Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Hot & Spicy Food Festival at Harbourfront

Tuesday, September 8, 2009
This past weekend, Tasting Toronto was at the Hot & Spicy Food Festival at the Harbourfront Centre. It seems like we've been here every weekend this summer for some international food sampling at the World Cafe food tent. This time we were hoping for some fiery cuisine.

The Hot & Spicy fest featured a multitude of purveyors of hot sauces and spicy salsas. We made our rounds and found a few that we liked. We tried various sauces from SOHOT. They had exotic flavours like "Gingerly Hot" and a mangoey "Sweet Surrender." I liked the intense clean kick of "Climaxxx," but our favourite flavour was "Cilantro Sutra," a fiery blend of lemon zest and corriander seed, which we bought a bottle of.

We loved the Chili Chocolate hot sauce from Peppermaster. It'd probably taste great on some smoked pork, crackers, or just about anything. It gives new meaning to the phrase "hot chocolate."

Next we tried a unique twist to serving hot sauce, a la mode. This delectable treat was courtesy of Jake Albert's Fuego Rojo, a pomegranate habanero glaze, served on vanilla ice cream. I can't say I've had that combination before. And I must say, it was the taste highlight of the festival.The ice cream quickly smothers the heat so that all you get is a complex dance of sweet and spicy flavours. Yummy!!!

Moving on, we tried a variety of other hot sauces and salsas. We even tried some hot hummus, and a not so hot and not so impressive chocolate hummus. It's amazing how different peppers give markedly different flavour profiles, from the smokey full bodied habanero, to the super hot light zing of scotch bonnets. Some sauces are just hot like Fyah!

Enough about hot sauces, what about the food? Sadly we were less than impressed. There was a smattering of Caribbean food... and a good jerk or roti is always satisfying, but we were expecting some hot Mexican, maybe some Indian vindaloo, or some fiery Sichuan. We ended up getting an ackee and saltfish combo, with fried plantains. It was a hearty meal, but just OK.

Ahhh, another gorgeous sunny day at Harbourfront, with sailing ships on the horizon, and screaming fighter jets above us.


Unknown said...

Thanks for the review! It was a great weekend, glad you could make it. This was our very first show
--Jay aka Jake!

Tasting Toronto said...

No problem Jake, you make a great sauce.
- Mark

Pepperfire said...

Thank you so much for the review, Mark! Aside from the One of a Kind show in November, this is our absolute favourite show to do in Toronto! Glad you came out to represent!

We would love for Torontonians (and others) to know that the Peppermaster's favourite use for the Chili Chocolate sauce is as his secret ingredient in his Chili Con Carne. (The recipe for that is on our website, here: http://bit.ly/qqnvf

Me, I prefer it on ice cream or as a fruit fondue!

Tina Brooks, VP Marketing
Brooks Pepperfire Foods Inc.

Jay Calvert said...

Don't forget to check out the festival this year. We will have our latest product, Fuego Azul which is a Wild Blueberry Habanero Glaze. And yes, we will be serving it on ice cream again!

Jay Calvert

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Darren Demers said...

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