By Kate Foreman
After spending almost 20 years living the American dream, Robe’s the Davidson family returned to Australia to find there was lack of their favourite condiment.
It’s one of the main reasons they set up their own homemade hot sauce business and are now heating up the Limestone Coast with Cantina Kick, which has become a popular addition to community events and barbecues in the region.
“We didn’t even think about the fact that Mexican food hadn’t really made its mark in Australia yet, and hot sauce wasn’t readily available,” says Tom Davidson.
“We struggled to find any hot sauce. There was tabasco and sweet chilli, which were good, but didn’t have the depth of flavour we were looking for or the traditional Mexican hot sauces that we had come to love,” he adds.
The Davidson family found themselves importing litre bottles of traditional Tapatio hot sauce from Mexico just to get their fix.
“I would go through it substantially, so we thought we’d have a crack at making our own hot sauce,” Tom says.
“So, we got started in mum’s commercially licensed kitchen which at the time she was using to do some baking for local cafes. We really started from scratch, using mum’s culinary intuition.”
They knew hot sauce contained chilli and garlic, so they started playing around with different spices, chilli and heat intensity.
They eventually decided to base their recipe loosely on an idea they found in a traditional Mexican cookbook.
“We incorporated those ingredients as really the backbone to it, but then got quite creative with including different types of chilli and other ingredients,” Tom says.
“It just kind of grew, and it really wasn’t until multiple people said you should bottle and sell it that we thought about making it into a little business.”
They started with a small production, making just eight bottles a week.
After a growing demand, they now make 30 bottles a week by hand, wholesaling to local establishments.
“With the mutual enjoyment of everyone contributing in their own little way, we’ve got it down to a pretty fine art now,” he says.
“It is pretty labour intensive, but we have the technique and method fine tuned. We are probably at the stage now that if it is to get any bigger it requires some monetary investment.”
Inspiration for the name came after Tom purchased some property and created his own Mexican cantina, which is a type of Spanish/Mexican bar.
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