Chino’s Sweet Sugar-free Sauces

CHINO_table2014Don Sacino’s booming voice and tall, broad physical presence make him hard to miss when you first walk into the Dove building through the doors on the right side of the front foyer.  Found just inside the first nook past the popcorn and set at right angles to Thunder Oak Cheese, Chino’s display of homemade tomato sauces are a source of comfort for many of us who know that this week we’re probably going to run out of time to cook dinner.  Whether they do it alone or play bass for veggies, veal, sausage, pork or beef from another Market vendor, they make Don’s table a regular stop for many Market patrons.

CHINO_sugarfreeStopping at Don’s table is less bewildering than standing in front of the sauce display in the grocery store, but only because there’s only one quality brand of sauce to choose from – his – and because he’s right there to help you choose from among over a dozen different jars of his spectacular tomato sauce, available in varieties like Traditional, Extra Thick and Sugar-free with delightful flavour variations on each, like Italian, Regular and Spinach.

Last weekend we bypassed the Rosés, the Extra Thick Italian and the Traditional Spinach that have become our favourites in order to accommodate a dinner guest who’s newly coping with diabetes, trying on Don’s recommendation the Sugar-Free variety he’s been bragging about these past few months.  As usual, Don’s sauce was surprisingly good (stuff out of the bottle’s just not supposed to be this tasty).  We were expecting to sacrifice flavour in order to get the sugar-free label – boy, were we wrong – and were pleased as penne to spoon up a mouthful that was as complex and full-flavoured as any mama could wish. (shown above left cooked with Hot Italian Sausage from Sandy Acres Farm)

We tried the Sugar Free Italian that night.  The difference between it and the regular Sugar Free is cheese, in case you were wondering:  zesty, smelly old Pecorino Romano that adds its old-fashioned Italian kick to the secret herbs, habanero pepper and sea salt that make Don’s sauces so good.  Don’t get us wrong:  Don’s sauces are all great, and the regular Sugar Free is a good, solid sauce, with a great acid bite and a tiny habanero kick at the end, but the addition of the cheese makes it something special.  Like all of Don’s sauces, the Sugar Free varieties have been cooked with a master’s touch at just the right heat so the tomatoes have broken down perfectly into a buttery, smooth sauce with lots of loft to cover your pasta evenly and well.

Whether you’re looking to accommodate dietary requirements for yourself or someone else, looking for a healthier version or just out to try something new, we’re giving Chino’s Sugar Free Sauces the thumb-and-forefinger kiss and a “magnifica!” recommendation.  See you there!



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