Hot Face Sauces Scorpion Scorcher

Hot Face Sauces Scorpion ScortcherCheck out this one from Hot Face Sauces. Their Scorpion Scorcher hot sauce certainly has a kick to it. Made with 21% Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Chillies and 16% Scotch Bonnets it has a nice solid burn that lingers for a good while, but on top of this is a lovely sweet tomato flavour that makes it taste delicious.

It won’t melt your face off completely (I have had hotter Naga based sauces), but this one encapsulates flavour and burn and is well worth checking out.

Heat 8/10
Flavour 8/10
Overall 8/10

Grab it from Hot Face Sauces’s website for the bargain price of £3.99 http://hotfacesauces.co.uk/product/scorpion-scorcher/

Pimento’s Chilli Ginger Ale Review

Review by Marty Greenwell – bottles supplied by Mash PR

I’ve always been a fan of Ginger Beer or Ginger Ale if you prefer, especially the fiery variety. The bite from the ginger, that refreshing wake you up taste makes other drinks truly soft. So what happens if you take it to the next level and put chilli in it? Well you get Pimento’s Chilli Ginger Ale all the way from France.

Pimento Chilli Ginger Ale

Pimento Chilli Ginger Ale

Things certainly look good from the outside – the clear glass bottle gives a good view of the contents inside, a fairly pale unintimidating liquid that indeed looks a little bit ginger in colour and a touch cloudy. The label is golden with black Jalapeno type chilli image on the front, with all the usual nutrient information in English and French but there are no outrageous claims about being the hottest soft drink in the world.

Ingredients: Carbonated water, sugar, acidifier: citric acid, natural flavours, sweeteners: Acesulfame K, Sucralose, colour: caramel E150d.

It’s the taste and smells that are important though, so with a pop of the lid and a reassuring fizz from the bottle, it’s time to dive in. On the nose there is a sweet but strong ginger aroma and it’s a smell that’s very invitingly requesting you taste it straight away. Savour it for just that little bit longer and breath in that spicy note.

The first sip reveals that it isn’t as sweet tasting as the smell suggests but it is a sharp ginger taste that washes nice linger over the tongue. The flavour lingers around for a while with a very slight chilli burn but it is on the mild side. In no way could it be described as overpowering. Over a couple more mouthfuls there is hint more of a chilli burn on the back of the throat, a nice hint of chilli enveloped by the ginger.

Pimento’s Ginger Ale is tasty and refreshing and I could happily sup a couple of these down on a warm summer evening; the 250mls in each bottle will soon slip down. It’s a non-alcoholic drink, so can work as a mixer too if that’s you thing, though I’d use it with a liquor with no strong flavour of its own so that you can enjoy the taste of the ginger ale. Recommended and well worth a try.

For availability and pricing, take a look at Pimento’s website.

Flavour 9/10
Heat 2/10
Overall 8/10

UK Dips Trio of Chilli Pastes Review

Review by James Fowkes – products kindly supplied by UK Dips

UK dips are a new family run business. All their products are made from authentic recipes with raw ingredients sourced from local markets. There is real love in these products with time taken to allow them to mature before letting them loose on the market.

Check out their website and you will find their description

“Try something that will get your taste buds watering with Dips. We provide the finest ingredients to create our mouth watering dips. With a range of flavours you are guaranteed you will have made the right choice to choose Dips’.”

Immediately you will notice they innovative use of packaging. I have to mention it because I’m certain others will think of it too, but the only other place I have seen this packaging used is in hand sanitizers. When this package arrived I was quite puzzled before I opened it what it could be. I flip between thinking this a great idea and also wondering if jars would be easier, but I do love the idea.

Base Ingredients: Garlic, chilli powder, spring water, salt, olive oil and lemon juice.uk dips

There are three garlic chilli pastes, mild, medium and extra hot extra to the base ingredients in this trio you have a variation in chilli giving you the different taste experiences. The Mild has Kashmiri – Medium Kashmiri and Aji and finally Extra Hot Aji and Naga. I was tentatively warned by the friendly team over at @ukdips that their products weren’t going to be hot. But despite being a chilli head like many others reading this something doesn’t have to be hot to be tasty!

