I enjoy “hot” foods. My family always gets a kick out me breaking out into a sweat while eating a meal that has something with heat. To be honest it doesn’t matter how hot the food item is I break out in a sweat. I can handle quite a bit of heat, but really prefer a spicy product that isn’t hot for hot sake. Sweet Sunshine makes the claim their sauces have “flavor before fire.”
“Any fool can make something hot, the trick is to make it delicious.” — Jimmy Sarris
Normally when a company reaches out to offer samples for me to try I take a look at their website to see exactly what they are all about before I say yes or no. When I saw the tagline “Flavor Before Fire” I was curious enough to say yes to their offer.
“Flavor Before Fire” is a wonderful tagline for a hot sauce company. Sweet Sunshine doesn’t actually refer to their products as hot sauces though, they prefer the term “chili sauce.” I was a little confused by this. I know chili sauce as something a little different from the Sweet Sunshine products so I asked Paul Sarris, owner of Sweet Sunshine why they prefer the term chili sauce. ”I call Sweet Sunshine a Chili sauce because it was never meant to be centered on heat,” Paul explained.
“We have six flavors for that very reason. The base sauce (Sweet) is flavored with Ancho and is very mild. Each sauce has a different flavor and heat profile rising to the reasonably hot Atomic,which has the heat from Red Savina Habanero Peppers. They are Chili Sauces because the primary flavors are the variety of chilies and seasonings to achieve the variety of flavors we have,” he continued.
“Our motto of “Flavor before Fire”literally means we create the most flavorful sauce we can using the finest ingredients that anyone can eat, from a child to a Chili Head.” –Paul Sarris
I wasn’t sure how to review all six sauces in one review. It just seemed a bit daunting. However, since Sweet Sunshine sauces start with a basic sauce and then build on the heat with additional peppers. The extra peppers not only offer more heat, but add more flavor with the increase of the peppers.
The “Sweet” sauce is the “entry-level” sauce from Sweet Sunshine. It has a nice sweet flavor that, for the most part, lacks any heat. You can pick up the ancho chile pepper flavor on the back of your tongue after the sweetness hits the front. It is nice to have a sauce with nice layers of flavor and being able to distinguish the sweet from the spice is a good indicator of those layers.
Add a little more spice to the “Sweet” and you end up with the “Warm” version. Again, sweet on the front and a little more heat on the back-end. Take the “Warm” sauce and add whole roasted shallots and garlic and you end up with what I think is the best sauce of the group. Shallots look a lot like onions but taste much, much different, they are less bitter than onions and when roasted they become a flavorful and sweet addition to many dishes. With the addition the roasted garlic, which adds the flavor of garlic without the bitterness or “burn” of raw garlic, and you have a sauce packed with flavor. I really like this sauce.
I skipped the Jamaican Jerk sauce because I don’t like jerk flavors. I know it sounds a little odd, but I just don’t like them. But add Red Savina pepper mash to the “Warm” sauce and you have a nice sweet sauce with some good strong heat. As is the case with Red Savina peppers the “Hot” sauces ends up with nice fruity overtones on top of the sweetness and heat. The “Hot” sauce is about 10% Red Savina. Step the Red Savina to 25% and you have the “Atomic” level sauce. This sauce is much fruitier and well much, much hotter. You’ll end up with the sweetness but also be ready for a little lip burn.
The sauces are 100% all natural and are, without a doubt, do have flavor before fire. If you’re interested in purchasing Sweet Sunshine sauces visit their website for details on where you can buy them or order direct.