Friday, October 17, 2014

Chile Pepper Festival 2014 Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Chile Pepper Festival 2014 Part-1
Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Cherry Esplanade
Saturday, September 27, 2014
11:00AM – 6:00 PM

For the end of September, today felt like summer weather! It was in the 80s, sunny, low humidity and perfect weather to be at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden for the annual Chile Pepper Festival. This festival is a wonderful time amid the lavish surroundings of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. We spent the entire day here and sampled lots of hot sauces, both mild and hot, spicy chocolates, spicy caramel sauces, horseradish, pickled beets, pickles, spicy ketchup, and more… It was great seeing hot sauce artisan friends like Jon Bratton from NYC Hot Sauce Company, Johnny McLaughlin from Heartbreaking Dawns, Kenya Chasten from Guyank Sweet-Hot Pepper Sauce, and Vid Lynch from Torchbearer Sauces. We met new companies this year as well: Homesweet Homegrown Hot Sauces, Queen Majesty Hot Sauce, and Apinya Thai Food Co. We tasted as much as we could handle and photographed many of the events vendors.

Various Peppers

As you enter the Chile Pepper Festival, you arrive at the Chile Pepper Farm Stand featuring the following farms: Eagle Street Rooftop Farm (Brooklyn), East New York Farms! (Brooklyn), Hepworth Farms (Milton, NY), Homesweet Homegrown Pepper Field (Kutztown, PA) and North Brooklyn Farms. 

Homesweet Homegrown Table
Smoked Dried Ghost Peppers
Sweet Small Peppers
Nice Cayennes
Ghost Peppers -  Bhut Jolokia
Serrano Peppers grown in NY
Locally grown super hots (various)
Local hot peppers
Local Jalapeno Peppers
Allen - Two Frys (Hot)
Sophia - Two Frys (Sweet)

The peppers were beautiful and many varieties: Habaneros, Jalapeño, Scotch Bonnet, Cayenne, Fatalii, Bhut Jolokia (Ghost), and Scorpion Peppers.

Chocolate Debauchery
14 chocolate companies featured their fine goods and samples of spicy chocolates. I sampled about 10 different chocolates and some had a serious kick of spice, and I enjoyed every bite.

Chocolate Debauchery
I ended up buying 3 chocolate bars (see photo): Caramel with Salted Peanuts Milk Chocolate from JoMart Chocolates, Dark Chocolate & Soft Caramel 53% Cacao from Nunu Chocolates and Peanut Butter Pit Bull Rescue Chocolate.

Yummy chocolate

Feel The Burn -
Heartbreaking Dawns
It is always great to see my good friend Johnny from Heartbreaking Dawns Hot Sauce. Johnny is one of the first local hot sauces we used when we began experimenting with hot sauces on our blog. HBD’s Sauces are a great asset to our blog pantry for all our cooking and condiment needs. Johnny’s recipes are hot, yet he keeps flavor at the top of his list. We discussed briefly how Fervor, his Reaper Pepper sauce was doing as this is a flavorful yet high heat hot sauce. A lot of folks make reaper pepper sauce but cannot get the flavors right. Heartbreaking Dawns hit the nail on the head with Fervor. Johnny was very busy and his booth was active with many tasters and customers. Johnny informed me they are making the hot chili pepper cookies this season and to check his website for more information. Heartbreaking Dawns is one of our blog favorites for wings and to add zing to our recipes.

Chef Johnny of Heartbreaking Dawns and Allen - Two Frys
Heartbreaking Dawns Super Hots
Heartbreaking Dawns Originals
Heartbreaking Dawns Box Sets

NYC Hot Sauce Company
My friend Jon Bratton makes NYC Hot Sauce. It is the only sauce that is actually 100% made in NYC. The full spectrum of production, pepper raising, and bottling are done in NYC. NYC Hot Sauce does not use a co-packer for their excellent Habanero Table Hot Sauce, and Jon and I spoke briefly about this. He had a long line and a ton of tasters for his product line. Jon sold out of his great Habanero Grilling Salt at the festival. The grilling salt is made from a dried or dehydrated Habanero mash from the hot sauce ingredients. It was nice to see him working alongside his family, as NYC Hot Sauce is a family owned company. They had on display many fresh Habaneros they grew on a Brooklyn rooftop garden. These were some of the largest and hearty Habaneros we saw today. They are great people producing fine quality sauce and grilling salt and highly recommended by Two Frys.

