THE NIBBLE BLOG: Products, Recipes & Trends In Specialty Foods
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Archive for August 3, 2009

PRODUCT: Pace, The Father Of American Salsa

When you see a jar of Pace salsa on the shelf of your supermarket, are you aware that Pace is the brand that “started it all” in bottled salsa? While salsa seems ubiquitous—and unless you’re in the business, you won’t believe how many different brands there are—there was no salsa on the shelf in 1947 (just hot sauce), when Dave Pace introduced his original Pace Picante sauce. It was a smooth blend of tomatoes, onions and jalapeños. (In 1995, Pace Foods was acquired by Campbell Soup Company.)

Over the years, the “menu” has expanded to include Chunky Salsa, Pico De Gallo, Salsa Verde, Mexican Four Cheese Salsa con Queso, Pineapple Mango Chipotle Salsa and Black Bean & Roasted Corn Salsa.

Recently, we tried the latter two salsas, the newest additions to the line. Admittedly, we’re not into fruit salsa. We like salsa because it’s savory and sugar-free. Add fruit and sugar, and you’ve sweetened something that we enjoy because it’s the antithesis of sweet. Yet, peach, pineapple and mango salsas are big sellers: Never underestimate how the American palate has been warped to want sugar in bread, soup, stews, even salsa. We pour sugar onto our meat (barbecue sauce, steak sauce, ketchup) and potatoes (look at the ingredients in flavored chips).

Pace was the first commercial salsa in America, launched in 1947.

The Black Bean & Roasted Corn Salsa is also sweetened, to a lesser extent, with sugar and unsuphured molasses. If you’d like to try black bean salsa without sugar, our favorite is Jardine’s. Granted, it’s twice the price of Pace, but the savory salsas have no sugar and Jardine’s Salsa Bobos, (bobos is Spanish for “confetti”) is so thick with beans and corn that it could be served as a side vegetable. For old time’s sake, though, pick up a jar of Pace Picante Sauce and see how the whole salsa movement began.

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TIP OF THE DAY: Ice Cream Sandwiches

One of our favorite desserts is a simple ice cream sandwich, made by layering ice cream between two great cookies. On the rustic side are chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin cookies with vanilla or chocolate ice cream, or chocolate cookies with mint ice cream. But the gourmet side of us loves Tiny Trapeze graham crackers with ginger ice cream (Reed’s Ginger Ice Cream is wicked). The molasses clove cookies from Dancing Deer with vanilla ice cream are another favorite. Don’t hesitate to be creative: Try snickerdoodle cookies with rum raisin ice cream or lemon cookies with berry ice cream. Give your guests two or three small ice cream sandwiches with different flavors rather than one jumbo sandwich. The best thing is, with gourmet cookies perpetually on hand and ice cream in the freezer, you can turn out this simple yet exciting treat at the drop of a hat.

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