Things are heating up in the food world. Across the globe, the hot sauce trend isn’t showing any signs of slowing down and while South Africans have always loved turning up the heat in their favourite dishes, the growing hot sauce trend has resulted in even more options coming to market. From the big players in the game to independent, small-industry producers, there have never been so many options for South African hot sauce fans to indulge in. But what is the best hot sauce in South Africa?
According to the Aurora International Taste Challenge, it’s the Greenhouse Farm Produce Sweet Pepper & Chilli Sauce. The best-selling hot sauce was awarded double gold in the taste test and crowned the Best South African Hot Sauce by the Aurora International Taste Challenge 2021. But does this local hot sauce live up to the hype? I got the opportunity to taste the Greenhouse creation and judge for myself.
Who is Greenhouse Farm Produce?
Founded in 2017, Greenhouse Farm Produce is part of an incredible tale of entrepreneurship, opportunity, and success. The brand’s sauces that you enjoy, and have come to love, are part of rich history. But, if you ask the original farmers if they ever imagined that the peppers that they wished to grow would become household favourites, they most certainly would have thought that perhaps you may have toppled your cart and hit your head.
Greenhouse Farm Produce began with a farming enterprise called Blueberry Hill Farm in 2005. Near East London, this hydroponic farm started with the vision of a few farmers. Donning their farming attire, looking out at a small piece of ground, they saw an opportunity in the form of farming peppers. The farmers teamed up with seasoned businesswoman, Loretta Phillips, and Greenhouse Farm Produce was born as a means to use the oversupply of peppers produced on the farm in a meaningful way.
Greenhouse Farm Produce quickly became a saucy success and today the award-winning range includes four products; the Gold Award-winning Roast Yellow Pepper & Pineapple Hot Sauce, Roast Red Pepper & Sundried Tomato Hot Sauce, Double Gold winning Sweet Pepper & Chilli Sauce, and the Sweet Pepper & Pineapple Chutney.
The first taste
I got the opportunity to try the full range and am officially a fan of this home-grown brand. I’m a hot sauce and chilli sauce fanatic (anything that has a kick to it, really!) so I was delighted to give these a go. Of course, as much as I love a hot sauce or chilli sauce to have a decent amount of heat to it, it’s no good finding a burning hot sauce that doesn’t hold up on the flavour front.
What impressed me most about the Greenhouse Farm Produce range was the flavour profiles of the sauces. Packed with flavour, these products are indeed deserving of their accolades. To ensure the sauces are not just packing heat but will tantalise your tastebuds as well, Greenhouse Farm Produce consults with local, renowned chefs to turn the farm’s oversupply of peppers into sauces with true, authentic, South African flavours.
When the sauces arrived at my desk, my first port-of-call was to taste the so-called ‘Best South African Hot Sauce’; Greenhouse’s Sweet Pepper & Chilli Sauce. The hype about this sauce is most definitely warranted. The perfect combination of spicy and sweet, this is truly world-class. It’s got a nice kick to it, with spice that lingers on the lips well after you’ve gobbled it all down. A subtle sweetness from the pepper works brilliantly to calm the hot chilli and bring out the unique flavours and spices in this sauce.
This sauce works just as brilliantly when used as a condiment to spice up your burger, or as a glaze on braaied chicken wings. It’s so good, I’ve even taken to sneaking a teaspoon of its spicy goodness on its own when I happen to pass by the fridge. A little birdie from the Greenhouse team also told me it works amazingly well as a chip dipping sauce when mixed with a tablespoon of mayonnaise. The sauce is made with natural ingredients and doesn’t contain any strange additives — just red and yellow bell peppers, sugar, vinegar, red chilli, and garlic.
My second favourite from the range is the most definitely the Roast Yellow Pepper & Pineapple Hot Sauce. Another award-winner, this sauce won a gold award at the 2021 Aurora International Taste Challenge. This little pocket rocket is perfect for a palette that wants enough of a bite from a hot sauce without the sting overpowering the meal. It is a sauce that plays within the middle ground of a culinary experience and dances with your flavourful dishes without stealing the show. In this delicious sauce, a touch of sweetness from the pineapple blends beautifully with yellow pepper to cut the heat and make flavours sing.
This mild sauce has a definite kick to it, but it isn’t unbearably hot. It’s great with pizza, grilled chicken, and cheese and crackers. The Pineapple hot sauce is also made with simple, natural ingredients, so you won’t spot anything funny on the label. The recipe includes yellow bell peppers, pineapple, vinegar, jalapeño, onion, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, coriander, salt, and pepper.
The range also includes a Roast Red Pepper & Sundried Tomato Hot Sauce, which offers a serious kick with plenty of flavour to pack up the heat. It’s a great sauce to cook with and can be added to soups, pasta dishes, and stews. It pairs beautifully with red meat and chicken and is a must-try for hot sauce lovers.
Finally, the Sweet Pepper & Pineapple Chutney is another winner for anyone who loves a chunky chutney with a bit of sweetness. It works wonders as a burger topping and will make any cheese platter sing. I absolutely love a chunky chutney, so this was a winner of note for me. According to Greenhouse, this chutney was crafted specifically for enhancing the taste of your chosen snacks, and it definitely hits the mark!
Roast Yellow Pepper & Pineapple Hot Sauce as well as the Roast Red Pepper & Sundried Tomato Hot Sauce are priced at R75 each (125ml bottle). The Sweet Pepper & Chilli Sauce (210ml jar) and Sweet Pepper & Pineapple Chutney (280g jar) are priced at R90 each.
Shop the range online on the Greenhouse Farm Produce website now. There are also loads of great combo deals if you buy the sauces together!
After years of working as an Editor and writer for popular websites like Joburg’s Darling, Cape Town’s Darling and Joburg.co.za, Crystal left her sanity and an established career in lifestyle journalism behind to follow her dream of creating a website for the intellectual and discerning woman. Today she spends her time chasing the thrill of being the first to know about ‘the next big thing’. She’ll try anything once and has been known to put her body, hair and health on the line – all in the name of research.