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UMF #7: Vom Fass

Urban Market Forage started the New Year with a visit to Vom Fass on University Avenue. Vom Fass, which is German for From the Cask, first opened in 1994 in Regensburg, Germany. In 2008, the first American Vom Fass opened right here in Madison. There are now about a dozen shops in the U.S. and about another 250 across the globe.

All the products come from small producers, many practicing organic agriculture and working exclusively with Vom Fass. The exact location/farm of every item in the store is noted on the product tag. Many items also have cooking and pairing suggestions.

For anyone who has more salads on their list of resolutions for 2013, you couldn’t ask for a better destination. We were treated to tastings of many, many delightful oils, ranging from olive to argan, pistachio to avocado, hazelnut to grapeseed.

The vinegars were also stellar. From brightly acidic wine vinegars to syrupy balsamic-style fruit vinegars that would be more at home on a dessert plate or in a cocktail. Shane, our staff guide was very knowledgeable about cooking and enjoyed the Slow Food gang’s eagerness to try as many different flavors as possible.

After all that oil and vinegar, we transitioned to the stronger stuff. First some red wines, both mellow and fruity. We tasted liqueurs, grappas, scotches, whiskies and brandies. We also got a lesson in the history of absinthe. Vom Fass stocks a very tasty version and sells a variety of pretty spoons for your sugar cube.

Go, taste, create.