Hey folks, I know that it’s the fourth today but it’s still my first review since december. So happy new year!
This time around, the postal service has been a little more on point and I’ve been a little more prepared, as well. Meaning that I’ve got not one, not two but a whopping three different green chilli sauces to show off. Each from a producer who’s work is entirely new to me and who uses a highly unusual ingredient, as well.
For the start of twenty twenty-two, I bring you Great Scott Hot Sauce’s Apple, Gooseberry & Serrano, Orriss & Son’s jalapeño and nettle “Fresh Tendrils” and Mack Chilli’s Jalapearno. Which is an awful portmanteaux but definitely gets its key ingredients across.
Here’s how the lot of them look:
You may, however, need a big more of a close up of Mack’s Jalapearno because they’ve gone and done that thing that I hate, where they wrap the art around more than half of the bottle. Making it impossible to show without a photo collage:
And I should probably mention, since it has been quite some time since the last such offender, that this isn’t only a me problem. It’s an issue which’ll crop up again and again, any time anyone wants to display the sauce. Including in whatever stores might wish to stock it.
Seeing the branding is a huge part of what drives interest – At least to the point of picking up the bottle – so hiding half of that visual information is a terrible idea. Or, at least, it would be if Mack’s label looked any good. Because, let’s be honest, it’s only goofy clip art of its namesake ingredients. Not anything with actual effort put into it.
Still, it would great to be able to read that name, if nothing else, since, as I already mentioned, it says so much about the sauce in such a succinct and memorable manner.
As for our other items, I’d say that Great Scott and Orriss & Son have considerably better labels but that, even so, both are far from ideal.
Great Scott shows nothing but a green chilli, in the way of its ingredients, and I do find its use as the dress of a blushing dancer amusing but it doesn’t tell us what makes the sauce special. And nor does the text, in most lighting, because it’s hard to distinguish the green letters from their background.
Orriss & Son, on the other hand, make their text far more legible, yet confine their key ingredients to small print at the very bottom. Offering nothing but a patterned transparent edge to the label, when it comes to art, that doesn’t give away a thing.
It’s intriguing and it shows off the dark green of the sauce inside but neither bottle actually conveys much, at all, in the way of useful information. So I guess it’s time for us to crack them open. Starting with Great Scott’s pale, pulpy, thick and fruity, seed-filled sauce:
The aroma is gentle and slightly sweet, with a heavy undertone of green chilli, but there’s very little sweetness to this product’s taste. And, with an almost instant, low
tingle, the chilli is far more apparent on my tongue. Albeit still refreshingly medium, after last week’s trio.
Yet it’s not just the heat that I get from the serrano pepper. It’s also its slightly earthier and more herbal notes, when compared to things like jalapeños, which pair perfectly with the coriander leaf to provide this sauce’s savoury freshness. A freshness which is carried throughout by a light and fruity, apple base.
Then there’s the tarter fruit flavour of fresh, green gooseberries, to combine with both and bring together the fruit and chilli. As well as to play off of the subtler onion zing.
In short, it’s a straightforward but effective, green chilli sauce that highlights all of its namesake ingredients and their fresh flavours well, without trying too hard to do anything more.
It excels at what it does and will go just as well with pork and fish as our last gooseberry product. Yet its use of green chilli and herbs still makes for a very different flavour, which I’d prefer to pair with white fish and tacos, rather than the oilier mackerel that I suggested before. And I’m very much looking forward to late spring, when I can try it on a wild garlic salad. With or without a touch of feta.
I might be a little biased towards their use of unusual british fruit but Great Scott’s Apple, Gooseberry & Serrano gets a huge thumbs up from me and sets a high standard for the rest of the day. So how about we give those Fresh Tendrils a go and see if they excite me just as much?
Alright, perhaps that wasn’t the best way to word it but here’s Orriss & Son’s sauce:
A thinner, darker, murkier green than the last, filled not with pulp and seeds but with the shreds of chilli skin and leaves. A ketchup-like stickiness giving away the blend of thickening gums and sugar underneath.
