We were now heading into the winter and my thoughts turned to Christmas … maybe sales would start to increase a bit, people might want to buy a ‘new’ Hot Sauce as a Christmas gift, I had Original in Jarrolds and the footfall is normally fantastic at Christmas, so I thought I had a chance.
I was gradually building up my wholesale customers base , but I really needed to start selling direct to the public, which meant food events and farmers markets … It was still early days for the business though so I had to be patient, after all I only had one product lol!!
I’d been in touch with a great looking Deli in Hunstanton called The Norfolk Deli … we’d had a chat with the proprietor there Mark who invited us to one of his ‘Showcase Saturday’ events … the idea was for new producers to show off their products to the deli customers, raise awareness and try and sell some of their produce. I was really grateful for the invite and we went over there one cold and wet Saturday morning, it was a really nice event, we met a few more producers and had some great feedback from some of the deli customers …. the one thing I kept thinking about was that I needed another product.
A few people had asked me if I had any hotter sauces, Dan kept saying to me ‘you need a proper HOT sauce Graham, they’ll definitely be potential customers out there wanting something really hot’. Original is fiery, but the more people I spoke to I realised there could be a good market for it. I started tinkering with some recipes using red habs and tomatoes (I told you I hadn’t given up on the toms ;-)) but I really wanted some hotter chillies, the problem was that they just weren’t available locally. I contacted a company called Cornish Chillies who are based near Truro in Cornwall.
I spoke to a really nice bloke called Scott who said he still had some fresh Carolina Reapers and Chocolate Habanero available despite it being quite late in the season … I’d read a bit about the chocolate habs, they’re a dark brown coloured chilli (chocolate looking funnily lol) with a smoky flavour and up at 500K on the Scoville, so no light weight. The Carolina Reaper of course is the king of chillies, 1.2m on the Scoville scale and reputably the hottest chilli in the world. It’s got a gnarly, bumpy texture to it and has a sweet fruity flavour, then the heat kicks in (not that I’ve ever tasted one on its own!)! The two of these sounded like a great combination for a sauce, smoky, sweet and BIG heat so I ordered a kilogram of each from Scott 🙂
After a few recipe variations and quite a bit of tinkering I’d created something rather interesting 🙂 the texture and consistency were similar to Original, the smokiness was there from the chocolate habs, plus I’d also added some smoked paprika. The sauce had a great back flavour of peppers, onions, and tomatoes which gave it a little more sweetness, then ….. BANG! the biting hot flavour of the reapers and chocolate habs came through, it was great. I liked the fact it didn’t just dump heat on to you immediately … there was a great flavour in there aswell. I was delighted. I gave it to a few friends to try, Dan loved it … but he’s got a cast iron mouth and loves his hot food lol … I gave some to Charlie to try, I thought it would be good to get a chefs perspective on it, he had three words … ‘It’s bloody HOT!’ He thought it was great. I was chuffed with the sauce and felt really pleased I’d added another product to the RocketShip range.
The next problem was what to call this biting hot sauce … Inferno? no… it had to have a space theme to it, Saturn 5? (apparently the most powerful rocket NASA sent into space) someone even suggested Rocket Fuel!! … I wasn’t feeling any of them to be honest. Whilst I’d been polling everyone for a name Martin at Meantime had been working on the label, he’d come up with a variation of RocketShip logo, a black background with a red theme.
It looked really good, you could tell by the colours and style it was a hotter sauce than Original, but they complemented each other really well. Martin had put a 3 chilli heat level indicator on the Original label, with 2 chillies highlighted and the description ‘Fiery’. For the new sauce he’d highlighted all 3 chillies and described it as ‘Supernova’ which really summed up the heat level well. The problem was we still didn’t have an actual name, what should we call it! … Every time I tried to think of something my mind kept coming back to the heat level … Supernova, it sounded perfect, and totally summed up the taste and flavour. That was it, we traded the heat level for the name of the sauce and Supernova was born … the heat rating got changed to Scorching (again pretty spot on).
Christmas was fast approaching and I’d noticed lots of activity on social media, the amount of food events in Norfolk leading up to Christmas is incredible … plenty to think about for next year I thought. There was one event that looked amazing, definitely one to visit .. the Holkham Festive Food Fair, lots of local producers, a chef’s stage, it looked great. Charlie was hosting the event and gave me a call to see if I was coming along. Tell you what he said, I’ll promote Supernova on the chefs stage when me and my mate Hardeep are doing our bit, were making a curry. Blimey!! Charlie’s mate Hardeep was only Hardeep Singh Kohli! He’d got to the final of Master Chef, he’d been on Big Brother … a TV celebrity tasting my sauce and talking about it on stage … this was crazy! But what an opportunity … it was perfect timing as I hadn’t formally released Supernova yet, so we could do it at Holkham .. Charlie had come up trumps for me 🙂
Next time I’ll tell you about the Holkham Festive Food Fair and the official release of Supernova, the chefs stage with Charlie and Hardeep, and a fellow producer I met there who’s used RocketShip in lots of her recipes and has become another really good friend.