Oh What a World…Of Whisk(e)y!

Alcohol! With many different cultural expressions all over the globe its often easy to confuse one expression with another. Take Whisk(e)y for example; Whisk(e)y itself isn’t so much a product as it is a process. Or rather a product that is defined by a process. And that process has different rules and regulations depending on the dirt your standing on. Some of us prefer Bourbon to Rye or Irish Whiskey to Scotch Whisky. But do you know the core differences between them? The answer is more than just geography. Breaking down the different faces of Whisk(e)y and what the deal is with this seemingly silly parenthetical ‘e’ will be the goal of the coming weeks blog entries. So stay tuned!

As a general rule of thumb I don’t like to generalize about the vast world of alcohol too much. Lumping things together in one category and slapping a label on it does a disservice to the nuances and creative mold breaking that takes place at, say, different Scotch distilleries. That said, for ease of conversation, I’ll be speaking a bit generally today. So take this with a grain of salt and understand that the alcohol rabbit hole goes deep. There’s always something more to be learned about each one of these products and the people (heroes?) making them. Conveniently, after your thirst for quality Whisk(e)y has been stirred up you will be able to find some excellent expressions of Scotch, Irish and American Whisk(e)y available at the vomFASS Mall of America location.

This week we are going to focus on Scotch. What is single malt Scotch? Single malt Scotch Whisky is a product that comes from one single distillery as opposed to a Scotch blend which is a product containing the Whisky from multiple distilleries. Historically produced using malted barley, and only malted barley for single malts, Scotch begins it’s journey being double distilled in large copper pot stills. Scotch, by law, must be aged for a minimum of three years in Oak barrels. These Oak barrels are primarily former Bourbon barrels (which by law in the US can only be used for Bourbon ageing once) or former Sherry casks. Only produced and aged in Scotland you will find this Whisky being distilled and aged in a few different regions, five of which are officially recognized.

The Lowlands, Highlands, Speyside, Islay (pronounced, “eye-la”) and Campbeltown make up Scotland’s main Scotch producing regions. Here at vomFASS Twin Cities inside the Mall of America we carry a healthy supply of world class single malt Scotches from almost every region (even the not so officially recognized parts. Cool!). Our selection includes, but is by no means limited to, a 17 year old offering from Auchentoshan in the Lowlands. This is one of the outlying triple distilled scotches. The dram is smooth, warm and delightfully complex. From the Highlands we offer a bold but refined 20 year old Glengoyne. Appropriately, Speyside takes up the most real estate here at vomFASS MOA as it is home to the highest density of distilleries in Scotland. A personal favorite of mine is the dark and mysterious 19 year old Inchgower. I love to pour this for guests looking for a Speyside Scotch that thinks a little outside of the Speyside box. Bunnahabain 26 is our one and only single malt offering from Islay. Next to it’s other Islay brethren, Bunnahabain 26 does not cloud the drinker in a plume of peat smoke. Rather, this unpeated offering showcases notes of the ocean that surrounds the Islay region while caramel and soft vanilla permeate the drinking experience. Should you wish to get to know these beauties better than I can describe them, we not only offer in store samples but we regularly hold Scotch classes as well as wine tastings and Mediterranean cooking classes too!

Aside from being a geographically specific spirit (similar to Champagne, Cognac or Tennessee Whiskey) Scotch is produced under strict regulations established long ago that are still practiced today. True, practices have changed and expanded since the first Scot discovered how to make Uisge Beatha, or The Water of Life, such as the incorporation of Wheat and Rye grains and triple distillation practices at a few distilleries. But at its core, Scotch remains a liquid tip of the hat to the wonder of tradition and the inexorable push of alcohol based ingenuity. All the while instilling in it’s drinker a true sense of place. Cheers!

Check back next week as we continue our journey down the winding Whisk(e)y road to Ireland.

Will O’Reilly studies all things alcohol. You can find him at vomFASS inside the Mall of America.

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Mediterranean Lifestyle: Tapas, por favor!

This week’s Mediterranean Lifestyle Cooking Class at vomFASS in Mall of America put the spotlight on Spain and their delightfully delicious tradition of tapas.

Tapas are a variety of small savory Spanish dishes, often served as a snack with drinks, or with other tapas as a meal. To “tapear,” going from bar to bar for drinks and tapas, is an essential part of the social culture of Spain, especially in the south. Learn more about tapas in this great guide to tapas bars and restaurants in Sevilla.