Tasting it, I definitely do get that sugar but it’s balanced out by the light bitterness and astringency of the nettle and mint. Each also lending its own tiny tingle to support the
heat jalapeño, giving it a slightly prickly feel, on the tip of my tongue.
The warmth of the chilli then lingers for a surprisingly long time, for something so mild. But I guess that a few unusual properties were to be expected, from this sauce, with its chilli content being mostly juice, rather than the flesh of the pepper.
Orriss & Son have made a very unusual decision, in that regard, yet I can see exactly why. Because it does provide a uniquely smooth and uniform texture. At least until you hit a piece of leaf. And, despite their size, they’re so fragile that they practically disappear the moment that you bite into them.
Plus, those leaves add a strong taste of cooked mint to the already dark, green sauce. The nettle making up the majority of them but tasting very similar to its partner. Only setting itself apart in feel and in the hints of green lemon or lemondrop which it also adds. Subtle, yet very welcome in lightening the mood and making the cider vinegar tang more palatable.
Unlike the last, this sauce isn’t likely to pair well with fish as its tart fruit elements play only a minor role and its green chilli is far, far deeper, darker and more chlorophyllic. But it’ll make a beautiful substitute for mint sauce over lamb or with all kinds of indian appetisers, such as bhajis and samosas. Not to mention the mix of sweet and herby being a perfect fit for fried cheeses, like halloumi.
Though they maybe be quite different from Great Scott’s Apple, Gooseberry & Serrano, the Fresh Tendrils are another excellent use of a most peculiar, wild ingredient. And, this time around, it’s one which I’ve never seen in a sauce before.
So we’re two for two on recommendations, so far, but can Mack Chilli make it a clean sweep with their own oddity – The Jalapearno? A blend which contains not only jalapeño and pear but also some unspecified form of melon?
Let’s find out:
Like the others, this is a green sauce, not just a green chilli one. So, whatever may be in here, it’s not the watermelon that I’ve enjoyed in the past. It’s something new. And the scent of this sauce is no help, either, as all I’m getting on the nose is garlic and lime zest.
Which makes it quite the major system shock when I taste the thing and this sauce is sweet, sweet, sweet! A combination of sugar, honeydew and gentle hints of pear which I’m still reeling from when the delayed,
of its mixed green chillies hits my throat hard and fast.
This is not the delicate blend that I was expecting, nor anywhere near the savoury sauce that its smell might suggest. I do taste a tiny bit of the citrus and garlic in my second spoonful but the “jalapearno” is very much dominated by its melon, sweetness and heat. Not what my nose could detect and definitely not its namesake flavours. Even if the chunky jalapeño seeds and granular pear pulp do define its texture.
I’m not so sure about this one. It certainly isn’t awful but its extreme sweetness is very close to being sickly, yet its garlic undertones are just strong enough to ruin most dessert pairings.
The company say to use it as a dressing for salads, a dip or an every day sauce but I see salads needing some kind of salty cheese to offset the sweet and I struggle to think of anything else which I’d want to dip into it, since it certainly isn’t a thai sweet chilli.
Not that I was ever expecting it to be, when it claimed to be made from:
Jalapeno Chilli, Green Chilli, Pear, Melon, Lime, Garlic, Sugar, WHITE WINE VINEGAR.
but it would have been so much easier to find a use for if it were.
As is, the only reasonable one that I can see for Mack’s Jalapearno is as a light marinade for white fish or chicken. Though do let me know if any of you have other ideas for it, as it’s certainly a unique flavour to work with.
And do make sure to check out the other two from today’s review – Orriss & Son’s Fresh Tendrils and Great Scott’s Apple, Gooseberry & Serrano – both of which I enjoyed a good deal more.
Green Jalapeño Juice, Green Pepper Juice, Apple Juice, Cider Vinegar, Fermented Green Chilli (Chilli, Vinegar, Salt), Sugar, Nettles, Guar Gum (0.25%), Mint
for the Fresh Tendrils and:
Bramley apples, Onion, garlic, chillies, apple cider vinegar, salt, lime, sugar, coriander, gooseberries
for the Apple, Gooseberry & Serrano.