French Bloom Delivers Flavor and Elegance to DC without Boozy Battles
You want to celebrate. You want to “pop the cork”, enjoy the flavor, but you don’t want the after-effects. The drunkenness. Certainly not the hangover. And women? Of course there needs to be ways to elegantly celebrate even (and especially) during pregnancy. Imagine a pregnant-friendly wine?
It’s a situation that should have been solved already. But now it has and with style. It’s a subtle, elegant, flavorful answer.
French Bloom Re-Invents the Game
Now everyone can share “moments of pleasure” as their website mentions. French Bloom’s organic de-alcoholized chardonnay and pinot noir, alcohol-free French sparkling cuvées combine French tradition with innovation.
French Bloom Co-Founders Maggie Frerejean – Taittinger and Constance Jablonski
The Team Behind French Bloom
Maggie Frerejean – Taittinger and Constance Jablonski bring different and complementary skill sets. Equally important, they bring the desire for the vision and the motivation for innovation.
Through their innovative and female-founded brand, French Bloom gives an alternative and inviting drink to those wanting to celebrate elegantly and differently, making the most of the precious moments shared with friends and family.
If the names sound familiar, Constance is a globally-working fashion model you’ve seen representing Estée Lauder and countless luxury brands.
Maggie is director of the Michelin Guide and married to Rodolphe Frerejean-Taittinger, chief executive of Champagne Frerejean Freres.
Carl Héline, the former head of Champagne Krug, joined French Bloom.
Let’s Taste French Bloom
Pale pink in the glass. Rose petals, freshly picked red currant, raspberry aromas on the nose. Indulgent white peach notes on the palate. Elegant. The organic French grapes give a nice acidity. Well-balanced complexity of minerality and freshness. Tartness and a rounded balance on the finish.
Certified Vegan- Organic- Halal
No sugar added, 4,2g/ 100ml
A blend of de-alcoholized organic French Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines, organic grape juice, Gensac spring water and natural organic flavors such as lemon.
Organic French Bubbly, 0.0% Alcohol
Medium golden amber in the glass. Minerality and pear aromas on the nose, that just keep opening and opening. Pear, banana, melon, white flowers. An explosion of complexity on the palate. As the flavors open, Granny Smith apple, spicy citrus. A full-bodied mouth with a luxurious, zesty finish that keeps going.
De-alcoholized organic wine, organic grape juice, French sparkling Gensac spring water, organic lemon juice, organic natural flavors.
DC Foodies: Chilli No 5 ‘Sauce of Life’ Brings BIG Flavor …and Superfoods to Your Next Meal with an unmistakable spicy hit, combined with superfoods & health supplements.
Providing the flavorful gourmet vegan chilli sauces & gift sets using the most natural & healthy ingredients.
Chilli No 5 Brings ‘Superfood Sorcery’ and Big Flavor
Delivering the best range of your favorite international flavors of chilli, marinades and BBQ hot sauces.
Co-founder Rumble Romagnoli joined me for a conversation about food, family, making chilli healthier and bringing their award-winning chilli sauce to the masses.
Chilli No. 5 Co-founder Rumble Romagnoli
The below conversation has been edited for length and clarity. Find the full, un-edited conversation at our YouTube channel.
When you think about hot sauce, can you tell us about a celebration or a memory, something in life that inspired you to get so excited about hot sauce?
Rumble Romagnoli: Yeah when we’re smaller and we’re in the kitchen, it’s such a magical experience, isn’t it?
I had a real Italian Nonna so an Italian grandmother who always had bubbling pots and pastas and, Mules and fish and meat. My mother and my sister; so great moments as a child cooking in the kitchen and then out on the dining table with all the family.
It was great and now I love cooking and it makes me really relaxed. Just zoning out, cooking for the family, growing my own vegetables, chilies and then gathering around tables with friends and family just to enjoy. And that’s really where this all started.
What does day to day life look like for you. How did you decide to split up some of that time with a hot sauce endeavor?
Rumble Romagnoli: You remember COVID wasn’t really a nice time for anyone. We were there in a small apartment with lots of small children. It was chaos.
We couldn’t see our friends. We couldn’t see our family. They were all over the world and it was desperate times. So I suppose setting up Chili No. 5 was all about this kind of wanting to get back together with people enjoying moments and being together, sharing and getting fresh, healthy food and not lining up in the supermarket.
Chilli No 5 Brings ‘Superfood Sorcery’ and Big Flavor
A lot of chefs who I was very friendly with all had lost their jobs. I was like, Hey, can you make sauce? They’re like, yeah, of course I can. So that’s how it all started.
And we started trying out new flavors and we love world cooking. So that’s how Chilli No 5 started.
From your Chilli expert point of view, what should someone look for on a label that lets us know this is a quality chilli sauce?
Rumble Romagnoli: I think you guys are better at it than us to be fair. You’re fanatics; incredible.
I’m not a real expert. I just love creating great food for my family and friends. And we’ve tried to make… The best world hot sauces but they’re not going to blow your head off. It’s not really a hot sauce. They are chilli sauces.
Chilli No 5 variety of flavors
What I think you should be looking for on the bottle is: great ingredients, as many as you can get. No numbers, no coloring, no baddies.
I’m looking for just superfoods and anything that’s gonna make me glow.
In my world, when I think of chili sauce and hot sauces, I don’t always think of superfoods.
Tell me a little bit about where the idea came from to so strongly cross over superfoods with chili.
Rumble Romagnoli: I love spice and tingling on my tongue and that kind of rush you get from that spice and hot. The hot sauce or the flakes or the chili oil. My wife loves to be healthy. Happy wife, happy life they say, so I just combined.
I was doing something more spicy and she says, why don’t you put some good stuff in there? And I’d been reading a lot about Guana ginseng, maca; and all of these are in our sources. These are natural supplements that you buy in the shop. You have some of that and it really picks you up, increases your concentration, which I need for long days. I need more energy. I’m getting older. So I was like, hey let’s just put them in the hot sauce and then you got the best of both worlds. So that’s the superfood sauce or superfood sorcery we like to say.
That was all my wife’s doing to be honest.
I feel like a lot of chilli sauces are just gunk. When I think superfoods, I think health. Is your Chilli No 5 a health food?
Rumble Romagnoli: Absolutely. I’ll pick out one of these bottles.I wouldn’t say a healthy hot sauce. I would say a hot sauce full of healthy ingredients because you never know there are some sugars in here and you never know what people will find healthy or not healthy.
But we’ve got in this Jamaican jerk, which is great on a barbecue chicken as a marinade as a condiment as a barbecue sauce. We’ve got fresh red onions, fresh spring onions. Chilli No 9 chili. Fresh chilies, which are all really healthy for you. There’s ginger. There’s garlic. There’s lemon. There’s lime. There’s agave syrup.
We tried to tone down the sugar but keep it a little bit sweet, apple cider vinegar, we’ve got, extra virgin olive oil. It goes on black garlic, thyme, nutmeg, allspice, black pepper, guarana, maca, Ginseng, l arginine. It doesn’t stop. That is packed to the rims, full of healthy ingredients.
We’ve tried to put the healthiest ingredients we could find and make it as tasty as possible using these ingredients and authentic to Jamaica and their jerk sauce.
It’s a sauce packed full of healthy superfood antioxidant ingredients and that’s maybe why it’s winning all these awards for taste.
Because bottom line is it has to taste nice before being healthy.
Nobody wants a science flavored chili. So I agree with that. Let’s talk about some of your favorite flavors.
Rumble Romagnoli: It’s hard because we have over 15 sources. But one of my favorites which you’d probably love as well is the Mexican Fury. My sister lives in Guadalajara in Mexico. She left the UK and went all around South America and ended up finding a lovely guy and settled down there.
Mexican food is fantastic. It’s just really great. Full of flavors and all sorts of different ingredients that we can’t grow in the UK or in Europe. You guys have got such great weather down there in the South, Miami, Florida. Texas, Mexico between the South of the U. S. and the North of Mexico.
So you’ve got the jalapenos which are just incredible. We’ve got all of these beautiful chilies, the habanero come up with an automatically smoky flavor when mixed with the red peppers, the tomatoes, the red onions. They fuse this on the palate to really pair very well with chicken, prawns, tacos, burritos or even egg for breakfast or pancakes.
The Mexican Fury is a really good one. We won 16 awards for different sauces. I love chipotle, anything smoky in our Louisiana barbecue. We’ve tried to tone down the sugar, add a bit of cognac whiskey, bourbon whiskey. We’ve added the classic American ingredients in there to make a kind of healthy style Louisiana barbecue.
Then the harissa is a great one. It’s really popular. it’s North African full of caraway seeds, cumin seeds, olive oil, lots of of incredible deep ingredients that really sit on the back of the tongue. There’s lots of ingredients there that kind of bring your food to life.
We want to bring life and energy into a barbecue situation, dinner with granny, breakfast before work, sandwich on the bench in Manhattan.
Tell us a little bit about the competitions you’ve entered.
Rumble Romagnoli: We were only a year old and we’d come up with these sauces and we’d thought they were good. The founder Chef Colin and then we had a team of chefs working in our London kitchen and our South of France kitchen and we entered the Great Taste Awards.
These are quite big awards in the UK but it’s international awards where all kind of fine foods, gourmet foods are tested by panels of hundreds of judges. It’s quite a strict competition.
So first year we came in and we won seven stars for 11 products. We’re very happy. It was incredible. The Jamaican jerk really got a good one. The heavenly Harissa came in very well. Our chilli oil called Pizza Pizzazz.
Our chili flakes are all fresh and lovely coming from all sides of the world. Carolina Reaper, the Scorpion, the Habanero, the Ghost, the Number 5 chili from India.
We watched and read all of the judges’ comments and we’re so thankful that they really detailed about acidity, balance, flavor structures.
Then we reworked it. We played around with ingredient quality, we changed vinegars slightly, the cooking process. We started baking the vegetables, the peppers, the onions, the red onions. The tomatoes really started getting more flavor. We put in a bit of olive oil at the start to get the flavors moving around.
Then we came in this year with 13 awards out of 16. With our 7, that makes 16 of our total products have won awards by the Great Taste Awards.
We want to create the best chilli sauces on the planet. That’s my mission.
How is Chilli No 5 going to grow and evolve?
Rumble Romagnoli: It’s happening quite quickly and we have a B2C strategy and service strategy.
We want to have the most delicious sauces in every category. We’re just working on each recipe and we think if we make the best sauce, people are going to love the best sauce, and then they’re going to buy the best sauce.
A bit like Apple, just make the best products and people just keep buying them We’re getting into big stores in the UK, placements in Monaco.
We are in lots of great high end butchers, delicatessens and it’s going really well.
So we’ve got this B2B strategy. We need to impress the professionals. We’ve impressed the people who love healthy lifestyle, love delicious sauce, gourmet. But now we have to impress the industry.
Obviously coming to America is the big move.
Tell us all the ways we can learn more about Chili No. Tell us your website, social media.
