Melinda’s Black Truffle Hot Sauce Review

For sure, if you’re a fan of truffles, Melinda’s Black Truffle Hot Sauce has plenty to like. That mushroom flavor meets vinegar tang and even hints of Parmesan cheese. But how usable is it? Can those only moderately into truffle enjoy this hot sauce? And how well balanced is the heat? Does it meet the stronger flavor that truffles brings to the table? Let’s crack open a bottle and see what it’s all about.

SUMMARY
Melinda’s Black Truffle Hot Sauce
4.0

Melinda’s Black Truffle Hot Sauce has a nice flavor twist, using Parmesan, garlic, and honey to deliver some depth to the flavor beyond those delicious truffles. There’s plenty of flavor here, but it’s not as hot as they make it out to be, though.

Heat Level: Mild
Pros:
  • Interesting flavor, unique depth with honey and Parmesan
  • Truffle flavor not overwhelming compared to other truffle hot sauce options
  • Very usable
Cons:
  • Not as spicy as they position
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Table of Contents

Flavor

The ingredients in Melinda’s Black Truffle Hot Sauce are a surprising at times. Some you expect, others…not so much: Cayenne pepper mash, white vinegar, water, canola vegetable oil, fresh garlic, cane sugar, onion powder, honey, grated Parmesan cheese, xanthan gum, salt, citric acid, and black truffle from Italy.

The cayenne peppers aren’t a surprise, being a hot sauce and all. But where they sit in the ingredients list (in the pole position) is a bit surprising. Black truffles, the star of the sauce on the label, sit last. In-between, there’s the white vinegar, fresh garlic, the surprising Parmesan cheese, and honey — all which impact the flavor in unique ways.

Right at the top you get that vinegar tang, as expected. But it’s paired immediately with the earthy Parmesan flavor and the smooth honey sweetness. Garlic comes in right after, and that’s then followed by the cayenne pepper heat and the earthy truffle flavor.

The eating experience is more mustard-like than hot-sauce-like, with the sauce having a creamy texture and lasting mouthfeel. It transforms this hot sauce into more of a table condiment like mustard than a dasher hot sauce (and the bottling goes along with that, but more on that below.)

Overall, the flavor is tasty: not as truffle forward as you may expect from the label, but more balanced with the other ingredients in the bottle. If you’re concerned that a truffle hot sauce may overpower in the truffle department, Melinda’s Black Truffle Hot Sauce is an excellent jumping off point. It does the balancing well to make this hot sauce a unique flavor and not just one-note.

On the sodium: Melinda’s Black Truffle Hot Sauce sits at 110 mg per tablespoon. That’s 5% of your daily allowance, so this hot sauce is not low sodium. Though, it’s not an overly high amount, especially considering the consistency of this hot sauce. You won’t often have use cases that need more than a tablespoon here.

Melinda’s Black Truffle Hot Sauce on a spoon

Heat Balance

Cayenne peppers are the heat source here. These chilies carry a significant medium heat (30,000 to 50,000 Scoville heat units), but that heat isn’t showcased here. And that’s sort of surprising, given that cayenne pepper mash sits atop the ingredient list.

Really, Melinda’s Black Truffle Hot Sauce is mild. Melinda’s doesn’t list the hot sauce’s Scoville rating, but it does have a heat indicator on its label. The brand marks its heat by filling in flame icons on a scale from one to five. They give their black truffle hot sauce two “flames” out of five. And I think that’s being generous. It’s just really not that spicy.

The cayenne pepper lingers just at the tip of your tongue; it doesn’t really even warm your mouth. And there’s little to no lingering. It’s all just surprising given where cayennes sit on that ingredient list and the brand’s own spiciness indicator. I expected at least a modest low-medium kick, like that you’d get from Sriracha. But it’s not close.

Usability

So, the normal disclaimer does hold true — as with all truffle hot sauces: If you can’t stand mushrooms, don’t get a truffle-based hot sauce. That said, this one is particularly mellow in its delivery, so if you’re on the fence, Melinda’s Black Truffle Hot Sauce is a good entry point.

It’s delicious on places where truffles make sense: potatoes and mac and cheese both were delicious with this sauce. I also really loved it with my chicken wings; the honey and Parmesan both added nice depth to it as a wing sauce. I even tried this with fried fish, and I was surprised by how well it worked.

The bottle is a plastic squeeze bottle with a pencil eraser size spout, so it’s really easy to control this hot sauce. It also gives Melinda’s Black Truffle Hot Sauce that table condiment feel, like a mustard more than a dasher hot sauce.

The only issue for me is that it’s not a twist-to-close bottle. It comes with a cap, so if you lose that you’ll have to find yourself a replacement. Or else the smell of truffles will fill your cabinets 24/7….unless you’re into that, then definitely lose the cap.

Collectibility

The label is stunning in black and gold, with Melinda’s classic illustration at the top. It looks upscale, like you’d expect a truffle-based product to look. It also stands out amid Melinda’s brand of hot sauces. You know it’s Melinda’s still, due to the art, but it’s something quite different than the others.

I love that they always put five little fires at the bottom of the sauce that allow you to judge the heat quickly. Granted, I don’t agree with their assessment of heat with this hot sauce, but it’s still a nice touch.

The Score

Melinda’s Black Truffle Hot Sauce has a nice flavor twist, using Parmesan, garlic, and honey to deliver some depth to the flavor beyond those delicious truffles. There’s plenty of flavor here, but it’s not as hot as they make it out to be, though.

FINAL SCORE4
Overall Flavor4.5
Heat Balance3
Usability4
Collectibility4.5
X-Factor4
Based on a scale from 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest)

UPDATE NOTICE: This post was updated on March 11, 2022 to include new content.
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