Romesco review 2020

I was blown away by a recipe for a sauce I had never heard of until 6 months ago I published a blog at the time all entitled The allure of Romesco goes far beyond Spain. 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:

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

alden's Romesco 
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.

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.