Sauce Month – Part 1: Valerie’s & Tunnel BBQ
Until I find out more about the Dairy I will continue on with “Sauce Month”. There are a lot of sauces and dips around our region so I hope to cover as many as possible. I am pretty sure that there are many more out there that I have not found, so keep sending me your suggestions.
Some I will combine, especially if they are similar…and that is exactly what I will start with.
So after a visit to the deli I decided to try Valerie’s Original Flavours as they had a nice display and it is local. The sauce was great but something about the packaging looked familiar. I put that aside and we enjoyed the sauce; a great deal at $4 for the small jar and $10 for the large jug. I called the phone number on the jar to ask some questions…in particular, “Why is it important that you do not use additives or preservatives?” (I find that a lot of locally produced food is like this since our producers are concerned about quality and if a product is not meant for long-distance travel, many additives are not needed…a big win-win for us!). Anyway, I never got a call back but that happens with a lot of these small companies (definitely one of my pet peeves as someone in marketing).
A while later I realized why the packaging is familiar to me. The same size jars and jugs are available with a different sticker: Tunnel BBQ Sauce. The price is a bit higher at Jeff’s Meats (Walker Road) but similar at Zehrs. Then I saw a Windsor Star article and I found out what was going on. I cannot find that article again but here’s a snippet from a later story:
In 1970, Chris and Valerie [Stoiantsis] took over control of the restaurant [Tunnel BBQ] along with Valerie’s brother Thom Racovitis and his wife. Chris and Valerie sold their shares in the family business last year to Racovitis.
Tunnel BBQ’s current owner, Thom Racovitis, is suing the former co-owners as his claim is that the recipes for the sauces stay with the restaurant. Obviously the Stoiantsis’ disagreed. I never did hear what came of it…maybe it is still in the courts.
Look for both sauces at most Zehrs stores and Tunnel BBQ products at Jeff’s Meats on Walker. My deli (Olde Riverside Schwab’s) is sadly gone and I will find out today if the Schwab’s on Tecumseh Road carries anything.
With this great weather you will probably want to try one of the sauces to put on the grill!