Bob likes to explore local markets and buy things he's never tasted or even heard of, all in the name of science.
It's been a banner season for exciting new vendors to Detroit's Eastern Market: The Brinery
from Ann Arbor is as much to the sour end of the scale as Slow Jams
is to sweet. Brine-master Dave has honed naturally fermented pickle perfection from an alluring array of Michigan-centric ingredients that are sure to please many a mouth. (Aside: I should get an award for that awesome alliteration.)
The first thing most eaters know of fermented foodstuffs, even if they don't realize it is Kimchi. Surprise, gang - Kimchi is rotted cabbage, hot peppers and when you're eating the hard core authentic stuff, anchovies or oysters. The Brinery
currently offers two varieties of Kimchi, one with the fish and one without, however the 'with' is being phased out, since the fermented fish is a difficult ingredient to source as locally grown/produced.
I've been cleaning a jar of 'with' since I met Dave a few weeks ago. The Kimchi is tart, with the right heat level to warm the mouth without an obnoxious after-burn. (I'm not a hot head, despite my collection of chile pepper based sauces and ingredients) The texture an ideal ratio of crunch to squish and as you can see in the photo, the color is a beautiful fiery orange that can really play a great contrast to many dishes for you plate artists.
Full disclosure: my grandparents tell me I've more polish heritage than anything else. To that end, I've been eating and enjoying sauerkraut my whole life. I approached Storm Cloud Zapper with the highest scrutiny.
As with all of The Brinery
's products, this european take on rotted cabbage is naturally fermented and naturally colored with all Michigan sourced ingredients. (Dave takes "Made in Michigan" VERY seriously.)
This kraut lives up to it's label. It's bright, tart flavors, excellent texture and the striking purple made this my immediate go-to kraut for any meal. This is how kraut should be. If you've traditionally disliked the stuff, swing by The Brinery booth and give it another try, because this is the one that can sway you.
Last on this week's review is a jar of pickles. Detroit, the McClure brothers didn't invent pickling. It's time you knew. In this particular jar The Brinery
saw fit to naturally ferment Michigan carrots, garlic and hot peppers.
The result: WOW. A full on frontal assault against the ho-hum of the average dill pickle. The pleasing snap and subtle sweetness of a good winter carrot coupled with an undeniable tang of fermentation, matched with a garlic and pepper heat that will definitely put a little sweat on the brows of milder mouths while keeping the hot heads happy as well. This jar was the first to empty.
Like all of The Brinery
's products, the presentation worthiness of this pickle is top shelf. The three beauties pictured in this article are indicative of Dave's entire product line: everything looks as good as it tastes and tastes as good as it looks.
Find The Brinery
products at Detroit's Eastern Market, Ann Arbor Farmer's Market and various groceries in Ann Arbor and beyond. See their Web
pages for more info.