Christopher Serju, Gleaner Writer
Conveniently packaged in a colourful sachet with a twist-off cap, Matie Sauce Guavalicously Irie multi-purpose sauce and dip, catches the eye and tickles the mind long before you taste it.
Available in 'spicy' and 'mild', it's the new rhythm of jerk in a sachet, made from all-natural Jamaican produce - guava (of course), Scotch bonnet pepper, pimento and ginger. That's as much as Lloyd Sterling will divulge about what goes into the creation which is gaining favour with housewives and chefs across the island, some 10 years after he first came with up with the idea.
Concerned about gluten, other starches and artificial flavours used in the many imported ketchups and sauces widely available on Jamaican shelves, Sterling decided to take things in hand.
He told Food: "I decided to create a healthy alternative, using guava because it is readily available and which I consider one of the most underutilised fruits in Jamaica as the base ingredient. We paired it with ginger, pimento (allspice), cane sugar, Scotch bonnet pepper and started experimenting."
Initially, the concoction was used as a glaze for ham, then it was used with pork, chicken - jerked and baked, and is now used as the base of the jerk seasoning and sauce Sterling also produces.
"The product has proven itself to be extremely versatile and multi-purpose," he shared. "It's a dip, it's used as seasoning, as a marinade ... in just about anything and any way you choose to cook."
Manufactured under exacting standards at the Scientific Research Council's facility at Hope Gardens, St Andrew, the Matie Sauce line has been gaining ground since its 2009 launch. Available at major supermarkets and other outlets across the island, this all-natural Jamaican product continues to impress.
Sterling explains: "The response has been good in the sense that a lot of persons, when they hear of the product, they might be just curious, and then when they taste it are amazed by the range of flavours which they experience. It might start out sweet, then change to spicy, hot, sweet - reflecting the fact that we use the best available ingredients, 100 per cent home Jamaican."
Admitting that while there is strong interest in the Matie Sauce line, which had just put out a new product Peppa Di Pot, a hot sauce, when Food caught up with him, marketing is still at the sampling stage, the chef/caterer was just about to send off a small shipment to Turks and Caicos.
And that name Matie Sauce? In the words of its creator, that was a natural since the product goes well with everything. The packaging reflects a stroke of genius since, in addition to allowing for re-use, it fits easily anywhere in the refrigerator and takes up very little space.