Hot Sauces, Mexican Hat Dance, Molten Spiced Chocolate Cake, Oh My!

10 Oct

The annual Chile Pepper Fiesta took place last weekend at the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens

and I was very happy to be able to attend this year’s event.

Everybody knows that I love greenhouses, so any chance I get to visit one, I’ll gladly take!

But when you add in free sampling of a variety of hot sauces, foot-stamping live music, and free chocolate samples, I am so there, and a very happy camper to boot!

Admission was just $10 per person, and although it was a gray day with occasional rain showers, the vendors and music stages were tented, and the temp was cool and comfortable. Perfect for ingesting lots and lots of hot sauce samples!

First, I started out by wandering through the outdoor vegetable and herb garden.


I never knew that sweet potato plants looked like this:

(Yum – sweet potato – you wonderful tuber you!)

or that artichoke plants looked like this:

(Yum – artichoke – you wonderful weird thistly thing you!)

or that pepper plants (the star of the day!) actually produce more than one or two peppers a season!   😉

Then it was time to visit the vendors, and sample their wares. There were MANY! The venders were all local to the New York State area, and were all small companies – no big conglomerate corporations here! And all were great, but I gathered the business cards of those that I thought were exceptional, so I could share their links.

Sour Puss Pickles

NYC Hot Sauce Co

Torchbearer Sauces

Hard to say, but maybe I liked this vendor the best – they had a great variety of yummy sauces, ranging from very hot to sweet.

After sampling my fill, I made my way to one of the tents

where a Mariachi band was playing

They ended their set with a rousing Mexican Hat Dance.

After the Mariachi band played, there was a very fun recorded mix of “spicy” songs played. My VERY favorite moment? A song was playing, which I was loving and didn’t know. I pulled out my iPhone, activated the Shazam app, held the phone up towards the speaker, and seconds later – the app identified the song and the singer – and a minute later, I had purchased the song, downloaded it, and had it in my iTunes library on my phone.

(Thanks again, Steve Jobs!)

My favorite “new” song is Pepper Hot Baby by Jaye P. Morgan (1955)

After this fun little diversion, it was time for dessert.

Should I try a chili-chocolate cupcake?

As delicious as I’m sure these were, I opted for the FREE route, and headed for the Chile Chocolate Wonderland, where those sweet vendors were set up with their free samples.

And, there was another tent with more live music.

I had to stop and listen to DogCat – they were great. The program calls them “a melange of Moroccan, Balkan, and Middle Eastern music” – to my ears they sounded a lot like Frank Zappa  🙂

I particularly appreciated the drum kit:

Then I was lured away by the temptations of spiced caramel chocolate popcorn from The Chocolate Room (sadly, not sold on their website – I just called them and they told me that it was made specially just for the Fiesta. But do check out their website – lots of other yummy-looking treats!)

beautiful cookies from YouCake

fabulous wheels of Mexican chocolate from Taza Chocolates

and, they were handing out recipe cards for their Molten Spiced Chocolate Cake!

I’ll share it here, but if you go to their website, you’ll find this recipe along with many more. I’m SO HAPPY to have just made this discovery!

Here’s what their website says about the molten cake:

This rich, decadent dessert is like a cross between a cake and the best pudding you ever had. Serve hot from the oven with top-quality vanilla ice cream for a show-stopping finale to a special meal – that’s incredibly easy to make as well.

and here’s their recipe:


4oz Taza Chocolate Semi-Sweet Baking Squares
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 Tbsp Cabernet Sauvignon or other wine
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 eggs 
1 egg yolk
6 Tbsp flour
1/4 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Ground Ginger

Butter 4 (6oz) custard cups or souffle dishes. Place on a baking sheet.

Heat Taza Chocolate and butter in a double boiler until butter is melted. Remove from heat and whisk until chocolate is completely melted. Stir in wine, vanilla and sugar until blended. Whisk in eggs and yolk. Stir in remaining ingredients. Spoon evenly into prepared dishes.

 Bake in preheated 425º F oven for 15 minutes or until sides are firm but centers are soft. Let stand 1 minute. Loosen edges with knife. Invert onto serving plates. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar if desired.

Mamma, help me! I can’t wait to make this!

PLEASE make sure to check out the Chile Pepper Fiesta next year at the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens. I will definitely be there, with hot sauce bottles in one hand and chile-chocolate scruptiousnesses in the other!




3 Responses to “Hot Sauces, Mexican Hat Dance, Molten Spiced Chocolate Cake, Oh My!”

  1. Johnny D October 10, 2011 at 11:02 am #

    Great report! Your comment about the band playing Moroccan, Balkan, and Middle Eastern music actually sounding like Frank Zappa might have been said with a touch of humor, but it is actually an astute one. Frank Zappa was a big fan of traditional Turkish music and I believe his use of unusual time signatures in his music is largely based on Turkish and Indian music.

    • sallanscorner October 10, 2011 at 11:15 am #

      Thanks for the info – I love knowing what I’m talking about even when I don’t know what I’m talking about! 🙂
      What do you know about Jaye P. Morgan? She’s pretty hep!

      • Johnny D October 10, 2011 at 1:03 pm #

        Jaye P. Morgan was a regular judge on The Gong Show back in the 1970s. She was pretty sassy. It must have been the peppers!

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