Jon Bratton NYC Hot Sauce Company and Allen of Two Frys
NYC Hot Sauce Habaneros are grown in a rooftop garden in Brooklyn, NY
The busy NYC Hot Sauce Company booth at the festival
Festive layout as always from NYC Hot Sauce Company

Guyank Sweet-Hot Pepper Sauce
It is always fun to run into my friend Kenya Chasten of Guyank Brand. I have known Kenya and his family for a few years now, and use their Guyank Sweet-Hot Pepper Sauce regularly on my food. I have also purchased and sent a few bottles as prizes for the blog over the past 2 years. In doing this a few times, I got some great feedback from different states like California and Oklahoma. Kenya and family also make some other tasty products like a rub and a BBQ Style sauce. Guyank is a local Brooklyn based family run company. Kenya treated me to a taster of his Sweet Hot 10 month old aged hot sauce. It was like tasting the fine wine of local pepper sauces.

Kenya Chasten of Guyank Brand
Guyank Brand, one of my local favorites
Kenya of Guyank bagging up the customers sauces

Torchbearer Sauces
I stopped by the Torchbearer table and it was swamped and spoke briefly to Vid Lynch. Torchbearer is the maker of the extremely hot Zombie Apocalypse Hot Sauce, along with their other extreme Rapture Hot Sauce. I got a good deal on sauces from them today. Torchbearer were selling 3 bottles for $20.00 on the regular sauces, and I purchased some sauces for review on the blog. I did not have the newer Horseradish product, Smokey Horseradish Sauce so I choose one of those. I am a big Horseradish fan and also picked up a Torchbearer Spicy Horseradish Mustard. The other item I bought is one I regularly buy when I see them at an event called, Oh My Garlic as this is one of my favorite sauces. Torchbearer is a PA based company that we really like and they make some sauces that are not too extreme for my heat intolerant friends. The selection of sauces range from smoky, sweet, medium heat and extreme hot and BBQ sauces.

Torchbearers Famous Zombie Apocalypse and Rapture Extreme Sauces  
Some of Torchbearers many BBQ and dipping style sauces

Caramel is one of my most favorite things in the world. I tried Spoonable’s Butterscotch Sauce and loved it. We bought 2, 1.25 oz Caramels – Salty Caramel and Spicy Chili Caramel. We plan on concocting a recipe using the Spicy Chili Caramel on pork.

Spoonable - Pepper Infused Caramel
Holy Schmitt's Homemade Horseradish
I got a serious kick from the horseradish sample I was given. Wow, (holy sh**) Schmitt’s was heavenly and hot. We cannot wait to use it as a spread for sandwiches and burgers, yum! I was surprised at the size of the sample of Horseradish Sophia boldly ate at the Holy Schmitt’s Booth. I was impressed how she handled the heat so well. They sell several flavors, but we bought the original.

Holy Schmitt's Homemade Horseradish

Sir Kensington's
I am a ketchup fanatic and fell in love with the yumminess and spicy kick from Sir Kensington’s Spiced Ketchup. The spice comes from jalapeños and I am so glad I bought one because ketchup makes me happy. We plan on ordering the Mayo in the future from them.

Sir Kensington’s

Sour Puss Pickles
With the beaming sun, we each reveled in eating a Sour Puss Pickle. To our delight, it was so juicy, sour and crisp. Allen says this is the freshest tasting pickle he has ever had. Aw, so satisfying!

Sour Puss Pickles
Sour Puss Pickled goods

Queen Majesty Hot Sauce
It was great to meet a new hot sauce company at this festival. The sample of Queen Majesty Jalapeño Tequila & Lime Hot Sauce was perfection, and I cannot wait to make some fish tacos and some hot wings.

Queen Majesty Hot Sauce Booth
Homesweet Homegrown Hot Sauces
I think the hot weather was getting to me since I called The Aramingo Pineapple Mango Homegrown Hot Sauce, Flamingo when I asked try a sample. It was a good laugh. This sweet/low heat sauce is so good and fresh tasting from the lemondrop chilis, habanero peppers, carrots, pineapple and mango and the other ingredients. It was very nice to meet Robyn Jasko from Homesweet Homegrown. Homesweet have several varieties of hot sauces and Robyn has written a cookbook that looks great and informative. We plan on eventually purchasing the cookbook for review on the blog.

Homesweet Homegrown

Apinya Thai Food Co.
Apinya was a company we never heard of before so it was great to meet them. Apinya offer an impressive line of hot sauces with a Thai twist. We did a few tastings and purchased Apinya's Thai Chile Sauce to use as a condiment on rice dishes and Asian cuisine.

Apinya Thai Food Co. sauces

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