We’re also quite present for hot sauce gift sets. We do five or six incredible hot sauce gift sets which are collections of the sauces. And we’ve got mini little minis and you can make your own you can personalize because we’ve got 15 sauces.
We’re very big at Christmas. Very big at Father’s Day, Thanksgiving and we will send the sauces over to you guys in the states. No problem. If anything breaks, if anything’s damaged, we will refund you and resend you the sauce you ordered because that’s the least we can do.
Style, Flavor, Awards: DC’s Favorite New Wine Jøyus has a Secret. Not just for #SoberOctober, but its award-winning tastes help you celebrate all year-long.
Jøyus non-alcoholic wines not only taste like wine, but great wine. With the industry awards to prove it.
Recently I sat down with Jøyus leader Jessica Selander.
This conversation has been edited for length and clarity. You can find the full, un-edited conversation on our YouTube page.
Can you give us a personal story, maybe that includes the celebration of wine, if you have one?
Jessica Selander: The story is very personal and the funny thing is I get so nervous before talking about things because when I started Joyus, I did not originally [think about] doing things like this, being so face forward.
I thought I would create a product that I was really excited about. Eventually I came to realize, how do I do that without telling the “why did I do it?”
The whole reason that Joyus exists and it influences everything I do is because I’m sober. I quit drinking alcohol 17 years ago now, which just feels like a fantastical amount of time.
For me, it’s been very rewarding. I’m very glad about it. But it was definitely something that was really hard and very personal. It wasn’t something I shared about publicly. So that’s also why this is a journey of getting comfortable talking about my sobriety, my recovery.
I like the taste of wine. I like beautiful glasses. I like the smell of wine. I love the community and people; and hanging out and celebrating. It literally says ’let’s celebrate’ on our bottles. How great sparkling is for summer, but sparkling is such a happy thing.
You know what I mean? Something good happens in your life and people are like, let’s celebrate. Let’s pop some bottles. New Year’s Eve is such a beautiful idea of let’s start over. Whatever happened last year, whatever terrible things went down, there’s a brand new year.
It’s a new idea that we can celebrate either that past year that was good or celebrate the potential of a new year. That’s going to be better and that’s sparkling.
And for me, I didn’t have any options.
I started Joyus nine years ago. People ask me how long the company’s been around and we launched about two years ago. So it took me a very long time to figure it out, to save up the money to do it because as you can imagine, nine years ago, people thought it was crazy.
They’re like, ‘That’s a terrible idea. Nobody wants that’. And I’m like ’I want it’.
Having quit drinking, I had a lot of friends that also didn’t drink. I had a lot of people in my life too, who were just light drinkers – could give or take alcohol. Then I have two kids and there’s a huge percent of the population that quits drinking for nine months [because they’re pregnant], sometimes even longer.
You can get into medications, you’re not supposed to drink on it. Anxiety medication, not supposed to drink on it. Heart medication, cancer treatments. There’s a lot of medical stuff too, that you could go down the list.
So I get a lot of people now who are like, ‘Oh, it’s not alcoholic. It’s trending.’ And that’s a thing now.
Early on in my sobriety, I actually used to drink a lot of soda pop out of glass bottles, and then eventually discovered non alcoholic beer.
Non alcoholic beer is definitely having a really cool movement right now. There’s so many different options for non alcoholic beer, but the beer has always been around.
I was like, this exists and it tastes like beer. What’s up with non-alcoholic wine?
There was one sparkling [non-alcoholic wine] in the entire country and that’s all you could find. There was one white and there was one red and that was it.
For me these options were really sweet. They were very affordable, which is nice, but they didn’t have the complete experience that I was going for. I wanted non alcoholic wine that tastes like wine.
I wanted something that I could bring to a gathering and bring to a get together and have it feel appropriate and look appropriate and just look like everybody else’s [alcoholic] bottles. Smell like everyone else’s bottles that you just wouldn’t even know that it was non alcoholic until you saw it on the label. And that’s what I did.
So after trying to find it for forever, eventually I was like, I’m going to do it myself. And I had no idea that this whole sober curious, non alcoholic world would take off like it has at exactly the right time.
So part of me is very frustrated that it took so long. But part of that too, it was like saving up the money to start the company.
This is a bootstrap company. I like making my own decisions. A side effect after getting to this point is I’m 100% in control of all the decisions, which also means that I can control the quality because [it] is incredibly expensive to make.
Let’s talk about your sober story. What it means to you, how you got there, what your mission is, how that helps others.
Jessica Selander: So for me, I can’t drink alcohol. What happens when I put alcohol in my body is that I make decisions I don’t want to be making.
I tried a lot of things. I tried cutting back and it didn’t work. I tried replacing [the drinks and that didn’t work].
My life became pretty chaotic.
I stopped drinking and once I get my life in order, then everything will be fine. I can drink again.
Then after not drinking for a period of time, I was like, Oh, you know what? There’s actually something to this and it’s something deeper and it’s probably the best thing I ever did, honestly, in my life.
I would not be the person I am today on the inside if I had kept drinking.
I have a wonderful spouse and I’ve got amazing kids and I’m able to be a parent and be a person and do that clear eyed and there’s a lot of my upbringing was not the most positive.
Sober curious, it’s a hashtag now.
I’m not saying alcohol shouldn’t exist. I’m not that kind of person whatsoever.
On a personal level it is so exciting to see other brands pop up. The first time I tried non-alcoholic tequila, it blew my mind. It was amazing. The spirits are interesting because some people build it up from science and some people are de-alkalizing; taking the alcohol out.
So that’s the really interesting thing about this. Normally spirits are completely separate from wine, which are very separate from beer, but in non-alcoholic, we’re all in the same swimming pool and everybody’s doing it differently and everybody’s got their own take and you can try one non-alcoholic whiskey and it’s incredibly different from another one.
Community not competition is one of our core values. Normalizing non drinking is a big one. It’s not necessarily replacing alcohol either. I’ve talked to people in the wine industry who are very offended by the idea of non alcoholic wine. I’m like no, it’s backwards. You’ve got it backwards. Non-alcoholic wine is a love letter to wine. You love wine so much that you still want to have it. You just can’t have this one piece that’s in it [the alcohol], but I want everything else.
I want to cheers that glass with other people. I want to drink that red with a really strong stinky cheese. I want to pop that celebratory cork. I want to Rose all day. I just can’t.
I think that wine is very important culturally. It’s so interesting historically. The process is this fascinating mix of art and science. I love everything about it. Getting deeper and deeper into it too, because I want Joyus to be around for forever and I want to make the best possible non-alcoholic wine.
There’s so much stuff to perfect that I could spend the next 50 years just working on non-alcoholic red – period.
You mentioned you’re seeing other competitors in the marketplace. How many different ways are there to make non-alcoholic wine? Are some ways higher quality than others?
Jessica Selander: I can give tips. Our wine is a dealcoholized or alcohol removed wine, which means it’s gone through the whole winemaking process.
It’s aged, it’s fermented, and then we have removed the alcohol from it. Our bottles also say it’s non alcoholic. Sometimes you’ll see a bottle in the store and it just says non alcoholic on it. It doesn’t say dealcoholized or alcohol removed. They’re interchangeable. That means it wasn’t fermented.
So if you’re looking for a wine that is really going to taste like wine or have that fermented taste, look for dealcoholized or alcohol removed.
[Look at the label on the bottle] look for dealcoholized or alcohol removed, because it could say that it’s a non alcoholic red or a non-alcoholic grape [varietal] and it might just be a juice, that hasn’t been fermented or ages but comes in a wine bottle.
What are your goals in the present moment and in the near future to help your company continue to be a leader in the industry?
Jessica Selander: I think goals are accessibility. Normalizing sober drinking. Making [non-alcoholic bottles] easy to find. We do ship off our website, which is great. We’re shipping from Seattle. We ship everything ourselves. If you’re out East, it’s going to take four or five days to get to you.
Also starting to talk to restaurants, getting into more restaurants is a big one. I’ve had anniversary dinners with my spouse and I’m drinking an Arnold Palmer.
I’m calling restaurants and I’m calling grocery stores and they’re still really skeptical that it can be good and that people want it.
Do you think it’s just audience reaching out? Is there a tipping point?
Jessica Selander: Yes, that really helps having people being in a restaurant and saying, “Hey, what do you have that’s an alcoholic?” Because restaurants are saying nobody’s asking for it.
Here I am double digit sober and I had never gone into a restaurant and asked for it.
I would look at the [menu’s] non alcoholic section, which is always juice, soda pop, iced tea and stuff. If it’s not on the menu, I would never ask them for anything. Here I am for over a decade, not telling them that I want this thing. So we started doing more education on social media and online.
If you walk into a restaurant, ask them “What do you have that’s not alcoholic?”
Just pregnant people alone. There’s a large percentage of the population.
Is there science that says a pregnant woman can drink this and have zero concerns?
Jessica Selander: Yes. So this is super interesting. In the United States we’re the most strict in terms of alcohol. If you go to the UK, they have different, actually higher limits for how much alcohol can be in something. The US’s rules come from prohibition when you can’t sell, make, transport alcohol.
The government said once it gets under 0.5%, it’s not alcohol anymore. So that’s where that number comes from and sometimes people see it and say, “Oh, there’s a little bit of alcohol in this.”
There was a study done in Germany where they tested a lot of grocery store items. What they found was there’s a lot of stuff in our grocery stores that had a little bit of alcohol in it. Very ripe bananas, which we feed to toddlers have some alcohol in them. Orange juice is another one.
American hamburger buns. But it also makes sense, bread, yeast and we have more sugar in our products, right? Bread actually has more alcohol than people realize.
Let’s talk about your wine’s flavors and aromas and the winemaking process to get there.
Jessica Selander: I knew what I wanted and I was incredibly picky about it.
We launched with the sparkling white and the sparkling Rose’ and people were asking for a Rose’ with no bubbles.
I thought it would be easy. It was not easy.
Stills are very different from sparkling. I’m a balance of “I know what I want. I’m going for this thing and very focused”, but then I’m also balanced with listening. So we do a lot of focus groups. I do want feedback. I do want opinions.
We were working on it. Everyone’s saying it’s good, it’s great. But I didn’t think it was good enough. We were supposed to launch it in summer and I pushed everything back. Back to the drawing board.
What if we did this? What if that? Talking to people, reading science and chemistry books
Was it like working for the right blend?
Jessica Selander: It’s tweaking so many different things and pieces in the blend. But it doesn’t always work out. If you tweak a blend, sometimes other notes will come forward that you’re not expecting, or sometimes you’ve diminished things that you didn’t intend to diminish.
The still Rose is a great example, it didn’t have that click and so I just kept working on it. And that’s the one that won Double Gold and Best in Class in the San Francisco International Wine Competition, which is one of the biggest and oldest blind tastings in the world and the biggest and oldest blind tasting in the U.S.
Can you share any details and lessons you learned taking on the world of winemaking?
Jessica Selander: There’s so many things. We’re not just making wine. We’re wholesale, we’re distributing, we’re direct to consumer. We have so many different facets.
