Ooft! Top telly judges find Johnstons’ sauce hot stuff

Ooft sauce made in Huntleywood by Tony & Gabrielle Johnson.
Ooft sauce made in Huntleywood by Tony & Gabrielle Johnson.

One of the hottest products in the Borders has been awarded a star in the prestigious Great Taste Awards 2015, run by the Guild of Fine Foods.

Ooft! sauce – a deliciously-fiery condiment made from Scotch Bonnet chillies by Tony Johnston and his wife, Gabrielle, at their home near Earlston – was entered into the world’s most coveted blind­tasted food awards, along with 10,000 other foodstuffs.

It blew the judges away – and they awarded it a star.

The bottles can now proudly wear the black and gold Great Taste logo, pictured right.

Tony said: “Our unexpected success last year in Scotland Food and Drink awards encouraged us to go for gold. The Great Taste Awards are the most prestigious in the world of artisan foods sold in delis, farm shops and speciality food stores.

“This is the world Ooft! is focused on supporting.

“Ooft! is unique, as far as we know, the only fully-aged hot sauce made in the UK, certainly the only one made in Scotland.

“It relies on nature and time to create its taste.”

Recognised as a stamp of excellence among consumers and retailers alike, Great Taste values taste above all else, with branding and packaging ignored.

Whether it is cheese, ale, steak or chutney being judged, all products are removed from their wrapper, jar or bottle before being tasted. The judges then savour, confer and re­taste to decide which products are worthy of an award.

The panel of judges included Masterchef judge and restaurant critic Charles Campion, TV presenter and cook Aggie Mackenzie, Great British Bake Off winner Frances Quinn and Masterchef the Professionals finalist Adam Handling, as well as several buyers for top stores.

One of the judges who awarded the sauce a star described it as “a smooth sauce with an initial sweetness on the tongue then a rapidly-rising heat.

“It has good depth of flavor, with the fruitiness of the Scotch Bonnet following through.”

Ooft! can be purchased at several local stores, or direct from www.ooftsauce.com