Caribbean Flavors:
Hot Sauces & A Hot Love Potion
Don't dismiss all the claims about local love potions. For whatever reason, some find they do work.

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Marie Sharp's Fine Foods

Fanatical hot sauce lovers often claim the best is one that will burn a hole in the tablecloth. Marie Sharp, however, became Belize's hottest mama by starting at the low end of the temperature scale.

In the early 1980s, she began experimenting with the red habanero peppers grown on her family farm in the foothills of the Maya Mountains near Dangriga. She was playing with fire: The red habanero is ranked as the hottest known pepper.

Marie's first product was a mild red pepper sauce. More than just pureed chilies and vinegar, she added fresh carrots, fresh onions, key lime juice, garlic and salt. The carrots made all the difference.

They added a sweetness and tang to compliment the habanero, a good balance between heat and flavor.

Today, a bottle of Marie Sharp's habanero sauce is on almost every table in Belize, though Fiery Hot is now her best seller. And she has expanded to add fruit jams and pepper jellies. The jams come in banana, pineapple, guava, papaya and mixed fruit varieties while the jellies contain green and red peppers. To shop online, check out .

Sunny Caribbee

Want to be a better lover? Or always have a sure-fire hangover cure available?

Then you (and probably everyone else you know) need the Arawak Love Potion and West Indian Hangover Cure, items which have helped make Tortola's Sunny Caribbee Spice Company a BVI institution.

The picturesque store, located in Road Town's first guesthouse, also produces its own hot sauce, jerk sauce, jams, jellies and skin care products on the premises, superb circumstances for one-stop shopping.

So, do these magic teas work? “Indeed they do,” swears owner Greg Gunter, a former Miami restaurateur who moved to Tortola almost a quarter century ago. The hangover cure, advertised “For the morning after the night before,” was among Sunny Caribbee's first products.

“It's based on a West Indian folklore recipe and was developed with an herbalist in St. Thomas who's an expert in bush medicine and bush teas. We've had a lot of testimonials over the years that the cure works, and even requests for ‘Quick, send more!'” Gunter says.

The Arawak Love Potion tea, unlike Viagra, is supposed to be effective for both sexes, even if one of the ingredients is bark from the ironwood tree.

Gunter says ironwood is the local name for the bois bande tree, a notorious aphrodisiac.

However, his best selling item is not either of the two traditional bush teas but a seasoning called Herb Pepper Blend, made up of coarse ground pepper, onion, garlic, sea salt and more.

In this instance, good taste beats out good love.

Decide for yourself at .

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