I could talk for hours about how our wines are very low in sugar and they don’t have the alcohol in them. So our [bottles] probably freeze easier than anything else on the market. So shipping during the winter.
I’ve had conversations with other non alcoholic people too. Everybody’s doing it differently and that’s the hard part too, where I feel like there’s a solution for every problem.
We’ve gotten better and better at winter shipping, but it’s not quite there yet. Figuring out what can we ship in that’s going to have thermal protection, but isn’t going to contribute a ton of garbage. We’ve got the most eco-friendly, innovative winter shippers. They’re made of corn.
They’re expensive as hell, but it’s better than styrofoam. We have to keep everything under 50 pounds for UPS and 12 bottles of sparkling is 51 pounds in these corn shippers.
That thermal protection is still not enough, so we added heat packs.
Let’s talk about your wines.
Jessica Selander: We have four varietals. We’ve got our sparkling white, a sparkling Rosé. Still Rosé, a Cabernet Sauvignon. I love our red a lot. The reds are hard. They’re the most complicated; red wine has the highest alcohol content to begin with.
What flavor notes should we be looking for?
Jessica Selander: It’s definitely an American Cab. More fruit forward. It’s not grape juice. It’s fermented, it’s aged in American oak so you’ll get some green-ness to, like forest floor. The longer it’s been open the more tasting notes you’ll get. I like it more and more throughout the week because the fruit notes settle down. Black currant, cherry, some leather
The still rosé, watermelon, a nice floral to it.
Sparkling rosé. Slightly floral. Some orange blossom to it. Blackberry, but some people say raspberry. Some people say strawberry. They’re very summery
I think sometimes tasting notes feel in excess because we all taste things very differently.
Our audience is foodies. Let’s talk a little bit about some of your favorite meals that you think would pair that your favorite pairings with your wines
Jessica Selander: I bake. I come from a big family, so I can pretty much cook anything.
I heard someone say one time that baking was more science. And cooking was more art and I do agree with that.
Let’s talk about the wine competitions. How you see them, what the experience has been like, and of course, what their results have been.
Jessica Selander: I did not know that competition was as big of a deal as it is [which was a blessing]. So what happened was I was beating my head against the wall being like, “They taste like wine!” And my brother said, nobody believes you. You have to enter them into wine competitions. You need to prove to them in their own landscape that you belong there.
So, here’s this competition. The first one, the sparkling rosé won gold and sparkling white won bronze.
Then I looked deeper into what the competition was [and realized it was the acclaimed San Francisco International Wine Competition & World Spirits Competition ]. It was a blessing because I think I would have been scared to do it. Then [next year] I do it with the Still Rose and the Cab. Then hearing back, you’ve got the highest a non-alcoholic has ever gotten and you’re Still Rose is the best non-alcoholic wine of any varietal entered from all over the world.
I was only wondering if it was even going to place, and here it ends up winning the best.
I was at a grocery store [today] I’ve been trying to get into for two years where the head buyer won’t even try it. So it’s [frustrating] but the more of these awards that we stack up, at some point in time they have to not ignore it. They’ll be like, Oh, this is a real thing.
We haven’t [hit that goal], it’s not normalized yet. We’re in over 300 stores and in almost in every state.
If you want more non-alcoholic near you at a restaurant and grocery store, what are the step-by-step, simple direction
Jessica Selander: This is super easy for people.
So if there’s a grocery store or a local market that you shop at already, you just go into the wine department and say, “Hey, what non-alcoholic wine do you have?” And let them know you want it. Verbally say it
It’s the same thing in restaurants. I do it myself now too, where I get the menu and I’m not seeing what the stuff on it. And I just ask and say, Hey, what non alcoholic stuff do you have?”
Tell us how we can learn more about Joyus. Shopping and following on social media.
And on the website, there is this Find Joyus store finder map. So you can look on there and find us closest to you and working hard to add new stores pretty much weekly and email, email us. There’s a contact form on the website. Email. If you’re like, Hey, there’s a store by me. I want them to carry you. Email us. And we will call them and we will try, we’ll do our best and we’ll call them again three months later and we’ll call them again.
Secret to BBQing a Juicier Chicken? Shark Tank’s Turbo Trusser revealed by Brian Halasinski and Kirk Hyust.
Want juicier chicken? Yes. More flavor? Yes. Get it all setup in seconds? Yes. Two guys who love good food decided to tackle the problem.
Luckily, a Chef and a Builder were on the team. And luckily the team has business smarts, creativity and can-do spirit. Lastly, the team got global attention by winning their way onto hit TV show Shark Tank where Kevin O’Leary got excited by the flavors, the team and their product.
Today Turbo Trusser partners Brian Halasinski and Kirk Hyust stopped by for a conversation about delicious food, creating a great team and the secret to cooking.
The below conversation was edited for length and clarity. Find the full conversation on our YouTube channel.
Can you guys share a memory about how being in the backyard with your family and friends inspired you to create the Turbo Trusser?
Brian Halasinski: Kirk and I have been working together on inventions for the last eight years and oftentimes we’ll have an idea that’ll come up and we’ll text each other and we’ll write it down in a notebook and then we’ll come and visit it later.
It just happened that I was getting ready to make chicken for my family and I was going to do a rotisserie chicken and I was trying to figure out how to tie this bird up with traditional strings. So I got my iPad and I’m watching a video.
I have to pause the video. My hands are covered in chicken juice. And after it was all done, it wasn’t done well.
I texted Kirk because he’s a trained chef from the culinary Institute. There’s gotta be a better way. We started working on the Turbo Trusser from there.
After your success on Shark Tank, Turbo Trusser has become a global hit. How have your backgrounds inspired where you are today?
Kirk Hyust: I’ve been a building contractor for 25 years. Before that I was a chef. I got burnt out [being a Chef] and then I started building things and that’s how Brian and I met. I renovated his house for him.
I was in the middle of inventing a wrench and Brian saw it [and said], ‘I want to start inventing too. You want to be inventing partners.’
We still haven’t quit our day jobs. We work seven days a week. Luckily working for us a lot of the time is cooking. Which is good.
You mentioned you are a trained chef. Tell us about your chef side.
Kirk Hyust: I went to the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. Classical French cuisine. We’re from Ohio, so I like meat and potatoes and hearty casseroles.
Do you have a favorite dish?
Kirk Hyust: Fettuccine Alfredo and Turbo Trusser chicken.
Brian, can we touch on your background and how how you ended up with TurboTruster?
Brian Halasinski: I have been in the pharmaceutical sales industry for the last 20 years. I have a fairly flexible schedule to where I’m on the road and can be on the phone and be multitasking quite a bit when I’m working.
I’ve had that entrepreneurial spirit in a way. Then when I met Kirk, he had invented this wrench and he was working on my house and he was there for it was a pretty decent sized project.
So over time we became friends. I became interested in the whole process of inventing.
And then with that, you could actually take your invention and license it to somebody, basically renting out your idea and collecting a royalty. Kirk and I always thought that would be great.
We did a couple of products and we licensed them. Didn’t end up working out […]. We learned a little bit about the failures. And then ultimately that day I texted Kirk and said, listen, we got to come up with a better way to trust a chicken or Turkey. And we looked out there and there was nothing available other than butcher’s twine, which has been the way it’s been done for a hundred years.
A huge majority of people cook chicken and turkeys the wrong way. That’s my assumption.
When we compare your final chicken to a poorly done chicken what’s the difference?
Kirk Hyust: Trusting actually is a technique that brings all the meat together. If you don’t trust a bird, you’re actually cooking five pieces of meat separately. You got two wings, you got two legs and thighs and a breast. What you do, when you truss a bird, you actually bring all the pieces together and it cooks as one piece of meat, so it’s cooked more evenly and it’s juicier.
If you don’t cook it, if you don’t tie it up, if you just throw it in the oven or on the grill, what happens is all the meat cooks separately. The breast is gonna be done before the legs. The wings probably are going to dry out and they’re going to be inedible. Because when you use the Turbo Trusser the wings are great.
It makes one ball of meat essentially and cooks it as one piece of meat instead of five.
Is it the ego of the grill master? Or how do we help people realize they can have a better bird?
Kirk Hyust: That’s a really good question because we get that a lot. People have never even heard the term truss. To truss a bird.
Your bird’s gonna be a lot better, but it’s gonna take you about five minutes to do it when it takes 20 seconds to use our product. Especially a Thanksgiving Turkey because that will dry out a lot faster than a chicken.
Brian Halasinski: With the Turbo Trusser, the way it’s designed it’s going to hold the stuffing in place too. So the stuffing’s not going to dry out the way it closes the cavity.
If you’re going to do a rotisserie, you absolutely have to tie that bird up or your legs and wings are going to be just flopping around the whole time.
Can we talk a little bit about the process going from zero to where we are today?
Brian Halasinski: It was when we came up with the concept.
First, we started making prototypes. We made them out of cardboard. Then we made them out of wood. Kirk’s got all these tools so we could easily cut things. Then through trial and error with prototypes that we could make cheaply, we ended up with a very similar design to what we have today.
Then from there, we found a local fabricating shop that was able to laser cut out some samples for us so we could actually cook with them. We did all these things, refining the process and refining the product down to where we wanted to make it. Then we had to make a decision: make this here in the U.S. or go overseas.
Kirk and I made a decision based on our beliefs and our values that we wanted to make it here in the U.S. Being in Ohio, we were close to Cleveland, Ohio. This was the rust belt. There’s still a lot of manufacturing here.
So within one hour of our headquarters, we were able to source everything we needed to mass produce and launch this product to the world from Canton, Ohio.
Kirk Hyust: We had six prototypes by the time we got to our seventh one. That was the one that we stuck with. We just kept refining the prototypes until we landed on the seventh one, which is that what in the stores or online.
Can you tell us a little bit about from prototype one to seven? How did we get there?
Kirk Hyust: When you’re doing a prototype, obviously you have to solve a problem. When you build a product, it has to work correctly or you’re going to get bad reviews.
But we started out with a couple different designs. We bought a chicken and a turkey; and we put this contour gauge on the leg, so that made the dips that you see now where the legs go into. Then we were in my shop, cutting it out and it looked like [bird] wings so we ended up putting the heads on it because it already had wings that the legs sat into the cradle.
It’s a lot of detail.
Kirk Hyust: Yes, exactly. We just got our patent […] issued for the very first time. Even if it’s a piece of stamp metal and 2 wires. How intricate it really is.
Kirk, between your chef skills and your contractor skills. A perfect combination of bringing those two skill sets together.
Kirk Hyust: It is. We have sales and numbers and Brian’s also creative. […]The technical stuff, the websites, we develop everything together, but we have our strengths, he has a master’s degree in business. So he’s trained really well for that.
So it’s lie our strengths and weaknesses definitely fit together with each other.
Can we just talk through in the most simple, basic steps, how to use the Turbo Trusser?
Kirk Hyust: It’s really very simple. I usually buy a five pound bird. [With] smaller birds, it still works. It goes up to a 10 pound chicken.
