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Archive for the ‘Sauce’ Category

Ben and Jerry’s is probably the most commonly sited feel good entrepreneurial story about a Vermont business.  That’s understandable, it’s a great story and one that has done a tremendous amount for the Vermont brand.  (Some will debate whether there’s any value to branding products as Made in Vermont, but that’s an argument for another time.) While Ben and Jerry’s is the story everyone knows, there are hundreds of other Vermont products out there with the potential to be next big thing and certainly dozens that will achieve national standing and recognition.

Salad dressing certainly isn’t on the same plane as ice cream, but the arc Drew’s products have an impressive reach nationwide.  The Sapbucket recently uncorked a bottle of Drew’s Lemon Goddess Dressing for a salad of baby greens.  Despite coming from a professional looking bottle, the dressing has a taste of being homemade and is a  perfect choice for pairing with fish, quiche or other lighter fare.  There’s a lightness to the dressing that belies it’s a creamy (but not too heavy) texture.  A nicely blended flavor of  soy, lemon and tahini makes the dressing a nice addition to a variety of salads and we’ll be curious to see how it works as a dressing for noodles (as suggested by Drew’s).  Drew’s doesn’t rely on it’s Vermont roots for branding purposes, but is one the growing number of nationally recognized products made here.  If we’re truly going to be a leader in eating local, we need more products like Drew’s to be made and consumed in Vermont.

Verdict: A fresh tasting dressing perfect for foods you might cook up in summer Vermont weather. 

Made in Chester, Drew’s dressings are currently on sale at most Co-Ops and natural food stores for $2.19 a bottle (regularly $3.89).  Check out Drew’s full line of “all-natural” dressings and where you can find them from coast to coast

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Gringo Jacks Smokin Whiskey BBQ Sauce

Our fridge almost always has a bottle of barbecue sauce somewhere inside.  Whether for an impromptu grilling session, or to slather on some leftover pork for a sandwich, it’s a staple.  Gringo Jacks Smokin’ Whiskey BBQ Sauce has been holding that staple spot in the fridge for the past few months.  The sauce has a very bright chili pepper nose.  The tomato base of this sauce stands out and the spices accent more than dominate the tangy sweet flavor.  Perhaps we’re too accustomed to have our whiskey over ice, but we didn’t get a big hit of it here.  The sauce finished with a great medium level heat that lingered, slowly simmering on the tongue.

Verdict: A tasty tangy-sweet BBQ sauce.

Cooked up in Manchester, Gringo Jacks BBQ sauce can be found throughout the state.  Check out their other products as well as their restaurant

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Doesn’t salsa pretty much embodies the concept of Think Globally, Act Locally?  Here’s an international food that you can make easily with items out of your own garden.  Which is what Dave from Rutland did with chile peppers in his garden to arrive at this salsa.  Throw on a label depicting a happy sun with a newt crawling on its face, give it a name that indicates it tastes good while also making a reference to your Rutland neighborhood and your good to go.

This salsa met a number of my desires for chip dip-a-bility and taco topping, not always an easy feat.  I probably lean towards favoring a chunkier fresh salsa as my salsa of choice.  But sometimes you don’t want to have to worry about your tomatoes tumbling off your chip and dribbling down your shirt.  Or you want a good coating on your chip, not just a small pile of veggies on the corner. This salsa is like a smoothish gazpacho, a chunky salsa that took a few turns in the blender.  The smokeyness is really what stands about the salsa, it lingers and entices you back into eating more chips, almost counterbalancing some of the heat.

Verdict: They say, “Good for the gut.” I say, “Tastes good in my gut.”

Made in Rutland, we snacked on this salsa after a stop at City Market.

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We haven’t used any clichés recently, so we’ll use one to describe this mustard: Good things come in small packages.  This thick, creamy mustard tastes sweet up front and has a slow developing peppery heat.  It’s tangy and delicious, pretty much everything a mustard should be.  We used this as the base for a honey mustard salad dressing, put it in sandwiches and dipped a few pretzels in it.

Verdict: The NEK Mustard Co. tells you to “Tempt your taste buds,” we concur. 

Started in 1994, the Northeast Kingdom Mustard Company was sold to Jed’s Maple Products in 2004.  We received this jar as a gift from family, you can buy larger jars online here.

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Mrs. Sapbucket loves spicy things, particularly those involving chipotle.  A few years back she got caught up in the infusion wave and popped a few chipotle peppers in a bottle of vodka.  For a few weeks we enjoyed a variety of spicy cocktails, often tempering the heat with pineapple juice, and they were fantastic.  But then the bottle of vodka with the peppers in it moved from the front of the cupboard to the back where it sat forgotten for months.  When we rediscovered the bottle, the vodka was a dark rusty brown and we checked our noses for burns after opening it and smelling the “bouquet.”  Too bad we didn’t have some of this Benito’s in the cupboard or we would have been able to get our spicy-sweet fix.

You have to admire the gusto of an entrepreneur who dares to meddle with the perfection that is maple syrup.  We tasted this blend on its own and then drizzled over some pulled pork.  The syrup retains its essential maple flavor and is the first thing you taste.  Then the chipotle flavor takes hold as the syrup coats your mouth.  It was a wonderful flavorizer for the pork and we’ll definitely be keeping this one at the front of the cupboard.

We bought it for $7.59 at Healthy Living, check them out at http://www.benitoshotsauce.com/

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