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Sweet Heat Co. takes gold in Utah Cheese Awards

October 18, 2021

By Mike Weland

Derek Blumenschein
A small Bonners Ferry business with a penchant for spicing sweet things up was recognized with two medals in the "Best of the West" Utah Cheese Awards, to be presented at the 2021 Tasting Reception and Medal Ceremony November 11 at Bewilder Brewing in Salt Lake City.

Now in its fifth year, Utah Cheese Awards were offered for businesses outside the Beehive State for the first time in 2021, and Derek Blumenschein, Bonners Ferry, owner of Sweet Heat Co. Premium Quality Pepper Jelly, submitted his entries.

A panel of independent judges sampled the entries in August, and awarded Sweet Heat's roasted garlic pepper jelly a gold medal and their signature huckleberry pepper jam a silver.

Sweet Heat Co. was founded in 2008, when Blumenschien, an avid gardener, had a bumper crop of jalapeno peppers. He set about finding something to do with them and found a recipe for pepper jelly on the side of a pectin box.

He liked what he created, and gave jars of his spicy jellies as Christmas gifts and the recipients loved it. The following years, his unique product was added to his lineup at the Bonners Ferry Farmer's Market, where the accolades grew.

In 2010, he established Sweet Heat Co. and began producing in quantity in the commercial kitchen at the Bonner Business Center and he sold at farmer's markets around the region, at events and at retail locations including Sharon's Country Store, Under the Sun and Moose Valley Farms in Bonners Ferry and Millers Country Store, Uniquely Sandpoint and Winter Ridge Natural Foods Market in Sandpoint and The Culinary Store and Marketplace Gifts in Coeur d'Alene.

With continued help from his mom, family and friends, as well as a few wonderful employees, Sweet Heat Co. continues to grow and gain recognition in an ever expanding range.

To learn more, visit or call (208) 267-9021.

Questions or Comments? Send us an email!

Mike Weland, Publisher  

6931 Main St.
P.O. Box 1625
Bonners Ferry, ID 83805
(208) 295-1016

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