Apostle Hot Sauce was founded in 2019 at co-founders Mathew Watkins and Lydia Harfield’s local farmers market in Paekakariki on the Kapiti coast. The pair had recently moved there, and Watkins said he was always prone to experimenting and tinkering with something in the kitchen.
“Lydia pushed me to go and start selling some of the hot sauces we made to meet some of the locals,” said Watkins.
Quickly, the pair realised there was an opportunity for craft, artisan hot sauces in New Zealand. With Watkins's experimental kitchen Sauve and Harfield’s career in graphic design by trade, they worked fast to create different brand concepts and ideas. By December 2019, the couple launched Apostle Hot Sauce.
Apostle sauces are bright and light, well-suited for summer dishes. Watkins's favourite is the Mango, Turmeric, and Ginger paired with garlic prawn, and Harfield likes the Kiwifruit and Kawakawa verde paired with fish tacos. The sauces' citrusy, sweet, and tangy flavour profiles are popular for summer as consumers look for exciting flavours that help bring versatility and variety to their favourite dishes.
Watkins said the pair adapt and innovate sauces based on the availability of local ingredients, the Kiwifruit and Kawakawa verde being a perfect example of this as this traditional sauce is crafted with tomatillos.
Food trends are ever-changing, and Apostle Hot Sauce keep a close eye on popular flavours across Australia and North America, adding that New Zealand can tend to be a bit behind on up-and-coming flavours, something which Watkins leverages to maintain a competitive edge on the market. The two newest additions to the Apostle range, Hot Honey, infused with lavender, and its Crispy Chilli Oil, are markers of this. Watkins explained that he actively monitors international trends with the hopes and confidence that New Zealand consumers will catch on.
Adding lavender to the Hot Honey sauce was well-received, making the sauce suitable to match a range of botanical flavours and solidifying Watkins's philosophy for success revolving around a drive and agility in making bold and experimental choices.
Moving into 2024, Watkins said that as a team of two, where both Watkins and Harfield wear several different hats, it will be a while before Apostle releases an innovation. However, he did hint that he was exploring how to rejuvenate basic and staple flavours, putting together and reimaging flavour combinations of pantry classics.
Read more from Summer Entertaining below, starting on page 20.