Hey there, everybody. It’s time for another review and, today, I’d like to try some more mango sauce. Given that I didn’t get my full fix, last week.
With that in mind, I’d like to crack open a couple of freebies that I recently received, from Chilli Bob’s:
His Spiced Sticky Apple, which is new to me, and his Burmese Mango, which is anything but.
I first tasted that second sauce back in february, during a brief stint of judging for the North East UK Chilli Heads Facebook group’s product awards. Twenty-something chilli condiments graced my desk, that month, all filled with fruit, but this one, in particular, stood out. And, if the company hadn’t sent me a bottle, I’d definitely have had to buy one.
Why? You’re going to have to read on to find out.
Looking at the packaging, it’s pretty unassuming. Both of today’s products are.
The pair are wrapped in the exact same yellowy-green as the rest of Chilli Bobs’ large bottles, along with the same cartoony, yet photo-phased image of the company’s owner, Neal Price. There are only two distinguishing features: The text and the coloured strip, around the top.
For the Spiced Sticky Apple, both a a dark green that presumable represents the fruit, itself. Yet the mango is a lighter, yellowy-orange and its stripe is pale. Presumably implying a softer, gentler sauce, while also contrasting with the bold, red text that mimics the chilli shreds inside.
So, as simple as that packaging might be, I feel as though it gets the point of the Burmese Mango Sauce across. Just maybe not that of its partner.
I still don’t know what to expect from the Spiced Sticky Apple. So I guess I’ll just fill my spoon and find out:
It’s a thickish sauce, medium brown in colour and full of powdered spices. It leaves the bottle with a strong scent of sweetened vinegar and cooked apple, reminiscent of an actual brown sauce. Yet its onions add a savoury note and those spices remind me more of chutney.
So, when all is said and done, I’m still slightly unclear on the intent of this Spiced Sticky Apple. And the taste doesn’t really help.
It’s sweet and sticky, with a classic, browned apple based, and it is, most definitely, spiced. With undertones of ginger, allspice and cinnamon. However, that obvious vinegar smell translates to an intense, aged apple tang, in the mouth. Backed up by the cayenne and warm spices, in order to leave behind a
You might think that such a cider vinegar kick would only enhance the brown sauce quality of the product but you’d be wrong. It does provide the same counterpoint to the sweetness that you’d see in a commercial version but it also highlights what remains of the fresh apple flavour. Whereas a real brown sauce would normally mask those notes with things like prunes, in order to double down on the dark, brown fruit taste.
And, as wiltshire chilli farm 📽️showed us📽️, chutney sauces can go even darker, using the apple as nothing more than a base for their blend of raisins and winter spices. Both of which are apparently in here but I can’t say that I’m getting the flavour of that dried fruit.
So I’m not really sure where Chilli Bobs are aiming to fall on the brown sauce to chutney spectrum, with this one, but it’s still an enjoyable product, either way. Perhaps a little heavier on the vinegar than I would like, yet otherwise ideal for pork, cheese and/or noodle dishes.
Their Burmese Mango Sauce, however, I already know is much more to my tastes.
It’s a similar thickness to the last one, yet its mix of mango and honey makes it so much smoother. Despite the visible flecks of spices and seeds and the large shreds of red chilli which seem to sink, when I pour my spoonful.
It looks incredible! So vibrant! So orange! So fruity!
And yet it’s those spices that I smell, as I raise it to my face. A simple but ever so enticing blend of allspice and sweet cumin.
Then, when it hits my tongue, there’s something else again. A softer, subtler fruit undertone, lurking beneath the bright mango, which helps bring those spices to the fore.
It’s apple, but not like in the last sauce.
It’s fresher. Still cooked down, yet neither browned nor caramelised, with a flavour reminiscent of a good apple pie.
So, as bold and in your face as the namesake fruit may be, there’s also a gentle, warming depth to the Burmese Mango Sauce that lingers and makes it into so much more than just a big bottle of mango pulp.
Even for a mango sauce, it’s so refreshingly light, without sacrificing any of its strength of flavour. And sure, its chilli strength may be somewhat less – Only reaching a high
at the top and back of my mouth, when I swallow – but it’s utterly delicious over mexican food, fresh veg and even baked fruit desserts, with or without ice-cream.
From its taste to its texture and even that light little tingle, I truly love this sauce.
Here’s what goes into it:
Mangoes, Onions, Apples Water, Sugar (White), Red Chillies, Vinegar (White wine), Honey,,Garlic, Ginger, Salt, Cumin (Ground), Allspice
While Chilli Bob’s Spiced Sticky Apple contained:
Cider Vinegar, Sugar (Demerara) Apple Juice, Sultanas (Sulphides) Onion, Garlic, Allspice, Ginger Chilli Peppers, Cinnamon, Cayenne
And I liked both, don’t get me wrong, but I enjoyed the Burmese Mango Sauce so much more.