Ultimate Romesco Review 2020

Updated: Oct 6, 2020

Romesco review 2020



I was blown away by a recipe for a sauce I had never heard of until 6 months ago, I recall I published a blog at the time, this inspired me to look further into the iconic sauce. Since trying that recipe I have been amazed how difficult it is to buy in the shop or even online.


I found three different Romesco sauces repeatedly popping up on Amazon. You can ignore the pricing, some companies chose to quote a shipped price others lead with a lower price and then add shipping at the end. Either way, you always end up at around £11 as almost all of the sauces are shipped from Spain.


I ordered them up and when they arrived I sat down with my Wife and Daughter. We drew up a list of criteria to judge them against. We were looking for a balance of flavour, texture, evidence of almonds, the colour which we knew was closely related and use of garlic and Piquante and/or Nora peppers.

Here is our personal appraisal which is just that. In a hurry then watch a summary



Romesco from Brindisa

  • Authentic ingredients used?

  • Taste, texture and smell?

  • Suitability to use as a pesto, dip or Pintxo topping?

  • Price paid including shipping £9.48 for 200g

  • Delivery time about a week

Buy here


Brindisa Romesco. 

The marketing says:

Brindisa romesco sauce is a rich red pepper and almond sauce, traditionally made by Catalan fishermen to go with their fresh fish and seafood.

Sweet ñora peppers are pureed with tomatoes, ground almonds and ground hazelnuts for a thick, almost creamy sauce. Serve alongside white fish and seafood or charred spring onions for a taste of Catalonia.

Ingredients: Ground tomatoes (tomatoes, salt, citric acid), Brindisa extra virgin olive oil, bread [wheat flour (GLUTEN), MILK, butter (MILK), salt, yeast, calcium carbonate, flour treatment agent: ascorbic acid], concentrated tomato (tomatoes, citric acid), ALMONDS (4.5%) (ALMONDS, sunflower oil, salt), HAZELNUTS, nora pepper paste (4.5%), white wine vinegar, garlic, sea salt, cayenne pepper.

My Review:

Looking at the jar I could see some texture, it has ingredients that are different colours to tomatoes so I was encouraged. On unscrewing the lid I was confronted with a pool of oil. This itself is not too surprising as keeping oxygen away from the ingredients prolongs their life. I poured, not spooned, this Romesco onto a plate and we began to evaluate it’s strengths and weaknesses.


You are required to list your ingredients in descending order based on a percentage of the total or by weight. It was always going to be tomato at the top of the list you could see that from looking at it. Oil second on the list was evident too. No wonder it had wheatflour next to try and thicken it. Milk, butter and yeast? beyond me. Next came more tomato in concentrated form. Arh.. now we have reached some nuts 4.5% of Almonds.


Tasted of not very much at all, smelt of nothing but has all the right ingredients listed in the jar in tiny quantities. It’s texture was best described as tomato puree with nut fragments. This was still the best Romesco we tasted overall but still absolutely no heat from this pepper sauce.



Salsa Romesco from The Spanish Food Company


  • Authentic ingredients used?

  • Taste, texture and smell?

  • Suitability to use as a pesto, dip or Pintxo topping?

  • Price paid including shipping £14.15 for 2x 175g

  • Delivery time next day

Buy here


Salsa Romesco Mildly - spicy Catalan sauce. 

The marketing says:

This sauce is a classic salsa from Catalunya, a mildly spicy sauce made with Noras peppers, tomatoes, almonds and nibbed hazelnuts. It is perfect served with fish and seafood, or used in seafood stews such as the Catalan mixed seafood stew called 'Suquet de Peix'. Traditionally in Spain, the other main use is in Catalunya in early Spring, when the large Spring Onions called 'Calcots' are barbecued and served with this salsa as a dip - a 'Calcotada'

My Review:

I ordered these jars of Romesco as a two-pack for what I thought was a reasonable price. Looking at the jar you just know it’s full of tomatoes and indeed the packaging confirms it is the main ingredient and only 3.6% almonds, its does however have some Nora pepper paste which is very authentic. I spooned a good dollop onto a plate. On tasting, we got quite a surprise, ready for tomato we got hit with smoke! Yuck. I suggested putting it in a bolognese to use it up but my wife told me not to ruin it. Clearly this wasn’t the right Romesco for us. I am sure the people who developed it love it but it just goes to prove the old adage "beauty is in the eye of the beholder". If you like strong smokey flavours try it for yourself.


Romesco from Ferrer


. You can choose to add more extra virgin olive oil and slacken it down into a dressing, stir it into hummus to bring it's flavour alive or even add it to pasta.

  • Authentic ingredients used?

  • Taste, texture and smell?

  • Suitability to use as a pesto, dip or Pintxo topping?

  • Price including shipping £9.60 for 130g

  • Delivery time next day

Buy here


Romesco Sauce Ferrer 645.
The marketing says:

Made with Almonds, Olive Oil, Tomato and Salt, goes perfectly with beef, chicken, fish or vegetables.  Naturally, Ferrer Salsa Calçots sauce contains no artificial colourants or preservatives. Can also be used as pesto in soups, stews and pasta dishes – the options are endless!

