Outta the Box column
Denise I. O’Neal
Chicago Sun-Times
March 15, 2006

VINO DE MILO NORTH AFRICAN PINOT NOIR SIMMER SAUCE

Jonathan Milo Leal has not only come up with an intriguing product, but one with a catchy name that plays on history, art and his middle name.

The hook is, it works. 

Leal has created a tasty all-natural product line that adds sass to side dishes and pizazz to fish, meat or poultry. The name of the wine-infused sauces play off of Venus de Milo, an ancient Greek statue of the goddess of love and beauty. These sauces can help a home cook pull off a beauty of a meal.

The gourmet sauces can be used as a replacement for tomato sauce in any dish, while the simmer sauces serve as a flavor enhancement. The sauces are versatile and allow great latitude for creativity in the kitchen.

I used Vino de Milo North African Pinot Noir Simmer Sauce over herbed couscous that was topped with a veggie burger. The wheat- and gluten-free vegan sauce was a perfect compliment. The hint of savory seasonings – a blend of Moroccan spices – and pinot noir added panache to what could have been a bland dish.

I am not a wine drinker myself, so it is important to note that the wine is an essence, not overbearing flavoring, in the sauce. Upon opening the bottle, it is the aroma of the spices that tempts your senses. The subtle hint of wine is just enough to liven the sauce.

Other simmer sauce flavors include Bombay Cabernet and spicy version of the North African Pinot Noir.

The sauces are available at Wild Oats markets and online at www.vinodemilo.com.