Heinz Hot Sauces
Iain P W Robertson
There have been a few new sauces that have found their ways into the Robertson family larder in recent months. Much of the logic for their arrival is contained by a premise that we have all become slightly weary about applying either HP (brown) or Heinz (red) sauces to whatever we might be eating at any given time.
Text continues below image
To be fair, those bottles used to get dragged out on fish and chips nights (although I have always preferred a little splash of Worcestershire personally), along with the salt and malt vinegar, in a customary ritual that used to necessitate cleaning the old glass bottle necks in the days prior to the arrival of squeezable alternatives.
When I spotted the green bottle on the supermarket shelf, I have to say that I lingered for a moment longer before taking in both the reddish-brown and yellow variations on the theme. All branded enterprisingly Heinz Hot Sauce, the green is the green jalapeno chilli, the red version is chipotle chilli and garlic, while the yellow alternative is habanero sweet chilli. Unlike the same company’s famous Tomato Ketchup, these speciality sauces are in ‘shaker’ bottles, just like the aforementioned Worcestershire is.
In fact, their consistency is not dissimilar and you do need to shake the bottles quite violently not just to mix the contents but also to dispense more than a few drops at a time. Mind you, it is probably as well, because the sauces do live up to expectations. They are all quite hot and spicy.
The hottest of them all is the yellow habanero, which promises to be ‘sweet’ as well but is actually so fiery that it numbs the tongue for a good ten minutes after tasting it, making any judgement about its flavour largely redundant. Heinz recommends it in stir-fries or on Mexican fajitas and I do not disagree.
The red chipotle and garlic is next in the heat stakes. Fortunately, it is more flavoursome, a factor aided undoubtedly by the inclusion of smoked garlic. I think that it might work quite well with upping the heat rating of chilli con carne, while it will also enhance most burgers. It could work quite well with egg, in various cooked forms. Finally, the green jalapeno is quite spicy but also very tangy, which could make it work well with some salads, pasta or even pizza.
Priced at £1.49 per small bottle, although the labels state that there are no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives, I could not help wondering about the bilious green of the latter version that had caught my eye to begin with. To be frank, I have enjoyed better hot sauces from other specialist manufacturers and I think that positioning the Heinz bottles alongside the regular sauce offerings is a marketing error. They ought to be alongside the fajita mixes and so on. While I am sure that we might use them eventually, I have a feeling that they will reach their ‘Use By’ dates long before the bottle contents are exhausted.