Mama Pearl’s Hot Sauce managed to surprise me not long ago. I recently received samples of Mama Pearl’s Mild and Caribbean varieties for the purposes of this review. Since progressing from the lesser to the greater heat level rather than the reverse seemed the likeliest road to optimal results, that is how I began. My initial impression was that even the Mild sauce carried a fair amount of heat. Given that I enjoy heat levels in my food that range from fair to inadvisable, this was more of a merit than a deterrent. I tested the mild sauce on a variety of foods over the course of several days but enjoyed it best on a baked potato, roasted chicken, or stirred into tomato-based sauces for pasta or homemade flatbread pizza.
The difference between the Mild and the Caribbean sauces would turn out to be something other than I’d anticipated. It came into view the moment I swallowed the first bite of food to which I’d applied the latter. An attractive shade of green that will look great on any dish, it seemed to only slightly exceed the Mild one with regard to heat intensity. The Caribbean sauce, however, lingered far longer on the palate than the Mild one had, its finish lasting for nearly twice the length of its lesser counterpart. It added a great new dimension to meals I made of pan seared shrimp or grilled red meat.
Some specialty gourmet hot sauce families tend to delineate their products’ varying levels of potency with sauces that range from being little more than ketchup mixed with vinegar to those that threaten to burn holes in your clothing should you spill any on yourself. Most memorable about Mama Pearl’s sauces for me was that the distinction between the two varieties sent to me was less about vastly dissimilar heat levels than about how long each respective sauce’s flavor remains with you. Both sauces sharpen the teeth of virtually any meal, and can be used in a multitude of ways. Stirring a bit of either into Japanese mayonnaise made a good sandwich spread. Half a spoonful of the Mild sauce added to my favorite ramen noodle broth paid big flavor dividends. Mixing a bit of the Caribbean with Memmi noodle soup base created a flavorful, easily-prepared dipping sauce for steamed dumplings. I could go on about the wide spectrum of foods to which Mama Pearl’s Hot Sauce can be applied with favorable results. The time it would take me to do so, however, is time better spent eating and experimenting with them to further expand that gamut, an undertaking to which I look forward with relish.