Hello again everyone, this time we’re looking at Fat Man Chilli Co’s Spicy Tomato Ketchup.
A rather subtly branded sauce with a light, rope-weave background to its little label. This pale creamy colour stands out well against the sauce inside, despite it being rather more muted in colour than most other ketchups, and also allows the name to be just as prominent.
I am not a fan, however, of the sideways text that they’ve chosen and, while I can see what they were going for when they wrote “spicy” in green, I don’t feel like it really gets across the idea of the ketchup being mild like it’s supposed to.
No, what does that is the overall appearance of the product, looking far more like an artisan food item than an extreme chilli one, at least in part due to the lack of intensity in its colour palette.
This gives a false impression of the company, I feel, but not the thick sauce within.
Fat Man Chilli Co’s ketchup flows freely but controllably onto my spoon, smelling like sun dried tomatoes in an oil with herbs.
And, indeed, its rich, slightly umami-ish, slow roasted flavour and super smooth feel in the mouth fit that perfectly. This is not your average ketchup.
It is not even a product that I would describe as “ketchupy” like Encona’s reaper sauce. It’s not a sweet and vinegary, quickly cooked tomato flavour. It’s the deliciously savoury sort produced by drying them out as they cook much slower.
Plus, if their website is to be believed, they’re not even the same sort of tomato. Fat Man Chilli Co uses an extra sweet, orange variety known as “sungold”, which seems odd given how much sweeter most other ketchups are. Though I’m sure the oregano, basil and caraway (as well as any other herbs and spices in here) have helped in holding back the sweetness.
This is definitely the artisan ketchup it looks like.
It’s still a tiny bit sweet and it’ll still go great on burgers, chips, roasts and hot dogs, to name just a few uses, but it’s not got that almost sweet and sour combination of sugar and tang to it that most ketchups do. I wouldn’t recommend trying to use it in chinese cooking or having fresh pineapple on your burger with it.
Something that I’m definitely considering, though, and would never do with a regular ketchup, is thinning it out with some extra olive oil and stirring it into pasta. It’s good enough and has enough depth of flavour to carry an entire meal on its own.
And, at only a high
the tiny burn provided by its espalette chilli* isn’t going to get in the way of that at all.
This is a great, mild tomato sauce that may well be shockingly different to the ketchups you know but certainly shouldn’t disappoint with its flavour. There is just one more thing I need to say about it.
This sauce is not suitable for vegetarians due to a small amount of anchovy present in the small amount of worcestershire sauce used in its production. This fish content is not present on the label, apparently at the advice of the relevant food authorities, so it’s not immediately obvious why it’s specifically labelled as not vegetarian or vegan.
That anchovy is why.
*The company website lists their chillies as “Basque” peppers but I can find no record of such a type. Since espalette chillies come from the french basque region, are slightly milder than a red jalapeño and are ideal for drying, however, I believe this to be a simple name change used to bypass the protected origin status of those peppers. They would, after all, fit perfectly into such a slow cooked product.