Cliff has skills in both growing and making hot things. I'm a huge fan of his Purple Naga Viper Brain chillies. Ever since I popped one in my mouth to see what it tastes like (It tastes of the sun. The sun on a particularly hot day while surfing in lava). He also grows the best Carolina Reapers I ever managed to get my hands on DAAAN SAAAAF. Basically if it's already terrifyingly hot, Cliff will find a way to make it better.
So yes, I've been a bit of a fanboy of his. And don't get me started on his 33% Carolina Reaper Sambal…that shit is the absolute BOMB.
If you make food out of hot things in the UK and you don't know Cliff, then what even are you doing? Go and make friends with him right this minute…
Great, let's get in to this.
This thing started near the end of 2020. I was drunkenly messaging Cliff, essentially begging him to do a collab. Cliff had clearly been at the beer also as he agreed. We put our heads together, chose our weapons and figured out our process. We used each of our skills. Like a proper collaboration. We used Cliff's unbeatable Purple Naga Viper Brain chillies. Then we decided to use some of my skills in fermentation. We threw a lot of flavour ideas around before we reached agreement. Then, in January 2021, we each filled 2 x 2L Kilner jars with goodies. We sealed them up and put them away.
Two jars started their lives in Devon while another two jars got busy in Aberdeenshire. We didn't set a timeline. We checked in on them and sometimes, we compared pictures to see how everything was looking. A bit like sexting but with bubbling jars of chillies.
Before we knew it, it had been 6 months and we started talking about what we were going to do with this thing. That chat went on for a long time. Those ferments sat and aged for 8 months, 9 months and then 10 months, by which time we knew we were going for a year. They had become parts of our families. It's amazing how many photos Cliff shared which had the two jars conveniently presented in the background. You probably didn't notice but I did. We agreed on 365 days of magic and also something about grilled apricots.
We made the sauce on the same day at either end of the UK. Checking in with each other on what was happening. We finished with 15 or so bottles each. There were small differences in PH and volume but otherwise, we'd pulled it off. Despite there being a whole year and the length of the UK as variables, we made the same sauce at the same time. It tastes amazing.
This has perfect heat from those aged Purple Naga Viper Brain chillies. Big flavour from smoked garlic, cardamon, coriander and black peppercorns. Finished with grilled apricots and delivering mountains of fermented funk. I put it on some pakora and improved this entire corner of the Milky Way immediately.
The bad news? There are only 30 bottles of this release in the whole world. 15 in Devon, 15 in Aberdeenshire.
The good news is that we're making more. A version with a much shorter fermentation time. It'll have a change of name and a change of label. I can tell you it'll still be packing plenty of heat, flavour and funk though.
We're at a moment in time with the first batch. I doubt we'll be able to make the year long fermented version again. If collecting rare and unusual hot sauces is your thing, this one is for you. If you want to see how two people can collaborate with most of England and Scotland in the way, this one's for you. If you've ordered pakora, this one's for you too.
Get your paws on "All days are good days" while you can.