The time has come, spice lovers, for the third and final one of the East Coast Chilli Co sauces I was given. It’s the one I didn’t choose myself and therefore, naturally, the least out there of the bunch.
Yet that also means that it’s the one with broadest appeal. Their best seller. Their “Chance”.
This one bears a second great taste award and even places it on its printed label, either side of its three out of five pitchfork rating. A rating that puts it slap bang in between their other two, heat-wise, and is reinforced by the word “medium” beneath it in all caps.
It’s apparently the company’s most popular product. A garlic, habanero and tomato based sauce, which sounds like nothing out of the ordinary, but, trust me, it still holds its fair share of surprises.
From its ingredients list, we can already see one of them:
Tomatoes in tomato juice (Citric acid) (44%) Rice vinegar (Contains Sulphites), Garlic (9%),Water, Onions, Sugar, Rapeseed oil,Habenero chillies (4%) Fish sauce (Anchovy extract 77%, salt 20%, sugar 3%)
And no, I don’t mean the fact that it’s not vegetarian or their slightly sloppy grammar and spelling. What I’m talking about is the rapeseed oil.
There was oil listed in the ingredients of their Midnight 21, too, but I have been informed since writing that first review that it was, in fact, only used to roast the garlic. East Coast Chilli Co tell me that I couldn’t taste it because it was all drained off before bottling that sauce.
For this one, however, that wasn’t the case. It was clear to me, even before I asked, that their Chance had had it blended in. It was simply too silky smooth for a pourable sauce otherwise. As my spoon shot should hopefully show you:
This emulsion also provides a creamy feel and even flavour, as I mentioned way back in my look at 🔥 The Ribman’s Sauces 🔥. And it stands out a bit more here, too, since this product is a far more reasonable thickness. No plastic squeezy tubes needed.
But that wasn’t the only surprise. The sauce’s base flavour was another.
It wasn’t the tomato I had anticipated but a cooked tomato juice. A distinctly different, richer and more savoury taste that, even though I’m a big fan of tomatoes, I’m not all that fond of outside of a well-prepared bloody mary. I love the fruit but I’ve always found their pre-packaged juice somewhat disgusting, if I’m honest.
But my own personal tastes aren’t what make a good or bad product. Today’s item isn’t any worse for not catering to my own specific tastes and, if anything, it might actually be better for it.
Having a slightly less usual version of the tomato’s flavour means that it can add extra depth when pairing with your more standard tomato-based foods. And, when you do so, the part of this sauce’s flavour that I’m less keen on pretty much vanishes into the meal.
It leaves behind a variety of other flavours, including a touch of sweetness and slight hint of onion that help balance out its savoury overtones.
Yet, what it contributes most, besides its creaminess, is the heavy whack of garlic that it’s sold on. The thing that makes this sauce special.
And you know what? It actually does.
This isn’t your average, lightly fried garlic. It’s been roasted. Almost to a crisp, it would seem, giving it that browned, perhaps lightly charred, but definitely not even remotely burnt flavour. The same sort I found in their Midnight 21.
It’s a big part of this sauce and, combined with the tomato juice taste and the umami elements of a small amount of fish sauce, it makes this a uniquely rich and different take on what I first thought was a very standard recipe.
One which, despite only being four percent chilli, manages to produce a slightly dry, clinging, sides of the mouth and back of the throat warmth at the high end of my scale’s
and the very bottom of what I would call “hot”.
It is, I won’t lie, my least favourite of the three that the ECCC have given me but that’s not exactly a strong criticism. The other two sauces that they sent me were utterly incredible, so this one would have to be pretty mind blowing to compare.
Plus, the one thing that puts me off is simply my own personal taste. There is nothing wrong with this sauce and a whole lot right with it.
If you enjoy that cooked tomato juice flavour, you’re going to absolutely adore East Coast Chilli Co’s Chance. It has, after all, been pretty addictive, even for me.
I’ve been enjoying it a lot as a stir in for bolognese, con carne and lasagne, to mention just a few dishes where the two distinct tomato flavours can mingle without masking either the garlic or the burn.
And its combination of smooth, clumpless texture and rich, creamy taste make it an outstanding addition to soups and stews.
I didn’t get an opportunity to try it on nut or beef roasts before I’d finished my bottle but I would be very surprised if it didn’t work with them, too. Or, for that matter, if garlic bread didn’t dip fantastically into it.
And finally, there’s pizza. Peperoni pizza, specifically, is going to work well with this one’s own rich and savoury elements.
To my surprise, I had some great meals with this sauce, despite my initial distaste for its base, and I ran out within the month. A feat that doesn’t sound too impressive until your realise that I have four or five different bottles at the ready for every imaginable meal now and still chose this one more often than not.
Unlike most of the products I recommend, I wasn’t sold on Chance right away but I definitely think that it’s up there now that I’ve spent some time with it. Plus, I’m absolutely certain that I’m only scraping the surface of its many uses.
It pairs well with so many foods and so it’s definitely the most easily usable one of my three East Coast Chilli Co items. But that doesn’t mean that I’d hesitate in recommending any of them.
Not a single sauce from these guys has been as little as ok. All three have been absolutely fantastic and I simply cannot recommend the company enough!