Two ‘Chups

So, seeing as we’re on a bit of a downward trend now, heat-wise, how about we take this week to look at a milder style of condiment? One with chillies, yes, but focussed at least as much on its tomato content as its spice.

Today’s pair come to us from Pip’s and Boom Sauce, both of whom I’ve featured exactly once before. Yet it’s been a good few months since the last of those reviews and neither of this one’s products are the chocolate, verde or ginger-based hot sauce that we previously witnessed.

Instead, as we move into july, I want to take a look at their ketchups and see just how much difference the trinidadian spices and classic cocktail theming make. Giving Pip’s Bloody Mary and the Boom Sauce Hot Chup a fair whack, in order to see what makes them tick and what separates them from the rest of the pack.

Once again, this week’s duo come to us in that transparent packaging that I love. Both companies having made it something a signature look by this point.

However Boom Sauce, like with their Fix Up D’Heat, do choose to obscure a small portion of the sauce inside with a black triangle at the base of their bottle. Mirroring the black and red of their trinidadian flag.

Whereas Pip’s art is largely transparency and outlines, with only a tiny amount of solid white to emphasise the company name, flames and the face of their undead mother Mary. Leaving the sauce to sell itself, for the most part, while providing that much-needed nod to the intended cocktail connection.

I think I prefer Pip’s packaging but, honestly, it’s hard to say. Because both look great and do exactly what they need to to get across their unique selling points.

Yet, outside of the bottle, one’s a lot more visually pleasing than the other:

Pip’s sauce is smooth, red and shiny, despite its shreds and seeds, while Boom Sauce’s comes out in one big, chunky, brownish blob. Clearly the less appetising of the two, even if I’m intrigued by its visible spice content.

Pip’s is, however, also quite light on the sugar. Focussing instead on its vinegar, lime juice and henderson’s relish, for a far tangier and richer aroma than your usual tomato sauce. Whereas Boom Sauce’s Hot Chup is so heavy on its onions, allspice and black pepper that it almost buries the tomato scent completely.

Surprisingly, it seems to be the trinidadian-style sauce which nails the sweetness, not the blend from birmingham, but both smell delightful in their own way. And that Hot Chup still seems quite light on the sugar, compared to more conventional ketchups, when it comes time for my tasting.

It’s sweet, don’t get me wrong, but only lightly so. With a base which its ingredients list says is mostly tomato but which strikes me far more as onion and scotch bonnet. Packing a fair punch to match.

It’s not too strong right away but the tingle of this Boom Sauce ‘Chup soon grows to what I’d call a high

Warming deep within my throat and lingering at the front sides of my mouth. Its feel coming as much from heavy use of allspice as from any chilli but the bonnet clearly bolstering its strength quite considerably.

But it’s not just the tingly mouth feel that those spice berries bring to the table. There’s also an equally warming, woody, spiced flavour from them. Reminiscent of cloves, yet oh so obviously tied to that caribbean and trinidadian cooking style.

If it weren’t for the lack of herbs, I could easily see this being called a jerk. Though I’m also oddly fond of what its heavy-handed spicing brings to indian cuisine. Enjoying it as much over things like samosas and onion bhajis as the chips, burgers, pizzas and meats that it was made for.

And Pip’s, to be fair, haven’t gone too spice-light themselves. Their own nutmeg-forward blend being far from subtle, yet playing more of a supporting role to round out the rich, dark and savoury undertones of their henderson’s relish.

A relish which defines this ketchupy, yet tangy, Bloody Mary sauce. Relying upon both the natural umami of its tomatoes and the tanins in its red wine vinegar to push that indulgent, savoury richness to new heights.

The company don’t actually call this one a ketchup and, at first, I found that odd. But, while it may contain all of the same ingredients, I never found myself wanting to dip my chips in Pip’s savoury sauce.

Instead, I wanted to throw it over shepherd’s pies and roasts. British dishes that could really appreciate the extra richness of its well cooked tomatoes and worcestershire sauce alternative, while giving the vinegar and lime a little something to cut through. As well as perhaps having a few herbs of their own, to replace the absent celery.

It’s considerably milder than Boom Sauce’s ketchup, at only a high

heat, and it doesn’t tell us what chillies provide its kick. Yet, whatever they are, I’d put good money on them being in the annuum family, with how quick and sharp that kick is. Fitting right in with the sauce’s flavour.

So today’s products have been remarkably different from each other. Neither being as close to the traditional ketchup as I was expecting but both being a delight in their own right.

Boom Sauce’s Hot Chup contained:

Tomatoes, Onion, Cider Vinegar, Tomato Purée, Water, Sugar, Scotch Bonnet, Black Pepper, Allspice, Sea Salt and a pinch of Trini Love.

While Pip’s Bloody Mary contained:

Tomatoes (60%), Hendersons relish (10%), red wine vinegar (8%) contains sulphites, garlic (8%), brown sugar (8%), lime juice (3%), chilli (3%), onion (3%), smoked paprika (1%), nutmeg, cloves, salt.

And I would be happy to recommend either.

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