Eat out, drink up

Some HGT

' "Ii

Our taste buds are still a bit singed after an encoun

with a dozen chilli sauces. Words: Barry Shelby

weren't deSigned to easily accommodate a burning deSire

for chipotle. Jalapeno or habanero chillis. Still ‘pain is good' as a brand of sauces recently introduced at the increasmgly spicy Harvey Nicks testifies.

The masochism of sampling chillis and spicy sauces can be minimised. however. 'Go eaSy' is the adVice of DOug Bell of Lupe Pintos delicatessens in Edinburgh and Glasgow. 'Don't slap it on until you've tried it first.‘ says Bell. whose shops stock a Wide range of Wicked and several hilariously named hot condiments. “I've seen people ruin their meal.‘

If you need immediate pain relief, don't down a beer. That could just make matters worse. The best antidotes are a dollop of s0ured cream. a piece of cheese or a glass of milk: dairy tends to mop it up and speed recovery.

Bell looks for a few elements in a chilli sauce. First. you should be able to taste the chillis. In the heat hierarchy. jalapeno and chipotle are medium, while the habanero and scotch bonnet are scorching. He prefers a thicker consistency. not too diluted with Vinegar. And a balance of flavours is another factOr to observe. Carrots often complement habar‘tero-based sauces. Be wary of those claiming to be the hottest. Bell's tried a few and it is not ‘always a pleasant experience'.

Two basic places to start are Crystal LOuiSiana Hot Sauce and Pickapeppa Sauce from Jamaica. (4) Crystal (0.. ) is the budget alternative to Tabasco. a classic aged red pepper sauce ideal for dashing onto raw oysters or into a Bloody Mary.

(7) Pickapeppa (COO ) Will appeal to anyone who wishes HP sauce had a bit more bite: this is sharp. quite fruity and warming.

Similar, but with the consistency of chutney. is Pain is Good Jamaican Pineapple Salsa [not pictured] (O. ). Rounded. slightly sweet and Quite mild With a stiong tomato base. some might eat this straight Out of the bottle. Not much pain here. th0ugh. (8) Jalapefio Chile Pepper Sauce (00 ) from the California Chile Company is disappomting.

I like hot sauces more than they like me. My guts apparently

‘Don’t slap it on until you’ve tried it first - I’ve seen people ruin their meal’

It's a tad too Vinegary With medium heat and a thin, one dimenSional taste.

The second offering from Pain is Good is (1) Smokey Chipotle Salsa l... l. Minced rather than Chunky, this one initially tastes of barbecue but sneaks up to spank the back of the tongue. This one's medium to medium hot. The Califomia Chile Company (5) Chipotle Sauce (000 l is less fiery: QUite rich in flav0ur despite the vaguely meagre consistency. It's good on enchiladas.

(3) Bad Girls in Heat from the Pepper Girl Brand (0... offers a Winning combination of papaya. pumpkin and habariero (the chilli is well down the list of ingredients). Sweet and spicy. a nice comforting blanket in the mouth, this one is a Cinnamon girl to make you happy fOrever. Not so the (6) Brutal BajanlO l. It doesn't live up to its ‘get brutalised' motto: it's too Vinegary but the mustard and turmeric compensate.

Finally. three more blistering batches of habanero chilli sauces. (9) Red Ringpiece (00. i gets the nod for best labelling; it shows flames erupting from a guy's ass With the subtitle: ‘Burns Ya TWicef' There's not much subtlety here immediately not right across the tongue. Carrots are part of the blend but honestly are not particularly prominent. (2) Iguana XXX from the Half Moon Bay Trading Company (.0 ji is nearly the same: flecks of chilli peppers and seeds in a combination that has not quite the sizzle of Red Ringpiece. Finally, El Yucateco (0.0 i [not pictured] from MeXico. A sentimental favourite in part because of the traditional packaging. this one is a deep red salsa picante With seemingly purer habar‘iero flavour.

I Pain is Good sauces are avai/ab/e at Harvey Nichols Foodmarket. 30 St Andrew Square, Edinburgh, 0737 524 8388. The rest can be purchased at Lupe Pintos: 24 Leven Street, Edinburgh, 0737 228 6247 and 373 Great Western Road. Glasgow, 0747 334 5444.

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News to nibble on . . .

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‘7—3‘. do 2363 THE “81' 113