Together with Williams-Sonoma, chef Eric Ripert and La Boite’s Lior Lev Sercarz are bringing back their collaborative line of spice blends, the Voyager Collection, just in time for spring. This month we talk to Eric and Lior about them.
Hey Nick and Dana, thanks for taking the time to sit down with us this month! En Rama sounds like a great event and we’re happy to be collaborating with you guys.
First off, can you tell us a little bit more about the series? When did it start? What was the initial impetus for getting it going?
This series began in the summer of 2016 with partner Dana Staley at Tertulia, a few months after I visited Jerez for the first time. On the plane home I thought to myself, “I have to get involved. I have to work with this wine beyond just being passionate about consuming it! ” I played around with the idea of a sherry bar for years, and already had thought of a great name, En Rama. I then thought a pop-up would be more sustainable at this time in my life…it also is a concept that can be portable. I’m a touring musician as well, so the idea of traveling with wine and doing ‘tours’ or ‘gigs’ is familiar and appealing to me, and it’s a dream to combine both music and sherry. En Rama is my favorite style of sherry, and also thought that it not only describes a style, but embodies a philosophy both literally and figuratively that can translate to the world of hospitality and creativity: unfiltered, or, in other words, pure. Straight forward. Straight from the source. Elemental.
Thanks for taking the time to talk with us, can you first tell us a bit more about the three beers that inspired the blends and about Goose Island for people who may not be familiar?
The three beers, IPA, Sofie, and Bourbon Country Stout pretty much cover the wide range of styles brewed at Goose Island.
IPA is an old world meets new world style IPA blending citrus-y American hops with some earthy European varieties. It’s a solid IPA, less aggressive than most, which makes it much more food-friendly.
Sofie is a Belgian-style farmhouse ale and is one of our barrel-aged beers. This Saison has been partially aged in white wine barrels with hand-zested orange peel and wild yeast. There’s a lot of tart citrus from the peels, white pepper notes from the yeast, and even a touch of vanilla from the oak. When I think of those three elements, citrus, pepper and even vanilla, they are common flavors used to round out and accentuate dishes when cooking. This is why Sofie works so well with many different foods.
Bourbon Country Stout is probably the beer we are known best for. It’s a cult classic big Imperial Stout – over 14% ABV – and is blended from beer that spent almost a year aging in Bourbon barrels at our Barrel House in Chicago. The cold Chicago winters and warm summers really put those barrels through some extreme expansion and contraction which pulls lots of rich characteristics out of the wood… charred oak (of course), but also vanilla, chocolate, and smoke. Because of these flavor notes, most people think of it as a dessert beer, and while it is an amazing digestif, but it also goes great with beef and dry-rubbed BBQ.
We’ve got a fun new product featuring honey from our friends at Catskill Provisions! Below is a brief interview with founder Claire Marin.
• We’re excited to carry this collaboration Claire. It’s lightly sweetened with your honey right?
Yes indeed! Just the right amount from our hives in the Catskills, Sullivan, Delaware and now Madison counties
We’re very excited about the upcoming dinner, can you please tell us more about the theme of the meal and what attendees should expect?
It’s both a graduation ceremony for our latest cohort of refugees, and an opportunity to expose supporters to the global cuisines that Lior and Alex will share. Fundamentally Emma’s Torch’s mission is twofold to both create opportunity for refugees in the culinary arena, and to broaden American horizons by sharing the cultural wealth that immigrants have to offer.