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Acadiana Lifestyle

Some Like It Hot

07/11/2014 07:41AM ● Published by Robert Frey

By Rachel Gulotta

It’s July, but fireworks are not the only things heating up the South this month. Dana Romero, 2012 director of the Cajun Hot Sauce Festival in New Iberia, and his team are proud to bring 25 hot sauce makers, 10 Bloody Mary mix makers and a chocolatier to Lafayette for the First Annual Louisiana Hot Sauce Festival. 

Romero stresses that this Festival/Expo is first and foremost for the hot sauce manufacturers to showcase their wares and teach festival goers how to use these different sauces and mixes. “I decided to create the expo,” explains Romero, “because hot sauce festivals usually focus drinking and listening to the music, not the hot sauce. This will be a good event centered on spicy food and the culture. We wanted to have it at Acadian Village because it’s the correct ambiance.” Over the course of two days, six bands playing mostly Cajun French music will add to the atmosphere. 

Festival vendors hail from 5 countries– U.S., Canada, Australia, Belize and Costa Rica– and their sauces showcase exciting new flavor combinations that you can’t get just anywhere. “The expo is not about the heat,” stresses Romero, “although there will be some that are all about burning your face off. It’s about the flavor profile and adding flavor to your food.” Don’t worry, Acadian Ambulance and Red Cross will be on site if your taste buds/stomach become overwhelmed. What is he most looking forward to? “People get a big endorphin rush from hot sauces, so that will be interesting to see and watch people. Save your grocery money,” Romero urges, “because you’ll be spending it at the expo!”

The Top 10 Reasons For Letting Your Mouth Water At The Louisiana Hot Sauce Festival:

1. There will be plenty of opportunities to try and buy the sauces in a family-oriented atmosphere. 

  • The list of vendors for the festival includes: Humboldt Hotsauce, PuckerButt Pepper Company, ValToro Hot Sauce, Crazy Good, Gindo’s Spice of Life, Rippin Red Sauce Company, Aunt Whiskey’s Bloody Mary Mix, Holiday Fried Pecans, Courtlyn & Company, Russell’s Cajun Barbecue Sauces, Cin Chili & Company, Southern Art Hot Sauce, NW Elixirs, Volcanic Peppers, CaJohns Fiery Foods, Frog Bone Cajun Spices, Feisty Parrot, Primo’s Pepper, Hell Fire Hot Sauce, Crazy Good, Wanna Play Jumps & Slides, Voodoo Chili Sauces & Salsa, High Octane Sauce Company, Tony Chachere’s Bloody Mary Mix, Walker Feed Co., VooDoo Juice ~ Bloody Mary Mix, Louisiana Sisters, Shaggy Dog Bloody Mary, Bob’s No Problem Bloody Mary Maker, Damn Good Bloody Mary Mix , Jimmy Luv’s Bloody Mary Mix and Ahruns Famous. 

2. Big names in the hot sauce world will be present as judges and cheerleaders, guiding you through the varying levels of spice in each hot sauce. They will be the Virgil to your Dante, if you will, as you wander the seven rings of hot sauce hell. CaJohn’s will have one such guided tasting station, presided over by the “Executioner.” 

