Culture

This Entrepreneur Worked For Years To Sell Her Authentic Mexican Sauces To The World And It Paid Off

In 2013, Lori Sandoval found herself in a tough predicament where she had to figure out what to do with her career. Fresh out of college and with plans to go to culinary school, she knew a career in food was part of her future. So she decided to pursue her passion and start a business around salsa where she could connect her Latina culture and background in cooking. Five years later, Sandoval is the proud owner of Salsaology, a line of all-natural and non-GMO cooking sauces inspired by regional Mexican flavors. The salsas reflect Sandoval’s desire to change the narrative on how Mexican products are viewed.

When Lori Sandoval first started making her salsa, she knew that she was on to something special.

credit: Salsaology
CREDIT: credit: Salsaology

Sandoval knew that if she put her background and experience into the salsas, she’d do great things with it. So she began showcasing her salsas at farmer markets. It wasn’t long until she realized this could be something bigger than a farmers market booth. She met a Whole Foods Market buyer who told Sandoval that if she could get the salsa mass produced they would carry her product in a few stores.

“I thought it would be easy to just start making them from home and go from there but I didn’t know there was so many guidelines and food standards to sell at Whole Foods,” Sandoval says. “That’s when I started looking for a manufacturer to help.”

Finding a manufacturer became one of Sandoval’s biggest challenges because of her ingredients.

She was denied by countless manufacturers that simply didn’t grasp what her product was truly about. Despite the passion she had and the success of the salsas, manufactures just didn’t understand it.

Manufacturers didn’t understand why her salsas had so many ingredients let alone their significance.

credit: Salsaology
CREDIT: credit: Salsaology

“They didn’t get it. They couldn’t understand that a salsa could have so many ingredients,” Sandoval says. “Everyone kept saying no and telling me you’re never going to sell $12 salsa.”

Sandoval says she kept having to explain to people the importance of her product and reminding them that salsa is more than just something you dip your chips in. She recalls constantly hearing stereotypical comments about Mexican food and manufacturers turning her away.

“I found myself having to defend my product and explaining that salsa means sauce.” Sandoval says.

After a year of getting her business shot down she finally got a yes from a manufacturer. However, there was one caveat — she had to get the ingredients herself. Sandoval agreed to the terms and would soon find herself driving through Los Angeles at the crack of dawn picking up ingredients in her SUV. She recalls the long mornings going from warehouse to warehouse getting pallets of cilantro and hibiscus and packing them in her car.

“That period in my life taught me a lot not only about food and how to start a business but about myself,” Sandoval says. “I did that for a year and knew this was what I needed to do.”

Today, Salsaology is sold across the country and has won multiple awards for it’s taste.

CREDIT: credit: Salsaology

By 2015, Sandoval’s vision was starting to take shape as Salsaology was getting picked up in over 250 markets across the country. Her vision of starting a business that was true to her background and culture was becoming a reality.

“When I saw the sauces at Whole Foods it was years of work come true,” Sandoval says. “I always wanted to create something that was part of me and there it was. I couldn’t believe it.”

Today, Salsaology is an award-winning sauce that has been sold across the U.S. and as far as Paris. Her line of sauces has grown to four including a seasonal pumpkin sauce with plans to eventually lower costs on her products. Sandoval credits those tough days jump starting her business as a reminder of where things are today.

“I wanted to create something you would find in Mexico but make it so you could experience it in your own home,” Sandoval says. “I feel that by making these sauces I’m taking back our food and re-creating what it really means to be authentic.”


READ: Here’s What These Top Mexican Chefs Have To Say About The Future Of Mexican Food In The US

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The Top 12 Salsas From Across Latin America, Ranked

Culture

The Top 12 Salsas From Across Latin America, Ranked

Jackie_testet / Instagram

Hot sauce has been a kitchen table staple for Latinos for thousands of years. The Aztecs pretty much invented it. We put it on eggs, on snacks, on meat….you probably have that person in your life who would put it on their finest cardboard and eat it up, the stuff is so popular. Anything that brings vegans and carnivores together at the dinner table deserves to be celebrated. Enjoy this roundup of hot sauces from all over Latin America to try out with your next meal.

1. Mexico: Cholula

Credit: cholulahotsauce/ Instagram

Made in Chapala, Jalisco, the sauce is made with a blend of piquín and arbol chiles. It’s often put up against Tapatio on American restaurant tables in a Coke vs. Pepsi level battle of the condiments. But we know there’s room for both. However, if you’re really dedicated, you might be able to join the Order of Cholula for exclusive offers.