Then you take the plastic off, pull the packet of giblets and everything out of the inside. Rinse it off. Pat it dry with a paper towel and if you have time, put it in the refrigerator and let the skin dry out. Put the Turbo Trusser on it, hook the legs in, hook the wings.
Use duck fat or some kind of a binder to put your spices on it. Salt and pepper, your favorite rub, something spicy, something sweet. Coat it with some kind of oil, or ghee or olive oil.
Put it in the oven at 375 for an hour and a half until it hits 165 degrees. That’s pretty much in a nutshell how easy it is.
Brian Halasinski: The Turbo Trusser is just three pieces. You got the main piece. Then you have two hooks. The hooks are going to go through the holes on the body of the chicken. You’re going to put the sharp end through the hole. It’s going to lock into place with the other end.
So it’s simply, put the two hooks into the Turbo Trusser body. You hook them onto the wings. The legs go into the cradle and in 20 seconds, you’re done.
How do we get that strong-willed Backyard Grillmaster to give the Turbo Trusser a try?
Brian Halasinski:Just telling them to keep it simple and go back to what people have been doing for 100 years. And that’s using string to tie it up. Only we came up with a simpler solution. So it’s what everybody’s been people don’t do it because they’re intimidated, but now they don’t have to be. The turbo truss are so easy to use.
Anybody can use it. Even if you have dexterity problems, you’re never going to figure out how to, you’re not going to be able to tie up a bird if you have problems with your fingers, right? older people, maybe they have arthritis and it’s hard for them to tie a knot. Now with the turbo trusser, you can do that without fear and you can, it’s simple and effective.
As we wrap up, tell me about the Shark Tank experience.
Kirk Hyust: It was crazy.
Brian Halasinski: I’ll give you a high level view. We launched our product on November 1st of 2021.
Right away we went online and we applied for Shark Tank. It was 100% online. Before COVID they would do open casting calls like Like American Idol.
About 50, 000 people apply. They narrow that down to about 125 people that tape [a TV segment], and maybe 100 or so will end up airing on television for the season that you’re in.
So we apply, we have no sales, we don’t hear a word from them for a couple months. So we launched the product. We did pretty well. We sold like $50,000 worth of Turbo Trussers in the first two months of being in business with nobody ever heard of us.
We went back and we re-applied again, we got some sales numbers. Eventually they called. I Six months after we initially applied, they called us.
You basically work down through the process every week. They’re giving you something new to turn in, to make a video.
Our first video, we came up with the idea to wear the chicken and turkey costumes. We said we wanted to stand out. We know that Shark Tank is television. If it’s not good TV, people aren’t going to watch it. They loved it.
We made it all the way down through. We went all the way out to California and taped [our episode]. We ended up getting a deal with Kevin O’Leary, which was incredible.
Kirk Hyust: Brian’s a salesman. I’m not used to that. So when I was on Shark Tank, I messed my lines up. I went blank for a couple seconds. I missed my cue to go over to my spot and I was really flustered, but I recovered, but man, that was the worst part.
Tell us the website, social media, where to find you, where to browse your products, where to learn more about you.
You can reach out if you have any questions. I write a lot of the PPAs (provisional patent applications) and stuff. So any kind of questions, how to cook a good bird we’re accessible. We want to help we want to help anybody out there that we can, because we’ve had a lot of people help us along the way.
Planet-Based food? You heard right. Find out more from Chris Langwallner and WhatIf Foods.
WhatIF Foods believes in a better better.
Tasty, delicious foods that are better for our bodies, better for our taste buds and farmer buds alike. Better for degraded lands, our eco-systems and naturally… better for cows.
Today I had the chance to have a conversation (via zoom) with WhatIF Food’s Chris Langwallner to talk about inspiration, their foods, their flavors and the science and technology making it all happen.
This conversation has been edited for length and clarity. For the full conversation visit our YouTube channel.
Today we are here with Chris Langwallner from What If Foods. Thanks for joining us today.
Absolute pleasure. I cannot thank you enough. It’s fantastic to be here and letting our story get out a little bit. So thank you very much. I’m excited because it’s gonna be a lot of fun.
We’re talking about plant-based foods, we’re talking about planet based foods and for a “better-better” world. I’m hoping you’ll clarify that for us.
I look forward to it. Yes, it’s all about a planet based food company. It’s all about regenerating. It’s all about reconnecting to communities, restoring the greater land, and making sure that we are replenishing the nutrients we need on a day-to-day basis.
What inspired you to get into plant-based food?
To be honest with you, as a planet based company I think what really inspired me to get into a better way of doing things is actually a call out of my grandfather.
He has been always saying, leave this planet a better world than how you found it. When I was a young boy, I couldn’t understand. It was too abstract. I couldn’t really get my head around. But as I was then working in the industry for 20, 25 years you look behind the scenes, and you see how food is being manufactured on large scale and how profitability over shadows a lot of decision making.
And on the other flip side of the coin, there is a community out there, about 2.6 billion people. This planet makes a direct income or an indirect income from farming activities. And the vast majority, more than two thirds of these people are the poorest of the poor. And we are leaving them behind. And that’s not fair to them because what we have on the plates has been harvested by them.
They take care of their land. And if we leave them behind in the current state of affairs We’ll see many tears in their eyes. And it doesn’t have to be that way. It can be totally different. And hence my strife was really to look at the planetary health and its affairs as well as humanity overall.
And thinking about that must be a better way of doing things and how can we improve it, not incrementally, but really make a system change. And here we are basically inspired by my grandfather.
On your website, you take some very science-based heavy content and you make it fun and easy. Talk about that process.
It’s a team effort. Honestly, there’s a huge team behind the scenes that works tirelessly on improving our communication and our style and our tone. But the essence of it all is that we understand that Gen Zs and today’s youth are essentially those consumer groups that are on this planet.
Probably the first sort of generation that is fully educated in sustainability. And they have their ability today by one click of a button to really look behind the scenes and understand whether or not there is BS or whether or not there’s transparency, there’s honesty, and there is a different approach to things.
So that is one aspect of things. So we wanted to really make sure we are speaking to the youth on this planet. The second aspect of it all is that, You open your social media feeds today, or you open a media channel, you switch on your television and you are bombarded with bad news, after bad news.
And quite frankly, I have worked in universities and with students and I have been shocked by the fact that people, young guys, talk to me, ‘Hey, I don’t care about sustainability. I don’t care about our planet because it’s so crappy. Everything is so bad. I might as well just enjoy the time span I have on this planet.’
And I was shocked in contrast to what my grandfather told me. Today’s youth, some of them, not all, a fraction of them think like that. Or in other words I met this young girl and she says, I don’t know if I want to have children. Because I don’t know whether or not I would like to give birth to people that then inherit a planet that is so hot.
And all of that together was just making me restless and I wanted to really change things and and take this finite time span that I have on this planet to try as hard as I possibly can to leave it better than I found it. And that’s what I strive for. Hence we’re speaking with a fun and engaging voice.
We are speaking with colors and we are speaking with cartoons so that we basically get this heavy message across in an uplifting way and saying, Hey, you can be part of something. That actually does the opposite. It’s not grim. Yes. If we change, we can make this. We’re a better place and here we are.
Thanks for the call out. The credit goes to my team.
As we segue into the products themselves, what I wanna highlight is this BamNut Is that the nickname for the Bambara Groundnut?
Yeah, so we came up with Bamnut as a short version, as an acronym for the Bambara Ground Nut, which in reality is a legume, a legume that helps us fix nitrogen organically in soils that are essentially degraded and left behind by intensive agriculture.
The Bamnut word came about in Singapore. We actually did not quite know when we started using it. We didn’t quite know how the Americans would pronounce it. And then we found out, alright, it’s the Bamnut. So it all turned out to be so witty and entertaining and just perfect fit for a “better, better” to be honest.
Because that’s a main ingredient in all of your food. Let’s talk about what is a BamNut. Why is it magical and unique?
I was walking through the world of agro food over the past 20 years, and I’ve always been hugely concerned about the massive speed of land degradation, particularly on arid land.
And that’s getting accelerated because of climate change; and the weather is changing; and the rains and the monsoons are not hitting regularly anymore. So it becomes increasingly more difficult to plant, the planting season to make sure that you are having the seeds in the ground before the rains hit them and so on and so forth.
So it becomes really challenging for folks. So land turpitation has always been a huge concern of mine because another, on the flip side of that, we are losing about 25 soccer fields worth of arid land every minute, while at the very same minute, the same amount of primary forests have been cut down.
So if you compare and contrast these two figures, what it tells me is that in order to make way for the old food industry, we actually cut primary forest and we leave land behind. And that is the wrong thing to do. That is one aspect of things.
The other aspect of things is I had once the fantastic opportunity to have an interview with Dr. Roy Steiner of the Rockefeller Foundation. And he gave a casual shoutout and he said, nowhere in the world do we produce and consume enough legumes. And I was thinking, why does he say that? But then it’s quite obvious if you think it through, because we are depending so much on crops that the land that basically holds the crops is deprived from organic nitrogen fixing crops like the legumes, and in the absence of nitrogen being fixed through the legumes, we throw endless amounts of synthetic fertilizers on the ground in order to make up for it.
That’s an aspect of things that also worried me. But today the input costs have gone through the roof is it unravels all over the world and it has gotten more and more expensive to do so the degrading of land in one pocket, I was basically going through my work with that sort of lens.
Then there’s this whole water issue. We are big time irrigating crops, but what does that do? It just slows down the loss of water tables because the moment we take water out of the ground, the water tables are collapsing. I have numbers for that. I had a business in India a long time ago, and it used to be 30 meters, and today it’s probably 90 to 120 meters.
So water is basically a huge issue. There was another lens through which I looked at, and then I was at a conference in Jakarta, and I happened to run into a scientist. He said to me that he works on the Bambara groundnut. It’s a complete crop. I thought, “Oh, that’s interesting. So what does that mean?”
And I started to really explore that much more deeper. And a complete crop turns out to be essentially a crop that has all micronutrients in the sort of right balance that we need. On top of it, it has all nine essential amino acids that we need. It has rich fatty acids, quality fatty acids, as well as car complex carbohydrates. So fiber.
You remember the forgotten macronutrient fibers for our microbiomes? So I got really inspired. So I looked up the amino acid profile and I saw it is rich in plutonic acid or spartic acid. So these are very cool amino acids in terms of generating nice flavors. And off I was; I organized the first couple of five kilos and the trial started, and that’s years and years ago.
In the meantime, the Bambara groundnut actually taught us a few lessons because it’s a very hearty nut and it really takes an effort to make cool products outta it.
It’s called a complete product, is that correct?
A complete food. A complete crop or complete food crop.
Right now all of the products on your website are based from BamNut. I see Bam Nut milk. I see noodles with seasonings, and then there’s bundles and swag and all kinds of delicious things.
In the future, are we expanding that beyond or what’s the scope?
We would love to explore new categories as we build our business. There are so many occasions throughout the day where we can actually incorporate the bambara ground in exciting products, and we look forward to doing that.
Our focus right now is definitely our milk portfolio. It’s a wonderful product. I encourage everybody to have a little taste and Judge for yourself. We have a client in Los Angeles, a coffee roaster, who said ‘This is the closest thing to cow milk that I’ve ever seen in plant-based milk.’
We call it planet based milk. I have to say again, shout out to my team in the R&D side of things because they have established a wonderful product essentially with just three ingredients: that’s water, the bambara groundnut, not coconut oil. The rest is essentially technology behind the scenes that actually makes it foam nicely, very stable foam, small bubbles. So you can do latte art.
Our Airy [flavor] is essentially the one that I would use for a nice drink, like a shake.
In between there is the Every Day [flavor] that goes essentially into my cereal in the morning.
What are the flavors?
Today we are in the market with three different products.
The first one in a slightly black sort of packaging is the Barista. It has the richest mouthfeel. It is the creamiest. We have designed it to perform fantastic or be able to perform fantastic latte art. So it really goes into the cappuccino sort of an experience rather nicely.
I personally take it also for Boba tea. I might as well use the bambara groundnut and foam it up.
I have my little trick with the barista. I actually froth it in the frother and I put my espresso shot into the frother with the barista together. So I froth it together. But that is just me. I just like it that way.
Then we have the purple package, which is our Everyday. My wife uses it in baking. We do make cakes, like traditional Austria style, and we totally use only the Everyday [flavor] for that.
Friends of mine [pour] it into their cereals in the morning. It’s a little bit richer, earthy, nutty in character because we do tend to roast the nuts a little bit stronger in the process of making it.
Last but not least, we have our Airy [flavor], which is the lightest one of it all. It is the mint colored package. It is the one that people take into milkshakes and protein shakes.
Let’s move on to Noodles
We wanted to create technologies that help us regenerate what’s broken. And today a large portion of all ramen that is being consumed on a day-to-day basis globally is deep fried in palm oil. Palm oil leaves huge banks of land degraded behind, particularly after the third cycle of palm plantations being grown.
We see the aftermath of the palm plantation industry essentially now in Southeast Asia. Therefore we were alerted when we started this project to basically say no to frying and no to deep frying and no, to essentially dehydrating instant noodles or ramen using that sort of process.
So we invented a technology that actually took that sort of challenge away. We invented an industrial scale air frying technology. Once you actually don’t fry anymore, you save about 20% of the space because 20% of palm oil is [based] in the noodle product of classic ramen. That’s what it absorbs in the frying process.
So if you don’t deep fry, you save 20%. Now nutrients will survive. Now colors may survive. Then we replaced all the palm oil with the Bambara.
We started to actually say, how can we bring color and different flavors and textures on the plates of consumers? And we created these four different products with the four different colors, which is essentially the black one, which is charcoal driven, moringa is green, pumpkin is orange and the original is yellow.
So four different options, all the same philosophy.
The backbone of making it is the same, but then we add different nutrients to it to have fun, and then we add fancy seasonings to it, which makes just a nice flavor experience as well.
Our audience is passionate, hungry, curious, foodies. What does it actually taste like?
I’m extremely proud of our Noodles because even without the seasonings, you can cook them up and eat them and you will have a wonderful experience.
Try and contrast that with other ramen that you find in the market, and you will come back to our offering immediately because they’re just tasting nice.
So our starting point of then adding the seasonings to it, like hot and spicy, or the mushrooms is an easy undertaking. It is actually an easy sort of concept to work with because if you have a neutral and nice taste to start with from the noodle base, you can build interesting flavor profiles on top.
Rather than having to use heavy flavors to mask off-flavor from a product base, or not so nice processes or even crappy raw materials. We don’t have that challenge.
We also decided very early on to keep the salt at a minimum to stay away from any flavor enhancers. No MSG, we’ve tried to keep it as clean as we possibly can.
We’ve tried to use as much spice as we can access. No flavoring and stuff like that. I’ve been in that industry for over 20 years. We thought let’s stay honest, to the product as well, to the noodles as well. And that has been a fantastic journey.
Our “Original, is a hot and sweet, hot and spicy pairing. In Southeast Asia, it’s based on wok cooking. That’s my personal favorite. I eat it on salads with a little bit of a balsamico dressing
We have with Sesame Garlic, many kids who go for a green one.
Pumpkin with the traditional Indian curry offer a great pairing. Watch out, it comes hot and spicy. Typical Indian flavors.
Last but not least is our charcoal with mushrooms. It’s fantastic for, if you go out to have a beer and come home and wanna have a bite, go for it. It’s a good one.
How did you decide which flavors to choose? Was it a lot of trial and error?
There’s a lot of trial and error. There’s a lot of pairing up with our noodles.
What we have tried to do is really look into what are the best pairings for these sort of flavors.
From that point of view, we also wanted to stay with our seasonings. We wanted to stay essentially planet based. None of our ingredients have any animal derived products in it.
You look at the charcoal, you cook it up, you eat it, you give it to a chef, let him experiment around.
We had a Spanish chef take our charcoal and put it into a paella. All of a sudden there was a totally different sort of recipe.
The way we actually derived the final products has also a lot to do with people that actually use it day-to-day in the kitchen and learn from them.
What’s the future of WhatIf foods?
We are going to enter new categories of food and we are gonna expand our existing categories with new products.
But I probably would love to use the opportunity to take you along on a more philosophical sort of journey for WhatIf foods and what comes hopefully in the next couple of years to come, because I think we have a better opportunity that needs doubling down now.
What I’m talking about is really the cost of the way we are making everything right from originating bambara groundnut, with partnering farming communities in all parts of Ghana. Encouraging them, making the ingredients ourselves, and then making the food applications, making the food, and then basically taking it to retail all the way through to Manhattan and other parts of the US.
So it’s that entire regenerative value chain that we have created and what that actually represents to us is an opportunity to really explore the intersection between soil health and restoring the soil that has been once degraded from intensive agriculture.
It is that intersection of renewable energy because the Bambara groundnut now grows in a shell and hence the shell has energy in there and can be used in order to fire up essentially for power.
If you do that smartly, you generate biochar. With biochar, you then actually sequester carbon from the atmosphere into the soils permanently for hundreds, if not a thousand years to come.
And last but not least, another intersection is wellbeing for consumers. We call them “Better Believers” as well as farming communities because we work with them directly.
We are proud of the fact that we have increased profit, not income; profit of farmers who work with us by 300%.
At 2.5 acres, these farmers are permanently uplifted above the poverty line. That’s the intersection we really wanna double down to. Again, soil health, renewable energy, carbon sequestration.
Well-being for both the better believers as consumers, as well as the farming communities. Its possible and we’re looking forward to doing that on a large scale. If we wanna fulfill the demand that we hopefully can create, then we will probably need about 20,000 farmers to do that in the next five to ten years to come.
And then generate all the energy that we need internally to be there for carbon zero. Even further carbon or maybe even participate in the carbon market through certificates. That’s our next challenge. That’s where we wanna go.
DC Deserves Amazing Summertime wine! Trivento launches #TheFirstWhiteMalbec with Winemaker Maxi Ortiz
There’s plenty of “other” product launches and then there’s Trivento’s Sunset Cruise launch for The First White Malbec. Clearly, Trivento is very excited.
NYC wine and food experts board the luxury yacht, from 1919, at Manhattan’s North Cove Premier Mega-Yacht Club & Marina.
A handful of NYC and East Coast wine and food experts board a luxury yacht, built in 1919, at Manhattan’s North Cove Premier Mega-Yacht Club & Marina. On-board, best-selling wine authors, top wine media, and NYC’s food and wine critics.
As we set sail, our wine glasses are filled with The First White Malbec in the world, produced by Argentina’s Trivento and Winemaker Maxi Ortiz.
It’s easy to be taken by the moment. You look up and see the majestic NYC coastline. Look around the yacht, even the most local New York cynics have their jaws agape. It’s just breath-taking to see.
Moments later, the crew aboard the Ventura Sailing Team are passing out delicious seafood and chicken-based appetizers to pair with Trivento’s White Malbec.
Ventura Sailing Team are passing out delicious seafood and chicken-based appetizers
We sail through the bay, passing the Brooklyn Bridge in the distance, coming up on Governor’s Island and of course, The Statue of Liberty.
Passing along the Brooklyn Bridge
Why Trivento’s White Malbec is a world-class Innovation
For over 150 years, Malbec has been grown widely throughout Argentina. Its deep purple color, rich aromas of plums and red berries. It’s perfect for smooth, supple red wines.
The fact that Winemaker Maxi Ortiz dares to take an incredible red wine and turn it into a white wine, shows world-class innovation, confidence and vinification prowess. But as we’ll learn further below, it wasn’t an easy process.
Ortiz later explains in detail, it took 4 years of trial and error. Getting closer and closer, but not perfect enough for him. What we taste today is a culmination of his efforts and lessons.
What does Trivento’s White Malbec taste like?
By now most of us on the yacht have had a second taste of the wine. It’s opening up and blossoming beautifully.
The color is surprisingly clear, crystalline.
The nose has aromas of white peach, grapefruit, subtle hint of red fruit.
It’s a very easy-drinking wine. Especially in the summer. The mouth has a refreshing acidity, light body. Notes of green apple. Pairs beautifully well with the seafood and light chicken dishes served here. I could also see it with a garden salad, caprese or sushi. Be daring and try it with BBQ as the acid will cut into the fatty meat.
Hearing from Trivento’s Team, Juan Jose Gil
Juan Jose Gil directs the Trivento brand in the United States.
He explains that Trivento was founded in 1996 by the group Concha y Toro. It was the first time they left Chile to make an investment outside of their origin when they chose Mendoza, Argentina.
They started with a very small vineyard of 154 hectares. Today these Malbec experts have 12 vineyards in four different valleys and over 1,764 hectares of vines. They offer Malbec at every price point and every value tier.
The company has three pillars: Innovation. Sustainability. Excellence.
From Juan Jose Gil’s explanation, all 3 pillars are thriving together as we sip their most innovative wine, from grapes farmed on their sustainable vineyards, enjoying its excellent quality.
Winemaker Maxi Ortiz playfully posing with the Statue of Liberty
Winemaker Maxi Ortiz Reveals His White Malbec Process
Ortiz has been working at Trivento since 2006, helping to build it into the fourth biggest winery in Mendoza.
2019 was their first vintage of Trivento White Malbec. But it’s come a long way from what the world is tasting today.
However, for him, it’s a very special wine for more that just the innovation it represents, but also a positive impact on society:
“Sales from this wine
go to a scholarship program that helps students
with low economic resources and high academic performance to finish schooling.”
How did he create the white Malbec?
He revealed parts of his 4-year process. He picked the grapes the last week of January, 40 days earlier than regular. Then they quickly pressed the grapes in order to separate the skin from the pulp. However it’s not “white” yet. Then it was more of a rose.
Then he revealed the biggest secret of the process. A winemaking method that is common with red wines, but not whites. Ortiz got creative, invented and daring – and it worked. And unfortunately, we’re not going to share it here today. As competition is already growing!
“We were the first winery [back in 2019] to make a white wine with a red grape, which is the Malbec.
And it’s fantastic because nowadays you can see at least 10 different wineries making White Malbec.
So this is the first White Malbec and
in a way Trivento creates a new category of wine in Argentina.”
The quality is clearly there, As Ortiz explains further:
“The grapes came from the same region, from the same vineyard,
from the same places that we use for our [traditional Malbec] Reserve.”
For those who follow NYC weather, it was supposed to be thunderstorms the day of the Sunset Cruise. Bravely and happily, the launch decided to move forward anyway!
The weather was dramatic and cloudy (but dry) all throughout the cruise. Then, as if anointed by a higher power, just as Ortiz finished speaking, the rain started.
A slow, steady rinse that grew stronger. By the time we returned to dock, it was a heavy downpour. But no one was complaining. Wet smiles all around.
If Trivento White Malbec has a way of brightening your day even amidst a heavy thunderstorm, imagine what it can do for your backyard barbecue?
Heraclea Olive Oil delivers flavor, health and heritage, reveals Berk Bahceci
We are here with Berk Bahceci from Heraclea Olive Oil.
Berk joined me for a conversation (via zoom). Below has been edited for length and clarity. Find the full conversation on our YouTube Channel.
I’m excited because I’ve tasted your olive oils and they’re subtle, they’re flavorful, and there’s a great story behind them. And today I wanna touch on all of that and a little bit more.
Tell me a bit about your background and how you got into olive oil
Berk: Sure. I moved to the United States approximately 10 years ago for college. Actually. That’s how my story here started. I studied economics at UCLA and then I went to law school at UC Berkeley.
But the day I started law school, I realized something was off. I started questioning whether I was the material to be an attorney. Three years passed by. I took the bar exam and started working. In my first year I realized, I don’t want to be a lawyer anymore.
I started looking for an exit plan. So I reflected back on myself, my life, my childhood. What is one thing that would make me wanna wake up every day with excitement?
I realized olive oil is out there. My family owned some olive groves before, but we were never doing this with a business mindset. It was just produced and consumed within family and friends. I came up with the idea to tell my family, why don’t we turn this into a business, create a brand around it, and sell it here exclusively in the United States.
The market itself is very dominated by a couple big players from certain countries.
I did more research and realized that Turkey is the fifth largest importer of olive oil into the United States, but you are not seeing any Turkish brands on shelves.
What’s the reason for that? It’s probably because producers in Turkey don’t have the means to come here, establish a distribution center like channels, and move product. Selling in bulk is the easiest and most convenient way for those people.
But I wanted to bring a new way for the Turkish olive oil in the United States with Heraclea that’s how we found it.
We’re definitely gonna get into Turkey in a second. A lot of the people watching this are wine lovers. Region is very important. So tell us about the region that you’re farming
Berk: Region has an impact on olive oil as well. That’s the reason why the European Union has a scheme called Protected Designation of Origin. I’m sure wine lovers and cheese lovers will know, when I say PDO, the red and yellow emblem that you see on certain products sold in specialty food stores.
PDO is basically a stamp given by the European Union, to distinct products. What do I mean by that? So the variety of olive that we work with is called Memecik. There are over 2000 olive varieties in the world.
Do me a favor, say that variety again and spell it for us.
Berk: It’s called Memecik. It is very unknown, very rare because it is specific to the region that we produce.
And that’s why the European Union has given a couple years ago to this region and this olive variety, A P D O certification. For example, in California most growers are bequia, right? If they were to plant Memecik, which they can, in California, they won’t be able to have this PDO certification.
So PDO only comes if Memecik is grown in Milas. That’s a very special thing for us and we are very proud to be working with a very rare variety. So when you buy olive oil, it is for certain that you won’t taste it with any other brand because it’s distinct to Milas.
Just the same way that champagne only comes from the Champagne of France.
Berk: That’s exactly what I was going to say.
When did you realize the magic and the power of the Memecik varietal?
Berk: This PDO certification is so new that we did not found this business upon that, that certification. It was just an added value with the PDO, but we always knew that our olive oil was distinct in its quality.
It has actually recently been approved by International judges in New York International Olive Oil competition, Japan Olive Oil Competition, Istanbul Olive Oil Competition. We got gold and silver medals from all of these. And this is the first year that we are actively participating in these competitions.
It’s a really good moment for us because usually these things don’t happen in the first or second year. [Usually] you’re a producer for multiple years or maybe generations. So we’re really proud about that.
Congratulations. And just to give someone listening or watching an idea, the scale of these competitions.
Can you estimate how many different olive oils are in that competition?
Berk: I would say in the thousands, 2000. Maybe a hundred companies are winning these awards. You’re in the select field of the top 5-10% in the entire world.
The panel is composed of people from all around the world, from all producing regions, Italy, Tunisia, Greece, Turkey, Chile, Argentina. Experts. So it’s a good indication that the product is at a certain level of quality.
So let’s talk about the behind the scenes and the process of making this award-winning olive oil.
Berk: We have around a hundred acres of land with over 10,000 trees that we take care of with a team of seven full-time on the field every day. We don’t use any fertilizers, we don’t use any pesticides. We don’t use any chemicals. One reason is our grows are literally on the on mountains. They’re not plantations.
Many olive oil brands have what people call “olive farms” where the companies do intensive and super, super high density farming, which means that where maybe 10 trees would go. They plant a hundred trees. So it’s very compact, producing very high yield olives, but lacking taste because they’re fed with irrigation all the time.
So the olives get really big when they’re given water every day, whereas our olives don’t have irrigation because it’s on the mountains. Our olives, in comparison, are relatively smaller, which keeps the aroma very vibrant. That’s actually the secret behind it.
A lot of people who taste our early harvest olive oil say that it’s a little bit bitter, especially right after the harvest. That comes from the antioxidants that are loaded in it. Because our olives are very small. The density of antioxidants is higher, so that’s why the bitterness comes in.
We just prune the trees, cutting the excessive branches because we’re working in a very scarce, nutrient environment. Like I said, no fertilizers, so you have to keep the trees very optimal by cutting the unnecessary trees and branches so that whatever there is in the soil goes to the fruit.
That’s why our team of seven constantly does these kind of things. These kind of physical touches, no like chemical alteration or anything. Around October we start walking around the grow to determine the day of the harvest. That is the most exciting time of the year
Due to not using fertilizers, we really have to optimize the day of the harvest to maximize our production. So when we determine that day, which is mid-October, usually we start harvesting.
We hire local men and women who are living in nearby villages. We go in with a team of 20 to 30.
We keep it for 90 days until January. We don’t want to go into January. Because fruit flies, conditions and a lot of other things impact the quality.
So we try to finish everything from mid-October until January. We work with a local mill to process our olives. We take two batches every day, one in the afternoon and one at night because we don’t wanna wait in between.
If you start harvest at 8:00 AM and harvest until 4:00 PM the olives that you have harvested at 8:00 AM will have waited nine hours before going into the processing machine. We don’t wanna do that because as the olive waits, fermentation starts and the quality decreases.
So we do two deliveries every day to the local mills, one in the afternoon, and one later in the day. This way we ensure that our olives go right into production within two to four hours of harvest. Believe me, we’re working really hard to maintain that.
Then we store our olive oil in stainless steel tanks in temperature and humidity controlled rooms with nitrogen gas used as a buffer between the olive oil and the rim.
Think of a five ton tank. You fill it out, but there’s always some portion of the tank that is left empty and there’s oxygen in that empty part. When olive oil touches with oxygen in the stainless steel tank as it is stored, oxidation starts, which leads to rancidity, which decreases the quality of the olive oil. So we take that oxygen out by pumping in another gas – of course, food grade safety, no worries there.
That’s the level of attention and care we give to our olive oil.
Let’s switch to the the tasty part. Let’s talk about the flavor of your two bottles. Flavor profiles, aroma, anything you’d like.
Berk: So we have two products right now. We’re bringing in a third one soon.
Olive oil is the white bottle which is made from olives that we harvest starting from October until mid-November.
And the moment that we switch from early to mature harvest is when the olives start turning into this purplish color. As months pass the green olives start to ripen and then change in color. When we see that change into purple, that’s the moment we say, okay, early harvest is done.
Now we’re doing mature harvest and then everything else that we harvest mid-November, till January, is considered mature harvest. That’s the distinction between the two.
The mature harvest is the black bottle. And when it comes to flavor profile, there’s one disclaimer that I wanna make, uh, in general about, uh, these, uh, like.
Flavor profiles. I think to really understand and feel and get this smell. In any olive oil, you have to have a sensory memory, have that experience in your mind, I still remember it.
Here’s an example from my sensory memory:
We had a walnut tree right across the street by our house, and there was a fine paper-like cover, outside of the walnut. Right before they mature, we would take from the tree and taste it and it’s bitter. So that [bitter] taste is in my sensory memory right now.
Same as tomato stems. Like if you touch a tomato plant with your hands and play around and then smell your hands, you’re going to get a very unique tomato stem smell, and that’s like embedded in your mind now. So from now on, every time you taste an olive oil, if there is that distinct smell or taste in it, that’s how you recognize it.
So in our olive oil, early harvest, for example, I get the notes of freshly cut grass, tomato stems, walnuts, banana.
What I was told in this olive oil school that I went to in Spain is, get your hands out there. Touch everything, smell everything. Taste everything. That’s how you develop your sensory memory.
And that’s how you become, as people say, familiar. But you know, like you don’t have to have a certificate to be one. You know, you just go out there and taste stuff and try to. Memorize and remember those smells and tastes.
I was talking to somebody earlier this week about food pairings and he had a similar answer, which was be curious.
Exactly. Taste things, touch things, smell things, and be curious.
I know your website has a cookbook, let’s talk about some of your favorite food pairings with your olive oil
Berk: I love drizzling our early harvest on cheese plates. That’s my favorite thing. Early harvest is more for finishing dishes because it has a bitter aroma to it.
If you cook with it, you may have a bitter taste in the food. Actually, I know people who cook with our early harvest. I know people who drizzle with our mature harvest, so it’s not set in stone.
It really depends on what you like, but generally, early harvest is better for drizzling over salads. Hummus, cheese. Sometimes I dip my bread in it.
That’s a tradition we have in Turkey sometimes, find a piece of bread and dip that into your olive oil, and that’s a good breakfast.
Mature harvest is for everything else. Cooking, baking, marinating. A lot of people are saying that they use it for marinating.
Anything else you want us to discover about olive oil?
Berk: Our goals are twofold. One is, olive oil is a very healthy product for human consumption, There is research showing that the positive effects on health of olive oil, daily consumption of olive oil. We believe that a product that is so healthy for humans should do no harm to the environment.
It’s production should not cause any more trouble to our Mother Nature. That’s why we’re not using fertilizers. That’s why we’re not using pesticides. We think there’s a solution in nature to resolve any problem that these things claim to be curing. That’s number one, producing as environmentally friendly as possible.
