Not only has the pandemic forced us to cook most of our meals at home, but it has also influenced us to be more conscious consumers. Even if we order takeout, we all know how important it is to get it from a small, local business in our neighborhood during these times. And the same goes for what we decide to fill inside our fridges and pantries. You might have been recently scrolling through Tiny Bodega to find POC-owned products or even bought the “Millennial-looking” sustainable brands that Instagram has sneakily targeted to you. But I’m sure there’s still a lot more room in your kitchen for more flavor.
Whether you’re a Latinx person missing your family’s homemade recipes or just a curious amateur cook looking to spice up your quarantine meals, here are some of the Latinx-owned brands that promise to add the flavors you've been looking for all along.
Yahaira Jacquez is passionate about oatmeal. But in order to make it really tasty, she noticed that she had to make it from scratch, which can be time consuming. The conventional options she stumbled upon were packed with a lot of sugar and not much nutritious value that she was craving to feel energized in the morning. That’s when the idea of the Pinole Chia Oatmeal, which launches later this month, came in to play.
It’s a super quick, easy-to-make, low-sugar oatmeal that is equal parts delicious and nutritional. The star ingredient here is the pinole, a prehispanic ingredient extracted from olotillo corn. Jacquez was inspired by her grandmother, who always told her that pinole will make her strong like the Tarahumara superathletes of Northern Mexico, who consume it to fuel their long distance runs. The result is a delicious and cozy breakfast, full of fiber, protein and gut-friendly prebiotics.
Back when the Goya controversy happened, a lot of my Latinx friends (and even Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortés!) were sharing Loisa products as a better quality alternative to Goya. The brand was founded by a group of friends who were tired of cooking with brands that had unnecessary artificial ingredients and fillers, which didn’t even bring the Latin flavors they were craving to the table. Determined to give packaged spices a much-needed upgrade, they created Sazon and Adobo from their own kitchens in NYC. With only organic ingredients, they achieved the exact must-have flavors every Latinx person needs to have in their pantries.
If you know a Peruvian, you know they have to have their spreads at “la hora del lonche,” or the hour that the family gathers to eat dinner that mostly consist of a warm beverage like coffee or tea, toast with a fruit spread, sandwiches, and/or pastries. That’s why it’s not surprising that Llama Land co-founders Lisa and Ismael Petrozzi consider the Lúcuma spread as one of their star products. This Andean superfruit, also known as “the gold of the Incas,” contains high quality minerals such as iron, calcium, and zinc. The flavor can be described as a cross between maple syrup and caramel, which adds the most delicious touch of sweetness to your breakfast or snacks.
Created by food blogger and owner of Lola’s Mercadito Dolores Wiarco Dweck, also known as Lola, this small batch Mexican Vanilla Bean is what you would want to use in place of plain sugar to add the sweet element to your favorite desserts, cereals, and drinks. As anything Lola does, this product is created with the intention of bringing Mexico’s flavors to your everyday meals.
Make sure to favorite her Etsy shop!
Maritza Abreu noticed that the hot sauce at her parents’ Dominican restaurant was getting a lot of traction. With her parents’ blessing, she decided to bottle the sauce and expand its production to satisfy consumers’ demands. That’s how Pisqueya was born. Her take is a bit less spicy than the original to get more people to try its incredible flavor, but if you want to add some tropical flavors to your recipes, the Spicy Sweet version is the best way to start. With ingredients like passionfruit, carrot, lime juice, and Caribbean chile, it will surely brighten up your days.
Puerto Ricans take coffee very seriously and most of them can agree that Gustos Coffee Co. is one of the best brands out there. Founded in 1999 by Daniel Omar Torres and Grisel León, their production started on their own farm in Yauco, but they currently source fully ripened cherries from other locations around the island, making sure that every single one meets the highest standard. We highly recommend ordering a bag of beans and freshly grinding them yourself. You’ll thank us later!
There’s always room for dessert, right? Cajeta is a Mexican sweet made with goat’s milk, cane sugar, and syrup, and Josefa made this beloved product to celebrate those magical family moments that involve spreading cajeta over toast, on top of ice cream topping, or simply eating it by the spoonful. Whether you choose to get the original, coffee, vanilla flavor or all three, you will be looking forward to dessert time every single day.
Puerto Rican chef Ventura Vivoni is making Puerto Rican flavors accessible to the world. Besides his outstanding job as a chef, he wanted to make sure that your home cooked meals tasted as good as the food he prepares in his own restaurant on the Island. That’s when Chulería en Pote comes in, the perfect blend of 12 spices to sprinkle over literally every savory dish you’re preparing. The name of the brand is a Puerto Rican phrase that translates to “cuteness in a jar,” which is what they call people when they’re sweet or help you with something. These spices will for sure help you become an outstanding cook. Make sure to make space in your pantry for this!