Twist and Shout

Twist and Shout
Life is never straight (Joey Kulkin photo)

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Vignettes from Vermont: The Smell of Vermont Wood and Canadian Coffee

10-inch walnut and tigerwood bowl. Buy it HERE

BENNINGTON -- Fiddlehead at Four Corners art gallery received two more pieces of timber from the Vermont Butcher Block & Board Company. One of the bowls is made of walnut and tigerwood, the other of maple. The bowls are thick and solid when you rap your knuckles on them, satisfyingly so, and you think "This is good wood."

Then you put your nose to the bowl and inhale like it's the last breath of oxygen you'll ever take and man! That smell! It's thick and solid wood with a delicious aroma of Vermont.

As for the coffee ...

... it kicks ass in a most satisfying way.

The "Kick Ass" beans arrived yesterday all the way from Invermere, British Columbia, Canada, home of Kicking Horse Coffee. "Kick Ass" is a dark roast and bills itself as "Sweet. Smoky. Audacious." In French that would be "Doux. Fume. Audacieux."

You pull off the freshness seal ...

... and the raw, oily beans emit a dank, pungent odor -- intoxicating almost -- when you inhale like it's the wood bowl above. Don't be scared off by that oil. There's a pretty good Q&A about oily coffee beans HERE.

Kicking Horse Coffee built a strong website that includes a timeline of coffee throughout the ages. The first entry reads: "Legend says coffee was first discovered in Ethiopia by a goat herder named Kaldi. He noticed his goats became frisky after munching on some unusual red cherries. He tried it himself and, well, the rest is you-know-what."

You know what happened a few centuries later in the Kicking Horse Valley?

Good thing they weren't in a haste to bury poor old James Hector, huh?

One hundred and thirty-eight years later, Kicking Horse Coffee was born this way:

"What are you two schmucks going to do with your lives? Sell coffee from your garage?" is what Elana Rosenfeld's mother asked with that all-knowing pungency of Yiddish guilt.

"And so in 1996 Leo Johnson and Elana Rosenfeld did precisely that. In the Rocky Mountain town of Invermere, B.C., Canada, they began roasting coffee in their skivvies when it was hot out, balancing babies and experimenting with different products."

Kicking Horse Coffee staff includes Elana Rosenfeld (center)
and Leo Johnson (2nd from right)

In the following years Kicking Horse Coffee went 100 percent organic and joined the fair trade movement. Read the rest of their story HERE.

Kicking Horse also built a pretty sweet cafe ...

Kicking Horse Cafe photo

Kick Ass blend has joined the pantheon of great coffee in Art Gallery Dude's book, alongside Jamaican Me Crazy (Barrie House Coffee) and Deadman's Reach (Raven's Brew).

Those Vermont Butcher Block & Board Company bowls have joined the pantheon of sweet wood pieces at Fiddlehead, alongside the 8 cheese boards ...

Here's the maple bowl ... "good wood" ...

If you want this solid piece of Vermont click HERE