Wandering around Freeport, Maine, I spy a Dooney & Bourke outlet. I’m not much of a “purse girl,” but my sister-in-law Karen certainly is. And her birthday’s coming up in September. As I’m about to step into the store, I hear the Grillmaster say “Shelby! Come quick!” I thought he had spotted yet another stuffed moose photo opportunity or something equally urgent. Then I saw the sign for the gourmet food shop called Vervacious.
It’s difficult not to like a place with the motto “Travel Far. Eat Well. Live Long.” Vervacious offers balsamic drizzles, grilling rubs, finishing salts, savory preserves, culinary mustards, table sauces, mignonettes, low-sugar cocoas and exotic herbs & spices plus tastings, cooking demos, gourmet gifts and foodie tours. Chocolate Balsamic drizzle, anyone? It’s terrific with fresh berries and salads that include fresh berries. What about Windward Island Roasting Rub? It’s a blend of coconut, hot peppers, turmeric, lemon zest, onion and sea salt that will “awaken memories of azure waters and sailboats in the sun.”
Vervacious is the wife and husband team of Heidi and Mark. They’ve spent a lot of time sailing around the world and want to bring you the exceptional flavors they experienced along the way. They also provide recipe handouts to give you ideas about what to do with their products. For example, Curried Balsamic can be used with roasted acorn squash or pan-seared duck breast. The Sahara Harissa spice blend nicely complements roasted sweet potatoes. And you can use Azorean Piri Piri to perk up tired shrimp cocktail.
But the best thing about Vervacious? Their packaging. Their bottles are gorgeous and they are designed to stack atop each other. If you buy a bunch of stuff as I did, they fit nicely into a small shopping bag and don’t clank around. Another nice feature is that your invoice will list each item you purchased with a description of what it is and ideas about how to use it. For example, the Sahara Harissa Rub says “shake and rub all over chicken, pork, fish or duck before baking.” My only complaint about Vervacious is that they don’t list nutritional information on their products because they “aren’t big enough yet,” Heidi said. Currently, Vervacious has stores in Freeport and Portland, Maine and you can also visit them online.
So what did I buy?
- Windward Island Roasting Rub – complements “tropical crustaceans,” chicken, lobster and salmon
- Sancho Pepper Sashimi Sauce – wonderful with steamed salmon, grilled tuna/char or as a table sauce with greens and rice
- Chocolate Balsamic – terrific on berries, roasted tropical fruits and bacon
- Sahara Harissa Rub – enlivens roasted potatoes, root vegetables, stews, meats and poultry
- Basque Piri Piri Table Sauce – fabulous with oysters and fish & chips
- Ground Aleppo Pepper – use wherever you want an ancho-style chili pepper with more heat and tartness
- Peppered Pear Cheese Complement – perfect with goat cheese or Roquefort on rustic crackers or a crusty baguette
Sorry, Karen. You won’t be getting a D&B purse for your birthday this year. But I’ll be happy to cook you dinner.