Let’s start up North, shall
There are not really a lot of
things happening in Byron Bay. Sure, it is a beautiful spot and while it is the
“door” and starting point for a lot of fun excursions, e.g. to the rainforest
or the remains of the Great Barrier Reef, it is essentially a town close to a
beach far up in the North-East in a country where the sun shines. Locally and
culturally Byron Bay is known for creating laid-back singer/songwriters in the
vein of Jack Johnson, major, great multi-day music festivals, i.e. Splendour in
the Grass and Blues Fest, wellness retreats and the odd internationally
acclaimed band like Parkway Drive.
What began in the Byron Bay
hinterland with a chili patch overlooking a hill over 20 years ago, has become
a renowned range of chili sauce, corn chips, and salsas: The Byron Bay Chili
Company. What started as an
experiment to create something that would go with their burritos, tacos and
nachos — sold at Byron Bay Markets — they started making their own chili
sauce, salsas, and corn chips the way they like them.
Since then, Byron Bay Chili
Company has grown into a global brand, winning awards on three continents,
including the Grand Prize Scovie Award from New Mexico, and is now made and
available in the UK with plans to expand to the Middle East.
It all started with their
Salsa Picante and Salsa Verde. Word of mouth spread quickly, and eventually led
them to become available at Australian and mainstream supermarkets and American
chili wholesalers. Not long after they expanded their range with Asian/Latin
fusion sauces inspired by Thai, Indian, and Mexican flavours. The common
denominator of BBCC’s sauces is that they produce actual sauces that are thick,
rich, and opaque.
BBCC’s Range include Fiery
Coconut Chili Sauce with Curry and Ginger, which goes well with barbequed
chicken or as salad dressing; the Spicy Sweet Chili Sauce with Savory
Lemongrass has a nice citrus blend and is an all-rounder, especially nice with
fish tacos and Smokin’ Mango Chili Sauce with Chipotle Chilies has a mango
twang with a tomato backup and three kinds of chilies.
Some of my favourites are the
spicy Red Cayenne Chili with Lime (With a not too strong tartness, it has been
awarded “Best Louisiana Style Hot Sauce” twice in America at the
Scovies), and both their Green Jalapeno with Coriander and their Gold Habanero
with Mango Chili Sauces (which have won double Gold at the Great Taste
Competition in London).
Covering a wide range, BBCC
has something for every palate no matter if you use it as a condiment, dipping,
marinating, grilling, stir frying. Even the hottest of BBCC’s varieties are
still flavourful. The Green Jalapeno Sauce, with its balanced, blended flavours
of green chili, coriander, mango, coconut, and cumin is extraordinary. Same
goes for Caribbean-style hot sauce.
Salsa-wise, Byron Bay Chili
Company trusts in fresh coriander leaf, fresh onions, and fresh garlic.
Their rich Salsa Picante is a
spicy blend of red tomatoes, fresh onions, garlic and coriander, jalapeno
chilies and spices.
Great in meat gravy, it adds
a nice spice to the traditional roast dinner stirred into marinara and
bolognaise sauces for zesty pastas and lasagnas.
Their Red Bean Salsa is
comprised of kidney beans and smoked jalapeno chilies (Chipotles), tomato,
onion, garlic, and oregano – it’s basically barbequed chili in a dip. Combined
with BBCC’s thick gluten-free corn chips, it is a meal in itself. Their Mild
Salsa Picante is made of spicy tomato, coriander, jalapeno salsas and comes in
two heats, the medium having more chili than the mild. Both are bitey though,
and on the hot side of medium and mild.