Month 4: Benito’s Original Naranja Hot Sauce (October 2012)

Tuesday, 30th October, 2012

Month 4: Benito’s Original Naranja Hot Sauce (October 2012)

Hello Hot Sauce Lovers!

Our Fourth shipment of the HotChil.li Hot Sauce Club has officially been delivered.  Thank you to all of our club subscribers for your support of our Hot Sauce Club at Hotchil.li, and welcome all of our new club members!

This month we get to try Benito’s Original Naranja with Organic Orange Habaneros.

Name: Benito’s Original Naranja
Origin: Hyde Park, Vermont, USA
Creator: Ben Maniscalco
Pepper: Vermont Grown Organic Orange Habanero Pepper
Site: www.benitoshotsauce.com

Background:

Ben Maniscalco first caught the hot sauce bug after trying several well known readily available brands including Dave’s Insanity Sauce, Blair’s Death Sauce, and the ever so famous Frank’s Red Hot Sauce.  It wasn’t long before Ben began experimenting on his own  in his kitchen at home using organic cayenne and jalapeno peppers from his organic garden.

To begin the process, Ben hit the web in search of  hot sauce recipes where he came across a rather generic recipe for a jalapeno pepper sauce.  Following the steps as outlined in the recipe, he then began his experiment by adding some of his own ingredients including home grown organic cayenne peppers and jalapenos.  After a few trial runs, Ben found the ultimate balance of flavor and fire and his experiment was labeled a success! With a hand written label, “Benito’s Orange Pepper Sauce” was born and it soon found fans among  friends and family, who really started to enjoy it. Once interest in the sauce hit a fever pitch, Ben pumped up the volume and renamed the organic hot sauce “Benito’s Naranja”.

In July of 2008,  Ben permanently relocated to the beautiful Green Mountains of Vermont and began cooking and bottling the sauce at the Vermont Food Venture Center in Fairfax, Vermont.  The beautiful green state of Vermont puts a statewide emphasis on the importance of locally made products and supporting the local economy along with a commitment to sustainable organic agriculture.

Over the last few years, Ben has steadily added to his spicy repertoire which now includes two BBQ rubs and two chili pepper infused maple syrups (yum!). All of the sauces have an extra fresh flavor that can only be attributed to Ben’s commitment  to the tortuous monotony of chopping fresh veggies for hours on end before each production run. This is how Benito’s Naranja gets its super fresh flavor.

Hot Sauce Review:

Now if you are anything like me, you know that there is no waiting until a dish is served to crack the seal on any new hot sauce.  In fact, the bottle often doesn’t even make it into the house as I typically dig through the bag in the car after leaving the grocery store to find that new bottle of Hot Sauce.  It’s a very rare thing for a sauce to make it home before the bottle is open – There was no exception with Benito’s Naranja.

“A 100% all natural blend made with organic orange Habaneros, fresh orange and red bell peppers, garlic, carrots and white onions.” …after reading that description on the Benito’s Hot Sauce website, I was immediately intrigued by this spicy offering. First taste was definitely fresh and it was definitely fresh carrots I was tasting. I can’t say I’ve had any carrot based hot sauce quite like it, and I immediately began to consider what I could cook up on a Sunday afternoon to give this sauce a chance to wow me.

I figured with a fresh taste, the best meal for this sauce would be a chunky and hearty roasted potato + sausage + pepper+ tomato +sautéed onion number, so that’s exactly what I made. It was the perfect platform for this tasty sauce to show off its freshness.

That’s a pretty nice sunny afternoon lunch combo right there, with mild Italian sausage, for anyone keeping score.

As previously mentioned, Benito’s Naranja is a super fresh tasting carrot based hot sauce and I was pleasantly surprised by its thickness. It’s bottled with the plastic flow restrictor that prevents most sauces from all coming out all at once. I had to pop it off to get the sauce out of the bottle, it’s that thick. Have a look at the pic – that’s the real color and it’s thicker than ketchup. I found it easiest to plop it out on a plate and dip my chunky lunch into the sauce. So tasty!

Benito’s Original Naranja delivers the freshness, no doubt about it. The taste starts out with a cool carrot and garlic flavors, which quickly gives way to onion and white vinegar with a hint of lime, which is then followed up with a nice Red Savina Habanero heat.  It’s not overwhelming, and has a nice kick to it.  Benito’s Hot Sauce are made sodium free, and with locally grown organic ingredients – that may be the best part about their collection of sauces–have I mentioned that they’re incredibly fresh?

Benito’s was nice enough to include a bottle of their ‘Old Coy Dog’ as well. This sauce is less viscous than the Original Naranja. The taste is less carrot, more lime and vinegar, and the heat of the Bhut Jolokia Peppers is noticeably stronger. I’ll be honest, I did use Old Coy to bump up the heat before I finished my hearty-chunky-potato-sausage combo.  That worked well too, no change in the fresh taste, but much more heat.

We liked (thumbs up)  Benito’s Hot Sauce on our Facebook page. If you want to learn more about them and their array of sauces, or want to send them some feedback,  visit our Facebook page and check them out,  While you’re there, check out our other ‘likes’! – facebook.com/thehottestclubonearth

Recap of Benito’s Original Naranja Hot Sauce Review:

Best pairings: Pork, poultry, potatoes, tomatoes and any grilled veggie.
Texture and Appearance:  Thick rich orange sauce with an even blended consistency.
Taste:  Fresh carrot, vinegar, garlic and lime taste. Heat comes from organic Habaneros.
Heat Scale : 5/10
Awards and Recognition: Medium Heat Winner 2010 Hot Pepper Awards
Ingredients: A 100% all natural blend made with organic orange Habaneros,  fresh orange and red bell peppers, garlic, carrots and white onions. All of the sourced ingredients are listed on their website – great idea.
Graphics/Packaging:  5 oz glass bottles With Benito’s signature name. The bottle features a country-side image of what I am guessing is somewhere in Vermont. The ingredients are listed, as well as a batch date and ‘best by’ date. You can also contact Benito as the address an phone number are listed on the label as well.
Website: www.benitoshotsauce.com
Final Thoughts:  Benito’s Original Naranja is the freshest sauce we’ve had to date, and the only carrot based hot sauce we’ve had so far. The 100% all natural and organic ingredients really do provide a refreshing bright taste. Although I would prefer this sauce with hearty grilled vegetables and savory flavors, it can be paired with fish as well, there is even a recommendation to try it on sushi! Check out Benito’s website for the for other sauce creations.  There is currently 8 sauces listed on the site, as well as  a Maple Chipotle BBQ Rub and Benito’s dried Bhut Jolokia Peppers – Check out the Chipotle Infused Maple Syrup too, it sounds delicious! The website also lists a bunch of very tasty looking recipes.

(To try this hot sauce, and many more like it join the Club!)

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