We all have that friend that's reaching for the hot sauce bottle before they take a single bite of their meal.
If you've got a taste for hot sauce, you'll want to know about TRUFF, the new black truffle-based hot sauce from Los Angeles that counts Jon Buscemi and Aaron Levant as investors, plus the likes of Ben Baller and Rob Dyrdek as fans. Not only that, but one of Europe's best sneaker outposts, Solebox, is slated to stock TRUFF in coming weeks.
One of the co-organizers of ComplexCon, Levant told Highsnobiety "Hot Sauce has been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember, and one of my life goals has always been to create one of my own. With TRUFF, we envisioned more than just a hot sauce... something that was extremely unique and a step above the normal hot sauces that we all grew up on."
In recent times, personalities like Action Bronson, Matty Matheson and Sean Evans from Hot Ones have opened up this crossover category, often adding streetwear, hip-hop, and the culinary landscape in one conversation. Plus, we would be remiss to forget how many rap stars own their own stakes in the restaurant world; Rick Ross is a franchise owner of several Wingstop locations, Drake is one of the partners at Toronto-based restaurant Fring's, and there is a growing list of hip-hop artists with their own cookbooks.
Co-founders of TRUFF, Nick Guillen and Nick Ajluni are making some big strides in the early days of the brand, with a new product that entices through its design, streetwear clout, and most importantly its taste, which isn't actually overpowered by spice, in case you were wondering.
TRUFF is quickly becoming a total staple in many kitchens, so here's what you need to know about the brand.
Truffles are a very particular ingredient, do you have a background or expertise in truffles?
Truffle is one of the most extraordinary ingredients in the world. Food connoisseurs claim that truffle is something that is experienced not tasted, which makes truffle the go-to ingredient (if it's even available) to elevate any dish. Our goal was to create a hot sauce that would heighten the senses when paired with a dish, and the final product, was TRUFF. We don’t have any formal background with truffles, and we aren’t chefs or mycologists. We just have a genuine appreciation for extremely unique food experiences.
Why black truffles?
There are some noticeable differences between black and white truffles. You usually see white truffle used as a finisher on top of an already cooked dish, however cooking them can effect their potency. In our case, we use real black truffle along with an olive oil that’s infused with black truffle essence. Above all, the use of truffle essence allows for consistency, which is extremely important when it comes to food.
How did you manage to get the IG handle @Sauce?
Nick Guillen was always an avid Instagram hustler and came across its availability a few years ago. The exact details are something we consider a trade secret but we will say that it was one of the original inspirations for creating TRUFF in the first place. @Sauce is currently our home base. It gives us an avenue to talk to people and show them what this brand is up to.
What dishes/foods are best to add TRUFF to?
Some of our favorite dishes include proteins, (fish, chicken, steak,) veggies, salads, soups, pizza, eggs, tacos, and even as a spread on burgers (yes, In-N-Out Burger) and much more. Without having happy ears, the majority of our users tell us “it just makes everything better.” We get asked almost everyday what to put TRUFF on and our usual answer is, “you tell us!” Versatility is key for TRUFF.
What Inspired the branding?
No one has really approached a bottle of hot sauce as something that could be eye-catching or elevated. More importantly, we felt that the sauce that we were presenting to the world deserved to be delivered in an extremely elegant way. Our cap was inspired by a modern black truffle and the name “TRUFF” is obviously a reference to one of our key ingredients. When we first thought of it, we liked it a lot. It sounded edgy, “short and sweet” but still packed a punch, just like the sauce.
We discovered the brand through Aaron Levant and Jon Buscemi, talk about their involvement.
Aaron and Jon are both partners in TRUFF. They’ve been extremely instrumental from both an advisory standpoint as well as in the exposure arena. Aaron grew up in a foodie household and has always had an extreme passion for hot sauce with the goal of creating one of his own. Jon heard about this and knew we were working on something as well, so he put us all in touch with the recommendation that we work together on it. Jon is a true master of luxury, as well as a huge foodie himself.
What are some of your other favourite hot sauces?
Huy Fong Sriracha and Cholula are probably the two main sauces that we grew up on. We used to put Cholula on watermelon and Sriracha on everything else. It’s a TRUFF life though, so we’d be lying if we said those brands still sit on the top shelf of our fridges.
What is your reaction to early streetwear co-signs from the likes of Ben Baller and others?
We are pretty thrilled by it and definitely appreciative. Since we launched, TRUFF has really resonated with tastemakers and influencers in streetwear and beyond, and it definitely has to do with our commitment to quality. Not only when it comes to the sauce, but in the elevated presentation as well. Streetwear also likes to gravitate towards things that are unique and haven’t really been done before, and TRUFF seems to check that box.
Ben Baller is awesome and we’ve actually both been following him for years now. More than anything he’s real and brutally honest. He’s always been vocal about hot sauce and his use of Sriracha, and when he came out and said that @Sauce was the new boss, it really carried a lot of weight. We were humbled by that.
Where can people get TRUFF?
Most people get TRUFF on our website, which is where we actually spend the majority of our focus as a business. Going digital allows us to connect with the consumer in a completely different way. On our website they can learn all about our product as well as ask us questions on via social media or e-mail. Most importantly we can showcase the many uses of TRUFF, as well as the lifestyle through our Instagram @Sauce. Our Instagram story is usually lit, with food pics, cooking videos, and of course, Truffle Thursdays!
In terms of actual stores, we do stock in select retailers around USA, Europe and Canada, including Smets Store (Luxembourg), RSVP Gallery (LA and Chicago), soon to be Solebox (Europe), Mohawk General Store (Los Angeles), Wally's (Beverly Hills), and of course Uncle Paulie's Deli. There are also multiple other boutiques that stock TRUFF around the world.