When it came to reviewing this salsa by the Art of Chipotle, I knew that it was going to be a challenge. Partially because Linda did such a good job with her review of the Pineapple Mojito Salsa and partially because with chipotle products I am sometimes out of my element. It’s not that I dislike chipotle…not the case at all. It’s just that I don’t always appreciate the flavor nuances with it the way that Linda does since it’s her favorite pepper.
So, for this product I had to call in the cavalry to help. I could speculate all I wanted about this sauce, but I enlisted about ten of my co-workers from the hospital where I am a resident to help me with tasting, critiquing, and speculating about possible uses for this salsa. So, my review will encompass a combination personal/group review. About this salsa, the AoC website says:
Unique & full of flavor. Fresh mango and ginger combine for an amazing flavor blast. Great with chips or grilled meats, poultry, fish & tofu. Pleasing heat perfect for all ages & heat tolerances.
Mango isn’t exactly new to salsas by any stretch, but ginger was a first for me. In fact, the ingredients list is quite an eclectic combination:
Ingredients: tomatoes, water, onions, mangos, brown sugar, chipotle paste (dried & smoked jalapeno peppers, tomato paste, water, vinegar, salt, citric acid), tomato paste, cilantro, ginger puree, lime puree, salt, natural mango flavor, xanthan gum
The basis, as with all the Art of Chipotle products, is their chipotle paste. The rest of this salsa is built around that. The aroma is mostly chipotle, but I (and most of the people who took a whiff of it) could really detect the powerful scent of the ginger. It’s a medium-thick salsa that does have a little chunkiness to it and is viscous enough to stick to most foods to which it would be applied. You see it here:
Taste: First for the quotes from the tasting quorum. Four of ten liked the salsa, saying “I liked the sweet-hot finish”, “Not bad – I liked it more than I thought I would (based on the ingredients)”, “A sweet salsa with a spicy second wave”, and “It might be good as a meat sauce/marinade.” Those who disliked it had such strong statements as “I just didn’t like it”, “Ginger taste is too strong, and I wouldn’t purchase it”, “I didn’t like the smell, so I didn’t taste it”, “NOT for use with salty chips, and should be reserved for using with some of the recommended uses.” Two were ambivalent, saying “I would eat it if offered, but probably wouldn’t buy one” and “Not totally horrible, but it has some serious potential if used correctly.” All agreed it was a uniquely tasting salsa, and was a taste they’d never before tried or heard of with a salsa.
As for me, I found myself agreeing with the crowd in one regard. I didn’t like it for chip and dip snacking. The ginger-sweet taste just needed something else besides chips and salt to go with it. There is an blitzkrieg of sweetness when I try this salsa, followed by the mellow earthiness and burn of the chipotle that is so characteristic of AoC products. My instinct was to use this with meats, particularly ones like pork and lamb. The sweetness would offset with the flavor of those perfectly! As a dip with cream cheese or used as a substitution for fruit as an addition to cottage cheese would also be good. That said, this is one of the few salsas I’d recommend to go really well with dairy products…be it cream cheese, cottage cheese, or even eggs.
One particular comment which surprised me came from one of the “dislike” votes from above. She told me that her mother has celiac disease and struggles to find gluten-free products that she both likes and can eat. While she didn’t like it herself, she would recommend to her mom in an instant. That speaks volumes to me about the quality of the product, whether you find that it suits you or not.
Overall recommendation: This salsa offering from the Art of Chipotle may not be best used as chip and dip eating, but you’re welcome to try. Opinions were split pretty evenly down the middle by the group, but we all agreed that this is a gourmet salsa and should be used as one. Use it in cooking or on any fancy fru-fru dish where you need that perfect unique flavor to spruce up the flavor. However you use it, you need to try it to experience the flavor for yourself so you can make your own decision. Enjoy!