Today, everybody, we have a new addition to my review lineup. Another company who has sent me free sauces to sample, a mere two weeks after my last Mahi review.
Today, I’ll be introducing you to Opal Sunshine:
A small business run by one woman and her family through all the usual social media platforms. I am told that Opal has a website on the way but, in the mean time, you can find her and her sauces @sunshineopal on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
They’re vegan, all natural and made using a blend of scotch bonnet and habanero peppers but that’s not what excites me about this company. No, what excites me about Opal’s cooking is the cuisine that it claims to be rooted in.
Her recipes were crafted in belize, which I didn’t even know was a country until I encountered Marie Sharp’s sauces, but everything that I’ve had from the place has had a stunning freshness to it.
UK cooked belizean recipes alone are enough to give me high hopes for her products but there’s something else here. An ingredient that I’d never heard of before. Recardo.
According to the internet, Recardo is a rich, skinny guy with a big bald head and crazy basketball skills but, in reality, this ingredient turns out to be a belizian variant of achiote – A mexican spice paste that uses annatto seed as its main ingredient.
Annatto, itself, isn’t rare. It’s a common red or orange food colouring, most notably used in red cheese.
What is rare, though, is using it for flavour. Outside of a select few mexican sauces like Valentina and 📽️Gringo Bandito📽️, I have never eaten anything that tastes quite like it.
It’s nutty, with possible nutmeg elements to it, and it’s deeply earthy like cocoa but it’s also as red in flavour as it is in appearance and has a pepper-like quality to it. It tastes like something spicy, even, just without the heat.
Achiote paste is delicious stuff and has been livening up me and my family’s mexican cooking since I discovered it about a year ago. So to see something similar coming out of belize, well, let’s just say I’m looking forward to this set of sauces a lot!