Posted November 1, 2005 by Adam in Reviews

Review: Sparky and Spike’s Hot and Tangy Pepper Relish

“Gosh, Wally, I’ve never had pepper relish before. Did Mom say it was alright?”

“Go on and try some, Beav.”

“Mmmm, not bad. But what’s that bitter taste?”

I was wondering the same thing myself, Beav. After trying the contents of this brilliantly-designed jar, I find myself lacking in two areas: spice and knowledge. Knowledge of what in the heck was that bitter aftertaste. To make sure I’m clear here, this relish definitely was tangy. It was so tangy, it bordered on sweet, rather than sour. But that’s fine with me. It was quite a nice change from the bumhole-burning sauces I’ve been consuming as of late.

When one opens a jar of Sparky and Spike’s, one has to take in the aroma. If the word tangy could ever be described in smell-o-vision, this relish is it. I really don’t know how else to describe the smell other than tangy. The relish is rather wet; there’s loads of juices that the peppers are brining in. I expected something more like pickle relish when I received the jar. But Sparky and Spike’s is full of big pieces of peppers swimming in a gold-colored liquid.

I tried a bit and was pleased. I am still very impressed by the initial burst of tangy flavor. Next, I bit right into a few of the peppers, so I could get a full range of tastes in my mouth. After a few seconds, this weird bitter flavor hit my tongue, which reminded me of that taste you get in your mouth when you accidentallyl eat the little husks inside of a pecan shell.


Not letting that deter me from my Sparky experience, I carried on to make the tuna salad that I had been craving all week. I added a liberal two to three heaping spoonfuls of the relish into my tuna salad mixture. I can say without a doubt this was only enough to whet my appetite for more relish. The salad could have used double the amount.

Interesting note about the tuna salad creation. When I mixed it up, I tried a bite and came to the conclusion that it wasn’t even near hot enough. This is hot sauce blog afterall; it needed to be burning my mouth. So I went to the hot sauce armaments of the inside door of the fridge and pulled out some Yucatan Sunshine Habanero.

Adding a good tablespoon of the hot sauce, I quickly stirred it up and tasted. Still not hot enough. My mind wandered. I don’t want anymore of this habanero sauce. That would make it too sour from the vinegar. Hmmm …. all I need to do here is make the salad hot. What product do I know that makes things incredibly hot?


So I added a tablespoon of the fever sauce and completed my tuna sandwich. It was awesome. The relish really had a great tangy effect on the salad even if the peppers were a tad bitter, and the torchbearer added the right amount of heat. The effect was so good, I had made myself an extra sandwich.

Sparky and Spike’s website is a tad bit limited. Not much to do except email them a request for more relish. But this relish is really good. I could really see this product catching on in the condiment world if they could just take care of that bitter issue, and spice it up a bit more.

Chile rating: 2 out of 10 chiles
Two thumbs way up!