Mr. Goudas!

Anyone who has wandered up and down the aisles in grocery stores throughout Toronto has noticed the abundance of Mister Goudas products. They seem to be everywhere; items ranging from chickpeas to “Magic Sauce.” At some point, you have probably wondered if there really is a Mister Goudas, and wondered how he has cornered the market in so many corner markets.

We checked the Mister Goudas website and read much of his story; how as a young man he emigrated to Canada shortly after martial law was declared in Greece, arriving in Toronto with little English and even less money. His story is one of rags to riches, an inspiring saga that is rife with anecdotes of Herculean strength, perseverance, determination, vision and, ultimately, success. And he has an incredible Rice & Bean Orchestra!

If you ever decide to try another brand of rice, or flour, when you feel like giving the finger to the huge multinational corporate brands and feel like supporting a homegrown success, you can’t go wrong.

Some of the Mister Goudas products are worth investigating for the novelty of the packaging and the recommendations on the labels. For example, we just had to try Mister Goudas “Mixed Essence-For Cakes and Drinks” The label on this 150 ml bottle prominently displays a multicoloured ice cream sundae  and an tipsy martini excitedly spilling its contents. The label recommends that you “Do not reveal the success of your cake to anyone. Keep this secret hush-hush”

Sufficiently intrigued, we are here to spill the beans. Mister Goudas website provides the provenance of this elixir, a charming and somewhat perplexing story involving the great man himself  driven to rummaging around in a garbage can to divine the secrets. After much tinkering, the end product has the distinct aroma of Doctor Pepper, or cream soda..

We used it in place of vanilla extract in a coconut pudding cake and it had a profound and dizzying effect on our guests. We then made our own “Sparkling Doctor Goudas”- a teaspoon of the essence added to sparkling water and a little sugar to taste makes a slightly bitter variation of a cream soda, more refreshing than cloying.

The Magic Sauce we added to meatballs. It smells just like Worcestershire, but wouldn’t you rather add Magic Sauce to a recipe than boring old Werstershire?

Perhaps there is a little magic in the bottle after all.

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