Monday, October 19, 2009
Salsa Huichol: Git outta Dodge, Cholula...there's a new sheriff in town.
Salsa Huichol might not be the sauce of your dreams, but it's certainly a sauce that has big dreams of it's own. Their humble Mexican website outlines their aspirations to become the leader in Picante hot sauce. Just what is Picante hot sauce? According to America's internet single parent, Wikipedia, "Picante is a Spanish adjective that derives from picar, which means 'to sting.'" This sauce brings some sting, but goes head to head with another classic Mexican hot sauce, Cholula. Does this sauce rise to its own challenge and live the (Mexican) American Dream?
Let's look at the facts: Picante, a word often associated with salsa, usually describes a tomato-based hot sauce. This traditional Mexican hot sauce culls from a variety of indigenous peppers, including Piquin, Cayenne, and Arbol peppers, along with garlic, tomato, and vinegar. It's a proven combination of Mexican flavor. More importantly, the Lopez family has been making the stuff for generations since 1949, and the sauce hit America in 1982. Their honest, down to Earth web page portrays a family hot sauce trying to break out internationally...and guess what? They deserve to.
Good Hurts: With the same kind of tangy spice that toasts the tip of your tongue that Cholula has, you can't go wrong with this sauce, whether you're a spiceaholic or a pepperhead just lookin' for some flavor. Not too hot, but it won't let you down.
Flavor: The strange, almost metallic, reddish-brown milky color smells of rich ripe tomatoes and chilies.The flavor is thicker and bolder than Cholula, tastes like the peppers are fresher and perhaps roasted, and brings a rich mellow to the niche dominated by Cholula in the USA. This is a sauce you get for flavor, not searing heat. I strongly recommend it!
Availability: It's not easy to find here. Their site boasts that they've made it all the way to France and Spain, but I wonder how easily available the sauce really is in those locations and around the world. Their site isn't translated well, and thus makes ordering hot sauce a bit more challenging than the average late-night hot sauce buy. If you can find this stuff, demand it! Ask your local Mexican joint where to find this elusive flavor goldmine.
Good for: Everything Cholula can do, this sauce can do better. Pizza is a must, burritos are a plus, and the flavor really mixes well with beans and rice. This sauce is more well rounded and flavorful than Cholula, so the sky is really the limit.
My Review: 7.1
While the bite isn't quite enough to push it into seriously hot territory, it's bold, exciting flavor could easily knock your Cholula bottle off the shelf and into the toilet, assuming you keep your hot sauce over the toilet. Strongly recommended!