We always look for ways to enhance our food. With the constant innovation in the food industry today, I am not surprised if there are several new products being introduced left and right in the market to improve our food experience. As an example, dips and spreads started to boom among small entrepreneurs to provide new flavour profile to our usual snacks and meals. I enjoy trying out a fraction of those delicious spreads from free-tastes in bazaars and groceries, but I had this impression they are way too expensive for me to keep a regular stock in my pantry.
Just recently, I had the chance to not only taste samples of these “trendy” products, but to know the story behind the passion of a strong-willed entrepreneur. The brand name El Mateo came from Ella Valdez and her son Matthew. Ella worked in the coffee industry for 9 years, distributing coffee, working as a consultant for coffee shops and conducting workshops and seminars. After 9 long years, she decided to broaden her horizon and shift to a new passion — which is creating initially a line of chili-based spreads and dips in resaleable jars. The inspiration came from a 2-hectare chili farm in Porac, Pampanga, which she manages together with her partner.
Obviously, there is a high competition of this type of product in the market. However, what seemingly makes it stand out among the rest is its affordable price range, organic based- ingredients, unique flavours, and the heart of this endeavour — to help others. The idea of the business at first was to provide complementary products for entertaining guests at home but a much meaningful purpose emerged to initiate sustainability for local farmers who grow the base products.
The first product they perfected was Chilicioso. This hotter-than-hot chili paste closely resembles sambal, an ingredient found in many cuisines native to Southeast Asia, and particularly Indonesian and Malaysian dishes.
El Mateo’s Chilicioso has 3 variants: Special Chili paste; Chili paste with mango; Chili paste with shitake mushroom, each with varying degrees of spiciness.
Since Chilicioso’s conception, El Mateo has produced a small selection of products to go with its coffee, including pastries, a cheese and pesto spread, and a spread made of fresh berries with a nutritious boost of chia seeds. My favorite among them all – cheese pesto. I have this strong feeling that it can go well with any food.
El Mateo, as of this writing is available only in Metro Manila. The founders are looking for resellers who can help promote these products across the country, or who knows – globally. If you want to try El Mateo’s products, they are available at Earth Kitchen, an organic restaurant in White Plains Quezon City. Orders can be channeled via their Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/ElMateo.deli. You may also follow their instagram page @elmateo_ph for more info.
El Mateo Product Description and Price
Rich chewy dessert bar with assorted flavours to choose from: Cashew, Mango, Green Mango, Coffee with Walnuts,. White Chocolate, Dark Chocolate
Crispy twice baked dessert best paired with coffee or tea. Flavor: Dark chocolate with almond; Cranberry with walnut, Christmas (limited time only)
Shelf Life: 6 months
Blended creamy cheese with fresh basil herbs and spices. Ideal spread for crackers, sour dough bagels, and other baked dishes.
Mixed Berries Chia
Combination of sweet ripe raspberries, strawberries, blueberries and chia seeds. Ideal for breakfast pancakes and hot toasts.
Freshly picked, organically grown chili with spices and herbs. Ideal ingredient for hot spicy soup, meat and seafood dishes, and can also be used as a dimsum sauce.
Shelf Life: 3 months
Coffee (Whole beans and ground)
Carefully handpicked Philippine Arabica coffee from the high altitude farms on the mountains of Benguet. This brew is medium bodied and is best paired with ensaymada and other light pastries.
A special blend of Phlippine Arabica and Robusta coffee that gives a flavourful rich aroma and taste. Coffee is best paired with dessert and suitable for people who prefer a full bodied cuppa every morning.
Shelf Life: Whole beans: 1 year Ground: 2 weeks