Local Salsa Finalist in Flavor of Georgia Food Contest

Dora's Salsa picture

Interview with Dora Leigh: Owner of Dora Leigh’s Gourmet Salsas: The Peach Salsa was chosen as one of the top 40 foods in the Flavor of Georgia Food Contest.

How did you first become interested in making Salsa?
I love salsa and eat at a lot of Mexican restaurants. I was a stay at home mom and I needed something to do so I decided to make my own salsa. It was a lot of trial and error. Then, in 1995, there was a festival in Newnan and I decided to bring my salsa. I made labels for the jars out of construction paper and brought all the salsa I had. I sold out by 11:00am. Later, someone who was at the festival called me and asked how she could get more. It was a great start and I started participating in more festivals.

What is your food philosophy?
It’s all about the ingredients. I found out very quickly cheaper tomatoes to not taste as good as the better quality brands. I also discovered that peppers taste different year to year. For example, one year the habanero salsa had the perfect heat. When I ordered the peppers the next year they were not the same color. I then learned weather and season effect color and taste. As a result, I prefer to handle all of the product control. I have denied companies that want to help produce my salsas. I make everything myself in my own commercial kitchen located in my home. I can produce 12 cases every two hours. My hope is to keep my commercial kitchen in my home no matter how successful we become.

Do you have a favorite Dora Leigh food pairing?
I get pleasure from using the Black Bean and Corn salsa as salad dressing. The Peach Salsa is great for basting a ham or marinating chicken and shrimp. Being from the south, I love black eyed peas so I have created a new salsa coming out soon made with black eyed peas, tomatoes, onions, peppers, and spices. The salsa tasted great heated and served over ham and rice.

Julia’s nibbling experience:
Dora Leigh’s Peach Salsa is not overly sweet with a perfect balance of fresh tang and spice. Besides sitting down with this salsa and a bag of Baked Garden of Eatin chips, I think this salsa would be great prepared with cod and spinach baked in foil. Another great idea my friend Keri suggested was to serve it with your next seafood cocktail. This salsa would be amazing as a mignonette on oysters and littlenecks and make a unique shrimp cocktail sauce. Dora Leigh’s Hot sauce is made with arbol peppers which will replace my current hot sauce for my husband’s homemade buffalo wings and I will certainly use it on my hard boiled eggs.

Posted by Julia Hurwitz


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