Posted January 25, 2007 by John in Reviews

Review: Sweet Sunshine – Warm Chili Sauce

Sweet Sunshine Warm 1After receipt of a large package of fresh sauces from the HSB stash, and excited by the prospect of taking snazzy pictures with my brand new Canon SD630 digital camera, I’ve been itching to get a review done. Today’s prospect is made by Sweet Sunshine, titled Warm Chili Sauce (I think), and adorned with so many other diverse tags that it took me several minutes to divine what the sauce was actually called. Flavor Before Heat, Warm, Roasted Shallot and Garlic are a few examples of the many slogans – I went with Warm since it gets repeated in the title in another spot on the back of the label.

I don’t really like confusing labels; I’m much more of the traditional and elegantly simple school of thought. But, knowing that you don’t have to eat the artwork, I wasn’t going to let outward appearance start the test on a down note.

: Sugar, Water, Vinegar, Roasted Shallots, Mustard Seed, Tomato, Roasted Garlic, Ancho Peppers, Corn Syrup, Cayenne Peppers, Habanero Peppers, Molasses, Modified Food Starch, Salt, Worcestershire Sauce, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Natural Flavors, Citric Acid, Onion, Spices, less than 1/10 of 1% Sodium Benzonate and Potassium Sorbate.

Whew! That’s a lot of ingredients!

On First Taste
The smell of the sauce is much like a barbecue sauce, with the shallots and garlic heavily pronounced, and a bit of molasses and onion in the background. The first taste confirms what the nose recognizes – that is, this is closer in flavor to a barbecue sauce than a typical hot sauce. Lots of sticky sweetness, and flavor aplenty. The texture follows the same lines – thick and slow to pour, with a consistency that’s begging to stick to a prime cut of meat.

The flavor has a lot of complexity to it. The shallots and garlic play off each other nicely, balanced well against the peppers and sweetness. There isn’t a lot of heat to speak of, which is fine with me since that’s how it’s labeled. But there is a little bit of a tingle, just about the right level so that I can have a bit of spice and my wife can eat it without getting her taste buds blown out.

On Food

Sweet Sunshine Warm 2

I decided to embrace the barbecue-like character of the Warm Shallot and Garlic concoction by using it on a nice set of thick cut, boneless pork chops I picked up at the market.

Sweet Sunshine Warm 3

The preparation is fairly simple: bake at 375 for 30 minutes in the convection oven, butterfly and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Add sauce, broil for 10 minutes to get the sauce warm and a bit caramelized, and serve piping hot.

Sweet Sunshine Warm 4

The sauce was, in a word, phenomenal. Served warm, a finer and bolder character quickly emerges from Sweet Sunshine’s elixer. The garlic drops to the background, the sweetness gets more mellow and smooth, and the whole amalgamation melts into a sumptuous, perfectly coordinated harmony of gastronomical pleasure.

I had used a good part of the bottle brushed right on the chops, and I proceeded to polish off the rest dressing the rest of the meal. The low level of heat allows gobs to be used, which given the wonderful taste, is a good thing. Heat before flavor, indeed. This sauce is a gourmet masterpiece that can be enjoyed, nay, loved by chilihead and chilinovice alike.


At the end of the meal, I was left knowing that Sweet Sunshine’s Warm Garlic and Shallot Sauce is one of the best cooking sauces I’ve had in a long time. It’s probably a little more limited in many traditional hot sauce applications; for instance, I’d never add it to a Bloody Mary. But, taken at it’s strength, it’s a really special sauce.

Packaging – Bright, Gaudy and Confusing. 5.0 out of 10.0
Aroma – Sweet Garlic and Shallots. 8.5 out of 10.0
Appearance – thick, lively and saucy. 8.9 out of 10.0
Taste – Complex, rich and slightly sweet – served warm, it’s special. 9.4 out of 10.0
Heat – Mild, but there’s heat if you look hard enough. 3.0 out of 10.0

Overall Rating: 9.2 out of 10.0
– Taste rules, after all. This sauce earns its keep where it counts – on the tongue.

Sweet Sunshine