Posts Tagged ‘Peruvian’

Let’s Focus on the Food

Saturday, January 2nd, 2010

presentation23In 2009, we have seen a number of product launches as well as press releases on ingredient introductions and innovations.  These initatives on product rework and or product development  influenced by the economy, food recalls and changing health patterns resulted in these market trend reports on what consumers were looking for or want in their food product.    While there were many variations and versions of these terms (depending on which research firm has published the report), they all have recurring themes.

In retrospect, Ingredient Hotline has summarized these food trend findings into the 5 F’s:

  • Flavour
  • Frugality
  • Fitness & Function
  • Fun
  • Fair

These 5 F’s were the top 5 attributes that consumers searched for or were willing to pay for in the food products that they purchase and consume for 2009.

When it comes to food, flavour has always be a top priority of most consumers.   It may well be the healthiest ingredient on the planet, but it will be a challenge to market it if the product is not palatable.  People will not eat it, let alone pay for it.   This leads us to the next F word, frugality. Last year, we have seen many great food products launched in the market from the branded to their private label counterparts.  It was not surprising however, that private label sales performed very well since customers were looking for bargains and more value for money.  Imagine a product that tasted great, fit your budget and offered benefits to one’s health and well being  – what a bonus!  Fitness meant reduced sugars, sodium, trans-fats etc. & function referred to specific benefits to the body in terms of improving digestive health, immunity and others.    Improvements or creativity in packaging that sparked some interest or even convenience would fall under fun.  Novel flavours, colours and formats were also classified as a way to forget the harsh realties and savour some simple pleasures.    Finally, more consumers have expressed concerns and genuine interest in how their foods were grown or processed.   Is it locavore, raw food, fair trade, sustainable, is it fair?

Stay tuned for what’s in store in 2010!

In the meantime, we at Ingredient Hotline, Inc. would like to  thank you – our readers, suppliers and customers for giving us your time, attention and lots of encouraging words and well wishes.    The responses to the products have been very positive and we certainly look forward to a promising new year.    As a company who strives to provide unique, natural ingredients – we do not have any gimmicks.  Our focus has always been and will always be on food!

We wish you a new year of good health, good food, peace and prosperity!

The Ajíes of Peru

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009
A mix of Fresh Rocoto (red) and Aji Amarillo (orange) with Limes (green)

A mix of Fresh Rocoto (red) and Aji Amarillo (orange) with Limes (green)

Peru is a remarkable country with various food products and ingredients to offer the culinary world.  Their unique geographic location as well as historical roots have all helped to produce a diverse array of flavours and dish selections.   From a diet rich in seafood, corn, potatoes, ancient grains and meat to a plethora of natural yet functional plants, fruits and herbs.  Ajies or Pepper varieties abound in Peru.  As other countries, the pepper varietals come in vibrant colours and range of pungency.  The more commonly used varieties are Rocoto, Amarillo, Mirasol, Limo and the Panca pepper.

Rocoto (Capsicum prubescens)

copia-de-img_0574-copia2This is a meaty pepper that comes in a variety of vibrant colours, from yellow to red.   It has plenty of shiny, black seeds.    It is one of the hottest peppers of Peru with scoville units ranging from 30,000 to 70,00o – it depends if the seeds are used in the recipe.

Aji Amarillo

The Amarillo pepper is most widely used in Peruvian cooking. Always orange in colour, even though it is called the green aji.  It is about 10 cm long.  Although not very spicy, this peper is normally seeded and deveined before it is used in cooking.   It is milder than the Rocoto and is a main component in making  Huancaina sauce.     Huancaina sauce is a creamy blend of goat’s cheese, evaporated milk, amarillo pepper paste, garlic and cumin.    The dried version of this Amarillo pepper is called Aji Mirasol.

The Aji Mirasol is often seeded, scraped and left to soak in water for 12 hours or more before it is pureed and used in a sauce.  It has a mild, smoked flavour and it is used to make Panca paste.

Limo Pepper

The Limo Pepper is very similar to the Aji Amarillo in shape, but its colour is almost always red.  It is used fresh in ceviches.

Fresh Limo Pepper

Fresh Limo Pepper