Over the past month, I’ve written a couple of reviews discussing products from Culinary Twist’s “Taste of Paradise” line of sauces and marinades. Suffice to say, I was a little disappointed by the two previous products. My reviews were by no means unkind or dishonest, but they did attract some attention from the folks at Culinary Twist, so I must have been doing something right. Today’s review, then, is the third and last of the sauces I received from them via James Wreck. I can’t say I’ve gone into this one with the highest of expectations, but I’m also willing to give each new product a clean slate. Without further ado, then, let’s check out some Baja Chipotle Lime Marinade & Sauce.
Water, Brown Sugar, Balsamic Vinegar (contains sulfites), Lime Juice, Canola Oil, Honey, Garlic, Ground Chipotle Peppers, Cilantro, Sea Salt, Jalapeno Peppers, Spices, Xanthan Gum
As with Culinary Twist’s other products, Baja is not necessarily meant to be a terribly spicy sauce. Thus, the presence of any peppers whatsoever is intended primarily for the flavor they can lend, which is why the chipotles and jalapenos are far down the list. Still, I like what I’m seeing here; there’s nothing really out of the ordinary, but there’s also a lot of good a company can do using only common ingredients.
I mentioned before that the Maya Bay sauce didn’t look much different from the Bora Bora, and the same holds true for the Baja. Like its sister sauces, Baja is a thick, soupy brown concoction, one that sticks pretty well to the inside of the bottle. Were it not for the label, I would be hard pressed to distinguish it from the other products in Culinary Twist’s lineup, but that’s largely because these products share a lot of the same ingredients.
Smell and Taste:
Brown sugar and vinegar smell rather interesting together. I would never advise anyone to go out and just eat those two ingredients only, but it’s a neat olfactory combination, especially when the vinegar isn’t too strong. I can smell a hint of smokiness from the chipotles, but there’s not much to the overall scent that tells me this sauce will be significantly spicier than its sisters, if at all. What’s really neat, though, is the flavor. It is initially sweet, but there’s a Mexican-style tang to it as well. The peppers aren’t a strong presence in the flavor, but the whole package works quite well.
Whenever a reviewer like myself has the opportunity to try nearly an entire product line, he’s bound to have a favorite. Well, folks, when it comes to Culinary Twist’s products, this one is mine. Though it still doesn’t have the spicy kick of some other things we review around here, that doesn’t bother me, and I want to stress that the Mild rating is not intended as an insult, at least not when the product isn’t advertised as having crazy levels of heat. What’s more important for a product like this is the flavor. While the aftertaste does leave a zesty, tangy sort of buzz on my tongue, it’s the Notable flavor that makes me love this stuff. This is an informal measure, but one of the requirements for me to give something a Notable rating is if I have to slow down my review because I keep wanting to eat the product. I could not honestly say that about Bora Bora or Maya Bay, but Baja is delicious enough to delay my writing. Great job with this stuff, Culinary Twist.
I highly recommend mixing a bit of this stuff into a pot of Spanish or Mexican rice, as the sweet and zesty flavor will be right at home. You won’t be in any danger of adding excessive heat to the dish, so it will work regardless of how much heat you can tolerate. It’s also ideal as a topping for fajita meat and tamales, and probably even fish tacos if you’re into that sort of thing. Don’t forget that this is both a sauce and a marinade, so try it out at various stages of food preparation.
I only received three products from Culinary Twist, but their Taste of Paradise line does have a fourth variety, one that was added just this year. Called Kyoto, it is a ginger-teriyaki marinade that promises to be reminiscent of Japanese stylings. I’m curious, and would love to complete the quartet with a review of Kyoto.