Lola’s Fine Hot Sauces
Not long ago, my niece the game designer was visiting for brunch. She asked for some hot sauce with her scrambled eggs. Hot sauce has fallen out of my vocabulary, so all I could offer was one of those bottles with a label that boasts that it’s even more authentically 19th-century than the old label.
So, while I don’t often accept PR pitches for prepared foods, I welcomed the chance to sample Lola’s Fine Hot Sauces. As a rule, hot sauces are engaged in an arms race with everyone trying to be hotter and more authentic than their neighbors, and that’s not very interesting. Lola’s approach is to keep a reasonable level of heat but to concentrate on flavor.
The big win here was the Carolina Reaper, which I tried as a condiment for my own Carolina smoked bbq ribs. Sure, it adds heat, but it also adds a really nice fruity note with some real spice depth. It wasn’t numbingly hot, so all the work on basting the ribs wasn't buried under the condiment, but the condiment added some useful notes. (I seldom like “Carolina yellow” bbq sauces, preferring Brian Polcyn’s sauce of brown sugar, tons of vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, dry mustard and veal stock. The veal stock helps, but chicken stock is fine and it's what I typically have on hand. )
I tried the Original sauce a with a few things — notably with some scrambled eggs. Its flavor profile is nice, though I’m not sure I know exactly how it’s done: there’s reasonable mid-palate heat, quite a bit of acid, and some tomato. It’s not a spicy ketchup, which I know is exactly what I just described. Or maybe it is, in a more concentrated form. It turns out that scrambled eggs aren’t the right foil for this, but I fancy a touch might enliven a hearty beef stew. Again, the point is to dial down the heat and allow interesting spice to shine.