Grapes in Peril

December 3, 2019

Natalie Greenbaum, UMass Amherst

I have heartburn!

I have heartburn!

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Hello bloggies!

Natalie here from C Watch. Today was a wonderful day. We had some free time this morning to explore the art deco-d streets of Napier and do some laundry (yay!). Later in the afternoon, we went a winery and learned all about the effects of climate change on the winery industry. Their grapes are very at risk and who knows if you will be able to get that New Zealand Pinot Grigio in 10 years, so drink up now! Later, we drove to Clifton to hear about Hawke’s Bay Regional Councils climate action plan. It was very interesting because they plan to do a “managed retreat” from the ocean as a response to rising sea levels which is something very few places plan to do. As we were chatting about climate change with the council, we were hit with a crazy rain storm and ran back to the vans for a cozy ride back to the boat counting all the sheep we saw on the way.

Okay readers, now time for some spice for the blog. I will be embarking on a journey to review all the hot sauces on Robert C. Seamans. These hot sauces have been collected throughout the world and although there are a few classics, there are many that I have never seen before.

A little profile on me: I like spicy food enough, I can handle spice to a medium extent, I really like condiments eaten plain and not on other food (weird I know), I did the cinnamon challenge with absolutely no problem in 7th grade (idk if that gives me spice clout but I feel like it’s relevant), and I had Mexican food for dinner before this.

Methods: a spoonful of hot sauce on a spoon down the gullet followed by an almond milk palate cleanser (I don’t do dairy). WARNING: I know people have very strong opinions about hot sauce and I do not mean to offend anyone based on my observations. Please feel free to comment your favorite hot sauce down below and why it is your favorite as well as any you feel I should try. I am no expert and had to train my body to like spice in high school.

Hot Sauce 1: Sriracha hot chili sauce
I have had this before as you all remember the Sriracha craze that hit this planet circa 2016, resulting in Sriracha on the go containers that you can clip onto anything that has a hole. The bottle claims a “well rounded spicy hot flavor” and I agree. It definitely is a been there done that but is still a classic and I will smear it on a fresh bed of noodles anytime. Spice 2/10 Flavor 5/10.

Hot Sauce 2: Bellow Yellow Hot Sauce
I am very intrigued by this hot sauce as the first ingredient is mustard. Being a Jewish lady, I have always been quite fond of all things mustard. I used to eat yellow mustard slabbed on some white bread for lunch every single day of elementary school, and if that doesn’t explain my dedication to the condiment I don’t know what will. Brown Deli Spicy Mustard, a classic French’s Yellow, or anything in between is greatly welcomed on my palate and consumed at great rates. Once this sauce was dripped on my spoon, I noticed how liquidy it was. I would describe it a very weird love child of mustard and hot sauce, fitting in with neither side, very different from spicy mustard, and maybe creating its own category. It is VERY unique but dare I say balanced? Spice 2/10 Flavor 2/10.

Hot Sauce 3: Tabasco
I have also had this hot sauce before. I was told that it was brought on board by an heir to the tabasco empire (?). I still consider it a classic and very versatile and enjoy it very much. Spice: 2/10 Flavor 6/10.

Hot Sauce 4: Lou’s Too Hot to Trot Sauce
I have never seen this hot sauce in my life. The label has a pony and a man who I can only assume is Lou printed on the front and I appreciate the artistry of the bottle. The hot sauce is very vinegary and has a slow burn. I think it would be delicious on nuts or paired with some sort of spicy chocolate dessert. Spice 5/10 Flavor 7/10.

My hot sauce journey was briefly interrupted by the assistant steward Kylie presenting a bowl of mysterious batter to me which I licked to reset my palate. It was very delicious

Hot Sauce 5: Volcanic Country Mount Mauna Lava Extra Hot Sauce
I was QUITE intimidated by this bottle. It claims to be made from “chili’s grown on the volcanic solids of the Maunu mountain.” I know this isn’t science but I feel like spicy things grown on something as hot as a volcano would make it hotter. However, once sampled, I came to discover that this is not as spicy as one would think and instead is quite carroty. I was surprised with this hot sauce, unsure of my feelings and uses for it. Spice 4/10 Flavor 5/10.

Hot Sauce 6: Tapatío
This is another classic however I have never had it before. I don’t have much to say other than I think it is very salty. Spice 2/10 Flavor 3/10.

Hot Sauce 6: Cholula
I have also had this hot sauce before and I would say it is one of my personal favorites. After this taste test, I still agree with that statement. Spice 4/10 Flavor 10/10.

Hot Sauce 7: Culley’s Carolina Reaper no 10 Insane Heat
I am very nervous about this one. The packaging and messages on the bottle are quite intimidating and as I dollop some out on my spoon, I realize this is going to be one of those hot sauces with not flavor but straight spice. I was right. My tongue is numb. I do not like this hot sauce. Spice 10/10 Flavor 1/10.

Hot Sauce 8: Dustin’s Hot Sauce
After a few palate cleansers, some rehydrated from all the salinity consumed, and a spoonful of chunky peanut butter for morale, I began the quest for the most vague and ambiguous hot sauce of all. This hot sauce is stored plainly in a mason jar, labeled with a sharpie. I can only assume it is homemade, collected from one of the many voyages. Later, when I asked the stewards, I discovered it was made by Dustin who supplies the ship their fish in Samoa so s/o! I was very intimidated by this sauce as I have no clue what the ingredients or spice level could be. Also, the bottle was very hard to open and required help from 4 different people. Overall, I would say that this hot sauce has a very strong flavor up front, but the spice dissipates quite quickly. My limited hot sauce repertoire enjoyed it and I could see many uses for this mysterious sauce. Spice 6/10 Flavor 8/10.

Above is a photo of all the hot sauces consumed in order and I encourage you all to give them a try!

Bye everyone and happy cyber Monday shopping! I hope I inspired you all to try a new hot sauce today, burn your taste buds, and maybe get a little bit of heartburn!

- Natalie Greenbaum, UMass Amherst

S/O to my fam and pals, hope the snow is treating you well!
Og selvfoelgelig en hilsen til Amelias fader, som jeg da ogsaa haaber hard et god tog dejligt. Vi maa snakes ved snart J

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