping things quiet and understated often let their food speak for itself. However I feel I am being a little harsh as this is not a hot sauce but a quality ingredient so perhaps it is well labelled.

The jar is beautifully packed full of chilli’s with a deep red colour, you can see the whole chilli is used with all the seeds packed in too. The Naso di Cane is a variety of chilli or peperoncino, which is specific to Calabria. The name derives from the entertaining fact that the small angular shape of the pepper is undeniably reminiscent of a dog’s nose. Its robust, yet rounded flavour has an unusual depth, which is impossible to find in your average run-of-the-mill chilli sauce. The aroma is sweet, mellow and peppery and does not give away any expectation of heat. The texture is that of a roasted sweet pepper with the seeds adding in a bit of variety. Initially no heat hits you but then gently and unexpectedly a wonderful warmth fills your mouth. The actual flavour is a little difficult to describe, it is not one I am familiar with from my experience off so many chilli’s. I am likely doing the chilli a great disservice by saying this but to help you imagine a flavour it is a little like a peppadew you can purchase from any deli counter in the UK, however this has a much more sophisticated depth and warmth of flavour. So far I have tried this product straight on top of bruschetta, stirred into Bolognese, and as the main source of heat in a crab linguini every time this produce performed. Seggiano have done a great job and provided a true quality ingredient.

If you like the product enough you can even holiday on their farm if you wanted to. Then you can not only taste the dream but live the Italian dream too!

Value Prices will vary for this product depending on where you source it

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Chillilicious, A mother and daughter team from deepest darkest Fife and Scotland’s 1st Chilli farmers, started making chilli chutneys back in 2011 when they decided to try and grow the spicy fruit on their 2.5 acre farm, which has since grown to include 2 large poly tunnels, where they nurture over 4000 chilli plants, farm shop, glass art studio, a commercial kitchen and a biodiversity pond walk that serves to express and compliment their core values of fresh organic local produce.

Monkey Punch from ChilliliciousThe family team have won numerous awards since then and travel all over the UK to chilli festivals and specialist markets selling their creations.

Having tried a few of their products in the past I was looking forward to trying a new one, Monkey Punch harks back to the company’s beginnings being a chutney full of hearty chunks and deep rich flavours.

The name derives, I guess, from the use of banana as the main ingredient but rather than being the base flavour it acts as the fragrant after-note of the onion and sweet vinegar you’d expect from a more traditional chutney.

Ingredients: Bananas, kiwis, lemons, apples, dates, onions, allspice, salt, tumeric, white wine vinegar, sugar, jalapeño extract, lime extract, cayenne chilli.

Rather than being a mushy condiment as you may think you’d get from a banana based product, Monkey Punch has been expertly crafted and not over cooked so the texture of the apple, onion and other ingredients gives a satisfying bite that would work wonderfully served with a cheese board or plate of cold meats.

Heat wise the label promises an “explosion” but is, for me at least, a gradual warm glow that’s builds with every bite to a comfortable lingering finish, the chutney uses a jalepeno extract and dried cayenne, both of which are masked by the other ingredients so only provide the warmth. Although Chillilicous have hotter products in their varied range, their ethos is to concentrate on producing a well balanced and flavoursome accompaniment to food rather than trying to melt the face of the most hardened of chilli heads.

The packaging of Monkey Punch still has the homemade feel about it and the labels look like they could still be applied by hand, the printing isn’t glossy but a honest attempt and a fun design. (This may be a 1st run jar and the labels may improve during production as the company has recently been tweeking the brand design).

As with their other products you can choose to purchase a small 40g test jar for £1 (great for creating gift hampers) or the full size 270g jar for £3.95 which should last you one dinner party or a month of ordinary meals.

Gluten free and Vegan friendly

Value (8/10)

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Having followed the UK chilli scene over the past two years, I am often jealous at the abundance of fantastic looking chilli festivals across the country (especially the South Coast and South West), and whilst I plan to travel further a field and witness the Clifton Chilli Club putting people through pain in the flesh rather than on Youtube, it would be nice if there were some a bit more local to me. So it should be no surprise that I’ve had the 27th September pencilled in my calendar as soon as I heard there was going to be a chilli festival in London.

The Festival of Heat - London’s Chilli Festival - 27th September 2015

This year was the 3rd annual Festival of Heat and it took place Red Market Gallery on Old Street in London’s now trendy East End. Over the past few years chilli sauces have been given a similar cultural status to craft ale and beard grooming, and as a result are very popular with the subcultural group known as Hipsters (see this amusing Hipsta Cop cartoon for further proof http://www.thepoke.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/tumblr_no86n6IaRo1uvs95yo1_1280.jpg), therefore it was no surprise to see this festival taking place in this particular part of London.

The East End is also famous for being one of the most multicultural parts of London, so it should be no surprise to hear that this was reflected in the festival’s entertainment and food stalls.

Despite being late September, it was a bright sunny day (something my chilli plants could have benefited from in August, instead of grey clouds) and there was already a long queue to get into the festival prior to it’s opening at 12pm.

Once inside we had a stroll around the Festival Market area and got stuck into sampling some of the many chilli sauces on sale from over 18 different stalls. Festival regulars such as Burning Desire, Grim Reaper Foods and Mushemi Fire were present, alongside some local sauce makers such as Dips, Made in Hackney and Gifty’s Kitchen. Particular highlights for me were Dips BBQ bonnet sauce, Capsicana’s Brazilian cook sauce and #Piggate chilli Pork Scratchings sold by Mushemi Fire who either had insider information on rumours about our Prime Minister or had the packaging printed that week in time for the festival.

The festival was sponsored by Encona, who also had a stall and was selling their range of sauce for £1 per bottle. Whilst, in my view, their sauces are nowhere near as nice as those sold by the smaller sauce makers present at that festival, at that price I picked up a few bottles and was given a chilli chocolate cupcake for my troubles!

Around 1pm the festival stage area opened with live music including Bengali Folk and Bollywood dancing, which my two year old enjoyed dancing to as opposed to trying the chilli sauces (“Chilli sauces are too spicy Daddy!”),

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The festival also had a Kitchen Area which hosted workshops of chilli sauce making, chilli oils, medicinal attributes of chilli plants and saving chilli seeds. I attended the ‘Rare Chilli Masterclass’ hosted by Pritesh Mody from World of Zing, a company who make sauce, spices and dried chilli’s. Pritesh spoke about the different varieties of chilli and their different uses in cooking, and passed a few dried chilli’s around for us to try. This included Aji Amarillo, Pasilla and Chinese White Chillies. To finish we were shown a demonstration on how simple it is to make a really tasty chilli sauce.

By 2pm the festival was heaving to the extent where it was hard to sample as many sauces as I would have liked, therefore the organisers may want to consider a bigger venue next year but overall we had a really nice day. The weather was great, the chilli sauce stalls were varied and with the live music and kitchen workshops meant there was something for everyone and I’m already looking forward to next years festival.

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