Everyone has that friend that's always talking about how spicy they like their food, annoyingly asking for their vindaloo even hotter and slathering red goop with foreign labels on everything they eat. The next time this guy shows up at your dinner table or backyard barbeque, slap some of Hoardable Hot Sauces' Cruel and Unusual Punishment on the table and wait for a reaction.
The Springdale, Conn.-based hot sauce company makes five types of hot sauce, but their Cruel and Unusual Punishment, made from India-originating, Connecticut-grown Naga Bhut Jolokia (Ghost Peppers), is their best-seller. "We can't keep up with the demand," says co-founder Jens Tschebull.
Tschebull and his partner, Abby Yates, chose the hilarious yet totally descriptive name for the sauce since it's made from one of the hottest peppers in the world. Trying it can be as much a culinary dare as a delight. "Our sauce is cruel enough to burn your taste buds, but unusual because we get a lot of different reactions. Some people cough, some cry and others keep pouring it on. Regardless of their response they still buy it" says Tschebull.
To give an idea of how spicy the C&UP hot sauce is, Tschebull explained that the heat of peppers is measured in Scoville units. While your typical jalapeño might score 5,000 Scoville units — a ghost pepper will scorch the chart at over 1 million units.
Many of their peppers are grown at Bethel's Holbrook Farm. But their demand is so high that they source peppers from farms all over the state — still all are grown in Connecticut. They use a wide variety of peppers in their range of sauces including bells, cayenne, Thais, habaneros, poblanos and lemon drops, the latter being a base for another of their unique offerings — lemon thyme hot sauce, which they suggest pairing with chicken and seafood.
Tschebull and Yates like to eat their hot apple hot sauce with pulled pork and other Southern and BBQ dishes; the plum sauce can also pull BBQ duty and is heaven on dumplings. The green pepper mix and red pepper mix are their put-em-on-everything offerings.
The two artisans are passionate about the local and natural food movement. They don't add capsaicin oil (a cayenne compound used to add extra heat), food coloring or unnatural preservatives to their line and are working toward their organic certification. "Connecticut's cuisine is changing dramatically. People in the area love and are starting to understand the importance of local and sometimes spicy foods," says Tschebull.
They consider hot sauce more than a food trend. "Hot sauce sales are up all over the country; people are realizing products like ours are a healthy way to add more flavor to their diet," says Tschebull.
The duo have developed relationships with farms, farmers, farmers markets and independent markets all over the state. Find Hoardable Hot Sauces at the New Canaan Farmers' Market, Whole Foods Farmers' Market, G-Ville Deli, Station Eats, Springdale Florist and Greenhouses, New Wave Seafood, Darien Cheese Shop, BJ Ryan's, Sport Hill Farm, Double L Market, Fairfield Cheese Co., Hickorees.com, Maltose Express, The Angry Pepper, Bridgeport's Melt Market and Café, Rowayton Market, Wave Hill Breads, King's Kitchen, Dish, and Holbrook Farm.
Visit connecticutlygrown.com for more info.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun