© Denzil Green
The Maggi company makes a very wide range of products, and is known in different parts of the world for different products. Its flagship product, however, remains the sauce after which the company is named.
Maggi is a dark, strong, concentrated seasoning sauce, that is produced commercially and sold in bottles, or dried in cube form.
It is a hydrolysed vegetable protein based sauce used as a substitute for meat flavouring. You just use a few drops at a time.
Maggi is sold in a dark brown bottle with a yellow label. The colour of the bottle cap changes from country to country: a red cap is used in Switzerland, Germany, Canada and France; a yellow cap is used in China and the Netherlands. Most Americans see the yellow cap.
Versions of Maggi Sauce
The Swiss version of the sauce is the original version. Different versions of the sauce are made for different parts of the world, adjusting its formulation to meet regional tastes.
There is a French version, which some say is the best.
In Mexico, where it's called Jugo Maggi, there are several versions: plain and spicy (both are more concentrated and darker than European versions) , a version called "Maggi Inglesa" (that tastes like Worchestershire sauce), a soy sauce version, and a version with lime in it.
The version made in Manila, Philippines, has more garlic in it.
The Polish version is lighter in colour, with a tidge more sourness.
Most North Americans see the Chinese-made version in stores.
Literature & Lore
American hotels and restaurants employing European chefs have used the product for about thirty-five years. Chefs who knew Maggi abroad begged importers to bring in small amounts. Hotel orders so increased during the twenties that one importing firm, quick to see ahead, arranged with the Swiss factory to introduce the product here to the general public. Now home cooks began to learn of its usefulness.
Maggi is principally of vegetable origin, made from a variety of garden crops which grow on the Swiss farms stretching for miles along the Valley Kemp. It is not a spicy sauce of the pour-over type, nor is it intended to change the taste of a food. Its purpose is to emphasize, to intensify, the natural goodness of a dish. No matter how clever you are about cooking, one cannot depend always upon uniform results. Drought, excessive heat, or rain may rob foods of their customary taste, and certain foods are basically low in natural flavors. Here's an aid to strengthen the taste and bring out the subtle hidden notes, yet never override these with a define character of its own. Used with leftovers, it seems to restore the original freshly cooked flavor. One may use it to enrich the most diverse dishes—soups, sauce, stews, salads, vegetables, and canapes.
As the quality and concentration of the product are unusually high, a few dashes produce results. Try adding it, dash by dash, to an insipid soup' stirring and tasting until you have it to suit. Note the difference for yourself. This seasoning works its little miracles for the home cook as obligingly as for the 25,000-a-year chef with his tall hat full of tricks." -- Paddleford, Clementine (1898 - 1967). Food Flashes Column. Gourmet Magazine. February 1950.