First, the good news: this boutique brand of chili sauce is available to buy in the United Arab Emirates. Which is perhaps surprising, given that it’s produced in a small town of less than 4,000 people in northern England. Trees Can’t Dance hails from Haltwhistle in Northumberland (at the northernmost chili farm in the world), which isn’t exactly the type of tropical climate where chili peppers are able to grow let alone thrive.
Trees Can’t Dance produces several varieties of the fiery good stuff.
Its “African Hot Chili Sauce” is made from a Congolese recipe that contains red peppers (presumably peri peri chili peppers), habaneros, vinegar, onions, tomato puree, salt, and a little bit of sugar. It’s tangy and flavorful, with tons of heat which deepens the rich tomato flavor. The label advertises that it “adds a fiery splash of sunshine to any mealtime,” which doesn’t exactly make sense, but just go with it; this is a delicious and unique hot sauce.
Trees Can’t Dance is brand built by pepper connoisseur Dan May, who began growing chilies as a hobby in 2005, initially just to cook at home. Eventually, May started making fiery hot sauce. His recipe for caught on with friends and family, and by January 2011, he was selling bottled hot sauce under the Trees Can’t Dance label.
May also published several cookbooks with recipes for his favorite spicy dishes.
Although the peppers used for the bottled hot sauces are grown commercially, May maintains more than 600 chili plants at his home in Northumberland, according to Newcastle’s The Journal. He still, apparently, experiments with these chili peppers for new recipes.
(Read more about Dan May in this 2012 interview on Chili Pepper Madness)
And now, the bad news.
In Abu Dhabi, at least, Trees Can’t Dance can still be found at Spar supermarkets and at the Abu Dhabi Co-operative. A recently-purchased bottle has a production date stamp on the bottle from early 2013, though, so there’s no guarantee this stuff will continue to be made, or continue coming into the UAE.
So look for a bottle with a picture of a tree’s silhouette against a bright purple sky, whose roots are wearing different types of shoes.
And get these while you can, because this hot sauce is good – and it may not be around for much longer.
Trees Can’t Dance: (website not operational)
Address: Abu Dhabi Cooperative Society at Abu Dhabi Mall on 10th Street, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Telephone: +971 2 6440808