Opening first the mild paste you immediately get the unmistakable smell of garlic, deciding to try all at once to compare them I pop the cap on each dip and the same garlic smell greets your senses. There is no discernible hint of chilli that I can make out in the aroma, and from the simple ingredient list I’m not expecting to complex a taste experience. Taking the mild paste first, I have to note that I think the Kashmiri chilli is great in cooking but perhaps under-used in the hot sauce world as it has a wonderful interesting flavour bringing character to many dishes. The texture of the paste was, well like a paste. Using the plastic bottle to squeeze out of the small hole was a bit challenging to get a decent portion so I had to remove the cap to get a sample. Combining these chillies into a paste you can’t go too far wrong and for the mild through to the extra hot you won’t be disappointed with the flavours. Perhaps I would change the label on the extra hot to just hot and maybe add in a forth to the range with the extra hot stamp and a real kick to it. That said, for the general public these are labelled perfectly and should go down well at markets and foodie fairs

This range of chilli garlic pastes could be used in a host of ways to add some real flavour and heat to dips and food. Go for that instant hit and add to a sandwich or forget the boring store bought dips and create your own with yoghurts and a stirring in a combination of these pastes. Why not marinade or with mayonnaise and ketchup to make chilli aioli or a garlic chilli ketchup. Where these pastes will come into their own though, is as part of cooking. Here the flavours will be released and combined with the convenience of being instantly within your grasp to add impressive flavour these could be a real winner. Use them and experiment and let @ukdips know about your creations on twitter

The products don’t need refrigeration and officially last for one year. Personally I would still keep them in the fridge if you have space but be safe in the knowledge that you can take them out and travel with them. Ever been caught at a festival or holiday for example and there is no decent hot sauce there. Reach for your trusty spicy dip and there you have it, instant hit.

I am also interested in their Preserved Lemon Chutney which I noticed on their site too, I haven’t tried something like this before and I know they have many future creations in mind to expand their range

At £3.99 each this feels a little expensive to me compared to the price of a larger hot sauce most of us are used to purchasing. However these are pastes not sauces so often go for a higher rate. I say give this company a chance, they are friendly, nice creative and tasty. They are at the beginning of their journey and have a different approach to many other producers that could grow into something interesting.

Flavour 6/10
Heat 2 to 5/10
Packaging 7/10
Value 5/10
Overall 6/10

Burning Desire Foods Chipotle Hot Sauce Review

Review by James Fowkes @jamopepper review – Bottle kindly supplied by Burning Desire Foods

Brighton is where Burning Desire Foods hot sauce company calls home. Started in 2011 they have been making tantalizingly delicious hot sauces ever since. The sauces are all made in small batches with emphasis on both flavour and heat. Some are mellowed to develop a unique and distinctive flavour, slow cooked for a deep intensity, while others go straight for the chilli hit. All of the sauces are completely natural and vegan. Plus none contain any artificial colourings, flavourings, or preservatives.

2013 was a very exciting for Burning Desire, with a range of new products that came out in spring, and Jason also planed to expand into a larger kitchen and production unit. The chilli butters made a successful debut, as did a spice range. Both contributed to him being awarded Best UK Hot Chilli Company 2013. Burning desire is an ever expanding company and one to watch.

Jason has kindly provided me with a bottle of a sauce simply named ‘Chipotle’ with a description’ mild and Smokey Barbeque sauce’. I am lucky to have a bottle from the first batch to try.

The first and most obvious point to note on this sauce is the generous sized bottle. A giant 300ml double the size of most sauces available. With Chipotle sauces generally being moreish this is a good thing and also means you will get more chilli bang for your buck too.

All bottles in the Burning Desire range have similar label designs and similar shaped bottles so look great together as a set. This particular bottle is a slight exception to the rest of the range with its larger size. The bottle has the familiar logo on a deep red background the match the dark smoky goodness inside. You can also see that the sauce inside is a wonderful thick texture that I personally love in my sauces.

Ingredients: Tomato purée, cider vinegar, molasses, onion, apple juice, dark muscovado sugar, lemon juice, chipotle, garlic, mustard, onionBurning Desire Foods Chipotle powder, smoked garlic, thyme, rosemary and wild oregano.

