Surprise! It’s not an East Coast Chilli Co item for today’s review.
I thought about posting one today but, after cracking open a bottle to try, I realised I wanted to draw comparison with another upcoming item. One that I’m not able to showcase until early next month.
In the mean time, we’re going to take a look at a couple of items that’ve been waiting for a good moment to be discussed.
The leeds-made Pineapple, Scotch Bonnet & Sesame Oil Sauce from The Crafty Bustard and Sierra Nevada’s Salsa Picante De Chipotle-Piña, imported from either spain or california.
Honestly, I’m not really sure. The company mention both places and my spanish isn’t good enough to tell where they’re actually based.
Both are pineapple based sauces, though, and both are sweet ones with a bit of a savoury twist. Yet they both achieve that in quite different ways and with very different end results.
After all, one’s a tropical sauce with sesame and the other’s a smoked jalapeño sauce that seems like it’s going to be using its fruit for sweetness and be something of a barbecue item.
We’ll find out if that really is the case in a moment.
I can’t remember exactly where I bought either of them from. One was a small, nearby food festival find and the other was a last minute addition to my order from some british chilli shop or other. An add-on chosen because I love the caramelised char on grilled pineapple and hoped that chipotle would provide some similar flavour notes.
Neither’s particularly hard to track down, mind you.
The Crafty Bustard are fairly active on social media and Sierra Nevada’s website (www.salsasierranevada.com) is right on the bottle. Though it is entirely in spanish.
Yet both still look to be small producers, given their rather minimalist label designs.
We get a nice little logo atop The Crafty Bustard’s offering, with a bit of a sketch effect, and a thin outline of a hen on the side of the bottle. But there isn’t much there besides that. Just a whole load of black text on white. No colour to be seen but the golden-yellow of the sauce.
I am, however, quite impressed by how well their labelling has held up, given how wet the event I found it at was. I’ve seen similar plain paper labels hold up far worse in far better weather.
Heck, look at Sierra Nevada’s – Wrinkled by nothing more than the difference in temperature between my doorstep and my fridge.
But, aside from that, I have no real issues with the look of their packaging. There’s little to it besides the green seal against a light blue background but that gives it a slight “authentic” vibe.
Neither has particularly good label design but both look to hit the key points that they’re aiming for, at least.
Now, it’s about time we cracked them open. Just one more thing to get out of the way first: The ingredients lists.
These days I like to give you the lists on the bottles but, not being printed in english, I’m going to have to do a little translation for the Chipotle-Piña . Fortunately, while I’m not fluent, I can speak enough of most european languages to read an ingredients list. Here’s what theirs says:
Pineapple, Chipotle, Onion, Garlic, Cane Sugar, Lemon Juice
And as for the more easily read list on the Pineapple, Scotch Bonnet & Sesame Oil Sauce, you might just about be able to make it out in my first photo. If not, though, don’t worry. Here it is again:
Pineapple, Sugar, Water, Scotch Bonnet, Sesame Oil, Lemon and Salt
Here’s what it looks like on a spoon:
As golden as before and lightly translucent, not transparent. Letting the light through but definitely not clear enough to make out even my spoon beneath it. A shred of red betraying its chilli content.
Its texture is a little jelly-like but still more than thin enough to pour – A combination that can be seen in how it hangs over the sides and one that provides an interesting contrast to today’s other sauce.
Sierra Nevada’s offering feels like it has a lot more weight to it. It’s a good deal thicker and its jellied liquid clings strongly to the the pineapple chunks within.
I’m not sure that those chunks look too appetising but the bold, orangey-reddish brown colour and flecks of seeds more than make up for it. It looks positively gorgeous on camera!
Yet using the same type of flow nozzle that we saw on Grim Reaper Foods’ Vengeance Oil and Daddy Cool’s Broon was a terrible mistake here. It took minutes to tap out enough to fill my spoon. You can forget any thoughts of being able to pour this sauce without removing it!
But appearances aside, how do these two taste?
Well, the Chipotle-Piña is sweet and not quite sticky but definitely gummy, with its pineapple pieces coming across a little more savoury than I expected and adding an equally surprising level of chew. The earthy chipotle smoke finds its way into every part of this sauce without fail to offset that sweetness but the cooked yet not caramelised onions put it right back in there with a vegetable element to it.
And then there’s the richness of the garlic.
Why is there the richness of the garlic? Why did someone think that was a good idea?
It adds a third, wildly contrasting aspect to the flavour of this already mishmash and somewhat sickly tasting sauce.
It pushes it over the edge from unpleasant into gag-worthy and, while I didn’t throw up like with the hottest sauce I tried, that one was just too strong. This one actually made me want to.
I know I’ve said some bad things about Dave’s Insanity in my time as a reviewer but Dave’s Insanity still has its uses.
At a mere
this sauce isn’t going to do much to liven up a meal and being added to food will only help its flavour by diluting it.
As long as you can taste this sauce, it’s going to be a bad time. And, for that matter, even if you for some reason can’t.
Because that mix of solid, chewy and gummy textures isn’t exactly great either.
I can think of no way to save this awful product and, believe me, I’ve tried. I’ve been racking my brain the entire time I’ve owned it.
Fortunately, though, today’s other item is a much better one.
Or perhaps that’s not luck. Perhaps I planned it this way? You’ll never know for sure.
Whatever the case may be, it blends sweet and savoury but it does so in a far more palatable way. Without any of the texture problems.
The Crafty Bustard’s Pineapple, Scotch Bonnet & Sesame Oil Sauce has the same feel throughout – One of small shreds in a slightly jellied liquid. And, instead of dry smoked chilli, it gets its savoury elements from the sesame in its name.
This nuttier addition pairs significantly better with the fruit itself and the slightly earthy, fruity notes from the scotch bonnet, while subtle, also do a lot to help bring the two together. Instead of pushing the other ingredients apart like Sierra Nevada’s garlic and onions.
It’s not the best sauce ever but it sure feels like it by comparison as it pulls off its unique concept with elegance and grace. I’d actually say it’s pretty good.
If sesame and pineapple sound like your sort of thing and the high end of a
suits your tolerance, I’d say it’s well worth giving a go.
Especially if you like jamaican food and tacos topped with fresh veg, since that’s what I found it went best with.
It’ll make a great caribbean pineapple chicken without any effort but I do find that the combination of sweet and savoury limits its applications a tad.
Primarily savoury sauces go on a tonne of things, as my other reviews will tell you, while a less sugary pineapple one might go well on fish, into curries or over spaghetti bolognaise.
A more standard sweet version would probably work well with chinese dishes but this one only really works with the fried rice from that region.
Still, if you have any fun ideas that I haven’t thought of, I’d be more than happy to hear them. Leave them in the comments below or drop me a message via my “contact me” page.
And, if you do get The Crafty Bustard’s pineapple and sesame sauce, give their Strawberry & Elderflower icecream syrup a look too. It may not be spicy in the slightest but it carries bold elderflower flavour when everything else I’ve eaten likes to keep the flower subtle.