Hello again fiery food fans, do you remember the Cornish Chilli Company?
I know I do, because they produce a rather unusual favourite of mine. A super tart, grapefruit and vodka sauce that still stands as one of my top condiments for pizza and pub grub.
Today, though, we’re not here to talk about that product. We’re here to talk about another one:
Their smoky Chipotle Chilli Sauce. One which suggests a bright taste with its label’s colour scheme, yet full on mexican flavour with its aztec imagery and its own dark colour.
There’s a great contrast between its warm yellow label and the dark red of the sauce itself but the most interesting part about the packaging is still very much the ingredients list. Which I’ll show you if you click through to the rest of this post.
Spirit Vinegar, Tomatoes, Carrots, Chipotle Chillies (20%), Plums, Apricots, Pineapple, Garlic, Sugar & Salt
A list that’s vinegar first, yes, but also one that’s twenty percent smoked chilli, rounded off with several quite unusual fruit. And, sure, I didn’t enjoy my last look at a pineapple and chipotle blend, but that doesn’t mean that I’m going to reject the very idea of it.
No, I see no reason why a touch of pineapple in a smoky sauce couldn’t work out if crafted better. Especially given this one’s tomato base.
Yet what most catches my eye is the apricot – A fruit that becomes rather rich when slow-cooked, implying that it might be right at home with the unusually high concentration of savoury, smoked and ever so slightly fruity peppers.
The list on this bottle and the company behind it have got me excited so I’m going to pop the top on today’s item right away. And, as I do so, the strong waft of smoke that comes out has me salivating.
There is a bit of a tang to it and an after note of savoury, tomato-based, fruitiness, but both are almost completely overwhelmed by the chilli, itself. A balance which is, to my utter astonishment, completely inverted in the mouth.
When I take my customary spoonful of this grainy, medium thickness sauce, I taste a hint of tomato, a tonne of sharpness and very little of the pepper’s own flavour.
I get its kick – A late, yet sudden, high
Yet that burn is the vast majority of what the chilli brings to today’s product, at least when eaten straight, and even that isn’t entirely the pepper. It comes in late because it’s piggybacking on the second wave of face-puckering tartness to achieve its impressive (for such a mild pepper) impact.
Now, of course, if you add this sauce to food, the blow is softened a little and the sense of smoke is allowed to shine through a touch more but the difference is not nearly as night and day as between its smell and taste. It is, quite simply, an overly sharp sauce.
But I like overly sharp sauces, right? I enjoyed their last one. Their Red Snapper.
The difference is, though, that that one was sharp and fruity. Grapefruit-based. A different sort of tang.
Back when I wrote about it, I genuinely thought that the Snapper was tart because of its unusual use of vodka and citrus, not because of some super-acidic, cornish-speciality spirit vinegar. Whereas, in today’s chipotle item, it feels like anything but a natural part of the sauce’s flavour.
As I used Sood’s sauce to explain last year, you need to pair the acid(s) that you preserve your sauce with with the taste of the sauce, itself.
If you don’t, you could always get lucky. You could wind up adding the savoury molasses flavour of cane vinegar to a rich, smoky base like they did. Or you could, far more easily, end up with what we’ve seen today – A jarring mix of vinegar and sauce that have absolutely nothing in common.
It’s bearable on chips and alright mixed into cream cheese for a dip but its not great in any situation. Except for one, which I’m saving for one of my promised mini recipes in the near future.
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