Two Berries

Hey folks, it’s tuesday, again, and last week we looked at some bright and tangy, yellow sauces. So, today, I figured I’d go the other direction with somethings dark. Yet twice as fruity.

Another couple from the companies that we’ve been looking at recently but, this time, they’re blueberry. Or, in the case of Alkemio Kitchen, Blueberry, Miso, Scotch Bonnet, Mint.

A very curious combination which is sure to provide an interesting counterpoint to Haskhell’s more traditional take.

Of course, neither looks like anything new – We saw Alkemio Kitchen’s labelling last week and Haskhell’s the one before – but I still enjoy design elements from both and their contents are far more exciting.

Alkemio’s sauce contains:

Blueberry, miso paste (soy beans, salt), scotch bonnet, toasted sesame oil, mint, onion, apple cider vinegar, sugar, salt, vegetable oil, xanthan gum, potassium sorbate

Which sounds like a crazy mishmash of flavours, until I think back on my blueberry and miso rice balls. Wherein the cooked down, savoury blueberry of Tom’s Sauce’s Purple Pain paired with the subtle, fruit-like undertones of white miso and its bold, savoury top notes to add amazing richness to beef.

If Alkemio Kitchen can recapture that amazing combination here, along with the extra umami of their sesame oil, this could easily end up being one of the best burger sauces of all time.

Whereas Haskhell’s sauce is made from:

Water, Blueberries, Cider Vinegar, Lemon Juice, Agave, Habanero Chillies, Cayenne Chilles, Garlic, All Spice, Cinnamon

And it’s those last two that interest me the most. Because, while this is clearly going to be more of a straight-forward blueberry product, those sweet spices suggest something of a mulled wine-like flavour. One which I expect to work oh so well with the berry’s tanins.

I am a little concerned, however, when I pour my first spoonful and see a consistency that can only be described as “watery, with fine grains”.

Those grains bode well for the spice content and the rich, yet tangy, dark berry aroma is pleasing to my nose but the fact that this sauce is so very thin implies that it hasn’t had the long cook time which I was hoping for.

Unlike Alkemio’s sauce, which is far thicker and gloopier, with only a few, slightly larger pieces in it.

It’s much closer to my preferred texture – Albeit with an unexpected touch of barbecue-style stickiness thrown in – yet the scent of the Blueberry, Miso, Scotch Bonnet, Mint leans a lot more towards the miso and mint than it does the fruit.

Neither product appears to be quite what I’d anticipated but that’s just all the more reason for me to find out what they are.

So I raise Haskhell’s to my lips and it is, indeed, full of spice. A woody, wintery blend that, while not quite the whole range found in mulled wine, is thoroughly warming and strongly supports the sauce’s sudden

sting. A mixed chilli heat which leaves behind tingles both on the tip of my tongue and in my throat.

I enjoy that sensation a lot, especially when paired with the equally sharp lemon, but I’m not sure that that citrus was the right acid for this product.

It adds a brightness that brings out the fruit’s fresher notes. And that’s the exact opposite of what we want, in order to work with the cinnamon, all spice and red chillies.

Haskhell’s sauce is still a goodie, don’t get me wrong, and it does have a deep, dark berry flavour. It’s just that the lemon and the spices are pulling it in different directions. One wanting to pair with fresher berries and the other even more cooked down ones.

It could have been even better, in my opinion, if it had fully committed to either one of the two.

And as for Alkemio Kitchen, well, their sauce is somewhat sweet, slightly salty and very, very soy. Fruity, too, but as much from the beans as from the actual fruit. Meaning that there isn’t a lot that’s recognisably blueberry in those overtones but there is a tonne of umami underneath.

So it’s definitely a burger sauce but not quite the one that I was expecting. And I think that it might actually be better suited to pork and chicken than to beef. Or maybe to some form of meaty, chinese stir-fry with a lot of spring onion in it. In order to highlight its lingering, low

tongue tingle and the subtle, green freshness of the mint, which comes in when I swallow.

That herb being far less obvious in the mouth than it was on the nose, yet still a gentle counterpoint to the sauce’s more intense, savoury elements.

It’s not what I thought it would be in the slightest, being more miso with hints blueberry than the other way around, and it’s not a replacement for Tom’s blueberry one. But what it is is still thoroughly enjoyable. And quite unique, to boot.

More of a fruity sauce than a fruit one and well worth trying, on its own merits.

Both of today’s products put their other ingredients before the peppers but you can still taste little hints of the red scotch bonnet in Alkemio Kitchen’s and the habanero and cayenne blend certainly brings a lot to the feel of Haskhell’s Blueberry, even if it doesn’t have much effect on its flavour.

I wouldn’t say “no” to either sauce but Alkemio Kitchen’s is easily the more memorable of the pair, standing out with its heavy use of miso. While Haskhell’s is a more traditional berry blend, fit for curries, con carnes and subtler meat or fish dishes.

2 thoughts on “Two Berries

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