Aaron wanted to look at the jams and preserves for sale in the Ave Maria Grotto gift shop yesterday. I’m glad he did, because it was only on a second look that I spied some monk-made hot sauce. (I then also suddenly remembered that my friend Miria had alerted me to the existence of such!) A 5-oz., $7.25 bottle of St. Gregory’s Friary Chipotle Pepper Hot Sauce came home with me. Here are my thoughts.
I read the ingredients closely before I taste or even smell a sauce, because I’ve learned to guess reasonably at a taste profile from such. I’ve also learned some reliable red flags. Many sauces contain vinegar, but I don’t usually want anything to do with one that leads with it. Water in any position but last or nearly so is a no-no.
St. Gregory’s Friary Chipotle Pepper Hot Sauce contains tomatoes, mustard, organic apple cider vinegar, turmeric, sugar, chipotles, chili flakes, salt, and spices.
Hmmm. That reads a lot like a barbecue or steak sauce, frankly. With sugar higher than peppers, it’s going to be sweet, too, and probably not very hot.
Indeed, though it’s thin like a hot sauce, the gustatory vibe is very much one of a sauce intended primarily for meat. I tried it straight, and I used it as a dipping sauce for popcorn chicken. It’s fruity, with some pungency from the mustard. It tastes a lot like Heinz 57 sauce with a little kick, actually. The color is in that neighborhood, too, though this hot sauce is a bit redder. Heat is middle of the road for a mass market palate, and very mild for a chilihead. I’d guess maybe 2500-3000 Scoville heat units.
I was interested in exploring other offerings from the same friary, but the URL on the bottle doesn’t go anywhere, and searching for “Merry Monks Foods” yields a hodgepodge of links that may or may not be related. However, the idea of supporting monks’ efforts by buying hot sauce appeals to me, and “monk hot sauce” produces a few promising-sounding hits. I’ll do some further research.
St. Gregory’s Friary Chipotle Pepper Hot Sauce is not a bad product; just an unremarkable one. I may grill some chicken or something using the rest of this as barbecue sauce, and then I’ll be off in search of more memorable monastic offerings.