World Foods was one of my favourite categories as a Food Buyer because it’s so dynamic, volatile and relatively inelastic. There will always be a core of world foods that fight for space on fixture, share of promotions and pounds in the wallet but there’s also the element of the unknown in the category.
World Foods, as an entity, is a brilliant socioeconomic dipstick as it is wonderfully self-funding: as the economy improves it becomes cheaper to travel, so more people travel; this, in turn, exposes people to more new food; these people come home and want to enjoy those experiences to remind them of a happier time so new restaurants emerge; as the wake type of restaurants build in popularity these cuisines creep onto food fixtures, firstly via the specialist outlets and other early adopters and then, when it’s safe, by bigger food retailers. I find it fascinating and, if you step back from the present for a moment, you can spot the trends and what has driven their development. For example, it’s no coincidence that Thai cuisine (Pad Thai, Chicken Laksa, Masaman Curry etc) have surged in popularity since Thailand became a regular Gap Year stop off.
So, you might ask, why don’t we enjoy more Spanish foods at home? Great question! We Brits love Spain but we’ve never fully understood its culture, preferring Irish Bars to traditional Catalonian Tapas Bars. You could argue that this is disappointing but I would challenge that and say it’s very exciting; a whole new Spain to explore!
Tapas bars are no longer novel but good quality products that allow us to emulate authentic Spanish cuisine is but I have found the answer – Spanish Passion!
This artisan producer works closely with a variety of experts in Spain to capture the essence of the culture as opposed to bastardising their flavours and Anglicising them.
Product Review: Spanish Passion Catalonian Sauce & Hot ‘n’ Spicy Harissa Sauce
Appeals to: someone seeking restaurant quality food with minimal effort, foodies with a discerning palate
I love the packaging on these products. The label oozes quality from the script to the grade of materials used. The messaging is simple but absolutely appropriate with a signature from Loretta to add authenticity and a credible back story. The instructions offered by the manufacturer highlight the versatility of the sauce whilst inducing suggestive inspiration. If I was being picky I might say that the glass jar is a little outdated with most large manufacturers moving to more convenient packaging (e.g. pouch or tub) however this trend isn’t reflected in the artisanal movement and, for me, there is a type of catharsis with shaking out a jar of thick sauce into a sizzling pan.
£2.99 – this price point is absolutely appropriate for the market and a product of this quality. The big boys in this category would fight it out at £1 but, in World Foods, you get what you pay for. Well worth the money.
Fantastic! I was really impressed with this sauce. It’s initially creamy, then sweet and then you’re hit by the tomatoes with a beautifully smooth texture that’s politely interrupted by perfect almonds. The sauce is light yet satisfying and it really lifts a dish and engulfs all the components and links them together.
Hot & Spicy Harissa Sauce
Again – fantastic! This sauce had a different feel and a different appeal to the previous. The lasting heat from the North African chillies is its signature but the depth of flavours throughout build a complete picture. The blend of tomatoes, sugar and sunflower oil sets great foundations for the hot and spicy kick!
Verdict – in a word, amazing! If this is how the explosion of Tapas Bars has translated into the retail arena then long may it continue. I believe the UK consumer has a lot to learn about Spanish food and I’m more than happy to let the guys at Spanish Passion take the lesson!