Last year, it was 112 degrees on the day of the Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival; on top of that, there was still one more day for ArmadilloCon. While the festival has been a must-attend for Jon and me ever since we lived here, between the weather and the conflict, we decided to skip out. This year, the con and the festival were on separate weekends, and the weather was much more temperate (it even rained a little bit!). And I’m glad we went, because there were some delicious new things.
We started out in the tasting lines for the sauces entered in the competition. We hit the specialty sauces first, and tasted some amazing creations, from great habanero sauces, to those made with citrus or curry or cucumber, to one that included shrimp!
After tasting all the specialty sauces, we moved on to the green sauce section. Halfway through, we decided we were done with the long, slow lines, so decided to hit up the hot sauce vendors who were offering samples. And, of course, let people take our money in exchange for delicious hot sauce.
We ended up buying condiments from five different companies (in order of appearance on our festival meanderings):
- Rice Burner Sweet and Spicy Asian Sauce (I didn’t sample this, but Jon assures me that I’m going to love it)
- Cindy’s Cin-namon Apple BBQ Sauce (delightfully sweet and savory)
- Hell’s Passion Hot Sauce (reminds me of my former favorite, Scorned Woman, before they changed their recipe for the worse)
- Triple-C Steak Sauce (I don’t remember the last time I bought steak sauce, as I don’t really eat steak, but this was too delicious to pass up)
- Habanero-Rosemary Jelly (I’m a big fan of their Habanero-Cranberry Jelly as well, but we decided to purchase the new flavor this year)
- Cajun Garlic Essence (I will reiterate: the best sauce entered in the competition)
- Bayou Gold Chipotle Mustard Sauce (because I am a mustard addict)
- Cajun Lightning Hot Sauce (I think it’s new, because it’s not on their website; it cost $3 more than the rest of the sauces, but was well worth the price)
- Thai Cumber Salsa, medium heat, with Thai peppers (Our first choice was the high heat with habaneros, but they were sold out; this was the next best thing, and still very delicious)
- Massamun Curry Sauce (I can’t wait to cook with this!)
After over three hours of standing in the sun and sampling sauce, we came away with enough to last us at least six months (probably; we’re hot sauce addicts). And, at the end of all that, what was the natural choice? A trip to Amy’s Ice Cream, to chill out. The perfect ending to a perfect afternoon.