Archive for the Uncategorized Category

blood orange sugar magik (no chili peppers in this one!)

Posted in Uncategorized on May 24, 2010 by massapeel
well…  it has been a while since I have had an opportunity to post to the blog.  between work, family, and actual production of the marmalade, the blog has taken back seat.

First of all, thanks to everyone who has stopped by the Mass A’Peel booth to taste, visit, purchase, provide feedback, etc… at the Charlottesville City Market and the Pen Park Farmer’s Market.  You are what this venture is all about!  And, frankly, you are what makes it so much fun!  I LOVE having someone approach the tasting table only to wrinkle his/her nose and proclaim “oh, I don’t like marmalade,” and then within minutes of a taste,  purchase a jar!  I love shattering preconceieved notions!

I also love creating new and fabulous concoctions.  As a tribute to a dear friend of mine who is also a self-proclaimed foodie with a passion for Campari, I decided to create a marmalade entitled “Blood Orange Sugar Magik” comprised of blood oranges and Campari.

To start.  The blood orange.  The blood orange is a variation of the sweet orange which has darker coloration in the rind and flesh because of anthocyanins – pigmentation commonly found in nature, but more often in flowers and non-citrus fruits, and loaded with antioxidants.  The degree of coloration is dependent on light, temperature and fruit variety. 

These beauties pictured above were used for our initial batch of Blood Orange Sugar Magik.  What I naively took to be merely “blood oranges” are more precisely blood oranges of the Sanguinello variety.  Who knew that there were multiple varieties of blood oranges?  Not I.  Well, now we all know that there are approximately a dozen varietals of blood oranges, however three are most common – The Sanguinello (pictured above) being among those three – and the Tarroco and the Moro being the other two.  The Sanguinello blood orange is a Spanish varietal which was discovered in the late ’20s and has a deep red flesh, and tinged peel.  It was less sweet than a traditional sweet orange, but by no means bitter.  And it produced an intense burgundy marmalade, which really is no surprise, given that its name derives from the Latin word for blood:  “sanguis.”

Flash forward several months…  when I make marmalade, sometimes I have to take what I can get when it comes to citrus.  So, when I found blood oranges, I bought them, thinking that they were going to be equivalent to the Sanguinellos that I had in the past, despite the name Tarroco blood orange on the label.  Well, I am sure that you can guess that despite being the second of the most popular blood orange varieties, the Tarroco is very different from the

Blood Orange Sugar Magik marmalade made with Sanguinello blood oranges

Sanguinello!  For starters, it is from Italy, and is in fact one fo the most popular oranges in Italy, thought to have derived from a mutation of the Sanguinello, while being the sweetest and most flavorful of the three most popular blood orange varieties.  It is also sweet, juicy, seedless and has the highest Vitamin C content of any other orange variety in the world, adding to its appeal.  And surprising to me was the fact that it is not nearly as red as the Sanguinello or Moro blood oranges. 

SO, Mass A’Peel’s Blood Orange Sugar Magik looks and tastes drastically different when made with different varieties of blood oranges!

Now – the Campari.  What exactly is Campari?  It is an Italian aperitif (an alcoholic beverage served to stimulate the appetite before a meal) which was created by Gaspare Campari in Novaro, Italy in 1860.  He called his concoction Rosa Campari, and it was an infusion of herbs, aromatic plants and fruits, mixed with alcohol and water.  There are rumored to be anywhere from 20-60 ingredients in Campari, whose recipe is a tightly held secret to this day.  (http://www.campari.com/)
 
Over the years, Campari truly spearheaded the trend to advertise alcohol.  It has been featured on hundreds of advertising posters, and has even been captured in a Capiello poster (Leonetto Capiello was a prolific creator of now-vintage advertising posters).   In any event, Campari is the ingredient that gives the bitterness to Mass A’Peel’s Blood Orange Sugar Magik.

vintage Capiello Campari advertising poster

 

Advertisements

Mass A’Peel Logo Unveiled

Posted in Uncategorized on April 15, 2010 by massapeel

OK.  So this is a tad anti-climactic an “unveiling,” given that the logo is actively being used on our products, but I have not officially revealed the Mass A’Peel logo!?!

Thanks to the amazing creative minds and collaborative efforts of Darcey Ohlin and Amanda Hughes at Watermark Design, Mass A’Peel has the best logo & labels ever!  If you want to see more of their work, check out their website:  www.designbywatermark.com (they also designed my “real” job’s corporate website:  www.medicbilling.com)

So, without further ado…  Drumroll, please….this is the logo for all products containing lime:

lemon or Meyer lemon:

orange, kumquat, tangerine, clementine, blood orange:

pink grapefruit:

First Two Weeks At the Market

Posted in Uncategorized on April 15, 2010 by massapeel

Well…  after an initial bout of nerves, my mom and I pulled it together and successfully designed, assembled and manned our very first ever farmers’ market booth!  What were we nervous about?  Well, for one, whether anyone would like our marmalades!  Taste is such a subjective thing, you know!  Sure, we like the marmalades, but what will the public think?  Will it sell?

Needless to say, such fears were wholly unwarranted.  The response to Mass A’Peel jams (ok – technically they are marmalades because they all have some form of citrus peel in them, but we like the nickname ‘jam with a twist’) has been phenomenal!  People are loving the marmalades – even self-proclaimed non-marmalade eaters!

Each week at the market, the Mass A’Peel booth will contain a variety of marmalades, fresh squeezed lemon and/or limeade, and some munchie that incorporates marmalade – a way to showcase the use of marmalades beyond the standard, albeit delicious, toast or scone!  We will post those recipes here for people to replicate.


