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Monday 2 September 2013

Review - The Madison Chocolatiers West Paté de Pepper Fruit

I heard about The Madison Chocolatiers West last year when I was reading many great feedbacks about their high quality chocolates, which are as they like to say 'Love in Chocolate', made with a lot of talent in terms of ingredients blend and artistic sense, chosing only the best quality products thanks to the mastery and ingeniosity that they have gathered through years of dedication in 'chocolaterie' creations.

With so much interest for them, I had read enough about them and was really eager to try some of their products...Ok, actually I thought that I wanted to try 'each one of them'!!
By chance I saw that they were raising funds through the website Growing Pains (and they still are as of today at this address), that is how taking part of this project allowed me to receive a box full of yumminesses, and luckily there was a 'Paté de Pepper fruit'!

Paté de Pepper Fruit 1

This is a PBJ (Peanut Butter and Jelly) cup made for I Love It Spicy. This one is a very limited edition PBJ with a blueberry lemon peanut butter filling, that is loaded with hot peppers and topped with candied yellow Trinidad Moruga Scorpion. It has about 5 superhots in there from a custom blend of peppers called the P~Bomb, plus pure cap powder.
Currently there are 15 bags, most will be heading to the Chile Pepper Festival taking place on September 6 th & 7 th 2013 at Bowers PA.

With a lot of curiousity and no apprehension, which would be qualified for recklessness now, I decided to taste the now infamous 'I Love It Spicy PBJ cup Paté de Pepper Fruit'!!
From the outside it looks like an innocent chocolate cup with a pretty topping of candied Moruga, pretty aromas of good chocolate that could make you drool just thinking about it! (now you see...)
Taking the first bite, as the chocolated is splited we cans ee the inside, we can see a nice peanut butter in the middle of the cup, very pleasant to chew and absolutely not the kind of peanut butter that sticks to your teeth, but a nice texture very tender.
Now let's focus to "La Dégustation"!

It starts with a pretty nice taste of a good chocolate, followed by the peanut butter and a salty note, mixed with some sweet little notes of blueberry lemon, like integrated in the whole flavour.
Suddenly, I feel the distinctive flavour of superhot peppers, and at this time during less than 1 second I have been wondering about the heat level that was going to kick in like a 'what is...'.

Paté de Pepper Fruit 2

The heat came in like a punch, knocked in the back of the throat (translated this means that it gave me hiccups!), I was sure that it had some Trinidad Scorpion or Moruga Scorpion powder.
I prefered to read the ingredient lists after having tasted it, and from what Renee told me after there were some candied Yellow Moruga Scorpion peppers with a superhot peppers blend and pure cap, but I knew that after, a bit too late what a surprise!
The candied Moruga were like explosive little nuggets with a burn increasing fast and staying a while, but with style!

Paté de Pepper fruit3
This was the 1st prototype that Renee and Ricky made for Al Buddah Goldenberg with an incredible PB & J filling, this was the original one with the Raspbanero and PB milk chocolate cup.

Overall impression:

Rating 4,5
This one for sure will please the serious gourmet chilehead! If you like chocolates and are in for the flavour as much as for the heat, then now you know where you should be heading to as soon as possible, as this is a limited edition.

You can find more informations about The Madison Chocolatiers West and buy there products here:
You can also check their website for further informations.
And don't forget to check I Love It Spicy website for hot products reviews and useful informations about the Fiery Food Industry .

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Thursday 7 March 2013

Review - Blair's Death Rain Jolokia Chips

When you mention Blair's to a chilehead audience you can be sure that people know their products created with passion to make you Feel Alive! Famous for their Death Sauce range and their Reserve Collection, Blair's is also the reference for flavourful chips with some heat. When they say that it's hot you can be sure that it is, such as with the Death Habanero Chips. As a fan of their Death Rain Buffalo Wing, Chipotle and Habanero Chips, when I heard that a new extreme product was about to be launched I knew that I would have absolutely to taste it. After a long wait, and you know how hard it is to wait for products that you desire, I have been able to get supplied with some bags...and once again, I haven't been disappointed!

