Chutney Challenge

Is your larder up to it?

We took four well known mango chutneys and blind tested them on five extremely willing volunteers, with surprising results.

The challenge

Everyone ready to tuck in Remember the Pepsi Challenge? Well, Iím proud to present the Chutney Challenge: four well known brands of mango chutney pitted against each other and judged by five curry aficionados. The verdicts were surprisingly consistent and surprising enough to change some of our shopping habits permanently!

Samples of each chutney was place on a numbered dish and tasted with a stack of poppadoms (plain and spicy). I gauged initial thoughts and then elicited individual opinions and rankings.

The chutneys

  1. Sharwoods Green Label Mango Chutney £1.39/360g
  2. Sainsburys Mango Chutney £1.29/350g
  3. Pataks Mild Mango Chutney £1.49/340g
  4. Geetas Mango Chutney £1.59/320g

(Sainsburys prices at time of writing)

The panel

D > B > C > A

D had the smoothest taste with much more mango flavour; really fresh tasting. While both were good, I preferred the texture of B to C. However A was far too sweet; more a jam, almost saccharine-like.

C > D > B > A

I definitely preferred the smoothness of C. It had a more interesting spiciness than A and B which were not to my taste, although some people would like them. D tasted great but was really too chunky for my liking.

D > C > B = A

I was slightly reluctant to put D first as the flavour was too complicated for me. However it was a grower and really distinguished itself from the others. To Dís exotic holiday in Goa, A was a wet weekend in Wales, and B was not much better, just a little less sweet. C was much more interesting in flavour; something between C and D would be the perfect mango chutney for me.

D > C > B > A

D seemed almost homemade; it was not too sweet or gloopy but was perhaps a little too chunky. There was a warm peppery flavour and you could pick out the many spices. A and B were syrupy Ė not really my cup of tea, although B was slightly better. A tasted like the kind of mango chutney someone who didnít really like curries would buy. C was a nice smooth chutney and not too sweet.

C > B = D > A

C was smooth and tasty with just the right spiciness. D would be nice for a change but a generally bit too chunky; I really prefer the conventional smooth chutney of the others. B is a good chutney but not outstanding; quite similar to A which I enjoyed but was a little bit bland.

The final verdict

The Winner: Geetas Mango Chutney
Runner-up: Pataks Mild Mango Chutney
Third: Sainsburys Mango Chutney
Wooden spoon: Sharwoods Green Label Mango Chutney

There we have it. Sharwoods Green Label, many peopleís default mango chutney (including some on the Challenge panel), gets a resounding thumbs down, being too sweet and bland. An honourable mention should go to Pataks with its smooth offering of spices. But top of the pile is Geetas. A far more interesting proposition with a real taste of mangoes, combination of whole spices and a chunky homemade feel it wins hands down, albeit not to everyoneís taste. It wins hands down.


Cook’s Notes

Visit the websites:
(no Geetas site)

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