Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Very Peri Sauce

There are a million hot sauces on the market. Yep, exactly one million. I know this because I counted them. So how does one break into this market and get noticed? I think part of it is marketing and the other part is taste. I would have walked right on by this hot sauce guy at the trade show had he not put "vegan" on his sign. I looked at up at the Very Peri sign and thought, "Of course, the hot sauce is vegan. Is that really necessary?" But, then I realized that he cared enough to market this to vegans and in this day and age when I feel I need to check every label, I really appreciate those who take the time to put "vegan" on their label. So, I stopped by the booth.

It turns out that the maker of Very Peri, Reggie Carey, is just a fan of fine foods. He's a home chef who enjoys creating and consuming good food. He is also an international traveler. So, after 25 years in the technology sector, he decided to try his hand in the food business.  It was during one of his trips to Europe that he came across the Peri Peri flavor and nothing has been the same to him since.  Peri Peri or Piri Piri are chili peppers grown in South Africa, but the flavor is also quite popular in Portugal. Reggie decided to develop his own Peri Peri sauces for the U.S. market because he wasn't able to find anything like them here, and, thus, Very Peri was born.

I tried one of his sauces at the booth and loved it. Because Very Peri is made with lemon juice and lemon oil, it has this hint of fruitiness. Couple that with the spiciness of serrano and birdseye peppers and you have yourself a spicy hot sauce with a fruity twang. He gave me a bottle of the Intenso flavor, the hottest one, to take home.  Zach and I made some chanterelle mushroom tacos, which went great with that sauce.

We started by sauteing chanterelle mushrooms, red and yellow bell peppers, and onions in olive oil and garlic. We wanted these to be very light so the flavors would allow the hot sauce to shine.

We put the mushrooms, bell peppers, and onions in a soft taco shell along with black beans, fresh guacamole and fresh cilantro, then topped it with the Very Peri.  It was the perfect complement. I loved pairing the lightly sauteed chanterelles with the intense heat of Very Peri.

Keep your eyes out for this hot sauce. I predict it'll be making its way into the markets across the country soon. In the meantime, you can buy your own here for $6.95 per bottle. Not a bad price for a great hot sauce!

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