Argentina Gold Foods (AGF) brought its signature sauce “Kiss of Heat” to market in 2019, but the story really begins decades ago.
The owner, Alicia B.C. Fleck, knew from a young age the important role that food played within society. Alicia viewed cooking with a passion and had a natural urge to mix the best ingredients together in ways that created new fusions. Alicia’s parents were born in Argentina which added to her South American and European cuisine mixed influence. Argentinian food at the time was heavily influenced by Italian and German recipes. Food to Alicia was more than something to eat, it was an exciting adventure that brought joy to a festive party, an intimate dinner, or those nights that you just wanted to be home alone.
Although Alicia loved to cook for family and friends, she initially did not set out to start a business. She joined the Army Reserve and served as an officer for 11 years while also working for The Coca-Cola Company in Atlanta, GA for 20 years. During that time, she attended culinary school, catered food on the side, and continued to create her food ideas of mouth-watering heaven. She would create sauces that had some punch to them because she knew how much her friends from different parts of the United States and around the world craved the spiciness of her creations.
A few years ago, an idea came to Alicia about one of her most admired creations that she had been sending to friends and family for over 20 years. Friends and family would rave about the addiction they had toward this particular sweet and spicy sauce. Alicia would only make one large batch a year during Christmas to send as gifts. The sweet and spicy sauce, affectionally called “Alicia’s hot sauce,” by all those that were lucky enough to receive the gift became ever more popular which increased the demand. Friends and family would take extra special care not to waste one drop of the sauce.
The original recipe used habaneros and it was hot. One-year Alicia went to the market and fortunately, they were out of habaneros and that was where she discovered the beautiful Scotch Bonnet pepper which provides the needed heat but also allowed a sweetness as a counterbalance. Wow, what a taste, and sometimes the best things are discovered by accident. With the new recipe, Alicia decided to enter a contest and took 3rd place which she considered to be an omen that she needed to find a way to share her special sauce with more people.
And so, the journey began. After years of legal red tape, endless certification classes, and long nights of trying to get every detail exactly right, “Kiss of Heat” was born.
Turning this dream into a reality would not be possible without a “village” of family, friends, and mentors. Her friends, KC and Kathryn, took on the challenge of growing the scotch bonnet peppers from seedlings into 6-foot fruit-bearing plants. Her sister helped her cook, her husband took care of all the labeling and a lot of heavy lifting, her sister-in-law headed the social media, her friends spread the word to everyone they knew and met and her brother set out to sell Kiss of Heat to local business owners throughout the Southeast.
As her business grew in 2019, she partnered with a local farmer in Thomasville, Georgia to get the bulk of the Scotch Bonnet Peppers that are the main ingredient that sets Kiss of Heat apart from other hot sauce condiments. Not only is she Georgia Grown, being born in Atlanta, but so are the fresh and natural ingredients that go into every small-batch, a handcrafted jar of Kiss of Heat.
It will always be her prized creation, probably because it was the first, but AGF will continue to bring new fusion products to the market that excite the senses, have natural ingredients, and provide a uniqueness that can’t be found anywhere else. Our promise is to stay sincere to the love of making food an experience that brings family and friends together for lasting memories. AGF welcomes all the foodies out there to join us in this journey toward creating food euphoria fusions that will shape the future.
Here at Argentina Gold Foods we know the importance of a good meal and that it is not just about the food, but the experience that provides memories with the ones you care about the most.