At the GFAF Expo last September 2014, I was surprised to see Goya Foods as one of the exhibitors for the event. The brand has been a staple in grocery stores for ages. That is why I wondered what are they doing in a gluten free and food allergy expo. Though I was really curious, I wasn't able to have the chance to talk to their representatives there because of the big crowd that never disappeared in their booth.
Then, earlier this year, I got an email from them asking if I would be interested to be part of their blogger campaign. Since I have been a consumer of their brand way before our food allergy journey, I decided to say yes and give it a try. After all, I'm a big fan of their canned calamari, olives and beans.
As I did some research about the company, I was delighted to find out that this company is actually based here in the Garden State. I love local businesses!
Anyway, here are the products Goya foods sent me to try.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
I've seen this on grocery shelves for years. However, I never really had the confidence to grab a bottle. Even if it is really affordable. Maybe it's because of the simplicity of the packaging. Perhaps, it's the notion that specialty ingredients such as oils and vinegars have to be pricey to be good. I don't really know. That's why I got really excited to use it on my recipes.
To my surprise, Goya's extra virgin olive oil's quality is at par with some of my favorite expensive brands. It has a nice sweet undertone that works perfectly well with seafood and fish. The flavor is really mild which makes it a good butter substitute.
Adobo Light Seasoning
The original Adobo seasoning has been a staple in many households for generations. Though many of my chef friends swear that it is their secret ingredient, I haven't really used it in cooking. I find the original one too salty that's why I barely use it.
Then came the Light versions of Adobo seasoning (less sodium). Both versions (with black pepper and without black pepper) is not a staple in my pantry. I used it to add flavor to my gluten Fried Calamari and it turned out really good.
Growing up in the Philippines, I have known yuca (also known as Cassava) as a common ingredient in desserts. Back there, this starchy root vegetable with a very mild flavor is used in different types of snack cakes. When mixed with coconut and sugar, this potato like vegetable becomes a well loved delicacy.
When the people at Goya sent me some recipe ideas for yuca, I was shocked to find out that in most countries, it is served as something savory and not a dessert which I am accustomed to.
Since the hard work of peeling the hard skin was already taken cared of, I started to use it as a ingredient to replace potatoes in some of my well loved dishes.
Above, is my Drunken Stew Recipe. I used frozen yuca in place of potatoes and it readily thickened the sauce which I love. The sweetness of yuca also enhances the flavor of fennel and cognac.
With potatoes as inspiration, I made Yuca Mash using my the Dairy Free Mashed Garlic Potatoes recipe here on the blog. To my surprise, all four of my kids love it. The smooth and creamy texture is really close to the dairy laden mashed potatoes yet, it didn't require plenty of butter or any cream. Thus, it is way healthier and lower in calories.
This review has been a eye opener for me. Who knew that Goya Foods has long been making products which are naturally gluten free and food allergy friendly all these years? The best part is that we don't have to spend an arm and a leg to enjoy them. Not to mention, most are already readily available in our local grocery stores.
By taking a closer look to well loved brands such as Goya Foods, we can actually have delicious gluten free foods while on a budget.
Have you tried any of the above Goya products? What are your thoughts?
(Note: I was given free products to review for this post. This, however has no effect on my opinions and experiences about the brand. Please see my full disclosure here. )