One of the unspoken benefits of working for the Sur La Table blog team is the regular opportunity to take a break (however brief) from our daily tasks to taste delicious things. Whether comparing apple varieties, tasting Irish whiskey or exploring the nuances of cheddar, many days find us gathering eagerly around a table to experience the next gustatory delight.
Yesterday was not one of those days.
Perhaps out of the same sense of culinary masochism that prompted us to eat durian ice cream, our latest tasting was not a pleasant half-hour spent passing around artfully arranged cheeses or sampling suspiciously large pours of sparkling wine.
Instead, it was a blubbery, snot-filled affair; an indeterminate (but far, far too long) period of time spent cringing around a haphazard array of sauces designed seemingly with the sole intention of causing pain. To call our hot-sauce event a “tasting” is accurate only in that, yes, we attempted to taste a variety of sauces. Any ambitions of comparison or grading lasted exactly as long as it took for the majority of us to try the hotter offerings.
So rather than attempt to piece together a coherent narrative from our frenzied scribbling and incoherent, pain-filled screams, I’ve gathered some of our more entertaining responses for your … enjoyment?
Not too tasty. But not too hot, either.
Good, with a mild burn. Or not a mild burn. No, not mild. Hot. Hot hot hot.
Spicy blandness. How is that even a thing?
Who would eat this? It’s like they bottled fire, and that wasn’t hot enough so they added some lava.
Hurtin’ Habanero is aptly named.
Good, spicy kick. But with a strange, fishy aftertaste.
No. No no no no no no no no no no no no no.
Obligatory Ralphie Wiggum reference (“Tastes like burning!”).
Oh. Why did I agree to this?
Scorpion Sauce really stings. My tongue hurts.
That cleans out your sinuses. And then sets them on fire.
Comes on slow, but build and builds and builds some more.
Sweet, like passion fruit. But then, burning.
Very dark blood red that’s, frankly, a little unnerving.
Wow. I’m having a hard time describing the flavor because the heat is intense.
I don’t think I’d put this on my food because it takes too long for the pain to subside.
Hot. Garbage. Water. Painful, bitter, bad-tasting burn that just won’t go away.
At the very least, you can view our experience as a cautionary tale, an omen of the ill fortunes that await you should you ever have the hubris to attempt such a painfully stupid thing. Which hot sauce is better? My eyes are open now, my preconceptions burned away in searing hellfire. And I can tell you only this: there are some things humanity is simply not meant to know.
For those who are interested, here are the sauces we tried. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
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