Hello again everyone, today were looking at the last of Cowley’s Fine Foods’ vegan jerky samples, their Shiiiitake! Thats Hot!
Now some people spell the word “shītake” with one “I”, some people spell it with two and I spell it with a little line known as a “macron” to denote a long vowel sound.
Cowley’s, though, have decided to use four “I”s.
Four “I”s that emphasise the pun that they’re making.
You see, while shītake may well be a type of mushroom, it’s also close enough to a common swear word that it often takes its place when self-censorship is needed. “Shiiiitake! Thats Hot!” is meant as much to be the exclamation used in response to this product as a description of the contents.
But, as we can see through the clear bag, it’s a pun that they’ve committed to. Aside from a couple of broken bits, there’s nothing but whole, chilli-covered shītake mushrooms in here. Certainly not the four types we saw in their milder mushroom jerky.
But the white label tells us even more, with a huge pile of trinidad scorpion chillies taking centre stage between two smaller piles of the jerky’s namesake fungi. It says everything it needs to before we even have to read the blurb.
Personally, I would like to see an apostrophe in “thats” but that’s all I can find fault in. It’s a great, punny name with design work that showcases its product’s qualities very well.
Yet even it can’t do it so well that I don’t have to try the contents.
The mushrooms are crisp, dry and have a good bit of chew to them. They have the rich, earthy, woody flavour that I was expecting, with a bit of saltiness from the soy, but there’s more to it than that.
The soy also adds to the darker umami notes of the mushrooms themselves and the strong, ever-present taste of dried red chilli pairs remarkably well with that woody side, while also keeping the richer, darker elements in check.
There is a slight variation in flavour here, with what taste like both generic red chilli flakes and flakes of de árbol, alongside the advertised scorpion pepper pieces. But, even so, they all share common dried red pepper base notes beneath the hints of the de árbol’s woody not quite smokiness and the scorpion’s citric not quite oranginess. They add variety without detracting from the whole at all.
I was expecting little more than very hot mushrooms but, while the hottest bits definitely gave me a strong
that slowly spread backwards from the impact point, it came in long after the taste of these delicious treats, meaning that I could really savour the flavour before they stung my tongue with their intense burn.
So yes, they’re shītake that’re hot but they have so much more going on flavourwise. They’re my favourite of everything I’ve had from Cowley’s Fine Foods and I would definitely suggest getting some yourself. But only, of course, if you can handle heat in excess of ghost pepper sauces.
They are, after all, still incredibly strong by most people’s standards.