A Chilli Named “Carrot”

So, last week we shone a light on a rare pepper variety with High River’s insanely hot sauce but, this time around, we’re looking at something a good deal milder.

The shipka – Or bulgarian carrot, to give its common name – clocks in at between ten and thirty thousand scoville units, making it just a little hotter than the hottest of normal jalapeño strains. It’s very fresh, very vegetable and very much an orange pepper.

Yet, despite being so usable and being quite possibly the second most common orange chilli, I’ve never seen the “carrot” in sauce before. Only fresh or in seed form.

So I’m very interested in seeing what Chilli Hills – An actual bulgarian company – have done with it.

BulgarianCarrot

And, if you are, too, Doctor Burnorium’s Hot Sauce Emporium appears to be the main importer of today’s sauce. Though you might want to read on before you order.

This bulgarian carrot sauce is stylish, yet unassuming, labelled largely in off-white and brown.

A silhouette of flames makes it relatively easy to tell that the product is hot sauce, even if you don’t read the words cut out of it. Yet, for exactly what sort of sauce you’re getting, you have to read the name below. The art is too minimal to tell us anything more and the one small chilli that we do see is simply the company logo.

The only other hint that we get is the colour of the sauce’s name – different on each of Chilli Hills’ products – that reflects the peppers inside with its vibrant orange.

I don’t know if many people are going to pick up on that but it’s a nice touch, nonetheless. As is the gold foil recreation of their twisted chilli logo atop the heat shrink.

ShipkaCap

I like that a lot but I’m not going to spend much time on it ’cause I’ve got a sauce to try. One that I can only get at if I rip this logo off. So here goes:

ShipkaSpoon

Here on my spoon, it’s a warm shade of opaque yellow – The exact colour that I’ve come to expect from most mango sauces. Yet it’s rather thinner than that smooth, fruity appearance might suggest and the only tropical ingredient used is himalayan salt.

Chilli Hills’ blend of peppers, carrots and tomatoes may look fruit-based but it’s actually quite chilli-forward, with a lot of fresh veg to its aroma and a good deal of onion and garlic savouriness backing that up. It definitely reminds me of the actual shipka pepper but there’s a pleasant little twang of tomato in there, too, so I can’t help but think that bolognese would be a great use for this sauce.

Perhaps I’m getting a little ahead of myself, though, making recommendations before I’ve even tried it. How does it taste?

Tangy. Really tangy.

Full of savoury alliums, fresh yellow and orange peppers and a sweet aftertaste to offset its

3.5/11

Heat

around the front of my mouth.

But, above all, still, it carries a natural tang from its lime juice, rendered peppery by whatever breed of yellow habaneros Chilli Hills have chosen. Because it is, indeed, quite obvious from the taste that they aren’t the standard orange variety.

They are, however, just as hot and their kick makes for a rather stronger product than I was expecting. Not a patch on last week’s, of course, but still one worthy of the word “hot”, when a pure bulgarian carrot sauce would likely only make a high medium.

This is definitely a habanero sauce in its strength but it still lets the fresh pepper flavour of its namesake shipkas shine through and they are still the number two ingredient on its list:

Habanero chilli peppers, Bulgarian carrot peppers, carrots, tomatoes, lime, garlic, onion, Himalayan salt, brown sugar, white wine vinegar and spices.

It’s a great use of a less common chilli by those who share its home region and it will definitely, as I first though, work very nicely in a bolognese.

It’ll also go pretty well over pizza and really brighten up a salad or just about any form of seafood. And we really should be getting more fish in our diets right now, if we can, since it’s the second best source of vitamin D after sunlight.

So yes, I’d recommend Chilli Hills’ Bulgarian Carrot sauce. Both as a way to try the pepper and as a good in its own right. And, while it is, at the time of writing, the only shipka product I’ve had, you can still find out a little more about the chilli over on its encyclopedia page, if you’re curious.

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