Chili

Being a great admirer of world cuisine, Ben at Capsicana sure knows his stuff. From a young age he has been into the chilli world and his range of sauces have been popping up in our reviews for a while now. Its not just sauces they supply. Capsicana have a huge range of seeds, beans, herbs and spices, powders, whole chillies, recipe kits aside from the sauces they make!

The whole branding on all of their products is very standardised. All black labels with the Capsicana logo and text on.This is perfect. Everything is so neat and tidy, easy to read and collect. This label is marked with a 3 out of 5 heat level and banded around the bottom of the label states ‘Hot & Smoky Gourmet Chilli Sauce’.

Ingredients: 

Water, Vinegar, Tomatoes, Onion, Sugar, Habanero Chillies (2%), Chipotle Chillies (1%), Salt, Spices.

Bottle kindly supplied by Capsicana

This sauce, in a whopping 150ml bottle, is a deep red, relatively thick and smooth with the occasional seed and herb piece floating around.  The smoky chipotle scent escapes the bottle upon opening.  A background concentrated tomato smell brings the delicious fruity Habanero flavour with it.This pours very smoothly onto a spoon with ease.Immediately the vinegar hits the sides of the tongue and wakes you up.

The sweetness quickly takes the sharpness away and readies you for the real flavours. The onion and chipotle chillies come together and spread the habanero heat out over the tongue, back of the throat and behind the lips for an all over assault on the mouth.The afterburn is quite significant and after a while you just taste the smoky heat of the chipotle.This I feel would lend itself very well to a barbeque day.As a burger sauce if you like them hot.As a marinade for a nice mackerel or salmon.A dip for a game night, party evening, lads night in etc, or simply something to dip your chips in.

Available from their website for £3.80 for 150ml, you’re in for a treat.

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

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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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Mr Vikki’s is a small bespoke Indian Fusion pickle producer in the beautiful Lake District Cumbria. Mr Vikki’s is dedicated to using fresh natural ingredients, containing no gluten, wheat or dairy. Many products use specific chillies, and keep very well once opened and un-chilled due to the low water content achieved through ancient methods of preserving.

It’s time for me to hold my hand up. At every chilli festival and event I have walked by the Mr Vikki’s stand every time not feeling drawn to their products. Partly I think to the labels and a little for the Indian influence not exciting me. Maybe I’m a bit of a sucker for stupid names and cool graphics.…..

Oh how wrong it was to walk by! You need to check this guys stuff out. Mr Vikki’s could be considered the “Ronseal” of the UK chilli market. His products do exactly what it says on the tin. Besides an impressive 69 great taste awards in 7 years, including 13 great taste awards in 2013 so far can’t be wrong. Many apologies to the chilli god for committing blasphemy towards such a high achieving UK producer!

As I have hinted above the label to me is a little dull and very yellow. Nice touch with the flames though. I like that the label covers only half the jar so you can see the contents. There is a lot of helpful and professional information displayed including the Mr Vikki’s Heat ‘O’ Meter .The Piri Piri mustard is rated as ‘Hot’

Checking out the website, the product description gives an honest view stating “chilli heads will love this but will still find room for a bit more heat. Packed with flavour combinations and high chilli content, it’s not to be missed and should be brought out at every meal”

Ingredients

Mustard 60%, white wine Vinegar, Birds Eye Chillies 10%, salt and spices

Jar kindly supplied by Mr Vikkis

Cracking open the jar, surprise surprise you smell mustard. I have tried many chilli mustards recently. Some just throw in the power and hope for the best – these are terrible – some have tried to be creative with the flavours and often take away from the mustard itself.

Mr Vikki’s has used basic ingredients in the right proportions to not commit either of these mistakes but instead produce a very pleasant taste. I enjoy the texture of the wholegrain mustard used and am very partial to anything Piri Piri. I 100% agree with their web statement, disappointing for a chilli head seeking only power. If it’s this you want check out the rest of the Mr Vikki’s range there is plenty to fulfil your needs! However the mustard does indeed still pack heat and will go well with anything picnic or bbq related.

There isn’t too much more to describe I think, it’s good, it’s tasty, it’s hot, get some!

A rather strangely weighted 205g jar will cost a mere £3.25 on their website currently.

My advice is not to stop here and make the same mistake I made before. Don’t just order this product. Follow @MrVikkis on twitter and find out which chilli event he will be attending next, head for the glowing yellow stand, and get yourself a full tasting experience!

Flavour
(9/10)
Heat
(6/10)
Packaging
(4/10)
Value (7/10)
Overall
(8/10)

 

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“Ooft” is produced by Island Girl, a hot sauce maker based in Scotland but with Caribbean heritage. The website states, “Our premier quality pepper sauce is made from pure ingredients hand blended to create a special Caribbean flavor”, and tells the customer a little about the history of the development of “Ooft”, which is based on a recipe originally used by the proprietor’s father in Trinidad.

Bottle kindly supplied by Island Girl.

The labelling is evocative of the Caribbean, using the red, black and white of the Trinidadian flag on a sunset background, and gives the customer some suggestions on how the sauce could be used.The labels are a reasonable size so that it is easy to see the product in the bottle, but still has space for information needed by the customer.The sauce itself is an appealing orange colour, with seeds and bright red flecks of chilli clearly visible suspended in its body.

On opening the bottle, the aroma is exactly what you would expect of a product with a high scotch bonnet chilli content – though there is a sharp vinegar smell beneath the scent of the peppers.

In terms of texture, this is a sauce with good body.There is plenty of pulp from the chillies and other ingredients such as daikon (a mild flavoured radish also known as “mooli” in the UK) which presumably has been used as a bulking ingredient, and chosen so that it would not disturb the balance of flavour.There is a certain silkiness and viscosity to the sauce, due to the inclusion of olive oil in the process.

According to the website: “Well known to users of social media, the exclamation OOFT! means a pleasant surprise, a shock, but a good one.”  Does the product match up to the marketing?

Ingredients:

Scotch bonnet peppers (40%), garlic, daikon, lime juice, vinegar, sugar, salt, olive oil.

There is an immediate strong bonnet flavour to the sauce, and it is surprisingly not as sharp as the vinegary smell would lead you to expect.  The garlic and lime are not really present in the flavours as it is eaten, but the garlic is sensed as an after-taste.

Going by its placing in the ingredients list the salt content of the sauce is not high, but the flavour is salty and became progressively saltier when more of the sauce was tasted on its own.  However, this is far less noticeable when the sauce is used as a condiment in accompaniment to a meal, as it is meant to be used.

There is instant heat from the sauce, which builds to a pleasant, lingering tingle with each additional mouthful.

Overall, this is what we would expect of a well-made Caribbean fermented mash based hot sauce, and is certainly far superior to the “well-known brand” of West Indian hot sauce available from supermarkets.

“Ooft” is available from Island Girl priced at £3.50 for a 100ml bottle (plus postage).  Volume discounts are offered when ordering multiple bottles, bringing the price down to £2.67 per bottle if ordering a batch of 12 – so planning a bulk purchase among friends may be worth considering.

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

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