Established New York food critic and author David Rosengarten continues to surprise and delight foodies with his wit and passion for flavors of all types. He’s just launched his new line of special finds called “Gastronomic Selections,” and the first products are a trio of varietal chile extracts made by farmer Bob Henry on his farm in Shenandoah Valley, Virginia. The chiles are handpicked and made into extract within 24 hours of harvesting. The process preserves the flavors of the chile and removes the bitter notes that are often found in peppers.The pure extracts are free from any additives.
Rosengarten met the farmer very recently, but the two bonded over a shared belief in the importance of pure flavor. Rosengarten was so impressed with Henry’s pure chile extracts that he bought the farmer’s entire 2012 harvest and hand-made production. Most chile sauces add other ingredients to define a specific taste. These are pure chile extract with nothing else added, with flavors Rosengarten likens to making “…great grapes into wine, (which) fully reflect the base material.” The true essence and spirit of the chiles shines in these extracts, which Rosengarten says “are the best hot sauces for cooking I’ve ever encountered.” Sure, they add heat, but they also improve and bring out the flavor in whatever you are cooking.
Rosengarten and Henry developed a trio of extracts called the “Chile Connoisseur Collection” that includes the Naga Jolokia Ghost Chile (considered to be the hottest chile in the world, with notes of bell pepper and tomato and said to be eight times hotter than a habanero), the Yellow Fatali (known as the “African Habanero” for its juice with piquant heat and fruity, sweet aromas) and the special micro-batch Jamaican Lime Chile (tangy and fresh to go with dishes like ceviche).
We were lucky enough to sample the trio today and found ourselves putting them on just about everything we could find in our kitchen. Though we didn’t get a chance to cook with them we did add them to soup and to chili, and were impressed with the flavors.