Jump to content

  •  

spicefreak

Member Since 08 Nov 2015
Online Last Active Today, 09:05 PM

Topics I've Started

Wiltshire Chilli Farm's Dark (Chocolate) Habanero Sauce

Yesterday, 07:20 PM

It's been one hell of a day so I'm sorry that this is going up late (it's technically wednesday where I am) but this is what was posted on my blog earlier and trust me, you'll appreciate the cause of the hold up soon.

 

Greetings, spice lovers. Today it's time for a change of pace, something special I picked out before christmas but haven't had time to show you until now:

 

2016-09-20-13-08-02.jpg?w=530

 

The Wiltshire Chilli Farm's Dark Habanero, a sauce supposedly as rich and dark in taste as it is in appearance.

 

This sauce is made specifically from the “chocolate” habanero, a dark cocoa-like brown breed of that well known hot chilli. It even has a smidgen of raw cocoa bean powder but, despite its cocoa content and “chocolate” chilli, the makers assure me that this isn't a chocolate flavoured sauce. In fact, they even had to change its name from Chocolate Habanero because too many people got the wrong idea.

It's only similarity is in its supposed richness.

 

 

And the labelling is a rich brown like the sauce itself, with the company's logo bold and central, using a solid white to stand out. It's an unorthodox choice but this simple colouration works well with their equally simple design. Three chillies cut into a decahedron, surrounded by the company name and the banner that holds their motto, “Fearless Flavour”.

 

We then see a thin-lined white box down below, which holds the product's name in bold, golden yellow letters, further adding to the sense of richness this colour scheme provides.

 

Aside from that, there's not much else of note on the front of the bottle but you'll find little blurbs all around the sides about who the company are, what the chilli is, what the sauce is and how to use it. That's not always the most exciting way to fill up space but this is a no frills specialist product that revolves around the taste of a single uncommon strain of a chilli. If you're the sort of person to whom that appeals, you're also the sort of person who's going to love that detail.

 

But, if that's not you and your only interest in the chocolate habanero is that its supposedly the hottest colour, you don't have to read all that. You can appreciate the purity of this sauce and the simplicity of its packaging. And, of course, its dramatic use of action lines.

 

That's right. If the chilli itself wasn't enough to grab your attention, perhaps the two background tones radiating out from just below the label's mid point will be. They are, after all, a classic comic book way of showing where all the action is without animation. A trick I'm sure the Wiltshire Chilli Farm are aware of, given their past comic book themed range.

 

In my opinion, they've done an excellent job on this sauce's packaging, conveying the rich, dark flavour and making it eye catching while still retaining that sense of simplicity you want for the bottle of a specialist single-chilli sauce.

 

The one thing I think they could do better is to waterproof it but, even then, this isn't poor quality paper. Just because it's not glossy doesn't mean it's not pleasing to the touch. That one issue really is quite minor unless you happen to be a stall holder.

 

But, just because I know what the taste should be and how well the label represents that doesn't mean I can review this sauce without opening the bottle so, without further ado, let's load up the spoon.

 

2016-09-20-13-10-38.jpg?w=300

 

It flows from the bottle quickly and easily but this sauce isn't really all that thin. It's a good middling consistency, with small chunks and seeds proving that the entirety of each chilli went into this bottle.

With its upper

4/10

Heat

and powerfully floral flavour, though, this is not a sauce you can simply enjoy a spoonful of. I was warned that this one would have a delayed reaction but that isn't true for me at all. In the quantity I first tried it, the heat was an instant spread from the sides of the mouth to the back of the throat and it was painful.

 

It wasn't unbearable, by any means, but nor was this quite the product I was expecting. Everything I'd read had led me to believe it was hot but focused on flavour.

This was not just the upper three of a sauce that showcased the taste of a hot chilli. It was the serious stinging burn of the hottest habanero sauce I've ever had. This sauce does not sacrifice heat for flavour. Youch!

 

But still, I've eaten far hotter, as the fact it only reaches the top of a four will tell you. This sauce may hit me a little harder than some because of its particular brand of heat but, in all honesty, it's pretty manageable once you know what's coming.

 

No, the heat isn't my issue with this sauce. My problem with it is what accompanies that heat. An overwhelming floral taste with a back-note of sourness, slightly green as if the pepper weren't fully ripe. Or perhaps that's just how chocolate habaneros are meant to taste.