 

Tapas are perfect appetizers for your summer parties, or serve several for a “small plates” dinner party. Pair them with one or more of our Spanish wines currently in stock. I especially love Cava or Tempranillo with these dishes. These recipes were a huge hit in class this week (and vomFASS staff scarfed up the leftovers very quickly!). I hope you enjoy them as well! And I invite you to join us in a future cooking class. Check out our schedule.  Call us at 952-426-3222 to order the vomFASS products included in these recipes.

Tater Tapas Serves 8 – 10

15-20 mini potatoes

Tapas Cooking Class Potatoes Tom vomFASS Mall of America
Tom did a great job of demonstrating how easy it is to create Tater Tapas!

¼ C. Manchego Cheese, finely shredded
¼ C. vomFASS Truffle Extra Virgin Olive Oil
vomFASS Sea Salt & Pepper
¼ C. Sour cream or Plain Greek Yogurt
½ t. vomFASS Fried Potato Spice
3 green scallions, tops cut on a diagonal

Fill stock pot with enough water to cover potatoes, add a teaspoon of sea salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are fork tender, about 5 – 10 minutes, depending on the size of potatoes (do not overcook).  Strain and cool enough to handle or refrigerate up to 4 days before using.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Using a paring knife, cut each potato with 3 to 4 slices halfway through. Place potatoes on baking sheet. Drizzle with Truffle oil. Sprinkle with cheese, salt & pepper. Roast until slightly brown and crispy, about 10 minutes. While roasting potatoes, combine Fried Potato Spice and sour cream or yogurt. Remove potatoes from oven and cool slightly. Top with a tiny dollop of sour cream/yogurt mixture and garnish with scallions before serving.

Tuna & Red Pepper Toasts Serves 12

½ C. mayonnaise

Tapas Cooking Class Tuna vomFASS Mall of America
Jake demonstrated impressive kitchen skills as he showed the class how to create delicious Tuna & Red Pepper Toasts.

½ C. vomFASS Don Carlos Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided; more for serving
1 T. minced garlic
3 t. vomFASS Calamansi Balsam Vinegar, divided
2  – 7 oz. cans tuna, drained
1 small shallot, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
1 T. small brined capers
3 T. minced fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, divided
vomFASS Pyramid Sea Salt and freshly ground Peppercorn Mix, to taste
1 jar vomFASS Red Pepper Pesto
¼ C. Manchego Cheese, finely shredded
12 baguette slices, cut on a sharp bias Brush baguette slices with olive oil and lightly toast under a broiler or on a grill.

Combine mayo, ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, minced garlic, 1 t. Calamansi Balsam Vinegar and sea salt, to taste. Set mixture aside for a moment or make in advance and refrigerate up to 2 days.

Combine Red Pepper Pesto with Manchego cheese and set aside.

Place tuna in a medium mixing bowl and break it up with a fork. Add to tuna: ¼ cup of the aioli you just made, minced shallot, 2 teaspoons Calamansi Balsam Vinegar, capers, 2 tablespoons minced parsley, and ¼ cup of olive oil. Fold mixture gently to incorporate all ingredients. Adjust seasoning to taste with salt and pepper, adding more vinegar, olive oil, or aioli for flavor if desired.

Spread Red Pepper Pesto mixture in a thin layer onto toasted baguette slices. Arrange baguette slices on a serving board. Top them with a spoonful of tuna mixture, followed by a small dollop or drizzle of remaining aioli. Sprinkle with remaining parsley, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Serve immediately.

vomFASSified by Tamra Kramer, inspired by this recipe from Serious Eats.

Shrimp and Chorizo Flatbreads Serves 16

One 14-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained, or 1 1/2 C. fresh diced tomatoes
2 T. vomFASS Don Carlos Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 T. vomFASS Forest Honey
1 T. vomFASS White Balsamic Vinegar
1 small shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 t. vomFASS Aglio Olio Pepperoncino spice blend
vomFASS Sea Salt and freshly ground Peppercorn Mix
½ C. hummus (see recipe below)
4 pocketless pita breads
½ C. thinly sliced dry chorizo (2 ounces)
½ pound shelled and deveined cooked small shrimp
1 C. Manchego cheese, shredded
vomFASS Aceto Balsamico Maletti, for garnish

Preheat oven to 425°. In a medium bowl, mix tomatoes with olive oil, honey, vinegar, shallot, garlic, spice blend, salt and pepper. Stir in shrimp.