Potatoes, Sunflower Oil and/or Corn Oil, Spices (including Jolokia Pepper and Paprika), Salt, Dextrose, Dehydrated Garlic, Natural Flavors, Spice Extractives (including Paprika).
Bag size: 3oz.

Blair's Jolokia 2

Label: 9/10
The usual design from the Death Rain chips range, this one with lot of red referring to the Bhut Jolokia pepper, with some flames to let you clearly understand what this product is about!
Some others details are already telling you that this is an extreme product, such as the heat scale scoring a funny WTF, also it's written that the product is for experienced chilehead only! Note that the packaging in addition to its size different from the same products in the range (3 oz. vs 1.5 oz.), there's also the use of a matt printing that you can see and feel on the package, which is giving an impression of high quality to the product, such as the premium one of its range.

Blair's Jolokia 1

Appearance: 9/10
First of all the chips are red, very red and full of powder which comes the Paprika used in an important amount.
The chips have a nice size, are not too thin and have been nicely cooked resulting in an appealing golden colour under the red powder. They have nice shapes and it's good to see that really few of them have been broken inside the bag, which is a sign of strength and quality.

Blair's Jolokia 3

Aromas: 7/10
At the opening of the bag -if you beware the fumes- there's a pleasant aroma which comes especially from the Paprika and this aroma of an oil cooked product, this aroma of tasty chips making you think that you will have finished the bag in no time, pretensious!
There's also an aroma of hot pepper, not an aroma of chinense from the Bhut Jolokia, but an aroma of pepper telling you that there is some heat inside and that you should beware...which is proven is you sniff too much inside the bag, you will get some heat inside your nostrils as long as the powder will stick inside them.

Taste: 9/10
The chips are really crunchy and pleasant to chew, a good consistence showing the the potatoes have been cut and cooked the right way to make them 5 stars as chips first.
When the chips is inside your mouth the first thing that happens is that suddenly an extra hot dust cloud is stinging in the throat once you break it and breath at the same time to get some flavours.
There's a powerful garlic flavour which comes first and stays aftertaste, then comes a strong flavour of Paprika at the same time as the heat comes in.
I would have expected to feel some chinense flavours from the Jolokia, unfortunately there were not that much inside, in terms of taste I would consider them as superhot garlic and Paprika chips. They are not too salty and are less salty than the Habanero chips, and definitely have a different flavour profile too, where the Habanero ones could have been closer to a kind of BBQ flavour.

Heat: 10/10
Actually since you don't stop to eat the chips you could think that everything is ok even there's a good sensation of heat increasing inside the mouth and in the throat.
The heat burns directly, and when you stop to heat them it's building up and suddenly burst leaving your lips tingling, tongue and throat burning for a while.
It's stronger than the Habanero chips but not too much stronger, the difference is as important as the gap between an Habanero of 350.000 SHU and a Bhut Jolokia of 1.000.000 SHU, I would have expected that the chips set my mouth on fire, actually the heat is manageable if you can handle the Habanero chips, afterall this product is made to be eatten and not to stay for months in your closet!

Overall impression:
Rating 4,5
No surprises, once again another excellent product from Blair's! If you are looking for superhot and flavourful chips you do not have to hesitate or wait a second!
It's always a pleasure to discover the new products from Blair's and in terms of snack of this quality the competition is very limited!
Looking forward to discover the latest Death Rain Ancho Cheeseburger Chips too, using a mexican pepper with a cheeseburger flavour profile sounds like an interesting combo!

You can find more informations about Blair's Sauces and Snacks products here:

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Thursday 17 January 2013

Fire Chillies: a new hot sauce review process

It has been a while now that I have been thinking that hot sauces should be reviewed in a different way at Fire Chillies. At least in a different order of the different angles to approach the product.
This should be based on the wine tasting model and adapted as a hot sauce tasting "private" model, as the product is of course different from wine but share many similar points in its conception as a gourmet product.

