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Sweet Sunshine named Fiery Food Challenge's Best

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From Gourmet News :

 FORT WORTH, Texas--Beating out 615 other entries, Sweet Sunshine's Sweet Sauce took home Best in Show honors at the 2007 Zest Fest here Sept. 7.

Gourmet Conveniences, Litchfield, Conn., makes the Sweet Sunshine's Sweet Sauce with red savana habaneros.
Edward Fedorovich, sales manager for Sweet Sunshine, is especially pleased that Sweet Sunshine Sweet Sauce was named best overall product at ZestFest. "That's the base sauce we use," he said. "We use it to make everything else." Sweet Sunshine Sauce varieties include Warm, Roasted Shallot and Garlic, Jamaican Jerk, Hot and Atomic.

Gourmet Conveniences' President Paul Sarris began making the Sweet Sunshine sauces commercially last year. "I wasn't looking to sell the stuff. It was a hobby that got out of control. Now it has become a business, and we've won 18 awards in the last year," Sarris said.

Sponsored by Chile Pepper Magazine, the Fiery Food Challenge has 85 categories from salsa, snacks, zesty sweets, beverages, marketing and apparel.

LaDonna Thorne, director of the Fiery Food Challenge, said Barbecue Sauce was largest category with 103 entries. The largest sub-category was Tomato-Based Barbecue Sauce with 35 entries, followed by the Habanero Hot Sauce category.

Among the entrants, Thorne said "habanero is still going strong and is really beyond the point of being a trend. We are still seeing a lot of Chipotle as well. I would say that mixing the spicy with the sweet is a growing trend. We have been seeing many more desserts, chocolates, candy, etc. mixed with spices or pepper products."

A sweet with heat took home the Golden Chile in the best new product competition. Mary of Puddin Hill, Greenville, Texas, won best new product with its Fiery Texas Snowball. Thorne described it as a "spicy chocolate truffle." Mary of Puddin Hill, which won Best New Product last year for its peanut brittle, sold out of its candies, peanut brittle and chocolates at this year's show.

A complete list of winners will be posted online at

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Sweet Sunshine Named Fiery Food Challenge's Best