Greetings again, fiery food fans. Today’s feature comes, at least in part, from one of you. So, if you’re reading this, Verminskyi, thanks for the suggestion!
But, that said, I didn’t want to bring you all just one product this week. I’m not just showcasing the requested Wiltshire Chilli Farm salt.
No, I’m pairing it with a second product from an equally well known brand. Another naga salt, similarly-spiked with peppercorns to enhance both heat and flavour. This week, we’re looking at The Chilli Jam Man, too:
A second salt-based showdown to test Wiltshire’s “fearless flavour” oncemore and see how they fair against a more mainstream opponent.
Will their second salt knock it out of the park, like their milder chipotle sort, or will the Jam Man prove himself the fiercer rival? Read on to find out!
Before I get started on the pair, though, I feel like taking a quick look at their ingredients. Because, much as they may be similar, there are some key differences, as well.
The Chilli Jam Man’s Bhut Grinder contains:
Salt, Chilli (23.7%) (Bird’s Eye, Bhut Jolokia), Black Pepper, Sichuan Pepper
While Wiltshire Chilli Farm’s Naga Chilli Salt consists of:
Sea Salt (86%), Naga Chilli (8%), White Peppercorns
And while I’m pretty sure that that six percent peppercorn (I can do maths) is less than the Bhut Grinder’s, it’s also more potent than the black sort. It’s actually the exact same berry, just with the hard outer casing soaked off before drying, to leave only its spicy, aromatic core.
That lack of casing is also going to make quite a difference when it comes to flavour, I think, but before I jump right into this weeks tasting, I want to take a moment to mention the packaging of today’s salt blends. Because, while I’m pretty sure that it’s accidental, their colours reflect this difference in peppercorn surprisingly well.
The Chilli Jam Man has cloaked his grinder in black, with white-rimmed, mock-worn text in bold all-capitals to ram home the supposed level ten heat of its thermometer. While Wiltshire Chilli Farm have used dark red and brown action lines for their label, also hinting at the heat and flavour within, and a large white logo in the centre.
Both are fairly typical of their respective companies but the clear distinction between white and black in their art, coincidental as it may be, really highlights the same distinction in their peppercorns. And that’s kinda cool, if you ask me.
Now, let’s try them out:
Of course, they’re far too salty when eaten like this. My spoonfuls are more to give you a clear view of their consistency than for actually consuming the stuff.
Yet give you a clear view, they do, highlighting Wiltshire Chilli Farm’s finer grind and the sheer quantity of chilli and peppercorn that turns the Bhut Grinder a greyish, pinky brown. They look very different, sitting on my spoons, and that does, indeed, carry over to their taste.
The Grinder is heavy on the darker, woodier parts of the peppercorn flavour which characterise black pepper, with slight undertones of tingly, floral szechuan pepper for that asian twist. And, salty as it is, it’s rather less so than its counterpart, due to its focus on its twin peppercorns.
If you’re looking for a super hot salt, The Bhut Grinder has a low, spiky
that will definitely get the job done but I feel like its main home will be on meats. Especially when it comes to cooking chinese salt and pepper dishes or seasoning steak. I could, however, also see it making great mashed potatoes and working its way into my friend’s herby, jalapeño and cayenne garlic bread.
While Wiltshire Chilli Farm’s Naga Chilli Salt is probably the slightly better pick for chips, at a significantly milder
which doesn’t last quite as long but still reaches the high end of its number and feels a tad more nasal, from the stronger, white pepper.
The flavour of that peppercorn is far weaker, though, making this salt both more chilli-forward and more salt-forward. You can get away with a little less of it and still perfectly season your food but it won’t add the intense richness of the WCF’s Chipotle Salt.
In this particular instance, you do sacrifice taste, a tad, when opting for the company’s hotter option, but it’s hardly a huge loss. The ghost is a fantastic chilli, even without the extra smoke and garlic of their mild salt, and the peppercorns play their supporting role exquisitely.
Over fish and/or eggs, this my favourite salt ever and its particular pepper content will lend itself just as well to use alongside katsu or chip shop curry. Plus, the lack of black pepper makes it the superior choice for fried padrons.
For my own, personal enjoyment, I’d say that Wiltshire takes it, once again, but the Chilli Jam Man has put up a far stronger fight than their previous opponent and I’m sure that many of you will prefer what he has to offer.
It very much comes down to personal taste and what you plan on cooking, as both are of equally great quality.