The Hamilton Spectator

Play with FIRE

Give your Super Bowl snacks home advantage with tips from Ontario artisanal hot sauce makers


Ontario is on fire. Over the past few years, our province’s pepper-obsessed chili heads have started churning out all kinds of artisanal hot sauces that set taste buds ablaze. Why have we received such mouth-destroying bounty? Heartbeat Hot Sauce Co. cofounder Al Bourbouhak­is thinks the pandemic may have sparked the trend. “Some folks chose to explore new skills in their kitchens, and some folks chose to take a leap of faith with a recipe they had up their sleeve for years,” he says. “We have made so many great friends in the world of sauce. It’s a very supportive and fun-loving community, which I think also encourages entreprene­urial types to jump into the game.”

Creating a great hot sauce, a perfect balance of heat and flavour, is indeed fun because it’s, well, art. “Experiment­ing with flavours is like jamming, and when we step into the kitchen with my recipe, it's a concert,” says Heavy Hitter Hot Sauce founder Gilles Amardeil. “I feel like it's showtime, and we owe the people our best. I get joy from that.”

This experiment­ation has resulted in a wondrous variety of sauce types, bolstered by the vast number of different cultures and spices represente­d in the province. “I believe Ontario has become more diverse in its people and food. People are always craving something new and exciting,” says Wendel’s What the Rass Hot Sauce founder Dale Williams. “Every culture has their own style of hot sauce. We believe we have a hot sauce for everyone.”

Want to try something a little more exciting than Frank’s Red Hot for your game-day feast? Here we share a half-dozen options to spice up your Super Bowl Sunday snacks and score big with your guests.

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