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California Is Getting Its First Hot Sauce Expo This Weekend

Plenty of peppers (via Facebook)
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For those of us who splash, nay, pour hot sauce on nearly everything we eat, this weekend is going to test our devotion to and endurance for our favorite fiery condiment.

The first annual California Hot Sauce Expo is burning up in Long Beach on July 11th and 12th, and there's going to be 45 hot sauce makers—including many local ones—vying for your taste buds. From 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, hot sauce lovers and self-proclaimed aficionados will have a chance to sample as many of the smoky, peppery, sweet and spicy sauces that they can handle. In addition to tastings there will also be a variety of spicy eating challenges, including tacos, burritos, pizza, chicken wings, an intriguing ramen noodle challenge, and the Carolina Reaper pepper challenge (currently the Guinness World Record-title holder for hottest sauce).

Los Angeles will be well represented at the expo by a number of local hot sauce purveyors, including El Machete, Jabberwocky Foods, and Tabanero, who got their start selling from the back of a truck, as well as Hot Licks from Long Beach. Other hot sauce pros will be coming from far and wide, including South Carolina, Long Island, Washington, and even New Zealand.

The weekend-long event will also feature other competitions for attendees, including a salsa-making challenge, guacamole-making face-off, and a hot sauce-making battle. And because a cold beverage is always welcome after a fiercely hot tasting, there will also be margarita and bloody Mary mixdowns, as well as tons craft beer, including Golden Road and Angel City Brewery from L.A.

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General admission is $10 in advance, $15 on the day. Or you could go with the craft beer package for $50, which includes drink tokens, a bottle of hot sauce and a t-shirt. And if you're a supreme hot sauce lord, there's the $100 VIP package with a special area for complimentary cocktails, food pairings and beer.