Tropical Trio

Hey folks, I think it’s time for something tropical. Or, perhaps, somethings:

A trio of tangy fruit flavours from three different companies, each in its own unique colour.

The Somerset Chilli Co. brings us a greenish-yellow, pineapple and passion fruit sauce, in the form of their “La Playa”, with the most unusual addition of kiwi. Whereas Ignis offer up the other end of the spectrum, with their HPPM. A fermented red habanero product which also uses pineapple and passion fruit, to support its pepper, but throws mango into the mix, as well.

Then, in the middle, we have a more normal style of fruit sauce. The Sound System Sauce, from Howl at the Moon. An orange-coloured blend of mango, pineapple and good old scotch bonnet.

All three are different enough to do their own thing, so I’m not sure how much actual comparison we’ll see today, but there’s a consistent theme across the board and I’m definitely looking forward to trying the lot. So let’s give them all a look, shall we?

Ignis have changed next to nothing about their label, since last time, but they have cut the green number from the name and doubled the sauce’s heat rating. So I suppose we’re going to witness something with a bit more firepower.

Which is probably also true for La Playa, since The Somerset Chilli Co. have gone from two flames to three on their label, as well. And that’s also their main change but, unlike Ignis, their text has changed colour to match the yellow sauce inside and the ingredients surrounding the name have been swapped out for thematic imagery, too.

A deck chair and a beach full of palm trees now take the place of the previous coconut and lime. Presumably to more subtly imply the tropical flavour of the company’s second sauce, rather than showing off its key ingredients directly.

So The Somerset Chilli Co. have definitely put a little bit of effort into varying their appearance but La Playa’s packaging still isn’t anything too new to us. Unlike today’s third product.

I mean, how could the Sound System Sauce’s art not be new when I’ve never featured anything from Howl at the Moon before?

It’s a bold, monotone design of speakers and a mixing desk – In reference both to its name and to the maker’s other job as a nightclub host – rendered entirely in black and white atop a background of bold orange. All awash in what appears to be an equally orange tidal wave of fire.

Yet, despite how imposing that wave might sound, its shared colouring causes it to sink into the background, letting the titular sound system be the bottle’s main focal point.

The blurb on the back likens this sauce to a hot ska tune but, unless there’s some specific reference that I’m missing, nothing visual ties it to any particular genre. So the only clue we get to the contents is just how strong that background orange is.

It’s not a strong lead, by any means, but it does reflect the mangoey colour of the sauce and maybe, just maybe, suggest a tang akin to that of the orange fruit.

There’s no actual orange in this sauce, mind you, but the pulp visible in my spoonful and the acidity when I taste it could conceivably convince you otherwise.

The pineapple and vinegar hit hard and so, too, do those red flecks of scotch bonnet. Providing a slow-growing tongue heat which tops out around the upper reaches of my

heat.

Yet both that heat and the acidity are offset somewhat by the sweetness of the fruit and the smooth, tropical taste and texture of the mango. Then rounded out by a subtle undertone of ginger.

I wouldn’t use this Sound System Sauce everywhere that I use other mango products but, with my noodle dishes and mexican food, it’s still a real winner. Perfect for those who want more tang than the average fruit sauce offers.

Whereas it’s immediately obvious, from its appearance, that today’s other red chilli product isn’t focussed on its fruit at all.

Ignis’ HPPM is thinner, less pulpy and far, far redder than Howl at the Moon’s sauce. In fact, it much more closely resembles the base of a buffalo blend. The fermented, luisiana-style sauce, before any butter gets added.

It smells and tastes very much like that, as well. Like red habaneros with a touch of salt and that same aged quality that we saw in their JGA7. Only without the bitter chlorophyll, allowing the fruit’s sweetness to stand out a touch more.

Yet that’s exactly what I don’t like about the HPPM.

Ignis have added passion fruit, pineapple and mango to their chillies, in order to complement the tropical taste of of the orange hab. But this isn’t an orange hab sauce and it doesn’t taste like one. Their red habanero doesn’t have that carroty, mangoey flavour and the tropical fruit has little in common with its more typical, peppery taste.

The heat is there, at a spiky, low

but, to put it simply, the flavours clash and the result isn’t pleasant.

I’m not convinced on today’s red sauce and, while the fruit is subtle enough that I can probably still make use of it on stir-frys and chicken wings, there are definitely better options for even those applications. So there’s simply no way that I can recommend the HPPM.

Hopefully our third and final sauce will be better.

The Somerset Chilli Co.’s creation certainly looks more fruit-focussed, with a nice, thick pulpy texture to it. And, ontop of that, the citrussy yellow fatalii that it uses sounds far better suited to a fruit sauce.

Yet it’s also filled with flecks of black and dark brown which, upon tasting, add both texture and a strong, nutty, black pepper-like note to the otherwise oh so fresh product.

It’s unusual but it works far better than the red pepper above, pairing with the pineapple and citrus of La Playa quite similarly to how juniper works in a lemon gin. Or, for that matter, in an upcoming video feature of mine.

The big difference, though, is that that juniper adds only its aromatic berry-spice flavour, while at least some of the nuttier notes in the SCC’s sauce seem to come from toasted kiwi seeds. Seeds which aren’t nearly as prominent here as they were in Dorset Chilli Shop’s Meadows but, even so, still add a sort of super-fragile crunch that I find ever so satisfying.

I don’t normally get too hung up on the mouth feel of a sauce but man, I really enjoy the no-effort snap that kiwi provides. Though, honestly, the other sensation of this sauce is a little less my thing.

It’s the same low

intensity as the previous item but, instead of the prickly habanero heat pattern, it’s like blunt trauma to the tip of my tongue and a dull warmth in the throat. Both parts of which peak fast and then linger, for maximum suffering.

The sort of heat that’s perfect for cooking into a curry, so that the burn builds up as you eat, but a bit less enjoyable simply splashed atop your meal. Though food of any sort will tone it down.

Flavour-wise, however, La Playa is really quite vibrant. Full of tangy, lemony freshness, as well as those peppercorns and its pineapple body. And then there’s the kiwi, which adds its own distinctive notes to the tropical fruit blend which, personally, I’m oh so fond of in a salad.

Yes, tomato, peppers, kiwi and either some leaves or cucumber for greenery. It may sound strange but it tastes great and the extra brightness of this product’s other fruit isn’t going to hurt it in the slightest. Though it may provide more options, since it makes it rather better suited to tuna or chicken pasta salads than pure kiwi alone.

And, while the kiwi does get in the way of some of my other favourite fruit sauce uses, I reckon that it will still cook into a dansak or similar style of indian curry most enjoyably. Even if it doesn’t quite work for those dishes as a pour on.

It is, most certainly, my favourite of the bunch.

La Player contains:

Pineapple, kiwi, passion fruit, Fatalii pepper, pineapple juice, yellow pepper, white wine vinegar, lemon, lime, garlic, onion, salt, pepper

and you can find more information on its chilli here.

While Howl at the Moon’s Sound System Sauce was made from:

Mango Pulp (Mango, Sugar, Citric Acid), Fresh Pineapple, White Vinegar (BARLEY), Scotch Bonnet Chillies, Fresh Ginger.

and its scotch bonnets can be seen here.

Then, finally, here’s the ingredients list for the HPPM:

Habanero Peppers, Coconut Vinegar, Onion, Coconut Sugar, Mango, Pineapple, Salt, Garlic, Passion Fruit, Turmeric.

though I’d strongly suggest looking at my red habanero encyclopedia page and picking out a better sauce with the same pepper, instead. I just don’t think that today’s Ignis product holds up, compared to the other two on show, or in general.

Sorry guys.

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