I am so excited to finally get this review up. It has been a long-time in the making but this summer was a bit crazy from a scheduling standpoint. So, let’s file this under the better late than never category. The last Food Fête that I attended yielded many new gluten-free finds but there was a true standout among all the brands that were displaying their wares – White Girl Salsa. They were kind enough to send me their entire salsa line to sample and sample it I did.
Now I like (not love) salsa. It’s one of those condiments that I will use when making tacos or eat with tortilla chips but to be quite honest I am not a tomato person. Again, I’ll eat them but I am more likely to pick them out of my salad than go out of my way to eat them. So, you can understand my hesitation when the bubbly ladies from White Girl salsa approached me and asked if I wanted to try their product. Their first question was “Do you like salsa?” Um, okay, yes I like it <as I internally made that face – you know the one>. I took a chip and saw one of their varieties was Chipotle (which I really like) so thought it might as well taste like a flavor I truly enjoy. Well, let’s just stop the presses for a moment. I had not picked-up on the fact that this was a tomatillo-based salsa so when I took my first bite there was a little fiesta in my mouth and everyone was invited. I am not one to gush at these types of events but my internal that face was suddenly squealing like a little girl. I just couldn’t believe how good these were.
Again, let’s take everything you have come to know about salsa – love it or hate it – crumple it up into a tiny little ball and cast it aside. White Girl Salsa is nothing like you have come to expect – and for this salsa liker made me actually fall in love with salsa again.
We have established that the base for these salsas is tomatillo. Now, you are probably thinking, but Gluten-Free Mike, if they are all tomatillo-based than don’t they all taste the same? Oh, ye of little faith. The flavor range for these salsas is what truly floored me. The come in five varieties: Hot Tomatillo, Medium Tomatillo <go on guess what’s next>, Mild Tomatillo, Cranberry Mango, and my all-time personal, rocked my gluten-free socks off favorite Smokey Chipotle.
The mild version is a wonderfully complex mix of balanced acidity with a very subtle spicy undertone. If I had to describe it in one word it would be fresh. This paired perfectly with the old standby of tortilla chips but let me just come clean now and confess that I pretty much put this on everything I ate for the next few days until the jar was empty.
The medium packs all of the same flavors as the mild but they are elevated by just a notch or two of additional heat. On the milder side of medium as not to distract from the flavor. This worked particularly well over a grilled chicken breast and I may or may not have put it on a baked potato – don’t judge.
The hot, as expected was the hottest of the five varieties but again it was not some crazy-level of heat that ruins all it comes into contact with. It was not hot for the sake of being hot but rather hot for the sake of elevating the flavor profile. Don’t get me wrong, it was hot but not run and get a glass of water <bad idea by the way> kind of hot. This worked well on everything from chicken to eggs and pretty much anything I could get it on before it was gone – it actually was the perfect mix-in for homemade tacos. I always season my own ground beef filling and typically – coming clean here – toss in a few spoonfuls of regular salsa while the meat is browning.
As I alluded to earlier, the Smokey Chipotle was the first White Girl variety I tried and what made me fall in love with the brand. This is hands down the most unique flavored salsa I have ever some across. There is something so very perfect about how the smokiness plays off the tomatillos – it takes a bit of the tart edge off making for a well-rounded and smooth finish (bet those are not adjectives you ever thought would describe salsa). Believe me, neither did I. There was not a single food item that I dipped, covered, mixed-in, spooned-on, or cooked with that did not work well with this salsa. Tacos – no problem. Burgers – yes please. Potato chips – absolutely. You name it, I ate it with this. I actually had two jars of this variety because I had one from Food Fête and one that was kindly sent.
Last but not least is the mango-cranberry. Now I am so not a fruit as savory kind of guy. I’ve seen those other fruity salsa in the condiment aisle and just kept on walking. Somehow the thought of fruit with tomato (and yes, I know they are technically a fruit) always put me off – way off. Needless to say I was a bit apprehensive because I loved these salsas – each and every one so far and I had put off trying this variety to the bitter end. Alas, I should not have been worried because I was shocked to find that this flavor combination actually worked. Perhaps it was because it was sweet fruit (mango) paired with a more sour fruit (cranberry) that when combined with the tartness of the tomatillo that made for the perfect salsa trifecta. Who knows but I am not questioning it.