Either way, I don't like it one bit.

 

It can, however, be managed. By taking the sauce in smaller doses, or perhaps having it with a meal like you're supposed to, you don't get the heat quite as suddenly. Instead the burn, as well as everything that comes with it, creeps in a little more gradually, allowing you time to more properly taste the rest of the chilli. And all the other ingredients.

 

That taste is rich but not as strong as I was expecting. Which is probably why it gets lost so easily beneath that powerful floral flavour. It's sweet and earthy, perhaps even peaty, with definite hints of smoke, just like the company claim, but where that smoke comes from is unclear. Is it innate to the chilli like they suggest or is it from the chipotle they've added? I can't say for sure.

 

What I can say, though, is that I will not be adding this to mexican style chilli like I had intended. I ordered this expecting a bold, rich, dark, almost chocolatey flavour but the only strong flavour here is that habanero floral tone. Nothing else would come through in such a strong dish.

 

What would I use this for then? If anything, probably fish. That's a big “if”, though, because, quite honestly, I just don't like it.


The Chilli Alchemist's Melliculus Reaper Popping Candy

10 January 2017 - 09:32 AM

This week we have the very last of my blog's free samples, at least for the forseeable future, and the hottest of them to boot. This is, without a doubt, the hottest non-extract popping candy around. Not that there's much competition for that title.

Here's the content copied over:

 

Hello again spice lovers, today we're looking at the Melliculus range's hottest and the first product I ever tried from The Chilli Alchemist; The Melliculus Reaper:

 

2016-12-16-13-26-15.jpg?w=680

 

 

Black and red, the Reaper is the most sinister looking of the bunch and clearly the hottest of the three colour coded ones.

 

In addition, the faint alchemical symbols seem to gather behind that word, their slightly lighter shade forming something of a spotlight on the name. The name of the product and the name of the chilli, the carolina reaper.

 

Because this particular popping candy does, in fact, get its heat from the world's hottest chilli, making the “very hot” rating beneath that name something of an understatement, I'm sure.

It is, though, the only one of the range to have a rating even that high. The superhot black version we looked at last month was merely rated “hot”, despite its only flavourings being 7-pot/7-pod and ghost chillies.

 

And, if that doesn't clue you in to the heat level I'm expecting, maybe its colour will. It's darker and more powder filled even than the Aji version and, unlike that one, there's no added ingredients like szechuan pepper. What you see here is all chilli. All reaper.

 

2016-12-16-13-27-55.jpg?w=680

 

In moderation, it's delicious.

 

I make no secret of the fact that I love the mellower chilli flavour of the carolina reaper, neither acidic and fruity like the trinidad scorpion nor quite as bold as the ghost but rather a surprisingly light and gentle flavour for its heat level.

 

It's often described as having cinnamon or chocolate notes to it and, while I don't entirely agree that it actually tastes of those things, I can certainly see where those people are coming from. It does have the same sort of spiced elements to it as you might get using cinnamon, cocoa or nutmeg.

 

It's a wonderful tasting pepper that is rendered sadly inaccessible to most people by its insane heat but there is one problem with its flavour, even for those like me who can handle the burn. It's strangely sour.

That sourness occasionally comes through just a touch in this popping candy but only when you get a particularly hot clump. For the most part, the sugar content counteracts it perfectly, making this one of the best ways to experience the taste of the chilli. Especially with how well the undertones of cocoa butter support it.

 

The Melliculus Reaper is an excellent chilli product and was, prior to sampling the Melliculus Aji, my undoubted favourite of the range. Now, it's hard to say which of the two I prefer but I would recommend them to quite different audiences.

 

The Aji one was hot and tasty, with a very interesting and unusual blend of flavours. It's perfect for those who like hot and want something a little different without going to extreme heats. Or to show those who aren't familiar with the breadth of flavour found in the chilli world just how different some peppers can taste.

 

The Reaper, however, is not for the faint of heart. It is a gorgeous tasting product for the connoisseurs who can see and taste past its extreme firepower or a particularly interesting and unusual way to challenge your mates to try the world's hottest.

It is not for the casual hot food lover.

 

Heat-wise, it's a little delayed, building as the candy begins to pop and quickly becoming a fearsome fire in the back of the throat and at the roof of the mouth.

