Down With Tomato! DC Duo Creates Fruit ‘Chups

It’s arguably America’s favorite condiment: ketchup.  But did you know that the boring tomato-based topping we use on just about everything had its origins in a much spicier sauce?  Sources say that sometime in the 17th century the Chinese mixed a concoction of pickled fish and spices called kôe-chiap to gourmet up their gruel.  And now?  A DC-based duo is focused on bringing variety back into this basic… with fruit. 

Local couple Matt and Kori Wallace have developed a line of fruit ketchups, called Chups, and are looking for Kickstarter help from neighbors, fans, friends — and foodies — to put their product in restaurants and shelves throughout the region.

“Ketchup is much more than the tomato condiment we all know,” founder Matt Wallace explained.  “Cooks brewed delicious blends of fruits, slideshow_3vinegar, spices and other ingredients long before tomato ketchup became a household staple. Our goal is to bring these different flavors back into American cuisine.”

The ‘Chups line of fruit ketchups feature five original flavors: cherry, blueberry, peach, mango, and plum, each using whole fruits and other natural ingredients — instead of tomatoes — but still having that tangy and sweet taste that ketchup lovers look for.  All of the recipes are family originals… one may have even derived from Wallace’s grandfather’s ‘secret sauce’… “that was three pages long, handwritten on a yellow legal pad… [though] our recipes aren’t quite that long.”

Wallace is quite the ketchup connoisseur himself (“My mom caught me dipping fruit loops in ketchup when I was three!” he told KSM) and has been developing recipes and gathering feedback for a few years before deciding to launch ‘Chups.

“I experimented with cherry ketchup one night at home several years ago. It tasted great, and this idea that ketchup can be much more than what we know really stuck with us. Ketchup was made in a number of varieties up until the 1940’s, but then the tomato variety took over. Our goal is to bring some of these tastes back to restaurant tables and pantries… because these new flavors offer a much wider range of food pairings beyond the usual burgers and fries.”

If ‘Chups can reach its Kickstarter campaign goal to generate $12,000 for startup costs, we’ll be seeing it made right here in DC’s local food incubator, Union Kitchen, which would be a win-win-win for the couple, the brand and the city.

But just which ‘chup does Wallace predict will be their biggest winner?

“It’s hard to pick a favorite because each flavor pairs with many different foods… [but] a pulled pork sandwich with cherry ‘Chups just feels right.”