Salsa Vaquera (VA-KAY-RA), or "Cowboy Salsa" adds a dash of the wild west to your Mexican meal. With tomato, black beans, corn, jalapeno and cracked black pepper, this hearty salsa is delicious on top of nachos, in your burrito, spooned over a taco, or eaten with a handful of Tio Pablo Totopito Tortilla Chips.
Mr Nine got very excited when he saw the jar this product was packed in as we had been talking about everyday words in other languages, so he recognised the word Tio. This led to a whole discussion about Spanish and Mexican cuisine, and how Paul (one of his school friends) would be Pablo in Spanish! This was before we had so much as opened the lid to sample the contents, but it does show what thoughtfully designed packaging can achieve. Mr Nine was so chuffed to realise he was eating Uncle Paul for dinner that it did not occur to him that he might not actually like the contents.
Once we had taken the lid off, Mr Nine tasted a little and declared that it was ok - it was slightly too spicy for him, but he liked the colours in the jar and once he had tried a little with a potato crisp rather than on its own he found it was quite acceptable. The whole mix exudes colour - reds, yellows and greens, with the darker shades of the black beans adding interest. The adults liked the sophisticated mixture of flavours and textures while the children picked out individual items so they could assess them separately. At one stage, Miss Seven had lined up several different items on her plate so she could see what she was eating - but, as her mother said, it meant that when the pieces were large you could pick out something if you did not like it! However, like her brother, Miss Seven did like it all.
We tried the first half of the jar as a dip with potato chips and vegetable sticks (carrot and celery). The second half we served on top of some nacho chips with added vege mince, sliced avocado, sour cream, and grated cheese. The children enjoyed it like this, but the adults thought it needed more heat. It does contain spices like black pepper and jalapeno, but we found it lacking in flavour. We compensated by adding a shake of hot sauce to our own portions. Having said that, however, it is easier to add heat than to remove it. When you are feeding a group of people which includes children, it is probably better to err on the mild side so they can eat it too.
I thought the price was quite high for a product like this, so would rank it in the special-occasion group rather than as an everyday purchase. However, it is a highly attractive item, so much so that it would make a great gift for a special occasion. It is obvious that a lot of time and effort has gone into the design of the label, using colours which reflect the contents, and as Mr Nine would agree, an eye-catching label is going to ensure that the product is noticed on the shelf.
I don't feel there are a lot of options out there in this country for salsa. I feel El Paso has the market. At least that what I've seen on the shelves where I shop. So when I saw Tio Pablo's salsa I was sold. I'm very bored with El Paso and keen to try something different. Mild salsa is my jam. I'm not a burn your mouth so you can't taste flavors kinda gal. I don't like things too complicated. So when I could try Tia Pablo's Tortilla Chips I was all in.
The label on the jar says black bean and corn which is a treat. I've made homemade salsa before and have always enjoyed loads of chunks. Upon opening the jar I could already see the corn at the top; big plus. The flavor is there and the chunks are definitely there. Man this stuff is a treat compared to the goop other brands are. You know what you're eating in every bite. The spice level is good too. Exactly what mild should be. I'm very keen to try this on taco night! I like to add my salsa to the meat I'm cooking and less of the seasoning they give you in the packets. Now if they could make a smooth version for my husband we'd be in business. We are on total opposite spectrum when it comes to salsa. I'm chunky and he's smooth.
I think this is going to be my go-to salsa from now on. Going to have to move taco night up in the week.
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