Ingredients: Tomato, vegetable oil, olive oil, water, almonds, vinegar, garlic, sugar, herbs and spices and salt.

My Review:

At first sight, this Romesco looks quite appealing and it is the right colour, orange. However, on reading the label I discovered it is, in fact, an emulsion. If you know how to make your own mayonnaise this will be ringing alarm bells I am sure. An emulsion is created by combining two liquids together that left to their own devices would separate. In this case, lots of tomatoes and sunflower oil; making up the vast majority of the volume. Added to the emulsion were some nuts which you can see and feel when you eat it, but can’t taste. I spooned a helping out onto a plate for tasting. I was surprised there wasn’t any heat from the peppers at all and the balance between the vinegar and sugar was not to my taste being on the sour side of the equation. The only flavour we could identify was sun-dried tomatoes, not listed in the ingredient. On the positive side, the texture was really nice. As claimed it was thick enough to use as a pesto or orange mayonnaise.


I am so deflated: 

I searched the planet and found very few Romesco sauces available. All but one are imported from Spain which makes them really quite expensive. I was looking for Almonds, garlic, peppers, heat, and sure some tomato. The problem is the real deal uses expensive ingredients, almonds, hazelnuts and pine nuts especially. These thicken the sauce and give it the lovely creamy texture you see in the video. The high nut content gives the sauce it’s orange colour lifting the red of the tomatoes. Filling the sauce with tomato as a filler improves the bottom line but destroys the integrity of the sauce. Using cornflower and other thickening agents to hold it together is just not for me.


So you think you can do better, do you? I do and I have. We have stuck to our artisan ways, researched the life out of Romesco, made a ridiculous number of batches and tested them on anyone who will stand still long enough to be fed. Learnt packaging law, omnichannel distribution and consumer law and all sorts of other things. All this to achieve a simple goal: all I want to do is make a sauce that’s authentic and tastes nice without losing money. We have developed a healthy, free from preservatives product, with all the expensive ingredients in it, giving it it’s texture, colour and flavour and leaving out all the cheap padding, oil and chemicals. As a small independent producer, we have minimal costs and hence we can offer you our sauces and pestos at a fair price.


Our own alden's Romesco Pesto is available in our DELI bursting with the core ingredients: Almonds and Peppers yet priced competitively at £4.99 We believe we are offing you the best of both worlds. The convenience of being able to buy off the shelf, combined with flavour only found in an Artizan Pesto.


Benchmarked against our alden's Romesco recipe the differences in the commercial sauces are clear to me.


All the commercially available Romesco sauces tested have around a third of their volume made up of tomatoes which are of course cheap vs. 2 tsp tomato puree in alden's Romesco.


The next significant observation is the disparity in how much oil is used; as much as 39% of the volume in the case of Ferrer. Again a low-cost product that I have only needed to use a fraction of.


At the other end of the scale, nuts are relatively expensive, around 20% of our recipe is made up of Almond nuts, all the sauces tested have less than 9% nuts.


My last observation is that the commercial sauces are available in 130-200g size jars. If I were to add half a tin of tomatoes to my sauce you would get around twice that volume. This concentration gives our mix real body and you are able to use it as a pesto, as a dip or spread on a Pintxo. This firmer body gives you options with your alden's Romesco. You can choose to add more extra virgin olive oil and slacken it down into a dressing, stir it into hummus to bring it's flavour alive or even add it to pasta.

The marketing says:

This sauce is bursting with the classic ingredients of a Romesco sauce and just like every household across Catalan, this is our families interpretation; rich and creamy with the flavours of nuts 30g and peppers over 100g dancing a flamenco across your palette. Thick enough to use as a pesto with very little oil and tomato, and yet flexible enough to absorb some more to slacken into a sauce. Available in our DELI or on Amazon.

My Review:

What can I say... too much already. When you try a jar for yourself you will find a QR code on the back, scan it and make your way into our Customer Lounge. Here you can have your say and post a review, ask questions or challenge us on why developed the taste the way we have. We look forward to hearing from you soon.


I hope you enjoyed my review


I blog/vlog about everything PintxoTapas, the past and the future trends from San Sabastian being driven by Michelin starred chefs.

I am a self-taught semi-professional chef working in a 300 cover restaurant in Surrey UK. I love trying new things and testing them out with my family. Each recipe is tried and true, family-tested and approved, or sometimes not but you've got to push the boundaries. Inspired by cookbooks, other food blogs, TV chefs, and family recipes.


​I try to make practical PintxoTapas recipes available on this site that can bring your family and friends together for an informal, but an amazing adventure into the world of Pintxo. As well as writing, I work on my YouTube channel and with suppliers to produce all sorts of video content, from interviews, how-to guides and recipe guides.








Tim Alden 

Proprietor

Email: info@aboveandbeyondcatering.co.uk

Mobile: ‪+44 7920 801120

Phone: ‪+44 1252 710780

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