Happy may day, everyone! Today I’d like to celebrate a special occasion but perhaps not that one.
Instead, I’d like to talk about a lesser-known german holiday, walpurgisnacht.
It’s the night of Saint Walpurga, the last night of april and, due to my upload times, the night I’m actually posting this on. But it’s also known for being the night when the witches come out. The night when people stay indoors to avoid being spirited away, never to return.
So, with that in mind, I’d like to show you the Chilli Pepper Company’s Witches’ Brew. A sauce which is supposedly their caribbean take on Tabasco.
It’s a darkish brown sauce, labelled with a darker version of the blue cracked earth background that we saw on their old Dragons Breath sauce. A blue that plays well with the orangey tone of the sauce itself.
And, like that sauce, it claims to be “very hot” – A rating that means very little when it’s on both a low medium sauce and an actual superhot one.
Nor can we take the ingredients list at face value, after past experiences with The Chilli Pepper Company, but here’s what’s on the bottle all the same:
Scotch Bonnet Chilli 25%, Vinegar, Salt, Cinnamon, Spice, Garlic, Xanthan Gum
I do find it interesting that the cinnamon is listed separately from the spice but I can easily tell why once I open the bottle. Aside from a vinegary, slightly fruity tang, that’s the vast majority of what I smell; savoury cinnamon.
On my spoon, you can see how thick this sauce is by the raised centre of my blob. It’s not the Tabasco-like consistency that I had been anticipating and the weight of the sauce makes it difficult to pour any smaller amount.
Which would, perhaps, be fine if it weren’t such a powerful flavour. Without a dropper cap (which I just happened to have handy after its removal from another sauce), it seemed to overwhelm any food I put it on and all I could see it being used for is a chicken marinade.
And don’t get me wrong, it would be a great marinade, massaged lightly into the meat. This sauce’s flavour is a good one. One that combines a salted cinnamon base with either nutmeg or allspice, as well as the earthy fruitiness of aged scotch bonnets.
Aside from the pickled tang of its seemingly distilled vinegar and the slight citrus hint it has acquired (is that from the bonnets or is there unlisted fruit juice?), this is basically a liquid jerk seasoning.
Yet, with my dropper cap in place, I found it went with a couple more food types than just the expected jamaican sort. A drop or two, for example, was quite a pleasant addition to most rice dishes and a little more worked wonders with just about anything chinese.
Getting back to the marinade use, being a little less heavy-handed with it might make it work for fish as well and, for the vegetarians and vegans among you, how about pre-marinating tofu in the stuff before it goes into a sweet and sour?
The Witches’ Brew is, in my opinion, a good sauce ruined by a poor delivery method but, if you’ve been paying attention to my twitter, you’ll know that this review has been a long time coming. It’s entirely possible that the company owner has addressed my issue with it in the time since my purchase. Especially as I brought it up when I began writing.
Either way, though, a little of this sauce goes a long way, flavour-wise and its low
near the top of what I’d expect from scotch bonnets, is more than enough to make itself known, even in the quantities that I’ve been using.
I can’t fully recommend the product, based on my own experience, unless you plan to do a lot of jerk marinating, but the sauce itself is a good one.