Sunday, July 31, 2011

My latest obsession... Fig Vinegar

This weekend my younger sister was in town for a visit. We managed to spend most of our time eating, shopping and generally enjoying our way through Bloomington. My weekends typically consist of little more than taking care of the things I neglected during the workweek, so being out and about was a welcome change of pace.

By her departure at noon, we'd managed to eat at seven different establishments (we're really good at "grazing") and shop in nearly a dozen stores. Plus two movies, the farmer's market and a kayaking adventure... we know how to get the most out of a 48 hour visit!

Kayaking on the lake

What does this weekend's social agenda have to do with food or cooking of my own, you ask? Because on Saturday afternoon I did something that is oh so shamefully typical while the little sis and I were leisurely browsing shops downtown.

Kathleen was wanting to look for some kitchen items for her new apartment. I took her over to Goods for Cooks, a kitchen and gourmet food shop just off the square, as I needed to pick up this little guy that I've had my eye on for quite some time. While we were checking out the nice lady behind the counter offered me a sample of peaches in fig vinegar. I accepted (because when have I ever turned down a food sample?), but was entirely unprepared for this flavor. I think my heart stopped. I think I saw stars. I know that a full 30 seconds later the taste was still lingering. She asked me if I wanted to purchase a bottle. Thank the lord my reaction was driven from common sense and not the section of my brain that was now paralyzed from aged fruit - I asked her how much a bottle was.

Lady behind the counter: "$17.99. But a bottle will last a very long time."
Me: "Hmmm"
Lady behind the counter: "Do you cook pork? It's great with pork."
Me: "I think I'll have to pass on it today. But I'll probably be back for it."

Poor sales lady. She saw my reaction and had to be totally sure I was taking at least one bottle home. Good thing I can exercise a little self-restraint.

Cut to Kathleen and I leaving the store, getting ten paces down the block and then me literally turning around, going back in the store and proceeding to purchase a bottle.

The only thing that could have been more surprising to this gal than me turning down a bottle the first time had to be me returning all of 90 seconds later to buy one.

I'm a sucker for good food.

Ok, the real reason?
...I'm a sucker for good food.

Don't get me wrong. Eighteen bucks for a bottle of vinegar is excessive. I freely admit it. And under normal circumstances my initial reaction would have won over. But this particular product was such a perfect match for my palate, I knew the purchase would be worth it. My taste buds tend to enjoy acidic foods more than most, so vinegars, especially deeply-flavored ones like balsamic are right up my alley. The great thing about the fig vinegar? It has all of the intesity of balsamic with a much smoother finish. And the finish just keeps even after there's no more food in your mouth. It's the kind of flavor that is not only enjoyable, it's incredibly surprising in a way that makes you want to keep going back for more.

the fine print you can't read:
"beware: addiction in a bottle"
I've had it for a day. I've put it on peaches. I've put it on blackberry cobbler. And I intend to keep putting it on all sorts of things until I manage to empty the bottle. Something tells me it'll be sooner than the gal at the store suggested it would last.

You can get yourself a bottle online here.
If you're in Bloomington, do yourself a favor and snag a bottle from Goods for Cooks. Tell them the crazy indecisive foodie sent you. I'm sure I made a lasting impression that afternoon.

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