Hello and welcome back to another Reading review. I honestly can’t believe I’m still doing these but there’re still plenty more to be uploaded.
It was a very fruitful festival and today, we have two very fruit-full sauces. If you’ll pardon the pun.
What I’m about to show you is a pair of products that share a single genre but take it in completely different directions. They’re both rather unique twists on the classic mango and habanero blend:
On the right, we have Wiltshire Chilli Farm’s product, bold with its angular white company logo against their signature, two-tone action lines – This time appearing in pleasant golden browns to colour match the contents.
But its name is just “Mango Chilli Sauce”. There’s nothing visual to hint at what sets it apart from other mango sauces and even its ingredients list doesn’t make it clear:
MANGO (33%), SUGAR, CIDER VINEGAR, ONION, LIME JUICE,, GARLIC, HABANERO CHILLI (3%), MUSTARD, SPICES, SALT.
Whereas its less catchily named competitor from The Upton Cheyney Chilli Company claims curry powder among its otherwise similar set of ingredients:
Cider Vinegar, Sugar, Mango (18%), Onion, Lime Juice, Red Habanero (4%), Garlic, Mustard, Curry Powder.
Yet it’s Wiltshire Chilli Farm’s sauce that tastes curried when I actually try them.
Upton Cheyney’s is, instead, very much what it says on the bottle – Mango, Lime, Red Habanero Sauce. And, while the orange habanero’s similarly smooth and fruity flavour has always seemed better suited for a mango sauce, their use of red works remarkably well here.
You’ve got those smooth, fruity undertones from the mango emboldened by the aged apple flavour of the cider vinegar. Then there’s sharp, fresh and fruity lime juice working with its equally fruity tang. All with a touch of redder, more peppery fruitiness from the habs themselves.
It’s a triple threat of contrasting, yet well-balanced, fruit flavours that couldn’t possibly work as well with orange or yellow chillies. They knew what they were doing when they made their unorthodox pepper choice.
And, while that bold, fresh trio of upfront fruit flavours very nearly masks the onion, garlic and spices, they do add a little bit of underlying savoury richness to support this otherwise rather sweet sauce.
So, what can Wiltshire Chilli Farm do against that sheer deliciousness? Chutney in a bottle, that’s what.
But that’s a slight oversimplification. It is, for a start, much less sweet than your average chutney. Which is to say, it’s still a sweet sauce but it isn’t thai sweet chilli style. It isn’t mostly sugar, or even the sweetest sauce on show here.
It isn’t going to get sickly if you smother food in it and I know because I do have a tendency to do so. Its blend of a milder, more obviously onion-y mango flavour with indian chutney-style spices just goes so beautifully with tuna or cheese.
It may not have the sheer hit of fruit or the complexity of its competitor but if I need something to spice up a sandwich, this is the sauce that I’ll be reaching for.
And, for an extra british usage, it’s also absolutely incredible on the smoked fish and spiced rice dish that is kedgeree.
Whereas the Upton Cheyney Chilli Company’s sauce is more liable to go with stir fries, enchiladas and maybe even thai food. Or perhaps my fruit risotto. It has the boldness you’d want in a dipping sauce, too, but where it’s actually going to shine most, I think, is in something like the salads its creators recommend or in tacos, where the meal can pair the sauce’s fruitiness with the freshest of veg.
And, since I couldn’t fit it in earlier, I’d like to mention now how well their simple labelling works to show off the uniqueness of the Mango, Lime, Red Habanero Sauce.
Their use of worn white text on black against the yellow of the condiment within really makes their fancy circular label stand out, while the two chillies in the middle both look stylish and show off the other colours of this sauce – The red and green fruit that make it special.
It’s a wonderful, suave design that gets its point across well and I think it even manages to get away with not showing the mango. The only change I’d consider would be replacing the green chilli with an actual lime in the artwork.
That is, however, a minor quibble. Both sauces look as great as they taste and they are as different in label design as they are in flavour and usage.
They aren’t dessert sauces, they don’t use that mexican mango and they aren’t gentle and refreshing. They’re thinner than either of those two, with less of a pulpy or syrupy texture but they’re still still thick enough to pour just the way that I want them to. And, of course, they’re also a lot hotter.
But, while their firepower may be vastly different from what Laterra and the E triple C gave me, there’s not much difference between today’s two there.
This most recent pair of sauces are actually a very similar strength, both possessing a decent
perched just above the divide that separates medium from hot.
However, while they are almost identical in how hard they hit and it’s taken several samplings for me to pick which is hotter, I do have to separate them in my archives. I think that, in the end, the faster kick brought on by Upton Cheyney’s extra vinegar allows their product to very slightly edge out the victory on peak heat but that the slower burn of Wiltshire Chilli Farm’s works well with their less in your face flavour and prolongs the warmth that I get from their sauce.
So, in the end, I can’t really put either one above the other in terms of quality. All I can say is that The Upton Cheyney Chilli Farm do a slightly better job of visually representing their product’s contents. And that really shouldn’t be a big deal if my review has already informed you of their flavour, like I hope.
Both are absolutely excellent sauces and I could easily recommend either of them so it really just comes down to whichever suits you and your food more.