Month 10: Wicked Cactus Sauce: Wicked Cosa Nostra (April 2013)
Friday, 19th April, 2013
Hello Hot Sauce Lovers! This month we tapped into the delicious creations of Wicked Cactus Hot Sauce – Wicked Cosa Nostra, and Wrath of the Tiger.
Wicked Cactus Sauces concoct their creative sauces from CHESTERFIELD, MISSOURI.
Name: Wicked Costra Nostra
Origin: Chesterfield, Missouri (elevation 479 ft)
Creators: Chris Bintz & Mike Isenberg
Owners Chris Bintz and Mike Isenberg have been coworkers for four years before they decided to open Wicked Cactus Sauce and begin to making hot sauce. That was back in 2010. They are now quickly growing their brand through word of mouth, their website and their Facebook page. They have been presenting their flavors at trade shows and Farmer’s markets and winning awards along the way. Chris & Mike are producing quality hot sauces and meeting their customer’s expectation of freshness and flavor . Wicked Cactus offer 9 individual hot sauces, each with their own flavor profile and heat level, plus an award winning salsa! Wicked Cactus hand-crafts its sauces in small batches to ensure quality, freshness, and heat. They do not disappoint.
Hot Sauce Review:
Cosa Nostra is another way to reference The Mafia, a mid-nineteenth century criminal organization that emerged out of Sicily, Italy. There is nothing criminal about Wicked Cosa Nostra, but the English interpretation of Cosa Nostra, “Our Thing” might indicate the source for such a name. This sauce is wickedly delicious, and if that’s ‘their thing’, then they nailed it.
I usually open up and dip into sauces as soon as I get them. I pour them out on to a cracker or chip or whatever is handy, which means sometimes I just use a spoon ..nothing unusual about that. The problem here is that I almost couldn’t stop tasting! I accidentally, on purpose, almost downed half the bottle before I even thought about what I was going to make and try it on. I think you would agree, once you have a taste of Wicked Cosa Nostra, you’ll be thinking pasta. This sauce is very influenced by the delicious and rich tomato flavors of a rich marinara sauce with basil.
…What is a pasta without meatballs? That’s right, a big mistake!
I plowed through almost half the bottle tasting it on meatballs and garlic toast …the other essential side to a perfect pasta dish.
I fired up the pot of water and decided to put this sauce to the test on a mozzarella, basil and tomato ravioli, with meatballs and garlic toast. Just based on the flavor and the heat, I decided this was going to be the only sauce I use. I was not going to use Wicked Cosa Nostra as a topping ..like a condiment that enhances a flavor or compliments a dish, no, this is the flavor 100%.
Wicked Cosa Nostra is a well blended sauce that doesn’t pack a lot of heat, but it does pack a lot of fresh tomato and basil flavors. This, my chilihead friends, is the kind of sauce that is gone in one sitting. Tomato is the number one ingredient, combined with a sharp apple cider vinegar, caramelized onions, garlic, Habanero pepper, basil, thyme and black pepper – you can taste every ingredient, pretty much in that order. I believe a sauce like this would make an excellent pasta sauce on its own, but it would need to come in a full size pasta jar – I’m talking 24oz of deliciousness baby! Maybe I just desire a bigger jar because I’m totally out!
The second sauce Chris and Mike sent to our members was the Wrath of Tiger hot sauce. This is an Asian influenced hot sauce using dried Thai chillis, horseradish, coriander and ginger, among other ingredients. It’s a rich red colored sauce, moderately thick but pours easily. It’s an unusual flavor when first tasted, it had a bitterness that reminded me somewhat of unsweetened grapefruit juice – which probably originates from the rice wine vinegar. It’s hotter than the Wicked Cosa Nostra, but that aside, it’s a completely different flavor. The one surprising ingredient is the horseradish, and I only say that because it is not a prevalent flavor in the sauce itself. Wrath of Tiger is a fresh and crispy sauce that respectfully brings it’s own heat. This sauce will work well as a marinade or in a stir fry.
Recap of Wicked Cosa Nostra Hot Sauce Review:
Best pairings: Pasta, bruschetta, caprese salad, meatballs, cheese sticks …Italian, you get the idea.
Texture and Appearance: Blended smooth with body like a good rich tomato sauce.
Taste: Fresh, full-bodied tomato flavor with garlic, onion and spices. Italian influence from basil and thyme.
Heat Scale : 4/10
Ingredients : Tomatoes, Apple Cider Vinegar, Caramelized Onions, Garlic, Habanero, Sugar, Kosher Salt, Basil, Thyme, Black Pepper.
Graphics/Packaging: 5 0z bottle packaging is consistent across the brand. The labels all depict a desert cactus in the setting sun in various gradient color combinations. It’s a unique label that is easily distinguishable from other brands. The labels also include their own rated heat meter graphic, Wicked Coas Nostra rates 2 chili peppers out of 5. Wicked Cactus Sauce includes the ‘Made on’ date, so you know how fresh it is, something you don’t see often. The website is listed on the front, and nutritional information with the ingredients are all printed on a glossy, self-crafted label.
Final Thoughts: If you like Italian, with some heat, then you need to try Wicked Costra Nostra. This is a fresh tasting, very delicious, Italian influenced sauce using basil and thyme with tomato and Habanero.