Hey folks, welcome back. I hope that you’ve all had a wonderful christmas – Or whatever winter holiday you celebrate – despite this year’s limitations, and that you and all of your family and friends are keeping well.
I know that I’m a lot more fortunate than many of you, to still be living with most of my loved ones, but I hope that you haven’t been out spreading the virus and getting yourself on the naughty list. Because, while I’m sure that we can all get up to some mischief, from time to time, that’s the kind which risks the lives of others. Not the fun kind that I’m looking to highlight with today’s product pair.
No, these scotch bonnet and fatalii sauces are simply labelled with a sweary pun on their dog-based branding. They aren’t hurting anyone.
So, if you’ve been a good little elf and you’re old enough to appreciate the bad language, do click on through to the main post to see the uncensored bottles.
These two come to me from Dr. Burnorium’s good old hot sauce emporium but they’re made by Saucy Bitch, down in london. A company who preach the virtues and health benefits of traditionally fermented pepper products, much like our old friends from Eaten Alive.
Unlike that company, though, Saucy Bitch never quite say that their sauces are raw, so I’m not sure that I can buy into their claims of containing beneficial probiotics. But we’ll talk more about that in a little bit.
First, let’s get up close and personal with their Sweat Heat. The member of today’s duo with the mildest chilli. Though also the most thereof.
Here’s what goes into it:
Cider Vinegar, Red Pepper, Dark Brown Sugar, Garlic (7%), Scotch Bonnet Chilli Mash (Scotch Bonnet Chilli (93%), Salt) (7%), Salt, Ginger, Paprika, Garlic Powder (<1%), Xanthan Gum.
And here’s how it looks on my spoon:
A deep, dark, red-coloured sauce, bordering on brown or terracotta. One of medium thickness, chunky from its scotch bonnet and red pepper mash, yet still ever so easy to pour.
It’s just as dark and pepper-forward in its taste, too, combining rich, savoury red pepper with smoked paprika and the molasses of its brown sugar. There’s a sweetness to this sauce, which suggests that additional sugars were added after the fermentation process, but the focus is very much on that savoury, pepper-based and slightly barbecue-like body.
One which definitely carries the taste of the red scotch bonnet, despite its high bell pepper content, and even lets me taste the fermentation. Playing up that acidic pepper funk with some added ginger zing.
Bring it all together with the additional savoury notes of garlic and garlic powder and you’re looking at an incredibly well-balanced and delicious sauce that’s going to find a tonne of use but, to me at least, is probably going to be at its best in con carnes or over pepperoni pizza.
And, at a high
barely scraping its way into what I’d call “hot”, it’s not hard to enjoy a decent amount of it, either. Though its lingering, under tongue warmth will definitely let you know that it’s there. Hence, presumably, the “Heat” part of its name.
Yet the “Sweet” seems a tad less logical, since the subtle sugar content of this sauce is far from its stand out quality. It’s the richness, scotch bonnets and hints of smoke which really make it, for me. None of which explain why it says “Sriracha” on the side, either.
This sauce is more acidic than sweet, even if it is a little bit of both, and, while it does contain a fair bit of garlic, that root only serves to support the richness of the peppers. It’s not the main flavour that it should be, for that labelling to make sense. So, while I do love this sauce, it’s definitely not a sriracha.
Which makes me question how accurate the labelling of our second sauce is. Since, while we can see its yellow colouration through the transparent label, there are no visual cues to tell us whether it will actually meet the sweet chilli claims on the side.
Only the ingredients list can give me hope:
Sugar, Pineapple (28%), Mango (13%), Cider Vinegar, Lemon, LemonJuice, Chilli (2%).
Well, that at how it fills my spoon.
This is a thinner and far less opaque product than the Sweet Heat, with a lower, yet much more visible pepper content. But, despite all that, this one actually pours slower, due to just how sticky it is.
A clear indicator of the sweet chilli style, though it’s still a fair way from your usual thai sort. There’s no ginger in it and it doesn’t taste of sweet and tangy vinegar or of its yellow peppers, right away.
Instead, when it first touches my tongue, I get nothing but tropical fruit. A mixture of sugarred up pineapple and mango to sweeten my senses, before the marmalade notes of its lemons and lemon-like, yet slightly woody, fatalii chilli take hold.
The Mellow Yellow fits its genre rather better than the “Sweet Heat” but it’s still very much a novel take on it. Both the fruity flavour and its spiky
heat in the back of my mouth break from tradition to create something quite new and distinctive. And, while I can still see it working wonders over noodles, it’s going to be seafood and enchiladas where I get the most use out of this one, I think.
Its packaging, just like with the Sweet Heat, does little to hint at what really makes it special but its colouration does, at least, support the sauce’s own. The yellow attire of the dog on the front – Apparently female, despite its looks – does go a small way towards emphasising the hue that sets it apart from other sweet chillies. Even if it doesn’t say anything about the tropical fruit or citrus.
And, speaking of sweetness, that brings me back to the earlier topic of just how probiotic these sauces are. Because, if there was any bacteria living in these sauces, good or bad, it would be feasting on those sugars. Reducing the sweetness over time and producing dangerous amounts of pressure with its CO2 emissions. Which I think I would have noticed, considering the month or two that it’s taken me to get around to writing this.
And sure, Eaten Alive’s sauce didn’t have that problem but their product was entirely sugar free, by the time that it hit shelves, and they specifically added beneficial bacteria that would be dormant in a low-oxygen environment. Like their unopened bottle.
Whereas Saucy Bitch seem to consider their products a source of the natural lactobacillus which, for reasons that I mentioned just a moment ago, cannot be live in either of today’s two sauces.
Of course, it was there prior to cooking and these are fermented sauces. I can taste that much and it may well make them both easier to digest and to absorb the nutrients from, as the company suggest.
But hot sauce isn’t particularly hard on the digestive system anyway, unless you exceed your body’s limits, so the main reason to pick up a fermented product – Be it Saucy Bitch’s or any other – is flavour preference. That subtle difference in taste which comes with ageing and the production of lactic acid.
And I’m not going to say that that makes these products better than any unfermented ones because, quite honestly, it’s a matter of personal opinion. But Saucy Bitch have worked with their fermented scotch bonnet and yellow fatalii flavours ever so well.
So, while I’m not really sold on their marketing, I’m very happy with today’s products. If you do enjoy a fermented sauce, these two are well worth picking up. And, if you haven’t tried an artisan one before, they’re also a great place to start.
I’d happily recommend either of them.