The most provocative portion of the interior of the Hot Shot Bakery is their “Wall of Flame.” The entire premise for the wall came about as an accident. Stoppelbein dipped some of the datils in chocolate as a garnish for a birthday cake for someone she knew. The next day, party attendees came to the bakery looking to buy the unorthodox treats.
“I told them they weren’t for sale,” she said, “but offered to make some for them if they wanted to come back the next day.”
If you make them, they will come? Why, yes, that’s what happened! Someone suggested that she take photos of people who ate the peppers in the shop, so they started with photos of ten people. But word got out, and little by little people wanted to get their faces on the board.
“Now we easily have 2,000,” laughed Stoppelbein. “People come through my door and ask ‘Is this the home of the hot pepper?’ and I say yes, it is – if you eat a pepper, I’ll make you famous!”
Once a year Stoppelbein hosts a “Datil Eating Contest” to see who can eat the most peppers. This year, the winner ate 52 peppers in five minutes. “He didn’t even show it,” said Stoppelbein. “He came into the bakery after the winning the contest and ate lunch. It was hysterical.”
Read more about Sherry Stoppelbein and her St. Augustine datil peppers and sauces in Epicure and Culture.