Happy tuesday oncemore everyone. This week, before I review anything, I’d like to take a brief moment to talk about spelling.
There are several ways to spell the word “chilli”. There’s the common UK spelling I use but also the one L version, “chili”, popular in parts of the US. Or “chile”, a variation that I pronounce like “child” without the D when I have to remember web addresses.
That one’s my least favourite, since it doesn’t work within the (rather inconsistent) rules of my native language and can lead to confusing it with the country.
But today I have another for you. A fourth spelling, pioneered by a company I found at Reading:
Their name, featured in illuminated red font above that of their marmalade, combines the double L of the english with the E ending of the country and even the extra E before the S when one of the first two get pluralised.
Yet that’s not where it comes from. In reality, it’s just a pun. A play on the last name of Nick and Francine Lee, who work together to produce the range.
And it’s not the only pun on their “Twisting My Lemon Man” – A title that simply swaps two letters around in a popular phrase.
Nor is it the only item I intend to show you today.
This Lemon & Earl Grey Marmalade from Edible Ornamentals is far less fun with its naming and gets straight to describing its ingredients but the brand name that they’ve chosen for the line isn’t entirely free from wordplay.
It’s “Nagalicious”, a portmanteau of “Naga” and “Delicious”, curved in such a way that my more dirty minded friends tell me it’s super easy to misread the first letter as a V.
Their yellow text on yellow background probably doesn’t help much.
The Chillees’ grey text on white may look boring but it’s a lot more readable. And, even if you couldn’t read it, the imagery says everything you need to know about their product.
Behind the text is a large photo of a yellow 7-pot/pod pepper, digitally altered so that it looks like it’s unwinding into lemon peel. Then, for those who didn’t recognise it as a chilli, there’s a wall of more conventional hot red peppers separating the front of the jar from its ingredients on the left.
Personally, I’d like a different background – One that makes the lemon pith a little more obvious – but they’ve really nailed the imagery. If you’re reading this, Mr and Mrs Lee, well done!
Their rivals in this comparison review have been a little less impressive in this regard. All they’ve shown us is the dorset naga that gives their product heat.
It’s a fun image, all cartoony and feisty-looking with its grinning face and the slightly sassy posing of its arms. Yet it tells us very little about their marmalade’s flavour.
Which, I suppose, makes now as good a time as any to try the pair:
The Chillees’ offering is thick and gloopy, with clear shreds of lemon peel but no obvious signs of its pepper. Whereas there are a few tiny shreds of red in Edible Ornamentals’ if you look hard enough and their lemon chunks are downright humongous.
That Nagalicious marmalade is also much more of an amber brown colour than its competition. Twisting My Lemon Man is very traditional in appearance, being a brighter, more transparent yellow.
And it tastes pretty traditional, as well.
The chilli doesn’t come through at all in the flavour of The Chillees’ product, since it’s such a citrusy, lemon-like variety it’s immediately hidden beneath the actual fruit. The yellow 7-pot/pod is delicious and it and the lemon drop are definitely the two best peppers for blending in with the flavour of a lemon marmalade.
But that is, ultimately, all that’s going on here. A sweet, yet naturally bitter lemon marmalade, perfect for toast, fish or chicken. Only with a low
that grows in slowly to gently ease you awake in the mornings.
It’s not quite what I expected from a near-superhot like the 7-pot/pod but it’s still a fair bit for one percent chilli, without being too much to handle first thing.
If you like marmalade, this one is very well crafted.
But the Earl Grey one still strikes me as more interesting, with its mild black tea overtones and a slight touch of bergamot that pairs beautifully with the bitter notes from the fruit peel and its chilli of choice.
Because yes, the dorset naga is a tad more bitter than its better known cousin, the ghost pepper. That’s the main distinction between the two in flavour but Edible Ornaments are growers, not just producers, and they tell me that they actually chose the strain for its stability.
Either way, though, it works for their marmalade range and it works especially well with their choice of tea.
It does, however, give the product a good deal of burn. A
that starts quickly before ramping up in the back of the throat.
It’s too strong, I think, for slice number one but it will still go on toast once you’ve got something in your stomach. Or, if their american tastes are accurate, on pancakes.
It will make a rather different marmalade chicken than today’s other item but the rich, earthy and ever so slightly floral notes of the tea, combined with the hint of red chilli, will not go amiss.
Mix with honey and ginger, then strain hot water through for a fiery lemon tea, or use whiskey, cinnamon and cloves to make it a hot toddy.
Hardcore marmalade fans are going to prefer the sheer quality of The Chillees’ Twisting My Lemon Man but newcomers to the preserve or those seeking something a little different are going to side with me when I say my favourite of the two is the Nagalicious Lemon & Earl Grey from Edible Ornamentals. Despite me not typically being a fan of bitterness, which it does possess a little more of than its straight lemon competitor.
It is worth noting, though, that The Chillees’ jar is almost twice the size – 200 grams to Edible Ornamentals’ 120.
And, of course, I can’t leave you without their ingredients.
Twisting My Lemon Man is:
Sugar, Water, Lemons (23%), Yellow 7 Pot Chillies (1%), Citric Acid. Prepared with 48g fruit per 100g. Total sugar content 75g per 100g.
While the Lemon & Earl Grey Marmalade is:
Water, Sugar, Lemons (39%), Naga Chillies (4%) & Earl Grey Tea (1%). Prepared with 43g fruit per 100g.