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National Hot Sauce Day is Coming… January 22, 2017!

national-hot-sauce-day-2017

If all of you chileheads didn’t know, this coming Sunday, January 22, 2017 is National Hot Sauce Day!

Not that hot sauce addicts, heat lovers and spice junkies need any excuse to eat any fiery foods; but still, it’s a time to “officially” celebrate, knowing that the capsaicin-infused foods we all love are finally getting some publicity all
over the country.

You are encouraged to post up your hot sauce-laden foods all over Twitter, Instragram or Facebook using the hashtag #nationalhotsauceday.

You can view the “official” NSSD pages here:

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/nationalhotsauceday
Website: http://www.natlhotsauceday.com

Viva la Hot Sauce! Power to the Pepper!

Pepper Palace Joins Forces With ZestFest To Help Market and Promote Best Spicy Food Products

zestfest-ffc-marketing-with-pepper-palaceDALLASDec. 10, 2016PRLog — As an industry leader, Pepper Palace is interested in mentoring smaller companies and encouraging their participation in ZestFest and the Fiery Food Challenge as a way to grow their business and promote the fiery food industry. The Fiery Food Challenge is a featured event at the annual spicy food show, ZestFest, produced by Spicy Food Productions, LLC.  Each year a panel of expert judges comes to ZestFest in search of the best products in the spicy food category.  Last year’s 20th Anniversary Edition of the Fiery Food Challenge was dominated by the products entered by Pepper Palace.  This year Pepper Palace has decided to hold off from entering to allow new and developing artisan companies an opportunity for increased exposure and the chance to win the prestigious Golden Chile award.

Pepper Palace was founded by Craig and Tanya Migawa in 1989 as a kiosk in a Central Wisconsin Mall and soon expanded to include two inline retail locations. After successfully operating in Wisconsin for eight years, a family trip inspired a move south to Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Pepper Palace opened their first Gatlinburg location in 1997 in a small storefront on the outskirts of town. Several moves were made to better, larger locations until finally reaching its current location in 1999, a 3000 square foot spot in a prominent Gatlinburg Mall. This was, and continues to be, the largest spicy themed specialty retail location in the world. Pepper Palace entered the online arena in that same year by launching pepperpalace.com.

Pepper Palace began expansion efforts by…

Blast From the Past – CaJohns Open House Diary and Photos

cajohns-building

The following is my recollection from the CaJohns Open House event from Monday, August 2, 2010. These open houses were held at the CaJohns Fiery Foods facilities in the Columbus, Ohio area the day after the Weekend of Fire Hot Sauce Expo. These were CaJohn’s way of providing excellent free food and commeraderie for chileheads owners of sauce companies. In addition to the post-WOF open houses, these get-togethers were also held in conjunction with other events such as the Columbus North Market Fiery Foods Festival, and were an absolute blast for anyone attending!

Having been guided by my iPhone’s GPS/Map app, I was the first visitor to arrive at the new CaJohns facilities in the northern Columbus, Ohio suburb of Westerville. Not knowing where to park or even if this was even the correct building, I pulled the Roberts family truckster into a large back parking lot. I noticed the familiar white and yellow CaJohns van pulling out of a spot and heading around to the front of the building and I followed suit. John “CaJohn” Hard bounded out of the drivers seat and gave me a welcoming handshake. For a few minutes he chatted about the chile pepper plants (among them some Bhut Jolokias) that were planted out in front of the building before we darted inside.

CaJohn first showed me the impressive trophy for the inaugural Reviewers Cup, a competition to see which hot sauce blogger was able to taste and identify ingredients in food most accurately. He confided in me a couple of hints as to what the contest would have in store for us. Prior to this, I had no idea what to expect (would we sample hot sauces? A dish of a multi-ingredient, mish-mash of components such as chili or jambalaya? Or would Chef Steve concocted something special and completely unanticipated for us?). CaJohn said that it would be simpler and that blogger participants would taste ingredients common to hot sauces and salsas. Hmmm…

2016 UCP Heartland Wing Ding St. Louis Judging Results

2016-st-louis-wing-ding-photo-1Every year, the preeminent chicken wing event is the St. Louis, MO metro area is, of course, the UCP Heartland Wing Ding. The 2016 event was held last night, and I was lucky enough to be one of the celebrity judges for the contest.

16 different St. Louis area restaurants not only sold their wings to the general public who paid to get into the foodie event, but also entered in one or more wings for consideration in the contest. The judging was split up into three categories: Best Traditional Style (with the flavor profile being based in the classic cayenne pepper sauce and melted butter, and can be grilled, smoked, fried and/or breaded), Best Specialty Style (anything goes!), and Best Dry Rub Style (non-sauced but with a seasoning covering the outside, and can be grilled, smoked, fried and/or breaded). There was a┬ámind-numbing 38 individual entries across all three categories; although judges didn’t need to consume 38 entire wings, we were required to take a bite of each one.

Judging was subjective to the preferences of each judge, and included such criteria as appearance, texture, flavor, and juiciness…