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Local salsa company lands top prize at Zestfest Midwest

Published: Wednesday, July 3, 2013 10:24 a.m. CDT

COLUMBUS, Ohio – A local salsa maker recently earned top honors at a spicy food festival in Columbus, Ohio.

McHenry-based Sweet Slap'n Salsa Co. earned first place in the salsa competition at Zestfest Midwest, which was held June 28-30 at the Ohio Expo Center. Festival attendees rated the entries in a blind taste test. Sweet Slap'n Salsa Co.'s hot peach earned the People's Preference Award.

"I was shocked," owner and creator Candy Stade said. "Everything there was lava hot and full of ghost peppers and mine is more on the sweet side."

ZestFest Midwest is an extension of ZestFest, an annual food event held in Texas. It's one of the largest events in the country that showcases spicy food products.

Stade, a former flight attendant, made salsa for the first time in her kitchen in 2004 while stuck at home with a broken ankle and a garden full of tomatoes. She later turned the creation into a part-time job.

Sweet Slap'n Salsa, which is produced by Dorina Foods in Union, has six varieties of salsa available in about two dozen stores, including Joseph’s Marketplace in Crystal Lake.

Stade, of McHenry, said she is working to secure wider distribution for her salsa.

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