2. Belize: Marie Sharp

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Made in Stann Creek, Belize, Marie Sharp started her line of hot sauces in her kitchen where she experimented with blends of Habanero peppers and jams and jellies made from fruits and vegetables picked from her farm. The brand has long outgrown the kitchen and went international. We stan an entrepeneurial queen.

3. Costa Rica: Banquete Chilero

Credit: hunter_t_morris / Instagram

This thicker sauce from Costa Rica gets its flavor from habanero peppers and carrots. Some might compare it to an asian sweet and sour sauce.

4. Guatemala: Picama’s Salsa Brava

Credit: beambeeaam/ Instagram

This mild, green sauce has a ketchup-like consistency and is made with serrano peppers. The color is straight up neon, but some people swear by it, stocking up on bottles when they visit Guatemala. Also, don’t you love when an abuela comes through like this?

5. Honduras: D’Olanchano

Credit: @OldJersey / Twitter

This hot sauce uses Tabasco peppers grown in the Olancho valley and later aged in wooden barrels to acquire its taste.

6. Nicaragua: Chilango

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Chilango Chile sources their ingredients from all over the world to create unique flavors in their line of hot sauces. The Cabro Consteño is made with the Nicaraguan yellow “goat” pepper grown on the Atlantic coast. The Habanero Chocolate gets its name from the dark, brown pepper it uses for flavor. It doesn’t actually have chocolate in it – whether that relieves or distresses you.

7. Panama: D’Elidas

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This yellow is made with Habanero peppers, mustard, and vinegar. Hot sauce lovers report getting a lot of that mustard taste in the sauce, so adjust expectations accordingly. People are known to fill up their suitcases with bottles before leaving Panama.

8. Brazil: Mendez Hot Sauce

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Mendez Hot Sauce is a brand out of Central Brazil where creator, Rafael Mendez strives for sustainable business practices that help his community. The sauce uses the locally sourced Malagueta pepper which creates work for local farming families, lifting many of them out of poverty.

9. Chile: Diaguitas

Credit: lutecastro / Instagram

Diaguitas is the most popular hot sauce in Chile, coming in a few flavors. It’s light on ingredients, letting the peppers speak for themselves. It’s salty, so handle with care to balance that taste out on your food.

10. Colombia: Amazon Pepper Sauce

Credit: lutecastro / Instagram

This brand uses a variety of Amazon peppers that grow at the edge of the rainforest in the Andes Cauca Valley. They blend the chilis with other tropical ingredients. They have a mild flavor that stands out made with guava. 

11. Ecuador: Ole

Credit: serieroom700 / Instagram

Ole carries a few different flavors, but it always goes back to the ingredients to make a hot sauce unique to the region it comes from. Ole uses the tena pepper which only grows in Ecuador. They have it on its own where you get the fruit taste with a lash of heat. They also put it in their Tamarillo sauce which couples the tena with the fruit from the pepper tomato tree.

12. Peru: Salsa de Aji Amarillo

Credit: PeruChef.com

What’s actually the most popular thing to do in Peru is to just make your own hot sauces. However, sometimes you can find bottled sauces that will satisfy the craving. The Peru Chef makes one with the aji amarillo pepper which has a subtle sweetness to it and is a cornerstone of Peruvian cuisine.

Of course, there are many hot sauces from all over Latin America that you’ll simply have to travel for if you want the best like Llajwa sauce from Bolivia. You could also probably stay home and get some bomb green sauce from King Taco.

It’s Romance Awareness Month And These Latino RomComs Are Perfect For Your Next Netflix And Chill

Entertainment

It’s Romance Awareness Month And These Latino RomComs Are Perfect For Your Next Netflix And Chill

FlixLatino / YouTube

Did you know that August is Romance Awareness Month? We’re guessing that, even if you didn’t, you probably felt it in your gut – and that’s what led you here. To get into the spirit of things, we’ve put together a list of ten latino rom-coms for you to watch through the dying days of summer. Just don’t blame us if you end up on a movie binge, babes.