Spread hummus on pita breads. Top with chorizo and Manchego. Bake directly on the oven rack for about 4 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Transfer flatbreads to work surface. Using slotted spoon, top with tomato mix. Quarter flatbreads, drizzle with Maletti and serve.

vomFASSified by Tamra Kramer, inspired by this recipe on FoodandWine.com

Garlic Hummus

1 can chick peas, drained

Tapas Cooking Class Hummus vomFASS Mall of America
Nice job of making hummus for the first time, Pete! And what’s up with only the guys demonstrating recipes this week?!

2 T. vomFASS Toasted Sesame Oil
2 T. vomFASS Garlic Extra Virgin Olive Oil (more, as needed)
1 T. vomFASS Calamansi Balsam Vinegar
vomFASS Sea Salt, to taste

Directions

Using a food processor or blender, combine all ingredients. Slowly drizzle in more garlic olive oil while mixing, if needed, until desired consistency. Serve with corn chips, fresh veggies as a dip. Also good as a sandwich spread or pizza base sauce.

Deviled Eggs Two Ways

So maybe you wouldn’t trade that Cadbury Chocolate Egg for a Deviled Egg. But then again, maybe you haven’t tried a vomFASSified Deviled Egg! Here are two recipes for putting some zip in your app!

Curried Deviled Eggs

Serves 12 (2 each)

12 large eggs, hard boiled and peeleddeviled eggs Easter vomFASS Mall of America Minnesota Food1/3 C. mayonnaise
2 t. vomFASS White Grape Balsamic Vinegar
½ t. vomFASS Madras Curry Powder, more for garnish
1 T.  vomFASS Walla Walla Sweet Onion Mustard
vomFASS Himilayan Sea Salt and Indian Green Pepper to taste
vomFASS Calamansi Balsamic Pearls
cream or milk to moisten yolks, as needed

Slice eggs in two, lengthwise. Spoon out the yolks into a bowl and mash with fork until smooth.  Add the mayonnaise, vinegar, curry powder, mustard, salt and pepper and mix well. Spoon the filling into the egg whites, or put the yolk mixture into plastic re-sealable bag. Cut one corner off and squeeze yolk mixture into egg whites. Garnish with Curry  and Calamansi Balsamic Pearls before serving. Use a small spoon to create a little divot in each yolk mixture to keep the pearls in place. Enjoy!

 

Smokin’ Good Deviled Eggs

Serves 12 (2 each)

Ingredientsdeviled eggs recipe Easter vomFASS Mall of America Minnesota Food

12 large eggs, hard boiled and peeled
1/3 C. real mayonnaise
2 T. bacon bits (optional)
1 T. vomFASS Spanish Red Wine Vinegar
1 T. vomFASS Walla Walla Sweet Onion Mustard
vomFASS Garlic Pepper Whole Blend and Danish Smoked Sea Salt, to taste

Cream or milk, as needed, to make the filling easy to pipe.
vomFASS Spicy Smoked Paprika and Raspberry or Calamansi Balsamic Pearls, for garnish

Directions

Slice eggs in two, lengthwise. Spoon out the yolks into a bowl and mash with fork until smooth. Add mayonnaise, vinegar, seasonings, and mustard, and mix well. Taste and adjust seasonings and vinegar, as needed. Add a teaspoon or two of cream if needed. Spoon the filling into the egg whites, or put the yolk mixture into plastic bag. Cut one corner off and squeeze yolk mixture into egg whites. Garnish with paprika by putting it in a fine strainer and tapping over eggs. Make a small divot in each yolk and add a few balsamic pearls. Enjoy!

 

Cara Mia Hot Chocolate

Yes, I have made certain New Year’s resolutions that align better with salads than hot caramiahotchocchocolate, but I believe that dolce decadence has a place in my definition of a quality lifestyle, more or less in moderation! And it incorporated one of our newest delicious liqueurs – Cara Mia Caramel Vodka! This recipe will go a long way toward inspiring gratitude for winter!