 

Like the other Melliculus popping candies, the heat goes upwards far more than it would with other products from the same chilli but, unlike the others, this one reaches a whopping

 

7.5/10

Heat

 

It's not perfectly consistent, mind you. Some small mouthfuls are just a touch lower due to the way the chilli is distributed but, for the most part, that's the heat you'll be getting.

 

And, of course, seven point five is a long way from ten, the heat of a first ingredient carolina reaper sauce, but it's also just as far from five, the heat of a ghost one. Compared to most supermarket chilli products, this is completely and utterly off the scale so please, do be careful if you're not used to extreme heats.

 

It's a wonderful product but one to use with caution and, while I'd generally just eat it as is, I could certainly see it pairing well with vanilla and white chocolate ice-creams or pressed into icing atop a raspberry sponge cake.


Chimoulis Chilli Salted Caramel Spread

02 January 2017 - 09:10 PM

This week for my blog, I reviewed the very last of my samples from ChimouliS. The post has been copied below for your viewing pleasure.

 

Happy tuesday heat eaters, it's now January and we're nearly done with my product samples.

 

There's one more heat left of The Chilli Alchemists popping candy but we'll save that for next week. Today, we're looking at something from ChimouliS again.

 

 

“But wait,” I hear you cry, “didn't we see their last sauce last month?”

Indeed we did, avid reader, but sauces aren't all the company produces. As you may remember from my brief overview of them, the first of their products I discovered and the one they have become most well known for is a salted caramel spread. A chilli salted caramel spread.

 

2016-12-21-13-33-51.jpg?w=680

 

ChimouliS make this spread in four flavours; coffee, mild chilli, carolina reaper and plain. I received both the chilli one and the heatless plain variety so I can tell you exactly what the chilli brings to their creation but I will not be properly reviewing the plain one as it isn't what my blog is about.

 

Before I get into tasting this spread, though, I'm going to go over its packaging. Its tiny little wedding favour packaging.

 

2016-10-04-14-35-08.jpg?w=231

 

The sample I've been sent comes in a wonderful miniature version of those classic hexagonal jam jars. A traditional jar shape that so many companies, both big and small, still use to this day.

It does a great job of keeping up the air of old worldy tradition we've seen across ChimouliS' other products. A feel that is only further enhanced by their continued simplistic labelling on parchment-coloured backgrounds.

 

In this particular instance, however, they have left out the faded map we saw on their sauces. The fake parchment is plain and shows only the ingredients, company logo and product name, the last of which has just the faintest hint of red shadowing to its black letters.

There's really not much to this label and most of what there is has already been seen on their sauces but that simplicity is what gives it elegance. At least for me.

 

Opening up this pretty little jar, I find I can't get my teaspoon all the way in, meaning I can only show you the small amount I could scrape off the surface. Not that you should have any trouble, since butter knives can reach the full contents just fine.

 

2016-12-21-13-32-21.jpg?w=300

 

At cold, winter room temperature, this spread is thick and just a little granular. It doesn't, if I'm honest, look as appetising as I might like but it tastes just great. Like the rich, buttery caramel it is, with a creamy mouth feel that hides most of that graininess.

 

Warmed up even slightly (just holding the jar for a bit will do), the grains disappear and this product becomes entirely smooth and spreadable. Placed on something hot, like toast, it practically melts, making it all the more gorgeous to eat.

Quite frankly, though, once it's picked up enough warmth to become smooth, I could just eat it straight out the jar.

 

The salt is far from overpowering but it really brings out the flavour of the caramel itself. Just the way it was when the idea first caught on in France all those years ago.

But I'm not just reviewing a salted caramel spread. I'm reviewing a chilli salted caramel spread. What does the addition of chilli powder bring to this little treat?

 

Well, for starters, it brings a good little fieriness at the very top of what I'd call a

1/10

Heat

that isn't immediately obvious when not eaten straight but slowly builds with each bite to a warming tongue tingle, perfect to start a cold winter morning.

It's undeniably mild but not so much so that its small fire is wasted, even on someone with my degree of chilli tolerance.

 

Yet there's more to the addition of chilli than just its heat.

 

While I enjoy this version, I find the plain one completely unpalatable. It's just too buttery for me.

