Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Peppers of Key West

Looking for something hot and spicy? Well the next time you visit Key West, be sure to stop by Peppers of Key West! It’s a small, fun shop that’s set up as a "bar," but you won’t find any beer or liquor here... just plenty of hot sauce and tortilla chips. At Peppers of Key West they carry some of the world’s best hot sauces, and as I came to find out, some of world’s hottest hot sauces. If you’re looking for a personal favorite, a hard-to-find hot sauce, or simply want to try something new, you are definitely at the right spot. In addition to hot sauces, Peppers of Key West also has a large selection of pepper related food items. Everything from exotic fruit sauces to snack dips.

My favorite place at Peppers is the tasting bar. Here, the friendly and knowledgeable staff will allow you to taste endless samples. You simply sit at the "bar," and they immediately provide you with tortilla chips and begin inquiring about what you're looking for or what you want to try. I tried various samples with very distinct and unexpected flavors: mango, coconut, pineapple, banana, jalapeƱos, habaneros, etc. Aside from allowing me to try all these incredible varieties of hot sauce, the "bartender" gave me suggestions for what I could pair each particular sauce with. 

The sauces available range in price, intensity, and heat. The unit of measurement for hot sauce is the Scoville. This scale was developed by Wilbur Scoville in 1912. In the interest of not boring you to tears with the logistics of the test, it is easier to say it measures the amount of capsaicin, the chemical that makes peppers hot, found within a particular pepper or sauce. As an example, bell peppers, because they are not spicy at all, have a Scoville rating of 0. Pure capsaicin has measurement of 15,000,000 Scoville units. Ouch!!! Average (not extremely spicy) hot sauces do not indicate their particular measurement, but the hotter ones surely advertise it and brag about the Scoville units found within. If you would like to find out more information or details about this scale, you can always visit the Peppers website at Pepper Central I am also providing a table where all of you can compare different common spices by their Scoville measurement.

So do you think you can take the heat? Take some time on your next visit to Key West and go sample all the hot sauces. The staff makes it fun and you will be amazed how hot sauces can be so different and flavorful!