Oaxacan

It is not very often we get a product for review which comes direct from the hills of Mexico but here I have just that, Gran Luchito Salsita de chiles ahumados or Smoked Chilli Paste comes from those Mexican hills and is handmade by the Mexican farmers. It’s about as authentic as it could be. Apparently in between a paste and an oil, made so the locals can just pour off and use the oil when they don’t want the texture of the paste.

So to look at the shallow jar, it certainly looks authentic with some great artwork around the circumference of the jar and a nice big label on the white lid.

This label shows a Mexican Wrestlers or ‘Luchadors mask which is a link to the favourite pastime of the farmers that make the paste. Looking through the glass I can see the very thick oily paste within.

Once open, the paste is a deep brown colour and is very thick. It reminds me of a very slow cooked onion relish but the main ingredient on the label is Chillies, and these are a combination of 5 very rare Oaxacan (Pronounced Wa-Ha-Can) Chillies, the most important of these is the Pasilla Oaxaca. The Chillies are harvested when very ripe and smoked in Handmade Clay ovens fired with Oak to help preserve them before being roughly ground by hand for the paste.

The smell of the paste does not jump out at me, I offer the jar to my nostrils and can immediately smell the smokiness, the oak comes through along with a sweetness which is not from refined sugar but from Dark Agave Nectar which is apparently sweeter than Honey.

I take a spoonful from the jar, there is plenty of sunflower oil in the paste which has turned a lovely dark brown. The first taste is a very deep smokey note, and this is where the review gets difficult, as usually I have something to compare the taste to, but I honestly haven’t tasted anything like this, it is unique because it is made in Mexico by Mexicans who really know their chillies. I’m sure they don’t have an exact time for smoking the Chillies or a specific texture to achieve. This is rustic artisan produce at it’s best, no horrible preservatives or additives here, just flavour and more flavour which comes in waves.

Ingredients:

Mexican Chillies (20%), Onions, Corn oil, Dark Agave Nectar, Balsamic Vinegar, Sunflower Oil, Garlic, Vinegar, Salt, Spices

Jar kindly supplied by Gran Luchito

I can detect onions but only a hint which is good as they are not allowed to over power the flavour of the Chillies. The heat comes soon after the full on smokey flavour and sweet hints, its a pleasant burn that never overpowers the complex flavours here but stays around and I can feel the burn on all parts of my mouth and throat, which I would imagine would be due to the mix of different Chillies and their differing burning effects.

The Gran Luchito website states “If you think you know chilli, think again, from the land that invented it. It’s a different kind of heat” I think that statement is spot on, there is such a complexity to the flavour of this paste, it isn’t something I have ever tasted, especially knowing where it has come from and the love that has gone into it.

You can buy direct from Gran Luchito website where a 110g jar costs £4.99

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

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Cajohn's Oaxacan

Cajohn's Oaxacan

Cajohn’s Oaxacan From Cajohn’s comes this distinctive sauce named Oaxacan. The theme of this one is based around the Aztecs the adventurers that discovered the people and their cuisine, and so has some rather less typical ingredients than is normally found in a hot sauce.

The sauce is medium brown in colour and quite thin in texture, making it more suitable as an ingredient rather than condiment. It’s accompanied with a label featuring a stone carving that some would describe as Aztec (if you remember The Crystal Maze you’re along the right lines). It’s a typical 148ml bottle at £4.99 from Hot Headz.

Ingredients: Vinegar, Chile Peppers, Brown Sugar, Garlic, Salt, Onion and Cumin.

Bottle kindly supplied by Hot-Headz

Once the lid is removed there is a very distinctive smell that emanates from the bottle. Although there’s a lot of vinegar, it has a mostly cumin aroma that hides any hint of chilli in the sauce.

Take care pouring it from the bottle, as mentioned above it’s pretty thin and sits precariously on the spoon. Once the sauce hits the tastebuds though, there’s a sensational flavour explosion. The tongue comes alive with spicy, savoury, sweet and bitter experiences, followed by a hint of heat which then disappears to leave a wonderful essence on the tongue.

Cajohns Fiery Foods always seem to come out with some different styles and flavours to their sauces, such as their Bourbon Infused Chipotle Habanero Hot Sauce, and this one again scores points for its unique character. Without doubt this one hits a maximum on taste and it would probably be spoiled if it was any hotter. It’ll make a great stir fry sauce and a definite replacement if you use Chinese five spice in your cooking. One to check out.

Flavour
(10/10)
Heat
(2/10)
Packaging
(5/10)
Value
(6/10)
Overall
(8/10)

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