1. Maid in Manhattan

Instagram / @malumatfurusco

Jennifer Lopez captures our hearts in this 2002 fairytale-like movie that would put the original Cinderella story to shame. Lopez stars as a hard-working single mom stuck balancing parenting duties with her long hours at a ritzy hotel in, you guessed it, Manhattan. Ralph Fiennes – the guy who is actually Voldemort in the Harry Potter films – plays JLo’s rich, handsome, and effortlessly charming love interest. 

2. Doña Herlinda y Su Hijo (Dona Herlinda and Her Son)

Instagram / @beyazgarga

Would it be possible to have a list of Latino rom-coms without a movie about a mother overly invested in her child’s love life? Welcome to the kitsch 1985 film, Doña Herlinda y Su Hijo. Dona is determined to see her son give her the grandchild she so desperately wants. The catch? He’s gay. And, not only that – he’s head over heels for a student in Guadalajara. So what happens when Dona arranges a marriage, to a woman, for her son? Guess you’ll just have to watch to find out.

3. Hitch

Instagram / @jocksnbeats

If you haven’t had the pleasure of watching this one before, then don’t be surprised to find out that Will Smith hasn’t even aged since this 2005 banger of a romance. Smith plays Alex “Hitch” Hitchens, who’s basically a dating coach crossed with every sleazy pick up artist you’ve feared swiping right on. His smooth game is disrupted when he meets Eva Mendes’ Sara, a career-driven, sassy Latina. Hijinks ensue as both of them eventually discover the value of a real, connected relationship.

4. Tan de repente (Suddenly)

Instagram / @marcelo.denicola

This 2002 black and white film begins with what seems like the start of just another workday for salesgirl Marcia. Of course, it’s anything but. She somehow ends up propositioned by two aggressive, dagger-wielding lesbians – Mao and Lenin. Even though Marcia isn’t interested, she’s abducted by the two, and is spirited away to the Lenin’s estranged aunt’s house. It’s there that Marcia learns that the two women aren’t as tough as they originally seemed.

5. From Prada to Nada

Instagram / @coronetfilms

Loosely based on Jane Austen’s classic novel, Sense and Sensibility, From Prada to Nada revolves around the trials and tribulations of two spoiled sisters left penniless from their father’s sudden death, who are forced to live with their estranged aunt in East Los Angeles. The two girls figure out pretty quickly that they’re going to have to work hard to get their standing back – whether it be by chasing careers, or chasing boys. 

6. Chasing Papi

Instagram / @fifiandromeo

This 2003 rom-com, starring Roselyn Sánchez, Sofía Vergara, and Jaci Velasquez, centers around three women who discover that they’ve all been dating the same man. Surprise surprise, they’ve all affectionately nicknamed him “Papi”. The movie twists and turns into not only chasing Papi, but also avoiding the cops and some shady criminals.

7. Elura, Te Daría Mi Vida Pero Lo Estoy Usando (Elvira, I would give you my life but I am using it)

Instagram / @holamexicoff

Released in 2014, this film follows 40 year old mother of two, Elvira, in her quest to find her husband, Gustavo. Even though all signs point to the likelihood of Gustavo having an illicit affair, Elvira doesn’t rest until her husband is found.

8. ¿Qué Culpa Tiene el Niño? (Don’t Blame The Kid)

Instagram / @morancasting

Our fave Karla Souza from How to Get Away With Murder stars as Maru in this Mexican film about a one-night stand that goes awry. After discovering she’s pregnant after a drunken night of fun, Maru decides the only way to move forward is by moving in with the father of her soon-to-be child. Naturally, things ramp up after she decides to move in with a complete stranger – but isn’t that the beauty of a classic rom-com?

9. Fresa y chocolate (Strawberry and Chocolate)

Pinterest / BFI

Considering this was the first Cuban film to be nominated for an Oscar for the best foreign language film, this 1994 gem begins with hints of a cute gay rom-com, before transforming into something else. The romance in this film is set against the political complexities of the Castro regime.

10. Corazón de Leon (Heart of a Lion)

Youtube / FlixLatino

This 2017 rom-com starts with the protagonist, León, discovering a lost cell phone. Naturally, he decides to call the owner, Ivana. Feeling their mutual attraction, León asks her out on a whim. But, he’s left out an important detail: he’s 4.4 feet tall. From there, Corazón de Leon explores how their mutual attraction could overcome shallow societal expectations.

So which movie are you going to watch first? Or, have you already seen them all? Tell us about it on our Facebook page – you can find it by clicking on the logo at the top of the page.

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