It all started in 2009 when I was trying to make the perfect hot wings with something other than Frank’s Red Hot. After countless trips to my local hot sauce store, my obsession with wings changed to hot sauce. The more sauces I tried, the more I realized almost every sauce tasted as though it was made with dehydrated and processed ingredients, or just had too many ingredients, and almost always focused strictly on heat over flavor. With witty, unusual, and sometimes obscene names, I quickly realized I was not going to find what I was looking for in a hot sauce store. Fortunately, my pepper plants were starting to yield beautiful ripe peppers, so I got creative with some sea salts from my cupboard, and Gindo’s Spice of Life was born.
By the spring of 2011, my wife and I developed three different fresh pepper hot sauces, all made with blends of peppers sourced from local farms, carefully curated sea salts and a variety of peppercorns. We specialize in small batch artisanal hot sauces that feature straightforward ingredients.
They say variety is the spice of life, and we’ve definitely found that to be true with our sauces. If someone wants a Louisiana style or traditional wing sauce, Gindo’s Original is the way to go. If someone wants a verde hot sauce or more mild hot sauce, Gindo’s Jalapeno Poblano satisfies the craving. And if someone likes their heat sweet or more of a tropical sauce, they go for our Honey Habanero. No single sauce is more popular than the other. They all have developed their own following. Because we make small batch hot sauces with fresh locally sourced peppers, we like to think of our sauces like a fine wine. Since no two peppers taste exactly the same or have the same heat level, even if they’re part of the same crop, there’s an excitement we experience every time we make a new batch.
One of the coolest little factoids we’ve discovered along the way about peppercorns is that they were once called “black gold.” It’s true that pepper was once used as a form of currency in ancient India, the Middle East and Europe. Perhaps one of the most interesting requests was when Atilia the Hun demanded a ransom of one ton of pepper from Rome when they besieged the city in the 5th century.
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Cottage Lane Kitchen was founded by me in 2010, and it isn't only my business name, but also refers to a secret lane in Chapel Hill, NC where our family homestead was built in the 1950s. Four generations of my family have cooked and preserved spicy peppers out of love and tradition in that kitchen.
The last homemade batch of my family's spicy pepper relish was made by my Grandfather in the early 1990s. He grew chilies around the outside of the house and harvested and pickled them during my summer visits. I remember him watering the empty tin cans he buried beside each pepper plant.
Normally the Craft Hot Sauce Podcast interviews hot sauce makers all over the world. This episode is more of a riff from Brian the host about some of the things his hot sauce company Craic Sauce got up this summer.