From Monterrey to Manitoba: Los Comales Morales Spices Up the Local Food Scene

The past eight months on Manitoba’s local food scene have been a whirlwind for Eduardo and Helena Morales, the owners of Los Comales Morales.

That’s because demand for their products – gluten-free, authentic corn tortillas and a unique, oil-based salsa, has been very, very steady.

“We started marketing the tortillas in the second week of August 2023,” says Eduardo, who hails from Mexico City; his wife, Helena, was born in Monterrey, Mexico, but came to Winnipeg as a infant. “They are made with authentic methods, and the recipes contain zero preservatives.”

The biggest plus of the tortillas is that they don’t have to be imported to Winnipeg from far off places like California and Minneapolis.

“Freshness is the big feature of the tortillas,” he says. “Not only are they not full of preservatives with a long ingredient list, but they’re also made here. They’re local, fresh, and authentic.”

Eduardo and Helena then followed up the delicious tortillas with a special Macha-Style sala, which is called Salsa Rafa.

“It came from my cousin Rafa back home in Mexico, who came up with the recipe,” Eduardo notes. “He passed away in 2018, but not before sharing the recipe with us. We compiled all the messages and took the time necessary to perfect it.”

Now, the well-balanced, rich-tasting salsa is now on the market in 125 ml and 250 ml bottles.

And it has a very special property.

“Because it’s more oil-based, it doesn’t have to be refrigerated, and it has no preservatives. It’s very versatile and goes with many foods, such as Chinese food, pasta, quesadillas, salads, and soup. It preserves very well and could have a shelf life of one to two years,” he says. “It’s been well received at Farmers’ markets, and it’s for sale at DeLuca’s and Miller’s Meats locations.”

He adds that several local businesses generously helped to get Los Comales Morales’ products in the hands of the public.

“Black Market Provisions was the first outlet to take a chance on us with our tortillas. Roberto’s and Gather Kitchen & Bar also carried the tortillas, and of course Miller’s Meats locations now carry the Salsa Rafa.”

He adds that Food & Beverage Manitoba’s Food Venture Bootcamp has also been helpful in providing ideas and strategies aimed at helping to develop and sustain their new business.

“It’s been a good program for us. It’s helped us with conceptualizing ideas and scaling things up. It’s also helped with branding, and with identifying different trends.”

As for the future, improving production capabilities is the short-term goal.

“We need to ramp up production,” Morales says. “Right now we’re bottling our salsa by hand. We’re looking at getting a bottling machine to mass produce, somewhere in the 10,000 to 15,000 range. That would be a big step forward for us.”

The Morales’ long-term goal, it turns out, is quite simple.

“We’re going to stay the course for now. We want to make inroads here in Manitoba and work on figuring out how we can compete better with U.S. companies. We’ve proven the potential of our business, but we haven’t maximized it yet. That’s what we are looking to do.”