You can’t go too wrong with a chipotle sauce. The chipotle comes from the Nahuatl word chilpoctli meaning “smoked chilli”, It is a chilli used primarily in Mexican and Mexican-inspired cuisines and is simply a smoke-dried jalapeño. The deep smoky flavour you get from this process has you hooked from your first taste of one. Any good chilli company will have one of these sauces in their range. That said it is hard to stand out as a good chipotle sauce. You don’t want to mess with the flavour too much and often you don’t want to mess with the heat levels either. This level of sauce should be accessible to anyone in my opinion. Of course you can add in chipotle chillies into hotter sauces for that background flavour but this is a different type of sauce.

I must confess and apologise to Burning Desire foods. I have had this sauce for review for quire a while and every time I have opened it I get distracted by the taste and then forget to write the review so this is long overdue!

With the impressive long list of ingredients listed on the bottle I was concerned that the flavours would be lost in complexity. Particular note to me was the smoked garlic and also the rosemary, two strong and aromatic flavours that I love as part of my cooking. Opening the bottle you can sense the complexity of the flavours coming, the sauce smells and looks like a chipotle sauce, so far so good; the smoky aroma begins to build drawing you to the bottle, pouring myself a very generous spoon full it’s down the hatch. Many chipotle sauces are sticky with sugar; this sauce is sticky in a pulpy way giving the impression of more natural ingredients. The welcome familiarity of a chipotle sauce greets my taste buds, at the same time the complex ingredient list a fear would interfere with this familiarity begins to take shape. I can taste the smoked garlic and a number of the other flavours too. However rather than being a distraction I was pleasantly surprised that they added to the taste experience and before I knew it I was pouring myself a second spoon full and so never ending the loop began …

I’ll admit if questioned I would find it hard to select a favourite chipotle sauce from the wide selection on the market. In many senses they are all similar. I believe this sauce should be part of your collection. It may not end up being your favourite chipotle sauce but I can guarantee you will start finding food in your fridge just to pour it on so you can have another taste. On sever occasions my ‘open fridge door’ alarm was going off as I continued to munch while the fridge warmed up.

At £8 a bottle you may think this expensive but remember the bottle is 300ml so you are getting so much more for your money.

To purchase Burning Desire Foods’s Sauces, visit their website or if you prefer you can contact Jason direct at Burning Desire Foods Ltd, 45 Stanford Avenue, Flat A, Brighton, East Sussex, BN1 6GA; 01273 561555; info@burningdesirefoods.com

Flavour 8/10
Heat 4/10
Packaging 7/10
Value 9/10
Overall 8/10

Upton Cheyney Ghost Hare Porter Review

Review by James Fowkes – product courtesy of Upton Cheyney

Upton Cheyney continue to expand their hot sauce range with new tasty ideas recently asking Bath Ales too collaborate by making chilli sauces made using chillies from their farm. The result was Brimstone, a flavour-packed steak sauce made using oak-smoked chipotles and its much hotter sibling is Firecore, made with Bounders and the Dorset Naga. As tasty as these sound, today I am here to review the result of this collaboration. The spin off idea that Bath Ales thought things would work in reverse too and fine chilli ale could also be produced! Its ‘time to turn up the heat with Ghost Hare’, a spicy porter that bites back brought to you by a collaboration between the Upton Cheyney Co and Bath Ales.

I no longer knock back the beers like I used to, but still attend beer festivals and always try a local brew to find new tastes and flavours. These days with micro microbreweries popping up everywhere the choices are seemingly endless. I have found however as I have mentioned in a previous review that a good chilli beer is still harder to find.ghost hare

I love the design of this bottle and the label, the picture of the hare on the front does give me flashback to the movie Watership Down but in striking red on a black label this is a well designed modern label compared to some ales. The bottle is even topped off with a red cap too.

This 500ml bottle of Ghost Hare has been kindly supplied by Louise Duck from Upton Cheyney Chilli Co.

Ingredients: Top secret but the label description gives you a hint “We brew Ghost Hare using chocolate malt and Challenger hops, which mingle perfectly with oak-smoked ghost chillies.

With the satisfying sound of opening up the bottle you are left in no doubt by the aroma that this is a porter and it smells a good one at that. There is no hint of a chilli aroma or the potential power of the ghost chilli at this stage. The first mouth full is just wonderful, I admit I did brace myself for an after burn but no pain came. This is a good thing. There is a description printed on the label  reading “Rich dark chocolaty flavours classically combine with a subtle hit of ghost chilli heat” This a perfect description the infused smoked ghost chillies do not overtake the mild porter and only give you a gentle little kick after every mouthful. The result is you get to enjoy both a good porter and a good chilli, it is a perfect flavour combination!

