The Untold Truth Of Valentina Hot Sauce - Mashed (2024)


ByCourtney Iseman/

The world of hot sauce is vast, ranging from basics like Tabasco to wild inventions with daredevil heat levels made by independent purveyors from all around the globe. One hot sauce, however, manages to stand out as a beloved classic time and time again and often takes the number one spot on hot sauce rankings,appearing everywhere from kitchen pantries to taqueria tables.

Valentina hot sauce has been made by the Tamazula Group in Guadalajara, Mexico, for nearly 60 years, its production beginning when a man named Don Manuel Maciel Mendez introduced his spicy concoction and founded the company in 1960 (per Valentina's website). The bottles read "Salsa Picante,"which means "spicy sauce"in Spanish. The popular condiment is sold all over Mexico, the United States, and Canada, with a still-growing presence in many countries beyond.

If you like even a little bit of heat, we're willing to bet you've upgraded everything from scrambled eggs to burritos with Valentina, which comes in two varieties:Red Label (don't be fooled, this is the yellow-labeled bottle, which is kind of hot) and Black Label, which is decidedly hot. But there's so much more to know about this ubiquitous go-to bottle other than just its fiery nature.

Valentina boasts a simple ingredient blend

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There are two basic reasons for Valentina's enduring popularity. For one, it's really affordable. A big 34-ounce bottle sells at Walmart for just over $3, for example. Compare that to a brand like Sriracha thatWalmart sells for $12 for 28 ounces — that's a big enough difference to consider, especially for habitual hot sauce users.

For Valentina's irresistible bargain factor, it's even more impressive that this hot sauce is made with a pure and simple ingredient blend that stands out among the competition. According to Eat This, Not That!, Valentina is made with water, chili peppers, vinegar, salt, spices, and sodium benzoate (compared to other big brands like Taco Bell's bottled sauce and Cholula that add things like xantham gum).

Not only does this mean that a teaspoon of Valentina has zero calories, zero grams of fat, zero grams of carbohydrates, and 64 milligrams of sodium (per Baker's Plus), but it also means that this stuff is just straightforward goodness. Take it from Thrillistwho says the consistency of Valentina strikes a balance between Tabasco and Sriracha: It's both sweet and sour, and it has a citrusy tang packed with heat that sneaks up on you.

The peppers used in Valentina, by the way, are Mexican puya peppers, to be precise. PepperScale says puya peppers have 5,000 to 8,000 Scoville heat units, which is similar to a jalapeño. That heat gets diluted in the mix, though, and Valentina's finished product weighs in at more like 900 for a Red Label bottle, though the Black Label does get up to 2,100 units, which is back in truejalapeño territory.

Valentina is named for a brave woman who fought during the Mexican Revolution

Valentina's bold flavor has a bold icon to match. The hot sauce's founder, Don Manuel Maciel Mendez, named his brand after Valentina Ramirez Avitia, who is often called "the Mexican Mulan," according to YouTube show The Americano.

Avitia was born in 1893 in the Mexican state of Durangol, in a town calledEl Norotal, writes Mexico Meal. During the Mexican Revolution, she wanted to fight for freedom, especially after her father died in battle. Women, however, were not allowed to be soldiers at the time. So Avitia dressed as a man and joined the army as "Juan Ramirez."She fought bravely for a year and was even promoted to lieutenant before one of her fellow soldiers spotted her long braids. She was "admirably discharged," since she had been a strong soldier but couldn't remain fighting due to the strict policies.

Avitia lived a long life after her time spent in the army, but sadly her final years were marred by a car accident that disabled her and finally a fire in her home, and she passed away in 1979. It's a small tribute, but Valentina hot sauce is one way to keep Avitia's inspiring story alive in an everyday way.

Valentina's dry seasoning offers even more cooking options

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Sure, you could consider adding Valentina as a topping to just about anything. After all, you're instantly transforming whatever dish is at hand with both flavor and heat, and that's enough of a meal boost right there.

Of course, youcouldalso get more creative, and the options are limitless as there's so much you can do with a straightforward, sweet and sour hot sauce like Valentina. You can make a bold chicken wing sauce or whip up a spicy citrus meat marinade for throwing on the grill,to just about anything in between.

Valentina has made those endless options evenmore infinite by introducing Valentina Seasoning, basically a dry powder form of Valentina sauce packed with all the same flavor. Like the sauce, this seasoning is as easy as sprinkling it over truly anything for an immediate transformation — like popcorn, fries, or elote. But it's also a game-changer for dry rubs, and you can even make dessert, like some mango-chili paletas (viaMuy Bueno Cookbook).

There's been a Valentina shortage in 2021

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The global pandemic has caused all kinds of shortages in the past year and a half, due to a combination of people being at home (and eating at home) more often, companies being understaffed, supply chain interruptions, and safety regulations. The result is everything from chicken, bacon, and hot dogs to dog food, aluminum cans, and rental cars going scarce, says WBAL TV. Unfortunately for heat-seekers, this also includes hot sauce, with Valentina fans noticing that their go-to brand is harder to find at stores lately.

A shortage of the hot sauce has been most prominently spotted in Texas, reports El Paso's KLAQ. People have been taking to social media to vent about their store shelves being Valentina-less, and to share intel on where one might be able to still find a bottle. Apparently, the Valentina brand itself hasn't been too vocal on the situation, but did share that there's been a recent surge in demand in Mexico, and that could be happening here in the States, too. As well,Fox Business writes that hot sauce distribution in the US is facing some snags due to COVID-related transportation issues.

For now, follow the KLAQ writer's lead and stay tuned to social media to learn where you can stock up on Valentina, and hopefully, hot sauce fans will see a steady flow of bottles again soon.

You can rep your favorite hot sauce with Valentina merch

If you have any doubts about how dedicated Valentina's fan base is, look no further than the creative items people have created to celebrate this iconic condiment. Everything from T-shirts to stickers further cements this brand's status as a lasting sensation with a cult following. Not every food item or brand gets this kind of treatment!

These items make for clever gift-giving and must-have collecting for spice lovers. On RedBubble, there are "Some Like It Hot"Valentina T-shirts, illustrated Valentina bottle stickers, "Will You Be My Valentina?" mugs, Valentina throw pillows, and even hardcover journals with Valentina artwork on the cover. Add earrings, keychains, greeting cards, and patches on Etsyand you'll start to understand the fanfare.

Taking time to create hot sauce-based art is some serious customer satisfaction, and just means we have more ways to shop Valentina. Of course, you can also check out what the brand itself serves up in the merch department by shopping tees and more on Valentina's website.


The Untold Truth Of Valentina Hot Sauce - Mashed (2024)
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