I rarely review companies that I am not, in some way, impressed by, but few stand out quite as much as Capsicana. I first reviewed their range of chillies and chilli sauces back in November 2014, and am yet to find a chilli-based sauce that delivers such complex heat and flavour in equal parts.
Having now moved away from selling stand-alone chillies and raw cooking ingredients, Capsicana’s new range of easy-cook sauces takes their love of chilli peppers and packages them up ‘for people to experience the delicious flavours of Latin America in a quick and no fuss way’ (Ben Jackson, Founder & Managing Director).
There are four flavours to choose from: Mexican Chilli & Garlic, Peruvian Chilli & Lemon, Mexican Chilli & Honey and Brazilian Chilli & Coconut
Each sauce contains no artificial ingredients or flavourings, is suitable for vegetarians and can simply be stirred into your choice of meat, fish or vegetables for a restaurant-worthy dish in twenty minutes max. It’s impressive stuff, and Ben’s love for authentic Mexican chillies and Latin American food is evident with every mouthful.
Even Capsicana’s original range of sauces have had a revamp; the contemporary new packaging better reflects the clean, punchy flavours and fresh ingredients, with the Chipotle Sauce that once earned the top spot in my round-up of the best gluten-free sauces even more appealing today than it was then.
Thankfully, the Ancho Poblano powder I became so addicted to (no chilli con carne will ever quite be the same again) makes a welcome return in the mild Mexican Chilli & Honey cooking sauce. Expertly paired with Chipotle chilli peppers and honey, this is based on the classic Mexican dish ‘Puerco al horno con salsa de chile ancho y miel’ and has all the warming flavours and fragrance I have come to expect from Capsicana.
In fact, this is the same story for each of the four cook-in sauces. The Peruvian Chilli & Lemon (based on the famous Peruvian Aji Verde sauce using Peruvian grown Aji Amarillo chilli peppers, and supposedly the first Peruvian cooking sauce to be brought to market), is tangy and light, while the Brazilian Chilli & Coconut has a fruitiness that offsets the heat of the chillies. Even the Mexican Chilli & Garlic (labelled as hot) is far more focused on layering flavour than blasting our tastebuds with heat, with the initial kick of Manzano chillies softened by the mellow and sweet taste of garlic.
It’s certainly a step forward for Capsicana, and no doubt makes cooking up a Latin American-inspired feast a whole lot easier and more accessible. I can’t say I’m not disappointed that the raw chillies and chilli powders have been ditched in the process, but with Ben promising ‘more Cook Sauces next year and some other fab products’ in the pipeline, I’m looking forward to trying what else Ben and his team of chilli-lovers will be cooking up soon.