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Where to find it: Amazon Triple Peppers

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North Carolina has Texas Pete; Louisiana has Tabasco. Most heat-seeker heads have a favorite bottle of the hot stuff.

Hot peppers have been bottled for centuries. When peppers left the New World, the cuisines around the world changed. In fact, many believe the peppers — as well as other indigenous foods such as tomatoes, potatoes, corn and chocolate — turned out to be "gold," the metal which prompted explorers to come to this hemisphere.

One popular South American hot sauce is Amazon Peppers made by Comexa, owned by the Araujo family, in Cartagena, Colombia. Their stunning Triple Peppers sauce comes in a clear glass bottle layered with intensely hued peppers in vinegar. These peppers are red and green Amazon (Capsicum frutescens) and orange habaneros (Capsicum chinensis). The Amazon pepper is the result of an unplanned cross-pollination between cayenne peppers and a local variety called pipón. The resulting hybrid was named The Amazona by the Araujo family to honor the region where hot peppers are believed to have originated. The aromatic Amazon pepper is the base of all Comexa's hot sauces.

Amazon's Triple Peppers sauce is not mouth-burning hot. Many use the spiked vinegar of Triple Peppers directly on dishes to add heat. Others chop up the marinating peppers. If you use both vinegar and Tabasco on collards, for example, you could substitute Amazon Triple Peppers.

Amazon Triple Peppers is available through special order at Compare Foods, 818 E. Arrowood Road. Hours: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

Looking for a food you can't find? Or do you know of other food items unique to the Q.C.? Whether it's regional foods or international, talk to me: tricia.childress@creativeloafing.com or 704-522-8334, extension 136.

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