It's no secret I love local food. The people who make it and are dedicated to using local produce, the markets who give them a place to sell it, and the locavores who seek it out and buy it! It's important that our isolated little pocket of the world is not reliant on our more heavily populated and well known eastern rellies. We are WA and we can do this all ourselves thank you! Sorry Melbourne, I still love you.
But here is a fun new WA product that I think we can all agree has a pretty awesome name. What else is awesome about it? It's friggin delicious. C-Bomb Hot Sauce is made by Renae Bunster, a WA local who got her inspiration for creating this fruity hot sauce during her travels in South America. I asked her a few questions about her product, which is on sale at Araluen Fremantle Chilli Festival (Saturday and Sunday the 9-10th March). Also included some of the amazing videos from their YouTube channel :D Enjoy!
1) On your website you say that your sauce is a "whole food" hot sauce - can you explain this and tell us what goes into your sauces?
I think the Thermomix revolution has taught many people we need to be eating more whole foods - and whole food basically means real food taken from nature that's had nothing bad done to it - ie been processed to the point of losing its nutrients and being unrecognisable from it's original form. So as I originally made the sauce for myself I made it to be totally healthy, as opposed to how big businesses decide to make a product - cheap ingredients so they can make more profit. C-Bomb is made completely from fresh raw vegetables, chillies and freshly squeezed fruit juices. The only other thing added apart from the raw foods are Himalayan crystal salt as this is the purest salt with the most minerals, raw cane sugar (totally unrefined) and apple cider vinegar. Cider vinegar has many health benefits and as it's not malt vinegar it means my sauce is gluten free. The sauce also has no preservatives or weird unnecessary additives. I don't even add water to it, I use fresh orange juice instead.
2) You've really emphasised the raw aspect - does it stay that way?
No, the sauce is definitely cooked. I just use fresh raw ingredients. I spoke to a contract filler a few weeks ago and they were shocked that I used raw carrots. Why so surprised I asked? and they said: Because we just get dehydrated ones and rehydrate them.
I was shocked!
It is becoming the norm in food processing plants to just buy in franken-foods and mix them together to hoodwink people's taste buds in to thinking they're being fed something nutritious, when it's not. They can also lie on the label and say : carrots, when really they WERE carrots now they're effectively orange dust.
RAAAA don't get me started on those people. They looked my sauce up and down and had never heard or seen anything so preposterous: fresh ingredients? you want to be present for the cook to make sure it tastes right? You think your branding is funny?
So after that little meeting I have continued to make the sauce myself in my own commercial kitchen with my own staff. In the future when things get out of control I will have to look in to contract fillers again but jeez that meeting was a nightmare that I was happy to walk away from.
3) When you were creating your sauces based on your travels in South America, what were the flavours you most wanted to incorporate?
When I was in Mexico I was blown away by the coriander and lime based chilli salsas so definitely knew I wanted lots of them in there. When I got to Belize I discovered Marie Sharp's hot sauces' main ingredient was carrots! So that's when I realised vegetables could be used. Ecuador's Aji was made totally from tomatoes. So I had this as a base in my brain and from there I upped the garlic, used orange juice instead of water, then added ginger for a laugh one day. Then BAM my taste buds screamed BOOM CHICKA WOW WOW.
4) What kind of chillies do you use and what is special about them?
My whole sauce motto is: I don't want to hurt you, I just want to add flavour zest and pizzazz to your meal. We all deserve a little bit of pizzazz at meal times don't we? So I use chillies that add flavour rather than just burn. So therefore I love a nice fresh red birds eye chilli. However there are lots of hard nut chilli fans who need something harder, so in my 'Bloody Hot' sauce I add fresh habaneros. I love the smoky taste of them. And for complete mentalists I now have 'The F-Bomb' sauce which has Ghost and Scorpion chillies (as well). They just burn your face off. But some friends requested this and they go mental for it so good luck to them. Personally I only eat 'Hot' with the fresh Birds eyes.