Number two is to introduce to the world the intricacies of Turkish cuisine. It is beyond just kebab. It is just one meal in thousands of distinct and unique recipes. And the way that we treat these recipes are not just a list of ingredients.
To us, these are stories from past generations and that Turkish cookbook has 550 very distinct recipes. Each recipe is associated with a specific region or maybe sometimes even a village.
It almost sounds Farm To Table.
Berk: Exactly. That’s the goal. We’re small batch and we have really certain values and principles.
Are there any specific health benefits that you wanna cover?
Berk: There are a lot. There are a lot of research. I’m not a scientist. I’m not a doctor. But consuming olive oil daily helps with chronic diseases. Cardiovascular diseases. Type 2 diabetes, and many more.
We have lab reports showing the amount of antioxidants in our olive oil, which is around 500 milligrams per liter, which is a high amount. Consuming antioxidants is healthy. Olive oil has anti-inflammatory effects as well.
When you consider all of these things and if you consume fats, why don’t you switch to a healthy alternative where research shows that its consumption helps you.
That’s why as a layman I recommend consuming olive oil on a daily basis.
Berk, you’ve given us a lot of good information. You’ve given us a lot of tasty ideas.
Let’s talk about how to buy and how to, how to where we can buy your olive oil.
Berk: We’re available online at heraclea.co. There is no “m” at the end.
We will very soon be available on Amazon.
If you are in New York, we will soon be available in NoHo. Manhattan. Then if you are in Seattle, very soon we will be available in a grocery chains in Seattle.
Hopefully by end of this year we will be in over a hundred physical locations
Post Malone Returns to DC Area July 26 with the ‘If Y’all Weren’t Here, I’d Be Crying’ Tour
GRAMMY® Award-nominated 8x diamond-certified global superstar Post Malone unveiled his anxiously awaited fifth full-length offering and one of the most anticipated albums of 2023, Austin, will arrive on July 28th, 2023. You can pre-order/pre-save—HERE.
Additionally, Post will release his next single entitled “Mourning” this coming Friday May 19, 2023 via Mercury Records/Republic Records.
Post also announced his return to North America with the ‘If Y’all Weren’t Here, I’d Be Crying’Tour following his highly successful trek across the US and Canada last year and Europe this year for his long awaited ‘Twelve Carat Tour’.
The 2023 North America run will give fans his signature exhilarating performance with music from his upcoming album as well as fan-favorites in a completely reimagined show. Produced by Live Nation, the 24-date run kicks off on July 8 at Nobelsville’s Ruoff Music Center, making stops in Detroit, Toronto, Charlotte, Tampa, Atlanta, Dallas and more before wrapping up at San Bernardino’s Glen Helen Amphitheater on August 19.
“I love y’all so very much and I’m so excited to get out and do some more shows for y’all. Help me put a baby through college and come on out. Some cool new production, new songs, and a very very handsome man up on stage. Sending love to you and yours.” Says Post
TICKETS: Tickets will be available starting with a Citi presale (details below) beginning Wednesday, May 17 at 10am local time. Additional presales will run throughout the week ahead of the general onsale beginning Friday, May 19 at 10am local time on livenation.com
PRESALE: Citi is the official card of the Post Malone tour. Citi cardmembers will have access to presale tickets beginning Wednesday, May 17 at 10am local time until Thursday, May 18 at 11:59pm local time through the Citi Entertainment program. For complete presale details visit www.citientertainment.com.
VIP: The tour will also offer a variety of different VIP packages and experiences for fans to take their concert experience to the next level. Packages vary but include premium tickets, access to the World Pong League VIP Lounge, exclusive VIP gift items and more. For more information, visit vipnation.com.
IF Y’ALL WEREN’T HERE, I’D BE CRYING 2023 TOUR DATES:
Sat Jul 08 – Noblesville, IN – Ruoff Music Center
Sun Jul 09 – Cincinnati, OH – Riverbend Music Center
Tue Jul 11 – Detroit, MI – Pine Knob Music Theatre
Wed Jul 12 – Burgettstown, PA – The Pavilion at Star Lake
Fri Jul 14 – St. Louis, MO – Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
Sat Jul 15 – East Troy, WI – Alpine Valley Music Theatre
Mon Jul 17 – Buffalo, NY – Darien Lake Amphitheater
Mon Jul 31 – West Palm Beach, FL – iTHINK Financial Amphitheatre
Tue Aug 01 – Tampa, FL – MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre
Thu Aug 03 – Atlanta, GA – Lakewood Amphitheatre
Sat Aug 05 – Dallas, TX – Dos Equis Pavilion
Tue Aug 08 – Houston, TX – The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
Thu Aug 10 – Albuquerque, NM – Isleta Amphitheater
Sat Aug 12 – Phoenix, AZ – Talking Stick Resort Amphitheatre
Sun Aug 13 – San Diego, CA – North Island Credit Union Amphitheatre
Tue Aug 15 – Wheatland, CA – Toyota Amphitheatre
Wed Aug 16 – Mountain View, CA – Shoreline Amphitheatre
Sat Aug 19 – San Bernardino, CA – Glen Helen Amphitheater
GRAMMY Award-nominated phenomenon Post Malone
A 8x diamond-certified GRAMMY® Award-nominated phenomenon, Dallas, TX artist Post Malone regularly rewrites history, blurs boundaries, and incites internet-breaking conversation with every move.
Emerging in 2015 with a genre-less brew that inspired a movement, he delivered the diamond-selling “Congratulations” [feat. Quavo], achieved back-to-back #1 debuts on the Billboard Top 200, received countless multi-Platinum certifications around the world, and smashed one record after another with his Hot 100-topping hits. In 2022, he pushed boundaries again with his fourth full-length offering, Twelve Carat Toothache, which marked his fourth consecutive Top 5 bow on the Top 200.
It also paved the way for his biggest headliner to date, The Twelve Carat Toothache Tour, taking over arenas for multiple dates in major cities throughout the year. He even scored “the highest-certified single in RIAA history” with the 17x-platinum “Sunflower (Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse)” [feat. Swae Lee], netting the biggest single of his generation.
In 2023, he garnered a GRAMMY® Award nod in the category of “Best Pop Duo/Group Performance” for “I Like You (A Happier Song)” [with Doja Cat], marking his tenth career nomination in six years.
Three years prior, his 2019 third full-length, Hollywood’s Bleeding [Republic Records], represented an audience and critical high watermark.
Not only did it arrive at platinum status and eventually go triple-platinum, but it also reigned at #1 on the Billboard Top 200 for four weeks and returned to the chart for a fifth week, making for the longest run atop the chart of 2019 and the first release to do so in over a year.
The quadruple-platinum lead single “Circles” seized #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks. It notably occupied a spot on the chart for a record 39 weeks in total. Speaking of making history, he performed a massively popular Nirvana tribute concert on YouTube, raising over $10,000,000 for the World Health Organization in the fight against COVID-19. Hollywood’s Bleeding followed the immense success of the triple-Platinum beerbongs & Bentleys, which also landed at #1 a year prior.
In the wake of beerbongs & bentleys, Post crushed a record in place for 54 years. He charted nine songs in the Top 20 of the Hot 100, notching “the most songs in the Top 20 of the Hot 100 ever.” Moreover, he also trounced the record for most simultaneous Top 40 Hot 100 hits with 14.
As of 2023, his catalog comprises the GRAMMY® Award-nominated “rockstar” [feat. 21 Savage” (Diamond), “Sunflower (Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse)” [feat. Swae Lee] (Diamond), “I Fall Apart” (5x-platinum), “Psycho” [feat. Ty Dolla $ign] (5x-platinum), “White Iverson” (5x-platinum), “Better Now” (4x-platinum), and more. Not to mention, he sold out numerous arena tours and hosted and curated his own mega-popular Posty Fest in 2018 and 2019. It all started with his quintuple-platinum influential 2016 debut, Stoney. With records under his belt that will likely never be surpassed and a generation of artists and audiences worldwide under his spell, Post Malone simply doesn’t stop.
This Fathers Day, Le Portteus Wine Decanter, pours flavor and class for your foodie, wine-drinking Dad (and the whole family).
Father’s Day is around the corner, and what better way to celebrate than with a unique and elegant gift for the wine-loving dads in your life?
Father’s Day: Le Portteus Wine Decanter offers Flavor and Class for Dad
Le Portteus Red Wine Decanter is a perfect choice that rethinks the wine sipping experience.
Its thoughtfully designed hand-blown glass piece increases oxygen exposure, releasing natural aromas and deep flavors, which improves the taste by softening astringent tannins and releasing fruit and floral notes.
“I’d been envying a friend’s decanter for ages, so finally broke down and got one. It comes with cleaning beads, a cork stopper, and a cleaning wand.
Decanting really does make a huge difference
with medium-to-heavy reds.”
Debbie Adams, Amazon buyer
According to the experts at Portteus, wine enthusiasts have long known the importance of decanting wine to enhance the drinking experience, and Le Portteus takes it to the next level with its high-quality crystal, slanted spout, and wide-bottom design that makes pouring effortless without wine drips and stains.
With a capacity of a full 750 ml wine bottle, it also doubles as a chic decoration on kitchen counters, bookshelves, bars, libraries or serving areas, and is sure to be a conversation starter.
“Beautiful design. Made a very good statement at our dinner table!
Also looks great sitting at the counter as decoration.”
MJ, amazon buyer
Moreover, what sets Le Portteus apart is its convenient cleaning beads that come with a cork and stopper ball for efficiency, making it easy to clean without worrying about scratches or grime.
Plus, high-grade steel pellets are an easy cleaning solution that can be used repeatedly, giving peace of mind to the dad who loves wine but doesn’t like the hassle of cleaning his decanter.
“Le Portteus Red Wine Decanter is the perfect gift for the wine-loving dad who will appreciate the enhanced wine-drinking experience and its chic design.”
This wine decanter is an essential edition to your wine accessories.
Decanting wines will increase the oxygen exposure thereby releasing its natural aromas and deep flavors. As a result, improving the taste by softening the astringent tannins and letting the fruit and floral aromas come out.
The lead-free crystal wine decanter is handcrafted with highly durable crystal, and guaranteed to withstand the test of time!
With the capacity of a full 750 ml wine bottle. In addition to our high quality crystal vase, our decanter set also includes a fine cork ball stopper.
Spill and Stain Proof
The slanted spout and wide bottom of this wine aerator decanter makes it an effortless and elegant pour, eliminating the frustration of wine drips and stains. Making this the perfect wine gift set for aerating red wines, releasing satisfying flavors and aromas, and indulging your taste buds with peace of mind!
These cleaning beads are uniquely designed to be gentle on delicate decanters for alcohol and tough on dirt and grime, removing any buildup without leaving a scratch. These high-grade steel pellets are an easy cleaning solution that you can reuse repeatedly.
Gifts with Class
Every Le Portteus crystal vase wine aerator goes through a quality assurance product inspection and comes with a lifetime warranty.
