Happy tuesday, everyone. Several months back, I showed you all a brand new sweet chilli sauce from Brighton Hot Stuff and, when I did, I mentioned that it came free with one of my orders.
Well, this week, I think that it’s finally time that I showed you what that order was. Along with another little freebie that they’ve sent me since:
Today, we have two rather intriguing items from them – A habanero-based lychee sauce, drawing upon the company’s chinese heritage, and a mixed chilli and buckfast blend, made in conjunction with Super Nothing TV.
Both of which promise to be rather fruity in most unorthodox ways.
Packaging-wise, however, they’re exceedingly normal, since the brighton boys have gone back to their old, brown paper labelling, once again. Albeit in two completely different sizes, this time.
And size isn’t the only difference between the pair, either.
As near identical as their labels may be, the Buckfast and Lychee are two completely different colours and textures. As can be seen, ever so clearly, on my spoons:
The lychee is by no means the company’s thinnest product, yet it’s still very much on the thin side of sauces, as a whole. Whereas its partner, the Buckfast, is almost ketchup-like in its stickiness and retention of the shape that it poured out in. Providing nearly as much contrast in its consistency as there is between that deep, glossy red and the lychee’s paler, only slightly orange-tinged yellow.
This week’s duo do share a maker and a general theme of fruit but, when it comes to the actual ingredients, vinegar, thickeners, sweet syrup and salt are all that they share. They even have different nozzles to them, with this tiny flow restrictor featuring only on the Lychee:
Personally, I’m not too fond of it. I understand why it’s there, given that this is a thin, first ingredient habanero sauce, but that’s also exactly why I take issue with it.
The soft, yet tangy, yellow pepper flavour of its golden habanero strain makes up the vast majority of this supposedly lychee-based product. The namesake fruit provides a sweetness to balance the chilli and vinegar tang but, beyond that, its taste is far more subtle. Just a bunch of fruity, aromatic and almost floral overtones, which add a tonne of intrigue to this otherwise slightly one-note sauce. Without ever turning into the horrible perfume of lychee flavourings.
I like it a lot but the bold, peppery base means that it’s easy for the subtle lychee top notes to get lost. Especially when you’re only splashing tiny drops over food.
So, as much as I thoroughly appreciate BHS’ idea of using their Lychee over salad or mixing it into mayo, I would definitely recommend ignoring the method part of their serving suggestion. Because you’ll get a lot more out of this sauce if you pop the restrictor off and just pour carefully. Especially in marinading white fish or chicken.
Assuming, of course, that you can handle the
heat which prickles the tongue slightly, before ramping up to its full intensity in my throat.
The Buckfast, though, has a smaller neck that doesn’t come with any restrictors. One that lets out far more than the internal cap of its lychee cousin, yet doesn’t pose any threat of over-pouring, due to the thick and sticky nature of the sauce, itself.
Clearly, despite vinegar being first on the list, this product’s raisins have done their job. Both in thickening it up and in emphasizing the rich, slightly alcoholic, aged grape flavour of its wine. A taste which is then only further supported by a blend of chipotle and dutch red chillies, lending own their own smoke to and slight fruitiness to the not quite earthy fruit.
It’s tangy, fruity and slightly sweet, much like the last sauce, but its wine-forward richness is completely unlike the subtle, aromatic notes of the Lychee’s namesake ingredient and it’s far more gentle, upfront.
Yet there’s an equally high,
sting in the tail of the Buckfast. Sharp in the back of my throat and throbbing at the tip of my tongue. It just comes in so much later than its counterpart.
Late enough, even, to make me think that this one’s heatless, at first.
It’s a really good, well-rounded blend of subtle smoke, red peppers and an intense red wine, which I’m going to absolutely adore in my con carnes and over burgers. I’m just going to have to be a little more careful when I use it as a pour on sauce because it definitely does have a way of lulling me into a false sense of security.
So that’s a warning to be careful with both of today’s features, for slightly different reasons. Yet I’d still recommend both, as well.
The Lychee contains:
Yellow habaneros, lychees, cider vinegar, sea salt, maple syrup, agar and xanthan gum.
For a bold hit of yellow habanero chilli with uniquely delicate fruit overtones.
While the Backfast uses:
Cider vinegar, Dutch red chillies, Buckfast Tonic Wine, smoked jalapeños, raisins, sea salt, Carolina Reapers, maple syrup, agar and xanthan gum.
And is surprisingly mild, for something utilising the current record holder. Yet it packs an even bolder hit of flavour than Brighton Hot Stuff’s other sauce, from its dutch reds and signature wine. With just a hint of the chipotle coming through.
They don’t have a tonne in common but they’re both full of flavour and thoroughly enjoyable.