Mama Lolly’s

Aaron Minter (Extreme Heat Challenge) shares his story about one of his favourite sauce makers, the wonderful Mama Lolly’s.

Mama Lolly’s is an award-winning, artisan hot sauce maker. Producers of finest, handmade Scotch bonnet and habanero chilli sauces, winning awards at Great Taste for consecutive years. The judges said that Mama Lolly’s Yellow Sauce “delivers fantastic flavour” and that they loved the “grand colour to this vibrant sauce, the consistency is creamy whilst the flavour opens up with fruitiness and power, (the sauce has) good consistency with turmeric and spices present. On tasting, the interesting flavour develops through acid and intense chilli heat that continues on the palate. Overall a fine product and we enjoy the journey in it.”

Mama Lolly’s granddaughter, Donna-Lee Tapper grew up in Antigua, she vividly remembers her grans kitchen being a hub of activity, smells of exotic dishes being prepared, the many quiet conversations with friends who needed advice, the more usual peals of laughter that filled the kitchen as much as the delicious smells did. The terror and excitement of live lobsters in the sink, gigantic fish being scaled and stuffed to absolute perfection with Mama Lolly’s own blend of herbs and spices, oven always churning out more heat than the already sweltering tropical temperatures were, especially at Christmas!! Caribbean Roast Ham with a quality of crackling that has never been seen since, Jamaica Rice and Peas that could be the only thing on the plate and win awards all by itself. Endless list.

Mama Lolly was the beacon of all that took place in her kitchen. The feeling of comfort, joy and sense of security that comes from a place where good food is made, stayed with the 5-year-old Donna, who forever wished to do the same, with her kitchen, for her friends. She cooked her first meal at aged 8 under her Granma’s watchful eye, and grew up tasting and watching her gran and mum make the hot sauce recipes handed down. Her mother first opened a restaurant there, in Antigua, named after her grandmother Mama Lolly who was known island-wide for her wise words, bursts of hearty laughter and her fabulously delicious food.

They made their own traditional Caribbean cooking sauces and hot pepper sauces for use in the restaurant. Donna later returned to the UK where she worked as vegetarian chef at the Grain Shop in the famous Portobello Road as well as the first Planet Organic Kitchen. She spent summers assistant cheffing in Tuscany before returning once again to UK and continued to make the sauces here whilst working as chef in a Victorian Pub in Maida Vale, London.

All the sauces a made with natural ingredients, and no additives or preservatives. From choosing the first fiery pepper to the bottling and packaging, every sauce is made by hand, using traditional methods and with expert skill and true passion. They are vegan and gluten free.  

I have had the honour of working on the Extreme Heat Challenge project for two years. We started out going the festivals, food & wine events & anywhere that involved some good food and of course a good condiment.

I don’t deny that I love the heat, but for me the real art is flavour. 

We have tried, tested & devoured hundreds of spicy sauces, snacks & preserves but this lady stands out! We had the opportunity of not only meeting Donna from Mama Lolly’s at the well known Hot Sauce Society in (Peckham) London, but trying and absolutely loving the full range of award winning sauces. You can click on these links to buy them…they are:

Mama Lolly’s Original Red Sauce

Mama Lolly’s winning Yellow sauce with Turmeric, Black Pepper and Mustard

Mama Lolly’s Tropical Edition Sauce with Pineapple, Guava and Passion fruit

Mama Lolly’s Great Taste award-winning Green Seasoning, Caribbean flavour base, cooking sauce and Marinade

They bring not just flavour to your meal, but real culture, real soul and a talking point. My team and I  have been fans since that first tasting, I love those sauces! They are vibrant! Tasty! Hot! But most of all consistent. 

You will not be disappointed with these exceptional sauces and marinades or service for that matter. You will be left going back for more over & over. I can imagine when closing my eyes that beautiful little cafe in Antigua, the food, sunshine, the people and most of all the Sauce!. 

Donna says “…we are passionate about what we do.  We have grown our business from our Caribbean family kitchen, and brought it to the UK, and we believe hot sauces should be made as they have been made for generations, fabulously fiery and imparting joy and warmth into our lives.”

Donna and her team deserve a 5 star from me, and I know that you will all agree. 

Huge thanks Aaron Minter of Extreme Heat Challenge for this article.
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