Monday, 29 February 2016

An Encona encounter

What did I get? A bottle of Encona Barbados Creole pepper sauce
How did I get it? Competition win from Encona

I love a bit of spice, me. Since wrapping my lips around my first curry sauce I have enjoyed the numbing feel of chilli on my lips.
My earliest Encona encounter (I'm pleased with that one, I'm having that for the title) was as a student some 23 years ago. I would scour the Asian cornershops near my Manchester digs looking for exciting tastes that I hadn't experienced growing up in my very English corner of Staffordshire.
Encona products are quite common now but it was then that I first found some West Indian hot pepper sauce. I've had several bottles since and it certainly is very, VERY hot.

My only problem with Encona sauces to date has been the vinegary smell and taste. It's too sharp to enjoy too much poured over chips or the like and in more than small quantities can quite change the taste of a chilli dish or similar. I was delighted to have won this competition and Encona offered me a choice from their range. The colour of this looked appealing so why not, I thought? The yellow colour suggested something a bit more subtle.

It's still a bit vinegary, but not as much as the original stuff.  I first tried it on a decent bacon and black pudding butty one Saturday morning. Vinegar doesn't go with bacon but this small amount added a bit of an extra kick to the black pudding.
My favourite use of this sauce was in mashed potato. Stirred in with butter it loses the acidity and added a peaky bit of bite to the creamy spuds - I really recommend this use. I had that with a couple of pork chops, lovely
It's a better bet than the original Encona sauce added as an ingredient to sauces, soups, pie fillings or chilli. The less acidic taste doesn't alter the flavour too much but it still packs a great punch on the tongue.
This weekend I tried it with a bit of cheese and salami on toast, my ten tear old boys joined me. They loved it! 
The bottles are only £1 - £1.50, so not a big layout to try. I think we might just have a go at a few others.

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