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Sweetened 100% with New Zealand vegetables, Gault's Chipotle Ketchup has the perfect balance of smoky and sweet and is sure to add the right amount of hot deliciousness to any meal.
We're back and this time we're bringing a new, smoky iteration of our healthier-for-you ketchup. It's the same New Zealand tomatoes and vegetables, but with just a little kick of smoked chipotle chilli. We also don't add any artificial or flavour-tainting natural sweeteners like stevia to Gault's, so you can feel good about eating ketchup without sacrificing deliciousness.
I'm a person who's grown up using tomato sauce, when I was younger it was much to the despair of my dad because every dinner, I had to have some, there was almost no dinner meals had without it. Now that I'm older, there are still some foods that I find need a dollop of tomato sauce on but I have found that I don't enjoy the taste as much as I used to. Getting this, I don't recall seeing the plain Gaults Sweetened by Veges sauce, but to be honest I haven't really looked beyond the budget brand because I always figured that tomato sauce was tomato sauce, you couldn't do much to make it any better.
Well, I was wrong. I tried this without putting it on anything on it first and found that it had a lovely smokey taste, a nice strong tomato taste and a good dollop of heat. My kids weren't interested it though, they found the heat too much but while I don't usually like hot food, I am acclimatising to it and actually found myself wanting more. Every week my in-law brings McDonalds, so I decided to use this to dip my chips in and it made the unsalted, insipid fries so much nicer, actually edible. I made vegetarian burgers and used this when I put my meal together. I didn't need to use too much and still got a huge hit of flavours that really made the burger tastes so much better and I would use it again.
This has replaced my cheap tomato sauce, though I'm not sure if I'll stick with this one or go for the non spicy version, that will depend on if my kids like it or not and if I don't want to share. This gets a big tick.
Watties Tomato Sauce has 30g of sugar per 100g of sauce. Simon Gault's new 100% sweetened by vegetables chipotle sauce on the other hand only contains 17.4g of sugar, and they are all natural sugars, not artificial. So that is quite an advantage for those that are looking to limit their sugar intake without skimping on their table sauces. But I guess I can't just rattle off numbers. The flavour is also very important.
Apart from being a chain of restaurants, Chipotle is also a type of pepper, more specifically a smoke-dried jalapeno. That would sit at around 2/5 on possible hotness scale as the pepper alone (which doesn't say too much when 0 means no heat at all, and 5 means unbearable pain and hallucinations), but this is not a bottle of jalapenos. This is a ketchup, that is also sweetened by vegetables. Tasting the sauce, it reminds me of a casserole, with flavours of tomato, onion, and carrot.
Sadly though, onion is the only vegetable that is listed outright. When "sweetened by veggies" is the selling point (the line is larger than the name of the sauce), you would think you would find a list of vegetables in the ingredient list, instead we have tomato paste, vegetable extract, chipotle powder, and lemon juice concentrate. Perhaps not artificial, but still not as unprocessed as one would hope.
Putting that all aside though, the flavour is nice; the chipotle brings a smokiness to the ketchup and warms the tongue without being too hot for the kids. The "veggies" provide extra depth to the flavour. You aren't just tasting sharp and tangy artificial tomato, you get your onion and carrots too. The flavour is almost consistent with what you would expect from a salsa, except this is ketchup, so it has all been finely blended to a fine, uniform consistency, that still has the same tomato sauce colour (okay, it may be a slightly richer blood red).
With the warmth added to the sauce the one thing it does lose is the refreshing coolness that ordinary kinds of tomato ketchup have. That refreshing nature is what makes tomato sauce a sauce that you can have on nearly any meal throughout the year. But what we have here is a warm sauce. And as a warm sauce, it works better in colder climates; I wouldn't see this chipotle ketchup being overly popular during summer time. But there is still room for some variety in the table sauces, so while I don't see it replacing the tomato sauce, it definitely will have its place for certain occasions and times of year.
It is always rewarding to see that some manufacturers are dedicated to providing delicious food without feeling the need to include artificial ingredients and preservatives, and omitting the sugar overload that so many sauces and ketchups offer. I checked the list on the side of the container and everything there was wholesome. Many of my friends and family are becoming increasingly aware of the dangers of over-processed foods and are going for items with fewer ingredients, natural wherever possible, so this product will be a welcome addition to their shopping lists.
Over the last three days I have tried it with three different meals, each time with a different group of friends and/or family, so have had a good chance to evaluate it. The first time three of us tried it with some home-made sausages. These were purchased from a deli that specialises in gourmet sausages, all made from fresh local beef and pork. It was important that the ketchup we used with them was also of high quality, so I suggested they help me to evaluate the combination. One person said she found it a bit too hot for her liking, but I disagreed and so did the third person. The ketchup does have a piquancy to it which gives it more flavour than a cheap sauce, but we did point out that she had poured it on rather liberally so maybe she should have been more sparing! Being more cautious with the amount used also means, of course, that the bottle will last a lot longer than a cheap version would do.
The second meal consisted of small triangular samosas which were filled with a mildly flavoured chopped vegetable filling. I have often had these at parties, but they are normally served with sushi vinegar or a similar oriental-style dipping sauce. I wondered how they would go with a chipotle sauce instead, so I put a small bowl of sauce in the middle of a plate and piled the samosas around. There were a dozen people all enjoying various hors-d'oeuvres, so I did not say anything - just walked around and offered my own selection to people. Instead of asking, I watched for reactions and was interested to see that almost everyone came back for another one - to the extent that I had to top up the plate (the ketchup as well as the samosas).
The last meal was a family dinner. We had been busy so there was no time to cook; instead, we had a very boring trio of commercial Hawai'ian style pizzas. Filling and great for the kids, but not very flavoursome for the adults. So I took one of the pizzas and added some of the sauce on top, spreading it so it was not concentrated in one place. Magic! The "grown-up" pizza was now delicious while the children could enjoy their kiddy version without spoiling things for us. I was amazed just how much this flavour boost improved things. At this rate, I could become a fan of shop-bought pizza.
I am looking forward now to trying some in other dishes. I can see it going well with a goulash, and also with a spaghetti sauce. I like the gentle heat from the chipotle: it is definitely there, but not so hot that it burns your tongue. The flavour behind it is reminiscent of a good home-made vegetable soup, creamy and not too sweet. This is a winner on many levels. My next challenge is to persuade the kids to try it!
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