It was a great experience growing up next to my grandfather. As a young boy, I was taught how to grow all kinds of vegetables, trees, roses, and fruit. He was a great gardener from Italy, and I tried to follow in his footsteps. When I bought my own house 30 years ago, I planted a nice size garden. It didn't take long before I was completely hooked on growing peppers. As the years went by and super hot peppers became available, I gravitated towards growing mostly hot peppers. I started to make sauce for some local bars and restaurants for their wings and it took off after that. That was 8 years ago.
Today my company makes small batch hot sauces with all natural ingredients. I am the owner and operator. I have some help growing peppers as I can no longer grow all the peppers I need.
I decided to try a different flavor profile than what I have seen in the industry. I use flavored balsamic vinegars to enhance the peppers in the sauces. Pear, Raspberry, Cherry Cordial and Chocolate balsamic are a few flavors I use. I try to enhance the flavors of the peppers and keep the integrity of the pepper used. For instance, my Yellow Moruga Scorpion sauce uses Yellow Moruga Scorpions which have a very distinct citrus flavor, and I use Raspberry Balsamic to enhance the citrus flavor. I try to do this with all my sauces. There are no other additives in my sauces, no salt, sugar, preservatives, or thickeners.
The hot sauce community has been a really close and friendly bunch. I have made many friends and partners. The support and generosity is genuine and everyone cares about each other. I cant think of a better group of companies and people.
Because I grow peppers for my company and make the sauce, I am in touch with growers and sauce makers, mainly on Facebook, and everyone I ask for help does their best to make their time.
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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.