A few days after I made fun of the Super Mario Bros. bath bombs for resembling pee, a company reached out to ask if I’d like to review their line of SMB hot sauce. Before long, a set of truffle-flavored hot sauce bottles arrived at the Kotaku office. As a spice lover, this was either going to be the greatest collaboration ever or the worst thing that I ever put into my mouth. I’m ready. Let’s-a go!
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First off, I’m a fan of the watercolor-y box wrapping and the various gold accents. The materials aren’t actually luxe, but at least it feels like the hot sauce maker Truff made an effort to make this an attractive tie-in product that you might want to display in your kitchen. Once I opened the box, I was greeted with three bottles featuring Mario, Toad, and Princess Peach. I’m a fan of the sauce caps. The asymmetrical shape reminds me of a badly cut jewel or a screwy pixel. This detail adds a fun touch that helps set apart the bottle from the other sauces in your cabinet lineup.
Truffles are an edible fungi that are often served with eggs, protein, or pastas. Truthfully, up until this point, I have no experience with truffle hot sauce. My reliables are sriracha or the hot sauce packets that come with takeout chicken. Hot sauce is a condiment for the common people, and not something I associate with high-end ingredients like truffle—which can cost from hundreds to thousands of dollars per pound. But maybe Truff’s sauce can change my mind.
Reviewing the Mario, Toad, and Princess Peach truffle sauces
The sauces aren’t original creations, but bottles of Truff’s existing products. All of their hot sauces are made of red chili peppers. Mario and Toad’s bottles contain black truffle, with the plumber’s bottle advertised as being the spicier one of the two. Peach’s bottle contains white truffle, which I understand has a milder taste than the black variant.
While I usually eat hot sauce with bone-in chicken like god intended, chicken tenders were much easier to obtain while I was at the office. So I loaded up my tendies and hoped that my face wouldn’t look like a pepper by the time that I was writing the review.
I started with Princess Peach—the bottle that contained white truffle. The sauce tasted slightly sweet with an earthy flavor, which I assumed was from the truffle. This was the more complex sauce, with neither sweet nor savory dominating the other. I would recommend it for children or anyone who’s a beginner to hot sauces.
Toad’s dipping sauce was slightly spicier, but tasted rather one-note. Just like the character the bottle represented, the taste was rather forgettable.
So my hopes weren’t high for Mario’s sauce. When I eat spicy foods, I like it when different flavors interact with the heat. It’s one of the reasons why South Asian food is so OP: Dishes such as vindaloo will often combine multiple spices that compliment the chili peppers. Another favorite of mine is Chinese hot pot—the Sichuan peppercorn numbs your mouth as you eat. By comparison, nothing is more boring than simply sitting there with your mouth on fire. I was ready to write off Mario’s sauce, but I had to do my diligence as a reviewer. So I gave the “Hotter” sauce a chance.
It was hotter than Toad’s sauce, and slightly stronger than the sauce packets I get from the fried chicken place in my neighborhood. The full force of the heat didn’t hit until later. I enjoyed a pleasant burn in my mouth afterwards, but the timing was off. I need sauce to punch me in the mouth while I’m still enjoying the protein. I went to the office fridge and sampled some Tabasco sauce just to see if I remembered what hot sauce tasted like. The immediate burn confirmed my suspicions. The truffle in Truff’s sauces have diluted the heat level to the point where you might as well use a different bottle.
I wouldn’t lean on Truff to be my main hot sauce brand, though they are a fun experiment in trying a luxury sauce with my fried chicken. The Super Mario Bros. collection is more suitable as a vanity piece, and maybe that’s exactly what you’re after. You can preorder up to two boxes of the Mario-themed hot sauces for $70 apiece.