Hey folks, its august and we’ve just had a whole load of fiery chocolate so, today, I’d like to kick off the new month with something just as punchy. Albeit more so in taste than in heat.
For my first august review of the year, I’m going back to Chilli of the Valley and trying out their green sauces: Their Hulk Juice and Jarlic.
And yes, you might have heard that first name before but I’ve never given it a proper, written review. Only put its claim of being “clothes-rippingly good” to the test 🔥📽️over egg pizza📽️🔥.
So, today, I’m going to give it and its new art a real talking about, while I compare it to the company’s other garlic and jalapeño sauce. Because I’m very interested in seeing what’s different between them.
Before I begin, though, I should probably mention that I know their artist – Rory Petts – on Facebook. Which means that I see every new label of theirs as it comes out.
For once, I know that they’ve sent me an older batch. One that’s still best before this time next year but has a plain text on white design, when it should actually look something like this:
A skeletal, undead humanoid, with sliced jalapeños for eyes, bursting into flames at the mere presence of this product’s garlic. Garlic which, as you can see, takes pride of place in the art.
Yet the chillies are tiny. So tiny that I may not have even spotted them, had I not already known what to look for.
At a single glance, this label says red chilli, killer heat and a touch of darkness. Then a second look gets across just how big of a deal its garlic content is. But the green of the sauce is almost invisible in Rory’s art and his colour palette clashes with it dramatically.
It doesn’t reflect the product wrapped within anywhere near as well as the last label that we saw from him. Which is a real shame, since it does look pretty amazing, out of context.
Unlike the Hulk Juice’s new design, which does a beautiful job of selling its bold, punchy, green chilli and garlic flavour with a green-lit shot of the maker’s son, posing atop the name while he undergoes his Hulk-like transformation.
It doesn’t show the pepper or garlic anywhere in its art but it doesn’t have to. The colours and imagery do the job stunningly well, as is.
Yet there’s a point where its packaging fails, too, and that’s in its print quality.
Get up close and its colours are woefully grainy. I can see the dots that make them up from two feet away!
So, while both do look good, neither one is quite perfect on the labelling front. But how are they where it counts? How’s the taste and texture of the sauce inside?
For the Hulk Juice, that sauce is a thick and murky green, littered with shreds of pepper skin and seeds. An appearance that I’d consider more to the point than pretty.
It’s not smooth and its doesn’t much care what you think about its colour. It’s just in your face with that green jalapeño base, which is also the only aspect to really come across in its aroma.
Whereas the contents of the Jarlic’s bottle are more earthy, pickled and garlic-forward on the nose. And it’s not hard to see why:
This second sauce may be rather more watery – Presumably from a higher amount of vinegar – but its certainly not less textured. It is absolutely full as can be with two to three millimetre garlic shreds – Pale fragments which stand out immediately, against even the lighter, more yellowy green of the base liquid.
When chilli of the Valley set out to make a stinky sauce – Their words, not mine – they do not hold back in the slightest. And it’s not as if I couldn’t taste the root in their Hulk Juice…
That sauce has only five ingredients:
Jalapeno chillies (63%), Spirit vinegar, Sugar, Garlic, Salt
and, of those five, I can taste only three.
It’s tangy, from the vinegar, with a strong overtone of green, from the jalapeños, and an equally strong, savoury undertone of earthy garlic. The high end of a mild
on my tongue but a powerful flavour that goes far further, making it a perfect companion for eggs, bold meats and mature cheese salad sandwiches. Or even pizza, topped with peperoni.
It’s not complex but it still does what it does well enough to be one of my favourite products from its pepper. Can its partner really compare?
Well, it’s just as tangy but that’s about where their similarities end.
The Jarlic isn’t a jalapeño sauce with intense garlic undertones. It’s far more of a garlic sauce that just happens to have some sweet and subtle, grassy notes, hidden beneath the surface. Ones which stem from its herbs, just as much as from its chilli content.
So, then, I’m sure it’ll come as no surprise that this is the milder of today’s pair. And, while it does still reach a
it’s a weaker and more aromatic one, strongly supported by its more gently-cooked garlic. Even among what spice it does have, a good deal of it isn’t from the peppers.
I loved the roasted root in The Garlic Farm’s green one but there is absolutely no doubt in my mind when I say that I have never had a more pungently garlicky sauce than this.
However, in terms of its actual taste, today’s second product reminds me more of Manjira’s Pachadi. It’s herby and somewhat sweet, despite its tang, and it makes a glorious garlic mayo, garlic and herb dip or flavouring for your naans.
Plus, it’ll make a great start to a sauce for prawns and non-tomato-based spaghetti dishes but I, for one, don’t really see myself using it as a pour-on very often. I like the Jarlic but it’s more of an ingredient, to me.
Sadly, that means that the subtle notes of its onions and lime will likely be lost in the cooking process, taking away the nuances that otherwise make it the more complex of the two in today’s tasting. Its garlic and greenery are just so much stronger and more certain to survive.
Still, it’s a solid sauce for cooking with or for anyone seeking a serious garlic hit. Here’s what it contains:
Jalapenos (26%), White Wine Vinegar, Garlic (20%), Onions, Water, Lime Juice, Sugar, Salt, Coriander
And, while I, personally, prefer the Hulk Juice, I am glad that I tried both and I’d be happy to recommend either. It just depends on whether you want the Hulk’s strong green or the Jarlic’s garlic with a J.
Whichever you choose, though, Chilli of the Valley’s Jalapeño sauces are definitely worth giving a go.