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Ooft! hot sauce

Dit is een gastbijdrage van Tony Johnson van Ooft! Tony beschrijft hoe Ooft! is ontstaan en wat het is dat hun saus bijzonder maakt.

Origin story

In Trinidad everyone eats hot sauce. Hot sauce is so ubiquitous that if you go to KFC or Pizza Hut you get given a sachet of hot sauce with your meal. My wife's father was one of Trinidad's well known home sauce makers. people would come for miles to get a bottle of his sauce. My wife remembers him every morning taking his huge glass jars of sauce out onto the balcony "to let them get some sun". So when we left Trinidad to come to live in Scotland he gave us a huge jar of sauce and the recipe. But we ran out, and then started making our own, and eventually said: "I wonder if anyone else here in Scotland might like hot sauce". So we went through health training and got our certificates and started producing small numbers. We went to farmers markets and found to our surprise that people indeed love good hot sauce. They also liked what we learned from a marketing expert is "our back story". In other words we come from a hot sauce family and are continuing the traditions.

Why Ooft! hot sauce is special

Our hot sauce is made according to that old family recipe and is aged for one to three years in huge glass jars until it's ready to bottle and sell. We think the aging is essential as it mellows the sauce, but it also amalgamates evenly. If you blend peppers with other ingredients almost immediately they start to separate. Almost all hot sauces contain chemicals such as guar gum or lecithin to coagulate the sauce. We have found that time works the same way without the chemicals. So Ooft! Scotch bonnet is very pure containing only natural ingredients.

The secret ingredient

Another critical component of our hot sauce is aged pickled daikon radish. This huge white radish from Japan is what gives Ooft! its umami. Umami is Japanese word that tries to capture that lovely wholesome flavor some dishes provide. Someone said umami is "yummy tasty wholesomeness".

Daikon radishes

Limited supply

We started making Ooft! in 2013 and we only make so much every year. We only sell aged sauce so if we sell too much we run out, and there is no way to make more until another year has passed. This provides a challenge in terms of assessing demand. But right at the beginning we decided we would not grow beyond our family ability, no supermarkets for us. We enjoy what we do, and think if we get too commercial we will lose our connection to the sauce and our customers.