Proud Product of Belize
The Marie Sharp Hot Sauce phenomenon started in 1981, the year of Belize’s Independence. Since then the country, as well as the hot sauce, have evolved and flourished together. It seems like there is a bottle of Marie Sharp’s hot sauce on every table in every home and in every restaurant in Belize. Today Marie Sharp Hot Sauces are known all over the world.
Marie Sharp is from the Stann Creek Valley of Southern Belize. Since the Habanero Pepper, also known as Scotch Bonnet was so abundant and being from a family who worked the land, Marie started to experiment in her own kitchen. She used fresh habanero peppers, combining them with fresh vegetables and fruits from her own farm. This was the humble beginning of the building of her food empire which now includes chutneys, jams, jellies, dressings, and more recently, barbecue sauce.
Today, Marie Sharp’s Fine Foods Ltd. is still family-owned. In this month of March dedicated to women, it is especially significant and empowering that a female is at the helm of such a giant enterprise. Her recipe is known to use lime, carrots and a top-secret blend of spices. These combine to produce a fresh indescribably flavorful hot sauce that is second to none. Even across the border in southern Mexico, it has flooded the market despite the myriad varieties of hot pepper sauces that are available.
The ingredients that go into the making of Marie Sharp products are sustainably farmed and guaranteed free of pesticides. Freshness is guaranteed since they are used within hours of picking. The hot sauces come in five varieties on a heat index: Mild, Hot, Belizean Heat, Beware, and Hot Like Love. There is also a Green Habanero Variety which is gaining popularity.
Marie Sharp’s entrepreneurial story and success surely warrant a relevant visit. The operation is surprisingly small, only 100 employees, including farmers. The very informative guide is Marie’s granddaughter. The Company has received recognition for excellence from many on-line sites. At the gift shop, you can purchase a bottle of sauce for only $2. And there are 30 other varieties of products available
Marie Sharp’s entrepreneurial story and success make for a relevant visit to the Factory. The Hummingbird Highway is a scenic drive and you could also include other stops such as the Melinda Forest Reserve between Mullins river and Silk Grass. Or you may attach it to a visit to the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary. Only five miles away there is the Studio Gallery of Belizean Art, Davis Falls, the Gulisi Garifuna museum and the Maya Center.
Written by Nelita Castillo