about - Sabor Mexicano Salsa, Berkeley, CA
Delivering Nature’s Miracles:
How Sabor Mexicano is putting the fresca back in salsa fresca
A good salsa is a side dish in itself. A step above the typical condiment, salsa is synonymous with freshness. Mexican food lovers are therefore surprised to discover that the following preservatives are commonly added to their salsa: phosphoric acid (bacteria regulator), potassium sorbate and sodium benzoate (yeast/ mold regulators), sodium bisulfite (color and freshness maintainer), calcium chloride (crunch maintainer) and xanthum gum (texture maintainer). Such culinary inventions have not only been linked to cancer, obesity and hyperactivity, but they have also taken the fresca out of salsa fresca. Not everyone, however, has decided to overlook the blessing of freshness, deep color, and chunky crunch in a natural tomato. Jorge Saldana of Sabor Mexicano continues to trust in Mother Nature’s miracles.
Jorge Saldana the proprietor of Sabor Mexicano believes in the faith of Mother Earth’s ability to produce flavor revelations inspired him to create his own line of homemade salsas. Using ingredients from their own organic farm in Guerneville, Sabor Mexicano provides Bay Area residents with preservative free, uniquely customized salsa delivered straight to one’s doorstep. Customers can simply go online and choose ingredients they would like in their salsa. For example, they can choose from over thirty varieties of hot peppers, and Jorge aims to have hundreds of varieties of peppers on his salsa menu in the near future. At the click of a button, chefs make the salsa, place it in a jar, label it and deliver it to your home. With the help of refrigeration, this personalized salsa can last over a week.
And for Jorge Saldana, this vision of an unprocessed life is extremely personal. His passion for salsa stems from his wonderment at his mother’s achievements in the kitchen. Imagine a different salsa made from scratch for every meal and perfectly paired with the elements of that meal. Whereas some Latino households might make one batch of salsa for the week, Jorge’s mother would conjure up a salsa every couple hours. Such a feat required close to one hundred different recipes.
Jorge packs Sabor Mexicano’s salsas with a vast array of surprises from the soil. For example, the roasted pumpkin seed salsa and the dried shrimp salsa that his mother taught him to make both contain chile de árbol, an ingredient that gives each a smoky flavor and darker color. At its opening in 1994, Jorge’s Berkeley restaurant Cancun only offered two salsas, but now Cancun showcases ten mainstay salsas and at least ten more that change on a daily basis. Jorge’s favorite is the “infierno” salsa, a spicy mixture of roasted habanero peppers, roasted tomatoes, caramelized onions and fresh cilantro. Jorge explains how the freshness yields the “dynamite flavor.” Even the “traditional” salsa creates a sensation with its simple components of roasted tomatoes, roasted chile de árbol, garlic, cilantro and onion. Similarly, the “salsa verde” incorporates a green tomato to achieve a refreshingly distinct taste.