It's all about a knowledge to blend the flavours of aromas just like a wine, and the same way that a music sheet with the correct notes and tonic chords can make it a symphony: it's an art, and as you will all agree that we can find some musicality in some hot sauces, the best of them can make you feel the vibrations of a stringed instrument.

Other similar point which is making hot sauce close to wine in terms of analyze, is very basic and eye-catching: the fact that they are both a bottle with a label and its liquid inside is a mystery until you have opened and tasted it, to say shortly.
Without going too far in the merging of wine and hot sauces, their quality both depend on the same kind of elements such as the quality of the ingredients used to make it and their dosage (dried or fresh hot peppers, spices, herbs, plants, fruits, vinegar,...) way of cooking/processing/producing it, financial and personal investment, love and experience, tests and tastes, suggested used (such as red or white wine, different sauces can not be used the same way), and many other criterias...

Going back to the hot sauce review model, as it should be based on the wine tasting model it should follow the 3 steps Eyes>Nose>Mouth but adaptated, as we usually like to watch a hot sauce bottle, admire the artwork on the label, see the consistency of the sauce and once opened...we smell it right from the bottle neck (whereas for the wine the first thing that we smell is the cork!) to get some bits of aromas which will give a few ideas about it, but just a few as the best way to get plenty of the sauce's aromas is to let the sauce breath at ambient temperature in a recipient during some minutes then analyze its aromas.
We taste a hot sauce in a different way as we taste a wine, but we can adapt the wine tasting process to the hot sauce as we will see below, in order to be organized and doing it with coherence.

From now the review will be presented the same way and in the same order as the product is reviewed in real time, in order to have some logic in the new process and not going there and going back.
Here are some ideas about it, giving the main details.

Cup Sauce

  1. I) Outside and Inside

1) Outside (Eyes)

Label: Grade/10
Analyze of the label in terms of: content written (important indications such as volume, ingredient list, best before dates, nutrition values, allergies,...), artwork quality and positioning (scary, funny, ethnic,...), heat level indications, colors, paper and ink quality...

Sauce Appearance: Grade/10

  • from the outside: how the sauce seems to be when you look at what its texture looks like inside the bottle
  • consistency (poured in a cup): this will confirm or counter the preview we had from the outside and what was suggested.

2) Inside (Nose, Mouth)

Aromas: Grade/10

  • from the bottleneck: just an idea about the aromas as they are not at their full potential as some aromas such as a vinagary one can be stronger than others because of its volatile chemical, which could alter the judgment .
  • from the cup: having poured it before this step has allowed the sauce to breath at ambient temperature and develop its full aromas, condition to judge it the best way. Such as the whole review, the product has to be evaluated on the basis of a process that is fair and equitable.

Taste: Grade/10

  • Alone: the best way to get the different flavours from the hot peppers, spices, vinegar, and all the other ingredients comparing what is written on the ingredients list on the label. Step done to describe the flavours that we feel, and also check the equilibrium as well as the other strenghts and weaknesses, and get some ideas for the recommended uses.
  • With food: The food used to taste it may have been suggested by the manufacturer, it can also be some food that we think could go well with it (as the sauce has just been tasted by itself and we have some ideas at this point) or some kind of neutral food to just test its hability mixed with some food.

  1. II) Heat analyze, Recommended Use and Overall Impression

Heat: Grade/10
With the best objectivity possible and compared with the other products available on the market (identical or different -stronger/weaker) this step's aim is to rate the heat level. It can be compared with what is written on the label and/or how hot it is supposed to be.

Recommended use:
Comparing the suggested uses and giving some ideas about how the product would be best used with to make it shine.

Overall impression:
From now for the overall impression is used the "5 Hot Peppers" rating, giving a mark for the whole product including everything.

This is the base of how the reviews will be done from now on Fire Chillies, the process and this article may be subject to changes for adjustement and optimization. This may evolve but the basis should stay the same unless the scheme would not be working well.

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