* Beatriz Albo with one of her tapas meals.
A scientist who swapped the laboratory for the kitchen by launching a cooking sauces brand has won a vital grant enabling her to expand her business.
Dr Beatriz Albo is returning to the lab to develop an exciting new range of Spanish tapas meals and delicious aiolis created in memory of her mother.
Beatriz is planning to unveil the new range at the Hamper Llangollen food on October 17 and 18.
She is looking forward to returning to the annual food festival where her innovative Sabor de Amor products made their debut last year.
“Hamper Llangollen was my first food festival, so it is special to me,” said Spanish-born Beatriz, whose Wrexham business has taken off faster than she could ever have imagined.
The popular event in Llangollen’s Royal Pavilion is recognised as one of the UK's top 10 food festivals.
Cadwyn Clwyd has provided financial support over the past few years to ensure the festival's long term viability, this was funded through the Rural Development Fund for Wales 2007-2013, which is funded through the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and the Welsh Government.
“Facilities there are fantastic, they have everything I need to help my business grow,” said the mum of two who inherited her passion for food from her family.
Her grandparents ran a restaurant in Salamanca, Spain, all their lives. Her mother was also an accomplished cook and, following her death in June, Beatriz has developed a trio of flavoured aioli sauces in her honour.
“I want to name them Elisa, after my mother. I’ve worked on the recipes at home and the family all love them. There’s a chilli flavoured aioli, another to go with paella and the third has hints of lime and mint.”
Beatriz, who lives in Brymbo, trained as a scientist, gaining a PHD and working in food research before becoming a teacher. But her first love was cooking and last year she followed her heart and made it her full time career.
She started Sabor de Amor – which means flavour of love – by producing the traditional sauces she grew up with in Spain and which she continued to cook for her family after moving to Wales. They included Sofrito, a perfect base for paella, salsa brava, tapenade and aioli. All the sauces are completely authentic, have no additives or artificial flavourings.
She said: “They are just natural ingredients which we used all the time when I was a child. People love them because of the pure flavour. There is a food revolution going on.
Consumers are looking more and more for additive free products. They want to experience simple, natural tastes and aromas. I started off producing just two sauces and now there are 12 in my range, demand has grown so fast.”
Sabor de Amor supplies local farm shops and Beatriz also attends events such as Hamper Llangollen, for which she has to work full out to ensure she has enough stock.
“I went to one festival where I sold out in the first day and had to cook more sauces overnight ready for the following day,” she said. “They were so fresh that the jars were still warm as I was selling them.”
She hopes the Sabor de Amor range will soon be available in supermarkets and is using her grant and work in the NoWFOOD lab to help achieve that ambition.
Beatriz does all the preparation, cooking and marketing of the brand herself, with occasional help from her children, Albert, 18, soon to study business management at Lancaster university, and Susana, 11, a pupil of St Joseph’s school, Wrexham. Her partner, Paul Keysell, a graphic designer created the Sabor de Amor brand designs.
Information and tasty recipes can be found at www.sabordeamor.com
Hamper Llangollen chair Colin Loughlin believes this year's festival is going to be one of the best ever.
He said: “Thanks to a whole host of indigenous companies, North East Wales is rapidly establishing a reputation as a centre of excellence for high quality cuisine.
“The food festival is a perfect shop window for the companies who form the backbone of our rural economy.
"The location of the Pavilion is absolutely spectacular - I can't imagine that any other food festival in the UK has a more beautiful setting."
For more details about Hamper Llangollen 2015 visit www.llangollenfoodfestival.com