At this moment in time the sauces and Ghost Hare are only available to buy in the brewery shop and selected outlets. They were also be on sale at the Upton Cheyney Chilli Festival. After the festival they will be available to buy online so look out for more details on Twitter and Facebook. Even if you are not a beer drinker I highly recommend picking up a bottle just to experience the blend of flavours. If you have never had a porter before then this can be an acquired taste for a few people but something you need to feel rather than read about. Keep checking the websites above and try some when you can. You won’t be disappointed.

Flavour 10/10
Heat 4/10
Packaging 10/10
Value 9/10
Overall 9/10

Twisted 7 Jamaica Scream Review

Review by Clare Cameron – bottle supplied by Twisted 7 Sauces

Jamaica Scream is a great all rounder sauce with a Jamaican twist. The scotch bonnets work well with the lime and mango juice giving this sauce the Caribbean feel. The mustard powder and garlic compliment these main ingredients and this results in a delicious sauce that goes down far too easily! I have got through the bottle pretty quickly as it can be used on so many items.Jamaica Scream

My two favourite uses have been a dip for chips due to its perfect consistency and a marinade for chicken. The 15% chilli means the scotch bonnet is not overpowering, the same can be said for their other ingredients which all work together to make a sauce which transports you to a beach surrounded by palm trees and the ocean waves.

Ingredients: Tomato, Jamaican Hot Chillies (15%), Water, Mango Juice, Lime Juice, Vinegar, Onion, Sugar, Mustard Powder, Garlic, Thyme, Salt, Turmeric, Nutmeg, Pepper

The package is in the usual Twisted 7 format, which includes the traditional square bottle with the uniformed font. It is always easy to identify a twisted 7 products and I like this as it means you could never pick up an inferior product in error.

Twisted 7 sell sauces and jars on their website. To find out more check out their website  you are also able to purchase merchandise and see recipes.

Flavour 7.5/10
Heat 5.5/10
Packaging 7/10
Value 7/10
Overall 7.5/10

Lily’s Chillies Lemon and Tarragon Jelly Review

Review by Lady C’In – Jar provided by Lily’s Chillies

Lily’s Chillies need no introduction. A well-known family company with an outstanding attitude and fabulous reputation for some fantastic award winning products, including this one, winning the Great Taste Awards in 2013!

This chilli jelly, sitting in a squared 220g jar, a rather deep yellow jelly holds some delicious looking flesh and tarragon inside. The bits just sit stationary in the middle of this beautifully clear jelly. The label is in the lovely designed simple manner which they are known for, with the front label being bordered with the very light mint green colour to give an idea of what may be inside. This fits in well with their other products, keeping everything very uniform. The jar advertises that this jelly is one chilli hot.

It smells incredible. The light sweet apple scent is enhanced by a rather soft minty type smell from the tarragon. You get a touch of Habanero heat from the aroma but this is very fleeting.

Ingredients: Bramley Apples (40%), Sugar, Lemons (4%), Tarragon (4%), Habanero Chillies (1%).

Lemon & Tarragon

The consistency on the spoon is smooth and a little runnier in places than other jellies I have tried from them. There are some parts which seem stickier than others. On the tongue it is smooth with the tarragon pieces adding a little bit of texture.  I get an almost overwhelming sweet sensation from the sugar and apples. The tarragon pieces really have permeated the whole of the jelly and it is a rather powerful flavour in this jelly. It is the only part I can taste fully.

I am also struggling to taste any of the habanero, but the more jelly I eat, the more you realise it is there as it is slowly creeping its way in and letting you know that it’s hanging around in the back keeping you warm. I was going to say that I couldn’t find any hint of lemon, but as I can now see, the jelly has very finely chopped bits of peel in it, adding just a hint of bitter to help combat the sweet flavour.

As we all know, lemon and tarragon go very well with fish dishes. The lovely folk at Lily’s Chillies suggest a good roast chicken, and I can imagine why. It works very well with roast pork, and surprisingly I found my father enjoying it with his lamb one evening. It has a very refreshing, clean flavour which doesn’t overcomplicate any meal.

