Product Review: Ernest Hemingway Culinary Collection

E.H.-Gourmet-Products

First and foremost a world renown Pulitzer and Nobel Prize winning author, Ernest Hemingway is nearly as famous for his legendary lifestyle as his writing. A true sportsman and outdoorsman, Hemingway traveled the world pursuing his passions. A resident of Havana, Key West, Paris and Ketchum, Idaho, Hemingway hunted big game on African safaris, sat ringside at Spanish bullfights, fished the world’s oceans and traveled extensively throughout Europe in time of war and peace.

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The romantic and international appeal of the Hemingway legend is embodied in the select group of products fit to bear the name. Hemingway’s love of travel, culture and cuisine has been turned it into something both tangible and tastable: EH Gourmet.

From Key West to Cuba, France to Spain to Africa, the products allow us to travel the world via taste, not planes, trains or automobiles. These products are, in essence, a passport to the world of flavours Hemingway loved. A way to, in a sense, experience flavour like he did. EH Gourmet are inspired by the cultures that inspired the man who has inspired so many.

THE BULL HOT SAUCE

Inspired by Hemingway’s travels to Pamplona, Spain.

Ernest Hemingway Hot Sauce The Bull

Hemingway became enamored with Spanish bullfighting after seeing the Pamplona fiesta in 1925, which he wrote about in The Sun Also Rises. A few years later, in the summer of 1929, he traveled to Spain again in research of Death in the Afternoon, which was a much more detailed exploration into the tradition and ceremony of Spanish bullfighting.

THE best hot sauce I have ever tasted. The sauce opens with a tangy sweetness and finishes with a spicy kick. Its heat comes from a combination of chili peppers and Spanish paprika. I want to order cases of this.

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THE ISLANDS COCKTAIL SAUCE

Inspired by Hemingway’s residence in Key West, Florida.

Ernest Hemingway cocktail sauce the-islands

Hemingway lived in Key West from 1931 to 1939, where he wrote the short stories “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” and “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber,” in addition to the novel To Have And Have Not, which is set in depression-era Key West. Hemingway’s fondness for Key West leaves behind a strong mystique still present on the island to this day.

In addition to the traditional ingredients most often found in a cocktail sauce, fresh lemon juice and olive juice add that extra zing.

The classically piquant cocktail flavours were perfect with shrimp.  It has a nice balance of tomato, lemon and horse radish.  I liked the tickle of the hot pepper ingredient at first, but found it was somewhat numbing after a few dunked shrimp.  That may just be due to my uncultured taste buds because I haven’t yet latched on to the current fiery-hot pepper trend. Nevertheless, I found the cocktail sauce somewhat addictive.

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THE HUNT GRILLING SAUCE

Inspired by Hemingway’s adventures hunting the region of Lake Manyara, Tanzania.

Ernest Hemingway Grilling Sauce the Hunt

In 1933, Hemingway and wife Pauline went on safari to East Africa. The 10-week trip provided material for Green Hills of Africa, as well as for the short stories “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” and “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber.” Many of his narratives describe Hemingway’s adventures hunting in East Africa and the landscape itself. Generally, the East African landscape Hemingway referred to is in the surrounding region of Lake Manyara in Tanzania.

The sauce contains native African spices and fruits, including paprika, Hoisin, which contains tamarind, mandarin oranges and pear. These native flavours have been added to a tomato and pepper base to give it a sweet flavour on the front with a little bite on the back.

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THE SUN ALWAYS RISES BLOODY MARY MIX

Inspired by Hemingway’s travels to Paris, France.

Ernest Hemingway Bloody Mary Mix The Sun Always Rises

Hemingway moved to Paris with his first wife Hadley in 1921, during which time they became acquainted with other ex-patriots living in the city, including figures such as Gertrude Stein, James Joyce and Ezra Pound (The famous “Lost Generation”). The couple left Paris in 1923 for the birth of their first child, Jack, but returned the following year. While living in The City of Light Hemingway wrote works such asThe Sun Also Rises and Men Without Women.

This bloody mary mix is based on Hemingway’s times with writers and artists at Harry’s Bar in Paris where the original recipe for the bloody mary was concocted. The original recipe was given a twist, adding olive juice and a dollop of Dijon mustard, to create its distinctive flavour.

I tried this both on its own and with vodka. Its many ingredients made for a complex blend of interesting flavours. The spices hit all the right notes with just enough of a hot pepper for a nice counterpoint to the coolness of the vodka without numbing the palate. My one issue:  I thought it was a little too heavy on the Worcestershire sauce.  Its aftertaste lingered for a long time, overpowering the mix’s refreshing tomato/lemony-ness.

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THE TROPICAL SEA SALT

Inspired by Hemingway’s residence in Havana, Cuba.

Ernest Hemingway Sea Salt

It was at Finca Vigía (Hemingway’s residence in Cuba from mid 1939 to 1960) that he wrote much of For Whom the Bell Tolls and The Old Man and the Sea. The classic tale tells the story of an old fisherman pursuing a giant marlin in the waters off Havana.

This gourmet sea salt is a combination of imported sea salt, granulized garlic which is prominent in Cuban cuisine, and a pinch of lemon and lime zest. I found it to be perfectly refreshing with a nice balance of salty and sour.

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