Dalston Double

Hello again, everyone. Today, we’re looking at a sauce that’s been gaining a lot of traction, lately, but that I still hadn’t heard hide nor hair about until it arrived on my doorstep. A gift from my aunt, in london, to whom this week’s product is quite local.

This is Common Sanity’s Dalston Sunshine – The name of the sauce telling you exactly what borough its company are based in and their own hinting at an interest in mental health. With a portion of the company’s profits going to charity for that very reason.

Yet the common “Common Sanity” name, as a whole, is apparently a play on commensality, the act of communal eating. Not anything to do with the word “Common”. Which is just as well because, as much as it may look like a common caribbean mustard sauce, their Dalston Sunshine’s main ingredient is actually the fatalii chilli. An african relative of the habanero which, despite growing popularity in recent years, is still far from “common”.

And it’s not today’s only unexpected fusion flavour, either, since my little care package also contained a second item from the company:

Not a sauce, this time, but a chinese or filipino-style crispy oil. Filled with mexican chillies, seeds and nuts for a beautifully rich sounding, yet equally unorthodox blend that they call Fuego Greeze.

I’m very eager to try them both out.

As exciting as they are, though, there’s not a tonne to their packaging. The Fuego Greeze’s, in particular, looking like little more than a prototype. Printed on plain paper and with some parts even scrawled on by hand.

While the Dalston Sunshine’s cover, despite being even more scribbly, appears to be doing it for artistic reasons. Mimicking some of the visual metaphors for mental health conditions that I’ve seen in the past and printing them onto a beautifully pearlised paper. Much like what Queen Majesty used for their labels.

Common Sanity’s is certainly well made and I appreciate how it ties into their brand but only the little colour splotches around the sides say anything about the sauce, itself. There isn’t even a name on the front of the bottle, so I definitely think that there’s room to improve their design.

In terms of the sauce itself, however, it looks absolutely stunning!

A vibrant, warm yellow body, filled with chunks, seeds and large shreds of red chilli, yet still displaying clear hints of the wet, granular texture that we saw in Dalston Chillies’ bajan creation. A clear indicator that this one, too, has a pretty hefty helping of turmeric, beneath its pepper-heavy surface.

In flavour terms, though, that mix of bright, citrussy fatalii, savoury red scotch bonnet and ever so slightly tropical jamaican yellow definitely dominate its taste. Becoming extremely lemon-like as they blend with the sharp,

heat and the tang of the vinegar. The golden, earthy undertones of turmeric and mustard still present, like in that last sauce, but far from taking centre stage, as the flavour and fire of the fatalii do.

Altogether, there’s an almost piccalilli quality to this sauce, amplified by a touch of sweetness at the start and a slightly bitter finish, which remind me of Gingerbeard’s work and keep me coming back for more.

So the Dalston Sunshine strikes me as a great pairing for grilled chicken or fish or for dishes with a creamy cheese sauce. Yet I could also see it working wonders to brighten up a casserole or tagine, given its blend of earthy and citrus flavours, or enhancing a more lemongrass-centric style of curry.

All of which, in combination, sound remarkably similar to the surinamese pom that I mentioned in another piccalilli review. A delightful-sounding dish which I really must get around to trying.

But, before I do, I’ve got a second product to review and this one looks extremely different to our first:

The Dalston Sunshine may have had solid and liquid components but they still stuck together, bound by the mustard and turmeric. Whereas this Fuego Greeze is has no binding agent. It’s just chillies and seeds, suspended in oil.

A blood red oil, to be precise, filled with an even darker mix of toasted, guajillo, chipotle morita and de arbol chillies. Dotted with the lighter shades of sesame and peanut that I told you about up top.

It looks intense and it tastes it, too. The light flavour of its olive oil quickly giving way to the dry taste of the mexican chilli blend, given richness by the earthy, nutty peanut and sesame that follow and subtly backed up by its hints of garlic and salt.

Not to mention the waves of smoky chipotle and woody de arbol which round out the flavour even further. This oil is an extreme flavour like few others, though its heat is only a low

in my throat. On the high side of medium and very easy to work with.

Since its strong taste will go such a long way, it’s not hard tone that heat down, if you need. Adding just a touch to your cooking oil for mushrooms or burgers and still getting plenty of full on flavour out of the Greeze. But it’ll also add a whole new dimension to stir-frys, including my stir-fried spuds, and work just as well with omelettes and tostadas as its mexican ingredients aught to.

I’d recommend handling it with care, because the Fuego Greeze is messy and stains easily, but it’s well worth the risk. The taste is fantastic!

It was made from:

Arbol/Morita/Guajillo/EVOO/Sunflower Oil/Peanuts/Sesame Seed/Sunflower Seed/Garlic/Vinegar/Salt

While the Dalston Sunshine used:

fatalii pepper, jamaican yellow, scotch bonnet, onion, fresh turmeric, vinegar, water, unrefined sugar, salt, mustard.

And I would wholeheartedly recommend them both.

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