Authentic Tropical Ingredients Make Spice Isle Sauces Sweet and Tangy
A Lincoln-based company is bringing a taste of the Caribbean to Nebraska and beyond.
Spice Isle Sauces LLC creates authentic Caribbean dry rubs and sauces that make customers feel like they are in the tropics.
Steve and Heidi Nolan loved their adventures in the Caribbean, especially Turks and Caicos for years. During a trip in 2013, they met a local chef who wanted to start a restaurant and needed a business partner. The Nolans jumped right in despite having no experience in the food business.
Steve jokes that he has a background “in being crazy,” but he’s actually a semi-retired financial consultant. Heidi holds a Ph.D. in child psychology and is retired from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
A year after the restaurant opened, they experimented with creating a sauce using authentic Caribbean ingredients. Sales of the sauce at the restaurant soared, and soon tourists wanted to know how they could get a taste of the tropics back home.
The Nolans enjoyed the challenge of researching food production, bottling and marketing and soon found a way to create their sauce and other products in the United States and market them to a wider audience.
Their current products include Tropical Tamarind Gourmet Sauce, Tropical Seasoning/Rub, Tropical Jerk Rub, Tropical Jerk Sauce, Tropical Heat Gourmet Sauce and Tropical Heat Seasoning/Rub. They will soon launch a Tropical Ginger Gourmet Sauce and a Tropical Ginger Seasoning/Rub.
Spice Isle’s jerk sauce is wildly popular because the Nolans spent nine months creating it, and it contains an authentic ingredient grown in the Caribbean – the Scotch bonnet pepper.
“The Scotch bonnet pepper is a cousin of habanero,” Heidi said. “It has the same level of heat but is smokier and littler sweeter than the habanero.”
Barbecue competitors have found favor and flavor with Spice Isle’s tamarind (which is a tropical fruit) products because of the uniqueness of the flavor as well as the sweetness. The sweetness of their tamarind products comes from a blend of tropical fruits and some sugars. The Nolans explain that the sweetness in their products tenderizes whatever meat or seafood is being cooked, which helps even the worst cooks avoid serving dried-out food.
The Nolans said their rubs and sauces are excellent far beyond the summer grilling season as they are great used as shrimp sauces, marinades, sautes, salad dressings, dips and more.