So, what marmalades are we selling?  Currently we have the following (but as seasons progress, new flavors will be developed and sold..  look for strawberry in the coming weeks):

  • I Found My Thrill (blueberry & lemon)
  • The Girl From Ipeelema (raspberry, pear, lime & mint)
  • Lemon Tree, Very Pretty (Meyer lemon, ginger & mint)
  • Bittersweet Symphony (Seville oranges, apricot & kumquat)
  • Grapefruit Juicy Fruit (pink grapefruit, ginger & mint)
  • Hey Mr. Tangerine Man (tangerine, lime & pineapple)
  • Pinea’peel Express (pineapple, lemon, rosemary & vanilla bean)
  • Blood Orange Sugar Magik (blood orange & Campari)
  • I Say A Little Pear For You (pear, ginger & lime)

Our special treats have been amazingly delicious.  Our first week, we made a citrus cheesecake with a lemon shortbread crust and topped with our Hey Mr. Tangerine Man marmalade.  It was amazing, and the perfect dessert to end an Easter feast!

Last week we featured a shortbread crumble bar layered with plum tangerine marmalade.  Equally delicious – you cannot go wrong with shortbread and marmalade, 2 of the finest exports from Britain!

Both recipes can be found in the Recipe pages of this blog (accessible from the home page, at the right side of the screen).  If any customers come up with great uses for marmalade, we’d love to hear them!

In any event, thanks to all of our family members and friends who have been so amazingly supportive of this venture, and thanks to our new Mass A’Peel friends!  See you all Saturday at the market!

Back at the Market Again!!!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on April 8, 2010 by massapeel

Just heard the good news that we’ll be at the Charlottesville City Market this Saturday, April 10th!  We had such a blast last weekend (post to follow with details!), and are tremendously excited to do it again!   Despite the 5am wake up… 

 
 
 

gorgeous sunrise over the market

This week, we are going to be in a different location – across from the market masnager’s table & the musicians – so should be a jammin’-good-time  (I am so sorry – I could not resist).

Hope to see you there for some awesome marmalades, fresh squeezed lemon-limeade, and perhaps other jam-based goodies!  And remember, if you’ve bought and enjoyed our marmalades, then bring your jar back for a $.25 credit per jar on your next purchase!   Just doin’ our part to save resources!

It all started with a kumquat…

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on January 28, 2010 by massapeel

inspiration

I need to take a break from the Fancy Food Faves…  this blog is totally all about food, and I have more stuff to share regarding the Fancy Food Show, however, that was not the purpose of starting this blog.  And by now, people may be wondering when I am going to get to that point…  So, without further ado, allow me to introduce myself…

I am a upper-30ish attorney (former corporate civil defense litigator, turned general counsel & compliance officer specializing in medical law) who has a passion for food.  I love to eat food.  I love to cook food.  I love to look at food, smell food.  The only thing I don’t do is grow food…  I have a self-diagnosed black thumb!  As my husband jokes, my family will be sitting at a meal, planning our next meal!  And, I don’t like just any food…  I like good food. 

This passion has existed as long as I can remember.  For example, I remember as a kid getting imported marinated artichoke hearts in my Easter basket — seriously.  I remember eating steamed artichokes when my 2 upper front teeth had fallen out, so every leaf that I scraped/ate had a strip of delicious earthy artichoke flesh left behind just waiting for my dad to finish off with some salty drawn butter.   Don’t get me wrong, I also remember the first time I had a Slurpee, and a Twinky, too (that should clue you in to the fact that those processed indulgences were so infrequent that actually DO I remember them).  But the lion’s share of food eaten in my family was freshly prepared, and relatively gourmet.

kumquat tree

So, having established that I love food, it should come as no surprise to anyone that I have always wanted to be involved in the food industry — some way, some how.  I had waitressed in my younger days, so I knew that I did not want to own a sit-down restaurant — way too consuming of nights and weekends (i.e., not conducive to having a family – my other passion).  So, that meant that I needed to make and sell food at retail.  However life takes over, time is consumed by existing obligations, children arrive on the scene, and needless to say, I never did anything to promote my food-related-aspirations.  Enter the kumquat.

It all started with a kumquat.  Really.  This past fall, my mother & partner in crime in this venture, commented to me that she had a potted kumquat tree that had produced fruit that she did not know what to do with.  Now, anyone who has ever had a kumquat knows that they are TART!!!  So, we decided to make marmalade out of it.  My dad is a marmalade fanatic, and this was going to be a Christmas present to him. 

We made the marmalade, and it turned out fabulously (Seville Orange, Apricot and Kumquat Marmalade).  For those

beneath the peel

of you marmalade afficianados out there, this was like true British marmalade in that it has a bite — it is bitter as well as sweet all rolled into one sticky yummy concoction.  And it was so seemingly simple, that we decided to make jam every week and eventually man a booth at the Charlottesville Farmer’s Market. 

The name:  “Mass A’Peel – jams with a twist”…  we decided that our schtick was the total embrace of citrus peel.  In other words, each of our products must have some citrus peel in it…  need not be a full out marmalade, per se, but they must have at a minimum some citrus zest.  Hence the name.  (by the way, I like puns!)

So, this blog will chronicle my mother’s and my adventures in making jam (and other food products) and in becoming entrepreneurs in the gourmet food industry, interspersed with general musings on food.  So, buckle up and enjoy this stream of consciousness culinary ride!