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Cholula Hot Sauce and Its Wonderful Flavors

Ms. Venegas experiments with Mexican foods under the critique of her Mexican husband. The recipes need to pass a "when I was a kid" test.

Do you always reach for a spicy condiment?

Do you always reach for a spicy condiment?

Original Cholula Mexican Hot Sauce

Are you always looking for an out-of-this-world hot sauce? I was introduced to the Cholula version of the condiment many years ago. Who can blend peppers and concoct pepper sauce better than cooks from south of our border? The blend of peppers and vinegar is perfect for any dish that needs a little spark to open up those taste buds at breakfast, lunch, or dinner. If you love Tabasco, the vinegar hints in this condiment may be just the thing for you.

My previous experience with hot sauce had been limited to Tabasco and Tapatio—but now Cholula is my favorite choice. I haven't experimented much outside of these three sauces. Call me a lightweight! On the other hand, when my husband was a toddler in Guadalajara during the 1950s, he enjoyed Cholula on his morning eggs.

Cholula is excellent with any Mexican dish, but it also works well with many American standards. I happen to think it's great with Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup!

Hot Sauce From Mexico

Bottles of Cholula are often on the tables in Mexican restaurants. The product is made in Mexico and boasts a colorful label of red and yellow. Its trademarks are the female chef on the front and wooden top on every bottle.

If you do a small comparison, Cholula Original has less salt than most hot sauces, and as a daily user, that is important. Users need to watch their health at every turn. As far as the Scoville scale is concerned, you will have to be your own judge. Anything hotter than Cholula I do not even touch.

The company produces six different flavors. Here is a poll for voting on your favorite. Curious about how popular the other versions are? Check the poll results for the readers' favorite.

Spice up your soup.

Spice up your soup.

Cholula Is a 100-Year-Old Company

If you visit the town of Cholula, stand on the highest hill and look out over the village's 300+ church steeples. It is said that the Spanish converted each native pyramid into a church. The company chose the name because the town has a long cultural history starting from 600/700 AD. It was an important stop for the trade route between Tenochtitlan (Mexico City) and the Pacific Coast before the Europeans arrived. In 1519, Hernan Cortes clashed with the town's populous and used the natives as examples of defeat and death for the royal Aztecs in Tenochtitlan.

For centuries, the area has been known for pottery, textiles, and farming. The Great Pyramid is located here and has been restored for history and tourism. I have been inside the pyramid and walked the spooky underground tunnels. A Catholic church sits on the top.

But the sauce is made in Chapala, a town my husband's family would visit on vacation when he was just seven years old. Chapala is near the Jalisco state capital of Guadalajara, and it is a lake resort town and home to this condiment. The company was created and owned by a family for three generations. The licensing has been acquired by Jose Cuervo, the tequila corporation. The chef on the bottle is the family matriarch, but all the history of the former owners is tightly held from the public.

Jalisco state is home to tequila. In the first two decades of the 20th century, hot concoctions became very popular in Mexico for following your shot of tequila. This is around the time Cholula was first brewed. Cholula was marketed in the U.S. in the 1990s, many decades after becoming a mainstay in Mexico. I did not notice it in mainstream restaurants in California until the early 2000s.


© 2013 Sherry Venegas