At £3.85 from their online shop, or located at a lot of the festivals this year, go and get yourself a jar.

Flavour 6/10
Heat 2/10
Packaging 7/10
Value 8/10
Overall 7/10

Bravo Original Hot Sauce Review

Review by Marty Greenwell – bottle purchased from Hot Headz

A short while back I got hold of a few Brazillian chilli products produced by Sakura Nakaya Alimentos Ltda. These hot sauces come under the brand Bravo and the one under review here is the Original.

The sauces come in an attractive cardboard box hiding within which is a 60ml bottle. When you see it you’d be forgiven for think it’s a mislabelled Tabasco Sauce. Although the shape of its bottle is different, the size, label design and colour of the liquid inside definitely isn’t a million miles away from that familiar brand.

However, Bravo Original isn’t made with the Tabasco chilli as its main components other than vinegar is the Jalapeno and Malagueta chilli. Most folks are familiar with the Jalapeno, but the Malagueta isn’t a pod found in many, if any, sauces created in the UK. It sits in the Capsicum frutescens family, has a heat rating of 60-100,000 Scoville units and looks remarkably like, you’ve guessed it, the Tabasco chilli only hotter (indeed they are of the same grouping along with the Piri Piri).

The bottle opening is quite tiny allowing only a few drops to fall out at a time – good for accurate pourage, not so helpful when you’re trying to get a spoonful out for tasting.

Ingredients: Vinegar, Jalapeno & Malagueta chiles, water, salt, xanthan gumBravo Original

The smell on the nose is quite piquant, there’s nothing overpowering or really pungent or off putting. When the sauce hits the tongue the flavours are quite peppery and a little bitter and would partner eggs very well. Surprisingly given the high content of vinegar it’s not that noticeable. The heat is on the tame side but certainly a little hotter than the typical tabasco,

You’ll struggle to find this sauce in the UK unless you visit Hot Headz website. At £2.49 it isn’t a bank breaker but the bottle is pretty small, less than half than is usual so it terms of volume it’s quite pricy. The size of the bottle may make it a good emergency sauce for the man/handbag perhaps. Hot Headz also carry a number of other sauces and pickled pods in the Bravo range and you can find them right here.

It’s a sauce that’s worth a look for the collection, but in terms of taste and heat, seasoned hot sauce consumers are unlikely to be moved; there’s nothing really that stand out about Bravo Original. This is a sauce in the mass manufacture league rather than the artisans of the UK.

Flavour 6/10
Heat 3/10
Packaging 6/10
Value 5/10
Overall 6/10

Kam’s Fiery Delight Pickle Review

Review by David Kelly – Jar kindly supplied by Kam’s South American Products

Whilst many families pass down recipes and culinary secrets through each generation not many can probably claim to sell the resultant end product of these recipes. Natasha from Kam’s South American Products however can lay claim to this, being the fifth generation in her family to continue making traditional family sauce recipes.

Although the recipes have their origins in Guyana (situated in the North Eastern corner of South America) where Natasha & her family are from, Kam’s sauces (the company is named after Natasha’s mother Kamla) are now made in London where Natasha resides.

Labelling on this jar is a simple design that focuses more on providing information than commercial flare or flamboyance. However with this approach it leaves ample room to see the contents therein which is a plethora of chopped pieces of chilli, interspersed with chunks of garlic.

Kam's Feiry Delight
Kam’s Feiry Delight

Ingredients: Scotch Bonnet chillies (55%), Garlic, Vinegar, Salt

If I’m honest looking at the contents of the jar I’m somewhat underwhelmed, after all it’s just sliced chillies in vinegar; however the proof is in the tasting so I open the jar to try it. There’s a satisfying pop opening the jar lid after which a sweet vinegar scent is released from the jar. Not sharp and harsh like a pickling vinegar but more like a white wine vinegar with a light fruity aroma.  The texture of the chillies is quite soft but there is still a slight crunch to them. Their natural fruity flavour is more subdued with the absorption of the brine/vinegar but the combination of the pickling / brining process gives them a sharp, salty tangy fruity taste. Initially there’s a tangy hit, then a burst salt and then their natural flavour comes through with their heat enveloping the front of my mouth and lips.

