Chilli with a Cause

Hello again, everyone. For this week’s review, I have another collaborative product on my hands, courtesy of Brighton Hot Stuff. A second free sample that they’ve sent me, made in conjunction with another organisation.

Unlike their Cauldron, however, this bird’s eye sauce is entirely their own creation. They aren’t working with another producer and they’re not using someone else’s fermented base but they are still making a big deal out of who supplies the product’s namesake peppers.

Because those peppers aren’t your average, supermarket sort. They’re a native african bird’s eye strain, grown in uganda by a charity called “Chilli Children”.

This sauce has been made, in conjunction with that charity, to highlight both their cause and the fierce heat and flavour of the peppers which they export. And it gives back two pounds fifty to them, with every bottle.

So let’s see what it – And they – are about, shall we?

Its labelling is nothing new, with only the company’s usual three Xs accompanying the name on its brown paper label. Yet the size of the bottle does come as a bit of a surprise.

I wasn’t told how much I would be getting, when I agreed to try this sauce, but I had assumed the standard one-fifty mil. Not the fifty millilitre container which BHS use for their superhot sauces.

I’m not upset, though. Quite the contrary. This smaller size excites me.

It implies that today’s taster is far stronger – Both in heat and in flavour – than their Hop Sauce. As well as most other habanero products.

And, looking at the ingredients list, that may very well be true:

Bird’s eye chillies, red habaneros, cider vinegar, sea salt, ginger, Trinidad Moruga scorpions, ghost peppers, maple syrup and agar.

So not only does Chilli Children’s produce take top billing – Unlike the chillies in any of BHS’ other items – but it’s also backed up by actual superhots and the rich, red habs from the armageddon sauce.

Even if the african piri piri wasn’t the hottest bird’s eye, on average, this sauce would still pack some serious punch. And it’s not going to taste anything like the popular sauce style which shares its name.

But how does it taste?

I pour myself a spoonful to find out, then stop for a second to admire its sheer abundance of finely-blended chilli shreds:

Shreds which provide a subtly granular texture, like we saw in their Jalapeño, only more substantially so. Highlighting the greater chilli content and vastly increasing the sauce’s thickness.

Though I’d still call the consistency of today’s product a “medium”, at most, when compared to the hot sauce market, as a whole. I’m simply used to far thinner from BHS.

As I stop gazing at it, however, and finally gobble down the contents of my spoon, it becomes almost instantly apparent that this sauce is far from middle of the road in its

8.5/11

Heat

And its flavour is just as sharp.

It’s not as strong as the Armaggeddon, still, but I wasn’t expecting it to be and I’ve definitely had too much.

Yet, upon having a more sensible amount, I realise just how much I like this sauce. And it’s a lot.

It does, indeed, carry some of that same rich, red, habanero flavour that we saw in its predecessor and it’s still just as tangy but the aged apple of the cider vinegar has become far more obvious, this time around. Giving today’s product an almost oaky undertone, accentuated by its maple and the slightly woody, cayenne-like quality of its signature peppers.

Peppers which, as it turns out, play heavily into the savoury red chilli side of the sauce, as well, with only a slight hint of fruitiness and no discernible sweetness.

They aren’t cayennes but yet they serve some of the same purpose, between those slight woody notes and the spiced flavour that the ginger further enhances. And they are, absolutely, the star of the show.

It’s deeper, tangier, more nuanced and more mapled, as well as a hell of a lot hotter, yet I still can’t help but be reminded of the fermented cayenne sauces which one would blend with butter for buffalo wings. So, if you can handle the heat, I would absolutely recommend using BHS’ Bird’s Eye in that manner. It’s going to make some terrific chicken!

Or, for the less meat-loving among you, why not check out my buffalo corn recipe and swap out the sauce?

Plus I can really see this one working well over cheesy chips, poutine and omelettes, too.

And, while those are the only stand-out uses that I can think of, that’s because today’s product is more of a solid staple than a stand-out flavour. Winning me over through its quality, rather than its uniqueness.

As long as you like it tangy, you’ll probably find that it’ll go with just about anything.

So I’m sold on the sauce but what about the charity? What does the Chilli Children Project even do?

Well, contrary to how it might sound, they aren’t all about getting kids to eat more hot food. They’re about getting african children with disabilities any care and medical attention that they might need. As well as providing them with an all important education.

But they don’t just teach the kids. They also teach the families – Be they parents or guardians – to grow the chillies, for which they are named. Not because of any particular love for the peppers – Though they certainly seem to know how to care for them – but because it’s a native crop that grows well and has a high demand in the global market.

In other words, it’s a great source of income for those families, allowing them to better support their children’s needs on their own. Even after the project’s work is done.

And, to me, that’s pretty cool. The charity are actively making sure that the families will be able to survive on their own, in the long term, and they’re doing it with the fiery food that I love.

They’ve made the peppers, themselves, into a real force for good but, since all the profits go to those families, the Chilli Children Project does still need financial support. Because running their specialist schoolhouses isn’t without costs.

So, if you do decide to pick up this ferocious little sauce – And I’d certainly recommend doing so – you’ll be helping to keep the amazing project alive. And you can find its makers’ website in my sidebar to the right. Or down below, on mobile.

But, if you’d rather support the cause directly, here’s a link to the Chilli Children website, where you can also find a little more info on the organisation.

And you can find a few more details about the peri peri pepper, over on its encyclopedia page.

That’s all for today but do stay tuned for a little more african goodness next tuesday.

One thought on “Chilli with a Cause

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s