I don't think it's a bad product or anything, it's just not to my personal tastes. Most people are a good deal more into butter than I am.

 

But, regardless of how into butter you are, I would still recommend the chilli version over the plain every time.

 

The added flavour from the chilli powder is subtle and certainly doesn't stop this product from being both rich and buttery but it does take the edge off a little. That small shift in the balance of flavours makes the salted caramel less overbearingly fatty and far more well rounded.

 

Suddenly, the richness supports the dried chilli taste, instead of purely furthering the strength of the product's dairy notes.

I went into this review sceptical, expecting the touch of chilli powder to bring very little to the taste of ChimouliS' spread. Instead, I'm left thinking that maybe it wasn't ever meant to be a non-chilli product because it just seems to work so much better with it than without.

 

It's perfect for toast, as I've already mentioned, but supposedly also great melted into coffee. I could also see it on cakes or baked into fruit-based deserts. Heated a little first, it would even pour wonderfully over ice-cream, pancakes and waffles.

 

It's not quite as versatile as some of ChimouliS' other items but it doesn't have to be. It's delicious and has some very clear and simple uses that everyone can enjoy.

Well worth trying!


Scotch Bonnet & Sweet Potato Stew

26 December 2016 - 07:39 PM

Another end of the month recipe copied over from my blog for you guys, with bigger pictures as requested. Now you get to enjoy all the poor winter lighting in far greater clarity :P.

 

Hello again folks, it's time for another winter warmer.

Today's recipe, however, is a little less sweet than our last, being less of a snack or desert and more of a full on meal. What we're going to be making this week is a scotch bonnet and sweet potato stew.

 

 

What you're going to need for this is:

 

2016-12-13-15-16-43.jpg?w=680

 

300g sweet potato

125g baby sweetcorn

2 bell peppers (preferably orange or red)

2 scotch bonnets (preferably red)

1 decent sized onion

1 clove of garlic

500ml of passata/sieved tomato (this roughly equals 500g so don't worry about the units)

300ml vegetable stock

2 tablespoons of peanut butter (smooth!)

2 tablespoons oil (your choice)

 

But before we get into the actual cooking, it'll help a lot if you chop everything in advance. Except, you know, the liquids.

 

Personally, I like to take the seeds out of my scotch bonnets, since the heat is in the placenta that attaches them anyway and I'd rather not get them in my teeth. It's a not an important step, though. As long the chillies are well shredded, it's your choice what you do with the seeds. You could even try and grow them.

 

As for the rest, the garlic should be crushed and diced just as small, the corn cut to half inch (that's a little over a centimetre) segments and the sweet potato just a little bit bigger than that. For the onions and bell pepper, just be sensible. As long as you de-core the bell, it's hard to mess them up.

 

Then we fry the onions and garlic in our oil in a large saucepan, stirring over a low heat to avoid burning them.

 

Once the onions have gone soft and slightly transparent, we can add the chilli, giving us something like this:

 

2016-12-13-16-04-13.jpg?w=680

 

This picture may help you see what your onions should look like but, to be perfectly honest with you, I'm just including it because I found it strangely pretty. I know, I'm weird.

 

After just a few minutes of cooking in your scotch bonnets, it's time to move on to the next ingredient. Or should I say ingredients?

 

All the other vegetables go in at this point to get coated with the chilli and onion. This helps make sure the heat is evenly distributed when we add the liquid. Which is, of course, the next step.

 

After all your veg has had a good five minutes to infuse, add the passata and stock, whacking the heat way up to bring them to the boil.

 

When everything's mixed together and bubbling away nicely, put a lid on your pan to stop the contents from drying out. We can now drop the heat right down again and our stew will continue to boil for the remaining twenty minutes it needs to soften up the sweet potatoes and finish cooking.

 

Finally, once that's all done, we can turn the heat off completely and mix two tablespoons of peanut butter with an equivalent amount of our stew's liquid, before stirring the result back in.

 

You might be wondering why I'd recommend such a thing, as the stew will already be quite thick but the spread isn't for thickness. I'm recommending it for the richness it lends to the finished dish. In fact, since it's being used for flavour and not for texture, you can even add a little water to the pan if you're struggling to get liquid to blend with the peanut butter.

