Are you a fan of savory, tangy condiments that pack a flavor punch? Look no further than HP Sauce, a beloved British and Irish staple that has been around since 1899.
With its sweet-salty taste and complex blend of aromas, spices, and tamarind, HP Sauce is a condiment like no other. Its syrupy texture and dark, savory spice mouthfeel serve as a bomb of flavor that you will not get tired of.
But what exactly does HP Sauce taste like? In this article, we’ll dive into the ingredients and flavor notes that make HP Sauce a must-try condiment for any food lover.
What Does HP Sauce Taste Like?
HP Sauce has a unique flavor profile that is both sweet and tart, with a touch of piquancy and sharpness. The main flavor notes come from its tomato extracts and the tangy taste of tamarind. The combination of tomatoes, malt, and spirit vinegar, as well as the tanginess of tamarind, gives the sauce an overall tart but sweet flavoring. It has a hint of pepper and spice that is slightly similar to but stronger than Worcestershire Sauce.
The taste of HP Sauce is slightly sour, like tomato, but it also has a touch of piquancy and sharpness. The vinegar-focused base gives it a sour taste and has a dark, savory, and spicy mouthfeel. When you taste HP Sauce for the first time, it should feel like a taste bomb has exploded in your mouth.
The syrupy texture of HP Sauce means it should do well in sandwiches instead of running out of the sides. It enhances any meal to which it is added and is a branded and well-liked sauce because of its deep flavor.
The History Of HP Sauce
The origins of HP Sauce are somewhat debatable, with different stories claiming different inventors. One theory suggests that a grocer named Frederick Gibson Garton created the first batch of the sauce in his pickling factory in New Basford, Nottingham, sometime in the 1890s. He blended tomatoes, dates, molasses, rye flour, tamarind, and other spices with malt vinegar and spirits vinegar to create its robust flavor and texture. When Garton trademarked the bottled condiment, he initially dubbed it “The Banquet Sauce.” According to legend, when he learned that it was being served at a restaurant located within the Houses of Parliament, he renamed it “Garton’s HP Sauce” in 1895 as tribute, with the “HP” standing for “Houses of Parliament.”
However, another theory claims that a man named David Hoe from the village of Bottesford, Leicestershire created the sauce in the 1840s and ’50s. It’s speculated that he later sold the recipe to Garton, who subsequently claimed it as his own invention. Yet another story claims a man named Harry Palmer created the condiment in the 1880s and sold it as Harry Palmer’s Famous Epsom Sauce. But Palmer would eventually sell the recipe to Garton to cover his mounting debts. In this version, Garton kept “HP” in the name as an ode to the sauce’s originator.
Regardless of its true inventor, by 1903 Garton had run into money problems and was forced to sell his trademark and recipe to Edwin Samson Moore, the founder of Midlands Vinegar Company. The new owners re-launched the sauce, removing Garton’s name but retaining the “HP” and adding the now-iconic lithograph image of the Houses of Parliament on the label, with Victoria Tower and Big Ben featured prominently. Today, HP Sauce is still a popular British condiment enjoyed all over the world for its unique flavor profile.
The Ingredients Of HP Sauce
The main ingredients of HP Sauce include malt vinegar made from barley, glucose-fructose syrup, sugar, cornflour, spirit vinegar, spices, and extracts from tomato and tamarind. The use of malt vinegar and spirit vinegar gives the sauce its tangy flavor, while the addition of glucose-fructose syrup and sugar imparts a sweet taste. The cornflour helps to thicken the sauce and give it a syrupy texture.
The tomato extracts and tamarind are the key ingredients that give HP Sauce its unique taste. The combination of these two ingredients creates a sweet and tart flavor with a hint of spice. The tamarind also adds a touch of sharpness to the sauce.
HP Sauce is free from artificial preservatives and flavors, making it a healthier option for those who enjoy adding sauces to their meals. It is also available in different versions such as HP Barbecue Sauce, HP Fruity, and HP Bold, each with their own unique flavor profiles.
The Flavor Profile Of HP Sauce
The flavor profile of HP Sauce is complex and intriguing. The sauce has a sweet and tart taste, with a hint of spice and pepper. The main flavor notes come from the tomato extracts and tangy tamarind, which give the sauce its overall tart but sweet flavoring. The malt and spirit vinegar provide a sour taste, while the spices add depth and complexity to the sauce.
When you taste HP Sauce for the first time, you will experience a taste explosion in your mouth. The vinegar-focused base gives it a dark, savory, and spicy mouthfeel that is unique to this sauce. Its syrupy texture means it does not run out of sandwiches, making it an ideal condiment for any meal.
The taste of HP Sauce is slightly similar to Worcestershire Sauce, but stronger and more refined. It also has notes of spice from the spices, flavorings, and tamarind. Due to its ingredient profile, it has a somewhat vinegary tomato and fruity taste that is both sweet and savory.
How To Enjoy HP Sauce
There are many ways to enjoy HP Sauce, and its versatility makes it a great addition to any dish. Here are some ideas:
1. English Breakfast: HP Sauce is a classic condiment for an English breakfast. Pour it over your eggs, bacon, and sausage for a savory and tangy flavor.
2. Burgers: Add HP Sauce to your burger for an extra layer of flavor. It pairs well with beef, chicken, and veggie burgers.
3. Steak: Drizzle HP Sauce over your steak for a tangy and savory flavor. It works well with all cuts of steak.
4. Roast Beef: HP Sauce is a perfect accompaniment to roast beef. Pour it over your beef or use it as a dipping sauce.
5. Sandwiches: Use HP Sauce instead of ketchup or mustard in your sandwich for a unique and delicious taste.
6. Grilled Cheese: Add HP Sauce to your grilled cheese sandwich for a tangy twist on this classic dish.
7. French Fries: Dip your fries in HP Sauce for a savory and tangy flavor that complements the saltiness of the fries.
8. BBQ: Use HP Barbecue Sauce for your next BBQ for a tangy and smoky flavor that pairs well with grilled meats.
HP Sauce Variations And Alternatives
If you are a fan of HP Sauce, you may want to try out some of its variations and alternatives. Here are a few options:
1. HP Barbecue Sauce: This version of HP Sauce has a smoky and sweet flavor that is perfect for grilling and barbecuing. It is made with molasses, brown sugar, and natural smoke flavoring.
2. HP Fruity: If you prefer a sweeter taste, you may want to try out HP Fruity. This version has a fruity flavor that is made with dates, mango chutney, and spices.
3. HP Bold: For those who love a spicy kick, HP Bold is the way to go. This version has a bold and spicy flavor that is perfect for adding some heat to your meals.
4. Worcestershire Sauce: If you want a lighter and more viscous version of HP Sauce, Worcestershire Sauce is a great alternative. It has a similar taste with some peppery notes.
All of these variations and alternatives are free from artificial preservatives and flavors, so you can enjoy them without worrying about added sugars or unhealthy ingredients. Give them a try and see which one becomes your new favorite condiment!