The addition of pieces of garlic gives a nice contrast to the chilli in both texture and flavour too. They’re similarly soft in bite but rather than just being pickled raw they appear to have been lightly cooked to give them a subtle roasted flavour.

I’ll confess that my initial presumption of something that was going to be a bit bland or boring was wrong. It’s a simple amount of ingredient but an effective combination of flavours and I can’t help but keep licking my lips to get every last drop of residual solution off of them. I think this would make a great accompaniment to a hot dog or hamburger, used in a dipping sauce for spring rolls or fish cakes or even mixed into an existing sauce to finish off a dish.

Available from Kam’s South American Products in either a 120g jar for £3.50 or 240g jar for £5.50 it’s definitely worth trying.

Flavour 7.5/10
Heat 4.5/10
Packaging 6/10
Value 7/10
Overall 7/10

Edible Ornamentals – Introduction to Hydroponic Chilli Growing Workshop

Course attended by David Kelly – run by Edible Ornamentals

Edible Ornamental CabinShawn and Joanna Plumb are well known to many in the UK chilli scene, having started growing and selling chillies as far back as 2001. Their nursery in Chawston, Bedfordshire now grows a range of ninety varieties of chillies from the mild Poblano to the superhot Carolina Reaper. As well using their produce to produce their own range of gourmet chilli products, they also have a dedicated polytunnel where chilliheads can pick their own chillies.

For some time they have also offered tours of their nursery which also include a brief introduction to growing chillies in soil, however recently they have complimented this and launched a workshop on hydroponics which I was able to attend.

Hydroponics is the system of growing plants in water without soil. Although the term, derived from the Greek “hydro” (water) and “ponos” (work/labour) meaning ‘water working’ was first used in 1937, it is believed that the Hanging Gardens of Babylon was one of the first examples of a hydroponic system in use.Edible Ornamental Nursery

Upon arrival at the nursery I was made very welcome by Shawn and offered refreshments. Once everyone had arrived Shawn directed us to an adjacent log cabin on site where the course was to be held.

Shawn opened the workshop by taking us through some initial aspects of hydroponics: the advantages (higher yields, faster growth) and disadvantages of hydroponics (initial set-up costs) offered by it as, and the different growing media need to be substituted for soil with the pros and cons of each.

After this first segment we broke out to have a tour of the nursery and understand the system employed by Shawn for growing the chillies on site. He explained how they use a computer controlled system to supply all of the plants in their polytunnels with the required amount of water and nutrient feed. The system is even sophisticated enough to be able to adjust the concentrations of the feed according to the amount of sunlight being received and the growth stage of the plants. Not something that the average home chilli grower such as I could have at home but very impressive.

Edible Kitchen 2Returning to the log cabin the next segment of the workshop was spent learning about the different types of hydroponic systems available. Surprisingly to me, as someone who previously knew nothing about hydroponics, there are many different set-ups available such as Drip, Flood & Drain and Deep Water culture systems to name a few. Almost all of the systems discussed required electrical set-ups because of the pump needed to supply water however Shawn advised that a gravity feed hydroponic system was available from Autopot for those who didn’t want an electric pump system.

No matter what system you choose the key to hydroponics is getting the nutrients correct and Shawn explained the nutrients that chillies plants need to grow, how this balance shifts during the stages of growth and how to prepare nutrient solutions.

At this stage is was near lunch time so we broke for something to eat in the Edible Kitchen, where we were able to order a range of freshly made chilli themed meals made with the chillies grown on the nursery. During the lunch break we able to see the wide range of growing accessories that were available to buy for both hydroponic set-ups and more traditional methods.Edible Kitchen 1

Following lunch we reconvened for the final part of the course. This was a hands-on session where we got to prepare some chilli seeds for propagation (which we all got to take them home) before ending with a tasting session back in the Edible Kitchen in order to sample the range of Edible Ornamentals products.

Overall this was a great course for those wanting to know more about hydroponics. Over the three hours that the course lasted, Shawn answered all of the questions put to him by myself and the other attendees. His enthusiasm and passion for chillies was clearly evident and his relaxed yet engaging approach helped the group (who were of mixed knowledge of growing chillies) interact well together.

Bookings for the course (which costs £59) can be made directly from the website

Flavour na
Heat na
Packaging na
Value 9/10
Overall 9/10