New Generation of Authentic Sauce Starters Are a Home Run
I am looking forward to a new year in the specialty food business, which is always full of delicious surprises. The innovation never seems to stop, and the flavors being presented are even more authentic. In this issue I uncover the trends I have been seeing, and present you with some new products that exemplify these trends.
I am not one to choose simple meal plans when preparing dinner, I just don’t like shortcuts. I think a little more effort, some better ingredients, and quality spices go a long way in creating a meal that is extremely satisfying. But, lately, I have been encountering some shortcuts that I actually do endorse because I couldn’t do better even if I tried at nailing the ideal flavor, and they do save substantial time both in preparation and hunting for ingredients like exotic spices. Since I have had the pleasure of visiting many places in the world, I have been exposed to some unique flavors. I find that recreating the spicy foods from Southeast Asia, Africa, Mexico, India, and the Caribbean that I enjoy so much from scratch is usually a daunting task. The availability of a quality pre-made spice paste or sauce mix that is made with the right ingredients can save me hours, and yield a finished dish that I can be very proud to serve to my family. Even better yet, I can avoid being scorned by my wife and children about the lingering smells dominating the household ambiance that are inherent when you simmer some of these sauces for hours.
Proof in point is the Mole Rojo sauce that I used to make some delicious chicken enchiladas for dinner last evening. All I needed was some shredded chicken, corn tortillas, and the jar of sauce, and dinner was ready after a quick trip through the oven. I do love the complexity of the flavors from Oaxaca and do hope to visit sometime. I have made Mole sauce before and it is a labor love that is probably better left to the skilled cooks from the region that have the right recipe and ingredients. Balancing the chocolate and the chiles takes skill, and there are almost endless variations. I found this purchased sauce to be exceptional, and it highlights a category that I am very excited to see growing in America. I believe that consumers are demanding more authentic flavors that they may have experienced in their travels, or at a great restaurant. Life has also become very busy once again, making this category of foods very timely in my opinion because it can help create a quick workday meal that is full of exotic flavor with little time and effort.
I hope that retailers experiment and expand the offerings in this category because they do offer a specialty food experience that will please the palate.