5) So do you use local produce in your sauces?
Yes I definitely get local stuff when possible. And the majority of the sauce is locally sourced - always the carrots, tomatoes, onions, coriander, capsicums and then chillies and oranges for most of the year. Limes and ginger I get from Australia - but from over east and the garlic is the only imported ingredient (except for the Himalayan crystal salt but we don't have any comparable mountains in Australia) In winter I will have to use chillies from Asia, but the non chilli period here isn't for that long so I can probably avoid it.
Vinegar and raw sugar also from over east.
So based on percentages I definitely am and always will be a West Australian product.
6) What products are you bringing to the chilli festival, and can you tell us about them?
The products I'm bringing to the Chilli Festival are my 5 sauces:
Piss Weak: This has C-Bomb's fantastic unique flavour without any burn at all if you ask me. But really piss weak people say 'Ohh that's spicy' Pffft.
Medium: Again the same C-Bomb recipe with a few more fresh birds eyes in there, this is the kind of heat your Mum can handle.
Hot: The grande dame in my stable this heat level is perfect for most chilli lovers. I can smash a bottle of this on one meal, and often do. Bunster's own choice!
Bloody Hot: As the name suggests you really have to be 'one of those chilli freak people' to smash through this sauce. Again same fantastic flavour just with more bite. Chilli freaks get addicted to this immediately. Bless them.
The F-Bomb: All the C-Bomb Bloody Hot goodness but with Ghost and Scorpion chillies in there as well to really shut you up. "Got anything hotter than Bloody Hot?", oh yes, yes I do.
7) What is your favourite product and what are your favourite uses for it?
My Favourite heat level is Hot. It's just perfect for me. I can keep eating it and the heat doesn't slow me down. I use it on EVERYTHING. As a salad dressing, in bolognaises, pastas, noodles, casseroles, hummus, guacamole, curries, on eggs, with cheese and crackers, in a sandwich, at BBQs, as a marinade for fish and chicken. I even put it on rockmelon once just to prove a point, and it was fantastic! This sauce adds flavour to whatever you're making so if you're not the best cook or can't be bothered adding garlic, onions, coriander, lime, ginger etc to a dish you're making yourself, just add this and you get that flavour. People will think you are a genius.
8) Dual Action Flavour Curve Technology? Please explain!
Our patented 'Dual-Action-Flavour-Curve Technology' is instantly understood once you taste the sauce. You first get a hit of massive flavour across your tongue, this is the flavour curve, and then after the flavour dissipates in to your tongue, the chilli kicks in. Thus the sauce has dual actions, both moving in different curves. I have a very talented animationist working on a video info-graphic for my site to illustrate the technology. It's all very complicated for people who aren't scientists wearing lab coats and safety goggles to understand so I won't talk too much more about it.
9) So what's your story Renae?
I'm a former television journalist with no formal culinary expertise who just invented this sauce last year after a trip to Latin America. After my friends tried it they started demanding I make it for them. They started knocking on my door at all hours to get it. They started calling me Heisenberg (The Meth Cook from Breaking Bad). So after I got all my friends hooked on my 'product' I realised this might be a business!
You can buy the C-Bomb Hot Sauce at the Chilli Festival this weekend, OR you can buy it off their website www.dropthecbomb.com - FYI, if you buy 4 or more bottles, you get free shipping. YAY!
Stay tuned for a recipe using this fresh, fruity, delicious hot sauce! Did I mention it's totally vegan and gluten free? Well it bloody well is! So get your mouth around it!
In other news... ITS CHILLI FEST WEEKEND!!!! YEEESSSS!!!!!! I'm off to pay people to make me cry and have to lay down under a tree somewhere. I am pumped. I never had a real tolerance to chilli until I started to work on it a couple of years ago. Now I'm hooked!
Disclaimer: I have received no free products at the time of writing this post. I purchased a bottle of the sauce at a market and loved it, loved Renae's approach, and wanted to tell everyone. Cos I love local stuff.