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/3 cup boiling water
  • 3 1/2 cups milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 – 4 shots of vomFASS Cara Mia caramel liqueur, to taste

Whipped cream topping

  • ¾ cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 T. powdered sugar
  • ½ t. vanilla
  • vomFASS Cinnamon, ground, for garnish

Directions

Combine the cocoa, sugar and pinch of salt in a saucepan. Blend in the boiling water. Bring this mixture to an easy boil while you stir. Simmer and stir for about 2 minutes. Watch that it doesn’t scorch. Stir in 3 1/2 cups of milk and heat until very hot, but do not boil! Remove from heat and add vanilla. Whip cream with mixer until soft peaks form. Add sugar and vanilla. Divide hot chocolate between 4 mugs. Add Cara Mia liqueur. Top with whipped cream and garnish with cinnamon. Enjoy!

Foodie / Senior Sales Associate – join the vomFASS team at Mall of America!

vomFASS at Mall of America is seeking a senior sales associate who loves to share their passion for fine food, drink and people! Whether you’re semi-retired or just starting your career, I want to hear from you if you are a wine, whiskey, brandy or cocktail geek, enjoy pairing food and drink, and can convert that passion into sales in a retail environment. Must be 21+ years old.

We will consider applicants who have between 20 and 40 hours available to work a variety of day and evening shifts, including weekends. Work life balance is a priority, and we deliberately schedule to ensure all team members are treated with respect and fairness, including their scheduling needs.

To apply, send cover letter indicating why you are interested and qualified for a position at vomFASS, as well as the number of hours you’re available to work per week and send it along with your resume to info@vomfasstwincities.com. Applications without both a cover letter and resume will not be considered.

Sales associate responsibilities include:

  • Greet and engage customers by offering product samples, pairings, product use/recipe suggestions and general vomFASS and prlizziepoursoduct education.
  • Provide a positive, unique customer experience that fosters long term customer relationships.
  • Assist customer in product selection, using cross-sell and up-sell strategies to maximize transaction average, without using high pressure sales techniques.
  • Cashier sales on ACCUPOS point of sale system.
  • Label and package products attractively.
  • Work effectively with co-workers
  • Prepare demos, assist with set up, and promote special events and classes.
  • Fill and label product bottles and stock shelves.
  • Open and close shop, including cleaning and preparing store for next day.

In addition to the sales associate responsibilities, this role may include:

  • Assist or lead the development and implementation of cooking classes, wine and spirits classes and private events

The ideal vomFASS sales associate is:

  • Full of energy and excitement, and an outgoing people person.
  • Experienced and enthusiastic foodie who enjoys cooking and eating fine food and beverages.
  • Experienced in retail sales and customer service.
  • Self-motivated, highly reliable, with unquestionable integrity.
  • Attentive to details, accountable for cash handling and compliance with policies, procedures and tasks.
  • Natural team player, who works well with others, brings fun and a positive attitude to work.
  • Open to giving and receiving constructive feedback to help team members and business.
  • Gifted with additional super powers that are useful to the business, such as elegant handwriting, expertise in social media, talent for beautiful gift packaging or chalkboard art, or is a super-networker in the community.

About vomFASS:
vomFASS Twin Cities is locally owned and operated by Tamra Kramer, her daughter Kristi Kris_Tamand a fun team of awesome people. VomFASS at Mall of America is the first of five locations we hope to open in the Twin Cities. VomFASS is the only specialty food and liquor store of its kind in the world, carrying a full line of gourmet-pleasing products. What makes us special?

  • VomFASS is a German term that translates as “from the cask.”
  • There are approximately 280 vomFASS locations worldwide, all locally owned and operated. Our international headquarters is in Waldburg, Germany.
  • Our products are exclusive; no other retailer in the world carries our line of international award-winning products.
  • We source all of our products directly from old-world artisanal producers who use organic, sustainable farming and production methods.
  • We carry the largest bulk selection of natural and organic culinary oils and fruit and balsamic vinegars in the world.
  • VomFASS won the 2010 German Franchise of the Year and the 2012 Retail Franchise of the Year.
  • Our motto and our promise of uncompromising quality is “Only the Best. Always.”
  • Exceptional customer service is the core success factor of every shop.
  • Providing free tastes to potential customers is the cornerstone of our business model.

vomFASS Twin Cities is an equal opportunity employer.

Vomfasstwincities.com | (952) 426-3222 | info@vomfasstwincities.com