Meet the Makers: La Pimenterie Hot Sauces
More and more people are getting to know the wonderous world of hot sauce, but most don’t know much about the creators of these delicious sauces. Who are those heroes behind the brands that spoil us with the best hot sauces? We are about to find out in our interview series ‘Meet the Makers’.
La Pimenterie Hot Sauces
Our latest interview was with the makers of Dawson’s and we are staying in the South-East of Canada, because that is where La Pimenterie is located. Montréal to be precisely. A new brand on our webshop, despite the fact we have had them in our sight for a few years. Especially the unique flavor combinations make this such an interesting brand and that’s why we have decided to let it come over from Canada. Ofcourse we won’t let the opportunity slide to get to know them even better and ask them our 9 questions (not 10 this time). Julien Fréchette, founder of the brand, will answer our questions.
When & what was your first hot sauce experience?
I must have been about 7 or 8 years old when I had my first experience with pepper products. I still remember watching my uncle with pleasure and fascination when he used Tabasco or harissa paste. He put so much on his pizza and spaghetti that it made him turn red and sweat, but still he went on and put on more and more! One time when I was home alone I tried the harissa paste straight from the tube. I immediately understood the power of the chili pepper! The first dish I ever made myself were some sunny side eggs and Tabasco immediately had to be added.
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What made you decide to start your own brand?
I used to be a documentary film maker. The idea for the company came while developing my latest film. I was following Westerners (mainly ex-military) going abroad on their own will and money to fight ISIS along kurdish forces in Syria and Iraq. Their decisions were often based on their gut feelings and they talked about the importance of following their instinct. One of them said to me that his decision was driven by one Ernest Hemingway quote: “Always do sober what you said you do drunk, you will remember to keep your mouth shut!” (he said he would go to Iraq while he was drunk, then decided to go the next morning).
That quote stuck in my head for quite a while. One day a friend came home and we drank a few bottles of wine. I said that night that I would start my own gourmet hot sauce company and would age hot sauce in Oak barrels. I kept repeating it all night long. The next morning, I woke up and remembered what I said and what hemingway said.. I went on the internet to check what was available and saw that it was possible to actually age hot sauce in Oak barrel. I kept looking and I was struck by the possibilities when it comes to creativity with hot sauces. The more I dug, the more I had the gut feeling that I had to do it. It was a calling. So while I was conducting the shooting of the film, I started working on the brand. While filming in Kurdistan, it was there, near the front line, that I began to imagine assemblages of hot sauces to reassure myself.
How did you come up with the name of your brand?
Since Quebec is a French speaking province, it was important to me to find a name that would put that up-front. I wanted something simple, classy and that would say everything just by naming it. La Pimenterie literally refers to a chili pepper factory. The Fleur de Lys is the province emblema. Thats’ why I wanted it in the logo.
What is your favorite ingredient to work with?
I love working with spices in general. The chili pepper is acting as a fruit and as a spice as well. Blending it with other spices or herbs just create a booming effect that blows away your taste buds. Balance is the most important thing I look for when I create a new hot sauce. I like to create sauces that are not only spicy, but flavourful with different layers and subtlety.
What does your working space look like?
We have a nice, bright and funky office with an artistic floor that represents the different colors of chili peppers. The kitchen workspace is fully functional and well designed specifically for our needs. It”s not a kitchen, but rather a small factory! Everything is brand new and beautifully lit by natural light. It’s the perfect creative space. We couldn’t ask for more!
What is the ultimate highlight up until now?
Since we built this new workspace the business just boomed! We couldn’t be happier and we love creating and working with other companies on collaborations.
What is your favorite hot sauce from another brand?
I love to try out new hot sauces and depending on what I eat, there’s always a different combination or pairing. I don’t have a favorite hot sauce per se. It really depends on what I eat that day. At the factory, we like to taste what is being made and released on the market, so we buy a lot of hot sauces and we are always craving for new combination flavors.
What is your favorite music for when you’re making/eating hot sauce?
There are 5 artists we love to listen to:
- Calypso Rose
- Johnny Cash
- Polo & Pan
- The Doors
- Lila Down
Name 1 food + (your own) hot sauce combination our followers just have to try.
Aha, that’s a tricky one! There are so many combinations possible! In summer time, I really like eating fresh salads and I usually put Special Hops or Colonel in a salad dressing. It gives it a really fresh and nice kick. I also pour some Special Hops in my Gin and Tonic, to give it a little kick and a citrusy and hoppy flavor. Whenever I cook on the BBQ I use the Newton, Royal Bourbon or Fumisterie hot sauce for the final touch!
We want to thank Julien for answering our questions and ofcourse for making incredibly tasty hot sauces! You can find La Pimenterie hot sauces right here. Also, if you want to read more stories behind the sauce makers you can check out all our ‘Meet the Makers’ interviews here!