Web exclusive, September 13, 2012
Baron’s Hot Sauce burns a trail across Castine—and beyond
Bruno Tisserand, Grand Echevin, with Madame Ginou, World Garburade co-Champion, 2012, adjusting the piquancy of her winning soup.
by Anne Berleant
“Anybody can make a hot sauce that’s really hot,” said Gary Brouillard, “But to make it have flavor—that’s harder.”
Broulliard is co-owner, with Tony Politano, of Castine Condiments, a new cottage industry that sprung from a particular fondness for—hot sauce.
“We just love hot sauce,” Brouillard said in a recent telephone interview.
The two condiment chefs first began the process of creating a recipe a few months ago, according to Brouillard, who said the first step was sampling different hot sauces and finding the “flavors we liked, and the flavors we didn’t like.”
Then, testing by the University of Maine approved them for a state license. Finally, the company’s signature hot sauce, called The Baron’s Blaze, began to show up in stores and restaurants across town. A website, castinecondiments.com, gives a picturesque history of Castine, and the Baron.
“It goes well with everything,” said Snow Logan, who sells it by the bottle at Castine Variety and places one at each table for customers.
“I personally, as a chef, like it,” Logan continued. “The flavors are very blended in. It sells off the shelves.”
The Baron’s Blaze, with its deep tones of peach, honey and brown sugar, was soon followed by Black Fly Bite, flavored with mango and habanera peppers. Coming soon is Backshore Burn, which despite its name, Brouillard said, is not the hottest of the three.
“It has more pepper flavor,” he said. “[But] they’re all pretty comparable.”
Recently, former Castine resident Todd Nelson sent a couple bottles of The Baron’s Blaze to Jean Renault, president of French historical association Ossasu à Katahdin, who visited Castine in 2009 as part of the Castine-St. Castin student exchange. Renault brought the Baron’s Hot Sauce to a grand Garburade in Oloron Ste. Marie, which Nelson described as a French “chili bake-off,” where it was enjoyed, Nelson reported, with a Béarn soup.
Outside of Castine and France, Broulliard said the Castine Condiments website and online ordering should soon spread the word—and the heat.