Le PortteusDecanters and Carafes make great gifts for friends or wine lovers, and you can be sure they will love them!
An excellent idea for birthdays, housewarmings, anniversaries, wedding registries, and more!
The Future of Coffee has More Flavor, reveals Maurice Contreras at Volcanica Coffee
Just about everyone has their coffee preferences. But the truth is, most of us aren’t enjoying coffee the best it can be and we don’t even know it. The beans, the grinding, the flavor (or lack thereof).
And before you ask, nope, good coffee doesn’t need to be expensive. Actually most great coffee is more affordable than the bad stuff you’re currently drinking. True story.
But I wanted to get answers and advice from a coffee expert, so I had a conversation with Maurice Contreras from Volcanica Coffee.
Maurice Contreras, Volcanica Coffee
Native Costa Rican Maurice Contreras started Volcanica Coffee to import excellent-tasting coffee from volcanic regions, such as his homeland, to consumers. He started the company in his garage and now operates a coffee plant near Atlanta with 20 employees, including his wife and two adult children.
What is your favorite thing about coffee?
My favorite thing I like about coffee is really the flavor. That actually was how I got started. I’m from Costa Rica and for a long time I would do annual trips with the family. It was a family vacation. One of our trips we did a coffee farm tour. And just got to learn about coffee. And this is back in 2004. One of the things that dawned on me is how coffee in Costa Rica was so much better than coffee in the United States. I just didn’t understand why a 3rd world country had better coffee. The quality of coffee in the United States has really come down over several decades. So that’s when I thought that there was an opportunity to bring better tasting coffee or specialty coffee as it’s known today to the United States. That was really how it got started. It really was more about the flavor and just enjoying the richness of a Costa Rican coffee.
Is there a simple reason why first world coffee just isn’t as good?
Yeah, the general sense was because it became more of a highly produced, big production, big coffee house; and I’ll tell you a quick story. A lot of people don’t know this, the word Maxwell House, it actually is a chain of hotels. Some of them are still in existence. And so Maxwell House started from the Maxwell House Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee. They served breakfast and they had really good coffee and it became really popular. It became very famous, and then eventually it became its own brand Maxwell House, and then it ended up getting acquired by corporate conglomerates. And that really good tasting coffee just turned into [not-great] coffee.
So that’s really what happened to coffee in the United States. At one time, back in the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, people would really appreciate good coffee and then just kind of lost sight of what good coffee was.
From a coffee lover’s point of view, what would you say to convince them to give your coffee a try?
That coffee really is an enjoyable drink to be appreciated and enjoyed for the flavor of what it is. It’s not just something to wake you up. But really coffee and all the different varieties, there’s a lot of flavor notes, a lot of different flavors to be enjoyed. A lot of it depends upon the different regions. My recommendation is try it out and get some good coffee with some flavor notes that you enjoy. Like, for example, Ethiopian coffees, they have a lot of berry notes, a lot of fruit tones, even red wine notes. Some of those things can really open up people’s perspective on coffee.
Before we jump more into coffee, I wanted to ask you about your background as far as the work you did before Volcanica Coffee
My career was in marketing specifically I was in the wireless telephone industry. It really was just about creating a brand. I was part of the startup team at TracFone Wireless which is now a part of Verizon. I was the National Director, I created the brand. In fact, there’s still a lot of things in the brand that I created. I had a passion for marketing.
It was kinda like, “Hey, gee whiz, what if I created my own brand and just created a business?”
And so I actually was on a hunt for a couple of years thinking what would be a good business? And then I just kind of stumbled on coffee because it was staring me in the face.
There’s such a message in there. The success you’re currently riding is because you took industry knowledge of marketing, a personal passion for coffee, and took the risk of putting them together in a business start-up.
Yep, that’s true. It was a risk because I was making a good living, I had a young family, I didn’t wanna affect any of that. It was something part-time, working nights and weekends, that’s how it all started out. I
How did your family feel about that? Was there anxiety?
It was definitely a struggle and I loved spending time with them and being with them. But part of how I resolved that was I would just wake up early in the morning and spend 1-2 hours before I had to go to work doing this. I didn’t want to neglect my family and I didn’t.
There’s so many people out there who aspire to take those steps and they always find reasons not to, but you found a way. When people are drinking your coffee, they’re not just drinking delicious coffee, they’re supporting someone who took a huge chance, who followed his passions.
So segueing to the actual coffee part now.
Your website mentions coffee regions and how the region’s soil contributes to the taste. A lot of our audience who’s into food and wine will realize the terroir aspect is very familiar to that.
Can you pick two or three regions and explain their soil and how it contributes to the taste?
I’ll start with African coffees. Their soil is very unique. Coffees from Africa tend to have a lot of berry notes, a lot more flavor of fruit which is very unique and very different compared to coffees from Indonesia.
Indonesian coffees tend to be lower in acidity. Acidity provides flavor but they’re still very good tasting coffees, even though they’re lower in acidity.
Also the coffee in Indonesia, Sumatra, for example, Papua New Guinea, and even Hawaiian Kona coffees, those tend to have a lot of boldness. When you taste the cup, your mouth just tends to [recognize] that bold flavor, which you don’t get in African coffees. So those are a couple examples.
So really it is like old world wine versus new world wine. A noticeable difference in mouth feel depending on what region you’re going after.
When people ask, Hey, what kind of coffee should I buy? I always ask, what kind of flavors do you like? Start there. Then for people that are experimenting, try different coffees from different regions.
You mentioned that you’re from Costa Rica. So tell us more about the Costa Rican volcanic regions.
It’s the most popular coffee growing region in Costa Rica, the Tarrazu area, which is very mountainous, goes up to 5,000 feet above sea level south of San Jose. Very steep.
The coffee beans, because of the volcanic soil, have a lot of flavor. It’s a very mild flavor, but very flavorful as well. And because of the elevations, the beans are also very dense. They’re a harder bean. In fact, there’s a designation strictly hard bean that is used in the industry because of that.
Being from Costa Rica I came here [to the U.S.] when I was a baby. My mom would tell stories about how she would assist with her father, which is my grandfather, in the harvest. Because my grandfather was a teacher, he would work out in the rural areas of Costa Rica where the coffee bean farmers worked. They would assist during harvest time with picking coffee beans off the tree. There was the connection going back a couple generations in our family.
There has been a coffee influence throughout generations of your family.
Yes. For decades, maybe even a century, coffee was the number one product for Costa Rica. Today it’s tourism.
I’m glad you brought up tourism. We cover a lot of travel. If somebody wanted to visit Costa Rica, maybe even a specific coffee lover, is there a place you can recommend to come visit?
One of the farms that we work with actually has an Airbnb right on their plantation. We’ve had several customers that have made trips there and have gone and stayed at the house. It’s gorgeous.
More people are working from home and making coffee at home. A lot of us making coffee wrong. Can you just walk us through step by step the best way to grind and brew your coffee?
The single largest improvement in the freshness of your coffee is by grinding your beans at home. A lot of people don’t know this: buying ground coffee, because it’s in smaller particles, tends to deteriorate very quickly. So you’re not enjoying the best of what coffee can be.
So first of all, grind at home and it’s the type of grinder.
We recommend a burr grinder. The other type of grinder is a blade grinder, which is a cheap type grinder, which does not do as well as a burr grinder.
Second thing is you wanna match your grind type to how you’re brewing. So there’s different levels, how fine or how course you want the coffee. If you’re doing a French press, you want to have a coarse grind. The opposite spectrum is an espresso grind. It’s almost like very fine sand. So if you had coarse coffee and an espresso maker, you’d have a bad cup of coffee. And the opposite too. If you had a French press where you’re using espresso ground coffee, you would not have a good tasting coffee. A lot of it has to do with the extraction and this is the chemistry behind coffee.
Then in the middle of that would be like a traditional drip grind, which most people have which is a medium coarseness of a grind type. That works best to pour over or a drip grind.
Once you buy the equipment, you’re saving quite a bit of money by doing this all at home. More value and quality out of doing it at home?
Oh yeah. A cup of coffee outside can cost $3-6. At home, 50 cents per cup. Plus you’re controlling the flavor, how hot it is and how fresh it is.
How many cups do you think the average coffee person drinks per day?
The average is between one to two cups per day. Wall Street Journal says 66% of Americans have had coffee within the last day.
So with volcanic, you’ve mentioned low acid. Tell us more.
Low acid coffee is actually a natural occurrence. There’s no additives that need to be added, at least we don’t add anything to our coffee. It’s just how it’s sourced. How it’s brewed also affects acidity.
So for example, the cold brew method tends to lower the acidity of coffee. Even more than if you brewed it traditionally in a drip grinder. It benefits people who suffer from acid reflux; and different types of indigestion abnormalities can benefit from low acidic coffee just because the pH is a higher number.
We have a lot of customers thanking us because they could not drink coffee before they heard about our low acid coffee, so now they can drink coffee again.
We have a blend of different coffees called the low acid coffee, plus 12 or 15 other coffees that are also rated as low acid. We rated them, we’ve done the pH levels on all of them, and all of them fall into that category of being lower in acidity.
Volcanica has built up a really strong community on your social media avenues. What have the results been like?
We’re on all the major socials: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok. It’s very easy to find us. We take customer feedback really seriously. We’re always looking for input and ideas.
We’ll get a request [to] carry a type of coffee or coffee from a region and we’ll always look into it.
We offer 100% customer satisfaction. We take returns, even when the customer just didn’t like a coffee, which is no fault of ours.
When someone does suggest a new bean, a new region, is that an easy outreach to investigate, or is that a whole process?
It is a whole process.
What’s a great online shopping strategy for finding the right coffee beans?
Align yourself with a brand that has a quality product. Look at customer reviews, their roasting technique. Then it’s a matter of what type of coffee do you like? What flavor notes? Something mild? Berry notes? Lower in acidity?
So I go onto your website to buy some beans. What’s a safe way to pick a bean that I’ll probably enjoy?
We carry over 150 different coffees, which is a lot. Visiting our website you have to know your preferences. Having some [filtering/search ] tools out there would be beneficial to people helping the selection process, that’s actually on our roadmap for the future.
Part of the reason why we have 150 coffees is because we’ve been listening to our customers over the years.
Tell us something about Volcanico Coffee that not everyone knows.
We love to give back. We’ve been blessed, we’ve been very successful, so we donate 1% of our website sales to an organization called Charity Water. They build water projects in impoverished communities around the world. This year we’re actually sponsoring a well in Ethiopia for a particular town. We know that we buy a lot of coffee from Ethiopia and we’d love to give back to them.
What is the future of coffee?
The future of coffee is specially curated lots. We call them our “Private Collection”. Farmers that are actually fermenting their coffee with mango, peach, different types of fruits. We have a few of them right now. We’re hoping to be carrying more in the near future.
Our audience is listening right now. What would you like them to do?
If you’re interested in finding out more about coffee and experiencing coffee, start exploring. We offer a great cup of coffee. Great different flavors and varieties. We even offer decafs, flavored coffees, something for everybody.