New Orleans set to sample Toledo-based sauce

It all started from just one unique, tasty bottle of barbeque sauce. That was two

years ago, and now has expanded to an impressive seven varieties located in dozens of stores across Ohio and Michigan. Taking a step even further as they prepare to move their product nationally, the northwest Ohio creators of Black Swamp Gourmet Barbeque Sauce are headed to a place where they know a thing or two about sauces: New Orleans, Louisiana.

They will join other vendors from across the country at the New Orleans Hot Sauce and Gourmet Food Show, July 16-17, 2011, which happens to be one of only a few such hot sauce conventions held in the U.S.

Originally from Lima, Ohio, Bob and Karen Basel have been Toledo, Ohio residents for nearly 20 years – and their love for northwest Ohio is far reaching. Not only does their Black Swamp Gourmet Barbeque Sauce contain a name with ties to the area’s history, but the frog caricature on the bottle’s label is a nod to their affection for Toledo. (The city has carried the nickname of “Frog Town” due to its location near the Maumee River, near what was years ago called the Great Black Swamp.)

Black Swamp Gourmet Barbeque Sauce is vegetarian and gluten free, but is especially unique since many of the ingredients come from local vendors across northwest Ohio. People have taken notice too, as sales have risen 29 percent from 2010, with orders from California, Colorado, Virginia, Minnesota and Texas, to name a few. The sauce has even been enjoyed in places as far away as England and Switzerland.

The Basel’s produce their products at the Northwest Ohio Cooperative Kitchen (NOCK), a nonprofit commercial facility managed by the Center for Innovative Food Technology. The NOCK educates and advises new and growing businesses, provides access to a commercially-licensed kitchen, networking opportunities with other similar entities, and technical assistance. Currently more than 20 businesses make their products at the NOCK, located at 13737 Middleton Pike (St. Rt. 582) in Bowling Green, Ohio.

For more information, visit BlackSwampGourmet.com. Entrepreneurs interested in learning more about the NOCK may contact 419-535-6000, ext. 117 or pray@ciftinnovation.org.

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