So, now that valentine’s day is out of the way, I think it’s time that we returned to my regular line-up and took a look at something I’ve had in the wings for a while: The last of my order from Pembrokeshire Chilli Farm.
A particularly boozy pair, featuring chipotle and bourbon, on the left, alongside an apple-based collaboration with the Pembrokeshire Cider Co. to our right. Promising a little more heat, from the inclusion of its habaneros, but hopefully a smooth and fruity flavour, too.
I’ve been looking forward to these for quite a while now. So let’s try them out!
The first of the duo – Their Chipotlè Gold – is clad in similar attire to the company’s jam. Stretching out the label for more name space and choosing a darker colour for its background, yet keeping the same wood pattern, white text and focus on the Pembrokeshire Chilli Farm logo.
It doesn’t say a tonne about the sauce inside but it does imply something rich and dark, while hinting at the barrels used for a lot of alcohol varieties. At least, so long as you aren’t aware that they use the same wood pattern for everything.
Except, that is, for today’s other product – Their Fire Cider Sauce. That one’s wrapped in a cloudy red with white edges, for some reason, and trades their two chilli logo for the name of their collaborator – The Pembrokeshire Cider Co..
That label might be meant to hint at its apples, with the cloudy texture, but that feels like a big leap of logic to make and I see no other aspects of the contents being highlighted here. Except maybe the heat.
It’s definitely the less visually attractive and informative packaging of the pair, yet its also the more unusual concept.
The Chipotlè Gold is a great sounding barbecue blend but we’ve had apple, chipotle, bourbon and honey-based sauce before. Whereas the Fire Cider bringing that apple to the fore is entirely new to me and I’m very curious about it.
However, as obviously smooth and fruit forward as today’s pair are, neither spoonful looks quite as silky as that Hot-Headz classic:
It’s obvious, especially from the Fire Cider on the right, that Pembrokeshire Chilli Farm are using fresh fruit pulp. Not a pre-cooked apple sauce. So, while their Chipotlè Gold may have a good thickness and stickiness to it and may share many of the same ingredients, it’s definitely not the same product.
It’s free from the cinnamon that I loved so much in Hot-Headz’ Apple Chipotle Bourbon BBQ but its also less sweet. More instantly tangy and, despite it featuring further down the list, seemingly more boozy, too. A heavy hit of dry bourbon picking up the smoke and leading into the deep, rich body of the farm’s home grown chipotle.
Pembrokeshire Chilli Farm’s first sauce isn’t quite what I expected but it’s a pleasant change from just how sugary some barbecue blends can be and its lingering, throaty,
warmth is a delight. So, while I wouldn’t pair this particular product with things like macaroni cheese, it’s still go beautifully over most meats and make an amazing addition to con carne. As well as being especially stunning over pork, as you might expect, due to the gentle, fruity overtones from its apples.
But its companion isn’t nearly so subtle with its fruit. Nor with its cider and cider vinegar.
The Fire Cider is apple through and through. From its smooth yet pulpy texture to the aged apple tang and the spiced fruit base on which it rests. The onions, ginger and chilli heat all adding to the tang of the vinegar and alcohol but taking a back seat to the apple, itself.
Considering the sheer amount of focus on its fruit, the Fire Cider is surprisingly not sweet. So there’s little to slow the
heat that creeps in behind that tang, catches the throat and then lingers at the tip of my tongue.
It’s an unusual flavour choice, light and mostly savoury, despite the sharpness of the vinegar. Perhaps most at home with ham but also well suited to mild curries and oily fish. Or even the combination of the two that is kedgeree.
But, to my surprise, it’s also a remarkably good fit in with a tin of baked beans. Its tang and not so sweet fruit cutting through their own sweetness and playing unexpectedly well with the tomato.
Apples, Cider Vinegar (Sulphites), Cider (Sulphites) Sugar, Red Pepper, Onion, Honey, Mustard, Habanero Chilli (23%), Garlic, Ginger, Salt, Spices, Xanthan Gum.
And you can find more on its red habaneros here.
While the Chipotlè Gold uses:
Apples, Balsamic Vinegar (SULPHITES), Chipotle Chilli (20%), Brown Sugar, Honey, Bourbon, Garlic, Tomato Powder, Liquid Smoke.
And some delicious, home smoked, green chipotle.
Both are great reasons to check Pembrokeshire Chilli Farm out and the only real complaint I have is with the Chipotlè’s name. Because the pepper is mexican and it’s spelt with an acute accent over the E.
Not a grave, which doesn’t even exist in spanish.