  • The Festival’s official host is “Cajun OnStar” YouTube sensation, Cajun comedian, rapper and Louisiana enthusiast, Nonk Chauz’. Look/listen for him in the Festival’s commercials and radio spots. 
  • Two judges will preside over the World Hot Sauce Awards of 2014. Ken Alexander, a New Iberia native, is the author of the popular hot sauce blog, fireyworld.com. Vic Clinco, of Phoenix, Arizona, started collecting hot sauce bottles about 17 years ago and is now the record holder for the world’s largest collection of hot sauce bottles– over 6,000. Visit worldhotsauceawards.com for more information. 
  • Co-owners of Bravado Spice, James Nelson and Jeremiah Tallerine, are well known in Houston for their interesting sauces. Nelson is also a nationally known figure after his run on FOX’s MasterChef; he made the top 5. Bravado makes a blueberry ghost peppers hot sauce that brings a different flavor profile to the table. • Cin Chili & Company’s owner Cindy Reed Wilkins competed in a chili cook-off with Chef Bobby Flay on his Food Network show, Throwdown! With Bobby Flay. • The Festival’s official host is “Cajun OnStar” YouTube sensation, Cajun comedian, rapper and Louisiana enthusiast, Nonk Chauz’.  Look/listen for him in the Festival’s commercials and radio spots. 
  • Two judges will preside over the World Hot Sauce Awards of 2014. Ken Alexander, a New Iberia native, is the author of the popular hot sauce blog, fireyworld.com. Vic Clinco, of Phoenix, Arizona, started collecting hot sauce bottles about 17 years ago and is now the record holder for the world’s largest collection of hot sauce bottles– over 6,000. Visit worldhotsauceawards.com for more information. 
  • Co-owners of Bravado Spice, James Nelson and Jeremiah Tallerine, are well known in Houston for their interesting sauces. Nelson is also a nationally known figure after his run on FOX’s MasterChef; he made the top 5. Bravado makes a blueberry ghost peppers hot sauce that brings a different flavor profile to the table. 
  • Cin Chili & Company’s owner Cindy Reed Wilkins competed in a chili cook-off with Chef Bobby Flay on his Food Network show, Throwdown! With Bobby Flay.  

3. You can even become a celebrity in your own right as you vie for a new Guinness World Record. In 2013 Guinness deemed Smokin’ Ed’s “Carolina Reaper,” grown by the PuckerButt Pepper Company, the hottest chili in the world. Can you eat and hold down the Reaper in record time? 

4. The sauces may be hot, but you will stay cool! 

  • Acadian Village has lots of tree cover, and the Festival is also bringing in numerous fans, chill towers and Kona-Ice to keep you comfortable. 
  • Bloody Mary vendors and the chocolate booth will be located in the air-conditioned Stutes Building and music will play under the pavilion, both good options for a respite from the sun and sauces. 

5. A portion of the Festival’s proceeds will go to LARC. LARC’s mission is to support persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities in reaching their goals of self-sufficiency, quality of life and self-worth.

  • Dog-Gone Sauces Company’s creator Jeff Schmidt started the business as a means to raise funds for local animal shelters in Florida. 100 percent of Dog-Gone’s profits go to helping animals in need. Jeff’s philanthropic reach will benefit the Lafayette Animal Shelter after the Festival. 

6. Borden’s is a sponsor. Have you ever eaten something spicy and then run for the milk jug? Milk’s chemical compounds counteract the capsaicin in chili peppers. Don’t be shy; order an ice cream or two to have on hand as you taste test. 

7. What other hot sauce festival is also host to local authors? Jennifer Trainer Thompson, author of “Hot Sauce!” and Michelle Hirstius, author of “JuJu The Good Voodoo,” will be available in Acadian Village’s Chapel to sign copies of their work. 

8. You can get a little taste of what’s to come by visiting the Festival’s travelling display of over 100 hot sauces, all entries for last year’s World Hot Sauce Awards. Also, the week before the Festival, E’s Kitchen will host Bravado Spice for a cooking demonstration. Track the travelling expo’s location and the E’s Kitchen demo at lahotsaucefest.com. 

9. The Festival also ties into the World Hot Sauce Awards 2014. Over 60 categories will be judged the week of the expo. When we spoke with Romero, over 400 entries of bottled sauces from 10 different countries were in the running. 

  • Cypress Bayou Casino’s chefs will be on site to cook with the two winning hot sauces from 2013, Dog-Gone Sauces: Chipotle Sauce and CaJohn’s Gwendolyn Hot Sauce. All of the money raised from these special dishes’ sales will directly benefit LARC. 

10. Food trucks will be present alongside the hot sauce, Bloody Mary mix and chocolate vendors. Lafayette’s own Rice King and Chef Gregory Food Truck’s will feature some of the expo’s sauces used in new and different ways. 


In Print, Life+Leisure, Today louisiana hot sauce festival rachel gulotta
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