 

It does not make the dish taste like peanuts in any way but it does round out the wonderful warming flavour it already has, making it an integral part of this scotch bonnet and sweet potato stew.

 

Although, while its flavour is definitely warming, many of you might consider its upper

3/10

Heat

to be rather more than that word implies.

 

Should the highest point between medium and hot prove too much chilli for you, however, this dish can easily be made with only one of the scotch bonnets for roughly half the strength. You will lose a lot of the chilli's much loved flavour in the process but this stew has plenty of its own to make up for it.

 

Regardless of how hot you choose to make it, though, the dish looks just as beautiful as it tastes once sitting on the dinner table:

 

2016-12-13-16-40-01.jpg?w=680


ChimouliS Purple Scorpion

20 December 2016 - 10:01 AM

My blog's review this week is the hottest of ChimouliS' samples and the hottest of their sauce range. Here's the content copied over for your information and enjoyment:

 

Hello again everyone, this week we'll be taking a look at the last of the sauces sent to me by ChimouliS.

 

2016-10-19-11-17-23.jpg?w=148

 

Their purple hot Scorpion one.

 

 

Contrary to what the company say about it, however, I think it might be more correct to call this the first of their pastes as, despite being a first ingredient vinegar product, I could only get it out the bottle by using the back end of my spoon.

 

2016-10-19-11-21-10.jpg?w=680

 

And, while it is a touch more liquid than the jalapeño purée we saw a few months back, it still looks very thick sitting there on the handle. In fact, it looks almost like a jelly.

What really gets me interested in trying it, though, is not the texture but the colour. An unusual pinky red with a touch of purple to it from the red onions and black carrots ChimouliS have used.

 

And, of course, as we saw with their other sauces, they've coloured the shadowing behind the product's name to match, this time making it a sinister dark purple.

 

Less usual for them, however, is that they've changed the sub-heading colour as well. While all their other hot sauces declared their heat in red, the “Purple Scorpion Hot Sauce” does so in purple, doing a worryingly good job of setting it apart from the rest but making me wonder: Which is hotter, red hot or purple hot?

 

The makers try to answer that question by calling this their hottest and it does indeed contain a chilli far hotter than any other they have used but I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't try it out myself.

 

The burn comes in slowly and gradually with this one, giving me plenty of time to appreciate its sharp yet slightly sweet and almost zesty carrot, onion and distilled malt vinegar base before it eventually reaches its peak at the low end of what I call a

6/10

Heat

 

It's a far milder strength than what I've come to expect from the trinidad moruga scorpion but its still not even close to being mild. Between the initial tongue burn of whatever 7-Pot chilli ChimouliS has chosen to use and the fearsome throaty peak from the scorpion and ghost peppers, this little bottle packs the most firepower out of anything in their range, surpassing the vast majority of ghost pepper sauces in both peak heat and duration.

 

But, as you might guess, the long slow build provided by the trio of super hot peppers also makes it one of their least punchy. If you're looking for a sauce with a sudden kick, you'd be a lot better off with their Salty Scotch Bonnet.

 

Yet, regardless of how slow it might be to do so, the scorpion pepper gives a ton of firepower to this product, despite not being a major flavour.

 

No, the chilli flavour isn't so much trinidad scorpion as it is mixed superhots. The scorpion lends its acidic, fruity, almost orange-like bite to the mix, the ghost pepper gives it a deep red chilli base and there seem to be slight citrus hints from the 7-Pot/7-Pod but the overall taste is not any one chilli.

It is, however, a surprisingly good companion for the main flavours of this product.

 

The high onion and vinegar content pairs well with that bit of fruity acidity from the scorpion and 7-Pot, while the depth of the ghost compliments that of the garlic and mild ginger notes.

 

Its nothing like any other scorpion sauce or paste I have tried but it goes great on burgers and quiche and would also work well as a marinade for or even just blobbed onto meats and tofu.

 

I could also see it making a great addition to vegetable soups and stews, if stirred in early enough to dissolve, or even livening up salads if you can find a way to thin it out into a dressing.

It's not my favourite of ChimouliS' range (that'd probably be their Pear and Lemongrass) but it's unique and highly versatile, making it well worth trying if you want the kind of crazy heat it provides.

 

I would, however, strongly recommend against getting the wedding favour bottle I had as, with a neck so thin, it was a constant struggle to get anything out at all.