If, like us, your love of food doesn’t start and end with what you’re served in restaurants and cafés, your kitchen shelves are probably groaning under the weight of jars, pots and packs of your favourite products, but that doesn’t mean you’re not always on the look-out for your next favourite thing to dip, smear or spill down the front of your t-shirt. Friends don't let friends go without the best condiments, so from now on we're going to be sharing our favourites with you. Here are the foodstuffs that have been sparking joy in our lives lately.
Blanco Niño Tortilla Chips
We'll admit that up to recently we’d often viewed tortilla chips as a fairly bland vehicle for transporting the much-more-interesting salsa into our mouths, and we were wrong. To be fair, a lifetime of pale, bland (or over-seasoned), greasy, mass-manufactured tortilla chips led to that conclusion, but then we discovered Blanco Niño. Made in Tipperary with corn and other ingredients from heritage producers in Mexico, lightly salted, chili & lime, and ancient grain flavours are available, but chili & lime are our favourite; punchy, spicy, sour, crispy - basically all of our favourite things in one triangle. Free delivery from Blanco Niño but we’re seeing them pop-up in lots of places so you’re likely to find a local stockist here.
We were very excited when Dublin chef Holly Dalton announced that she would be launching a line of Japanese-inspired sauces earlier this year, so we wasted zero time getting our hungry mitts on some. Currently, there are three sauces in the Conbini Condiments range - Onsen Hot Sauce (a fermented chili sauce), Katsu Ketchup (a ketchup/curry sauce hybrid) and, our personal favourite, Sunday Sauce (a sweet, tangy, umami sauce that’s described as being somewhere between Teriyaki and Tonkatsu). We would recommend stocking up on all three and you’ll find no end of uses - add to stir-fries, use as dumpling dipping sauces, dips for chips… we once spiced-up a very bland chicken soup with Sunday Sauce and regret nothing. See their stockist map here.
Builín Blasta Smoked Onion Mayo
Smoky, tangy, creamy, this smoked onion mayonnaise from Builín Blasta in Galway is one of those jars that won’t last long in the fridge because you’ll find yourself adding it to everything. We’ve put it in burgers, on hot dogs, and even spread it on the outside of cheese sandwiches before toasting them - actual genius move. It's available from their website, along with lots of other sauces and chutneys, but we’ve found it in loads of shops including Fallon and Byrne.
Craic Foods Salted Caramel Sauces with Miso
Salted caramel is a bit of a Marmite one for some people, as can miso depending on the audience. Unsurprisingly we’re in the “love” camp for both, but when we saw that Craic Foods had created a line of miso-flavoured salted caramel sauces, we were cautious. Salt, caramel, and fermented soybeans? But it works, incredibly well. The result is a complex taste profile that’s initially sweet with a secondary slap of umami, and the range has expanded to include new flavours like miso salted caramel with stout, pistachio kalamansi fruit, tahini, and fennel pollen. We’ve been eating our way through most of them for the past few months and haven’t around a dud yet. Great on yogurt, popcorn, ice-cream, a spoon, a finger…
Irish Black Butter
Don’t let the name put you off, it’s not some kind of putrefied dairy product that’s been unearthed from a bog somewhere in the midlands. Irish Black Butter is a thick, dark, intensely-flavoured condiment made from bramley apples. Uses are pretty much infinite - we’ve spooned this over porridge, yogurt and ice-cream, spread it onto scones and pancakes, dolloped alongside cheese and roast pork, and smothered it over joints of bacon and ham as a glaze. Stockist information is available here.
Do you have a favourite condiment or food product lately? Let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.