Home is where the Heat is: Halesite Habanero's Back Story

Photo Credit: Laurie Mosco

What feels like a million years ago, but was actually somewhere around 2007, my husband started to explore his culinary side. (I mean… Lucky for us he did – bc Halesite Habanero would not exist otherwise.)

As it turned out – he was amazing at food. Seriously… not just good at it – like, he killed it.

When we moved in together, every Sunday he wanted to take over our tiny Huntington Station apartment kitchen. As an Italian raised female, I had a few moments of territorialism in that teeny kitchen. I had one memorable mind-state altering conversation with my mother that went something like:

Me: “I mean I would like to cook Sunday sauce once in a while too…”

Mom: “Ummm, honey, your husband wants to cook for you – and he’s really good at it. Shut up and enjoy it.”

My mother really didn’t offer up life-advice very often before this point (but fast-forward to when she became a grandmother... all the wisdom poured out of her). This is honestly the first bomb that I can remember her dropping on me, and it made a ton of sense. I needed to push my obligatory homemaker-traits aside and realize that the man I married was way more qualified to cook than I was. I swear I am a way happier woman today for getting out of my own way back then.

So when Rob started cooking up hot sauce from our backyard habaneros, I wasn’t sure this was what I signed up for. I was never a hot sauce person. Don’t get me wrong, I liked a little kick when it complimented flavor – but I did not classify myself as a heat-seeker. Still to this day I can tolerate a respectable amount of heat, but I don’t look for a challenge in this arena. I just truly enjoy it after (a million) years of taste testing fresh habanero hot sauce. But at this point, while I would certainly TASTE the batches, we leaned on a few of our oldest (and BEST) friends who absolutely WERE hot-sauce people, to test out batches of “Robanero’s**” hot sauce on their meals.

**We called it Robanero's for many years until we found out it was trademarked. That was a bummer – but the guy who owns it is like a saint so we would never have disrupted his charity collecting hot sauce project.

Rob is always in search for perfection with anything he crafts, so he does a lot of homework before he figures out how his cooking is going to go down. His goal is a symphony of flavors – nothing muddy – all of it authentic and a reflection of the ingredients. As a child he couldn’t let any of the food on his plate touch – that should explain it right there. Each flavor is important.

I, the other half, am in a constant search for dense nutrition because I want the most bang for my bod in every bite. I was anemic most of life (even though I was an avid child carnivore) and oddly enough I only remedied that issue when I became a pescatarian in 2001. I attribute it to the fact that I became way more conscious of the nutritional value of my food choices since I was eliminating so many. I never had trouble with my weight (until childbirth of course) so it wasn’t that. I ended up with a grapefruit sized endometrial cyst in my early 20’s that had to be surgically removed. Long story short, I realized my food choices were feeding the hormonal imbalance, so I changed them completely.

Our combined neuroses resulted in the decision to ONLY use FRESH, ORGANIC produce and never strain out the amazing nutrients, flavors and textures they created in Rob’s hot sauce. Starting from FRESH produce that you can have a complete sensory experience with (touch, smell, even hearing how a fresh habanero cracks open).

That neuroses was also the reason it took us another year to come up with a new name (we really liked Robanero's), about 6 months for me to finalize a package design and probably about 3 years for Rob to finally perfect the recipe so that sweet, savory & spicy came together and made you feel like you could hear the harmony of angels singing in heaven.

We created Halesite Habanero with all of this at it's core. We vowed never to compromise quality for cost and never to muddy the product with additives like emulsifiers. It's totally normal (and satisfying even) to shake your condiments so that all of their ingredients are evenly distributed and pour onto your food at the ratio intended. Right? Or that just something neurotic people say?

Either way, if you are willing to shake well, you will probably age well! We thank all of you that appreciate our hot sauce for being simple and as close to nature as we could reasonably make it. We truly hope you enjoy it!


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