Fall is for Fermentation
By: Mark John Vecchio
As the seasons change, we at elements adapt our food menus appropriately, and the same rules apply to our bar program. In mid-September, while I was thinking about our fall offerings, the sous chef walked by and said “Start thinking of kombucha.” I replied “God bless you,” because I believed he had sneezed. He turned to me and said “No, kombucha!” When I asked him about it, our chef shared with me that kombucha is a tea that is sweetened, then fermented. He told me that many cultures have their own version of it, and also that many people swear by it.
Fermentation is one of my favorite things in the whole world; it gives us some of my favorite products such as beer & wine. So naturally I was quite interested in kombucha.
After reading up on it, I found myself having a “late summer night dream” about this beautiful bubbly potion, so the next day I continued my research. The fermentation process is managed by a rubbery disk that lives on the top of the tea’s base liquid called a mother, mushroom or “SCOBY.” The mother is actually a living organism that many people believe they create a relationship with as they nurture it. They feed the SCOBY and manage its proper living conditions so that it continues to happily produce fermented product. Many SCOBYs can live for a long time. They typically reproduce another layer that can be given to a friend or family member. Part of the uniqueness of kombucha is that it takes in bacteria & organisms from the environment around it. It also helps the drinker produce a resistance towards bad bacteria – a concept similar to the local raw honey effect.
Here at elements we are not in the search of a natural cure-all, instead, we are more interested in the flavor applications. We created three different kombucha teas as drink mixers. They are:
- Carrot juice & lapsang souchong
- Maple beet
- Concord grape & jasmine pearl
I sure hope you found this as fun and as funky as we did here at elements. Come down and ask our bartenders for a sip or even mix you a cocktail with it.
Cheers to kombucha, and cheers to fermentation!