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Swicy Guava Wings!

Image of Spicy Chicken Wings
This is not just another Super Bowl wings recipe. Well, it is, but not like one your grandma ever made! Liz Romero, Melissa’s Social Media Manager, shares her spicy-sweet formula, guaranteed to turn heads from that big screen at the annual potluck viewing party, no matter the score. In fact, since other platters of wings will no doubt be contributed to the gathering, be very confident in suggesting a BEST WINGS blind-tasting contest during the game! For Liz, this is the one-year anniversary of this recipe’s creation; the dish is so special it even has a birthday!

“In a design meeting last year one of our copywriters used the word “swicy” in describing a sweet-spicy flavor and it got the ball rolling for me,” recalled Liz. “Both the Habanero Salsa and Guava Paste had just been introduced, and I was looking to create a recipe using the two together. It was Super Bowl time, so of course, that means wings – and the inspiration for Swicy Wings was born! The combination turned out to be some of the BEST sweet and spicy, Swicy, wings I have ever had!”

And perfectly SWICY it is! Sure, there is heat, but do not let the Habanero component of this recipe scare you. The sweet guava paste tames that heat into a pleasant, lingering glow on the palate. Still, there is just enough consistency in that heat to create and keep a few beads on the brow, a prerequisite for any good batch of wings. The dry rub produces a deep, smoky foundation that melds with the sauce. Liz did leave out three essential components to her recipe that soon became apparent and were quickly incorporated into my tasting… an XL bib, a damp napkin or washcloth, and a cold, quality beer.

SOCIAL MEDIA, in the context of promoting Melissa’s brand, is an all-encompassing phrase that Liz Romero uses via multiple platforms. See us on Instagram? Liz is the one scheduling those posts. Talking to “Melissa” via Instagram direct messaging – full disclosure, that’s Liz too! Watched an interesting video about a new item we are introducing? No doubt Liz had a hand in creating it.

“Our social media efforts are the stepping stones to get the consumer to go to the store or online and purchase Melissa’s items!” Liz explained. “It’s all about building trust with the brand and more times than not, consumers are going to social media to ‘check out’ a brand to see what they’re all about. It’s such a cool position to be in. Since Melissa’s is constantly rolling out new, fun and different products, what better way to educate our audience than with educational, entertaining and informative content? If I can get a consumer excited about a product enough to purchase it, I’ve done my job!”

However, there is a whole lot more to operating successfully in Liz’s world of marketing via apps on a small screen. Compared to other forms of marketing – hard copy advertising, point of purchase materials and even monthly editions of our website – social media is a constant changing landscape that keeps Liz on her toes.

“Social media is 24/7; it does not sleep, so staying on top of what’s happening and what’s being talked about is a full-time job in itself! One day, I was creating a video because I saw it was trending, but the next day, that trend was over. If I had not acted yesterday, it’s too late and the media is on to the next trend! A video can be all the rage for a day and the next it is back to square one with square photos and infographics! But, with that said, it’s inspiring and fun to see all the new and exciting things happening because there’s never a dull moment.”

Not all of Liz’s small-screen efforts are one-way promotions. There are consumers and professional foodies who are constantly “talking back” in a good and rewarding way.

“Even though I communicate mostly through the apps, it’s nice to connect with our consumers and to hear their feedback. It gives me an opportunity to connect with the consumer and create a relationship with them that builds trust in the brand. Food bloggers also reach out to us wanting to work with Melissa’s to create recipes that show off our products and to direct their followers where to find the Melissa’s brand at retail. It’s so fun to build relationships with creators who share such a mutual passion for food!”
Image of Liz
Liz has many interests when her media work is done for the day, though one is definitely an occupational hazard: she gets dressed! This writer can attest that working from home has its perks, especially when it comes to an office dress code or lack thereof. So, she enjoys creating her own social media videos that she calls GRWM’s (“Get Ready With Me”).

“I love clothes, but working from home only requires comfy loungewear. So, when I feel inspired to trade in the sweats for street clothes, I will document it because (1.) It’s just great fun to create and perfect my video skills, and (2.) I end up being dressed! Hence, it’s a win-win! As a couple, my husband and I are huge Natural wine fans and make an annual pilgrimage to Los Alamos, CA, for natural wine tastings at several natural wine bars, vineyards and wineries in the region. Natural winemaking is what it sounds like – wine made without herbicides and pesticides or any of the more than 50 additives, from synthetic yeast to liquid oak extract, that the global wine industry has adopted to commercial production.”

The couple currently shares their household with Radley, an “adorable Pitt mixed mutt” who will be joined by their first child in June. No doubt a soon-to-be star in many future GRWM videos – also having to do with changing of a very different kind! Now, back to those wings. Since an estimated $50.4 million will be wagered on this year’s Super Bowl, in the spirit of the game, Liz should suggest an entry fee to all her fellow wingers at that viewing party – the winner takes the pot. AKA easy money!

Spicy Chicken Wings


For the dry rub:
1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black ground pepper
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon dried garlic powder
1 lb. chicken wings

For the sauce:
4 oz. guava paste
1/2 cup of Melissa’s Orange Habanero Salsa
1/2 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon butter
Rest of the dry rub mix that was not used
Parsley for garnish

Image of chicken wings
Mix all dry rub ingredients together. Coat wings, then let marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour.
Image of air fried chicken wings
Air fry wings for approximately 12 minutes at 360 degrees, flip wings and cook for another 12 minutes. Fry in batches, then set aside in a large bowl with a lid.
Image of chicken wings coated with sauce
While the wings are cooking, combine all the sauce ingredients in a saucepan on a LOW flame. Stir frequently to melt the guava paste; this should take about 10 - 15 minutes. Retain about a half-cup of sauce for dipping and add the remaining to the bowl of wings and cover, shake until thoroughly coated.
Image of chicken wings with sauce
Plate wings, add some garnished parsley and serve with the retained sauce.

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