It’s not just chocolate milk

Monday, August 26th, 2013

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Check out Fermentations wine bar

When I was growing up we weren’t allowed to drink grown up beverages like wine. Milk was the drink of choice, but not plain. Mixed with a double dose of chocolate, milk became our wine and we reveled in it. As we attained the proper age we were of course introduced to the elixir of the grape and forgot about our favorite juvenile drink. But all those pleasurable memories came rushing back as I sipped a selection from the Temperance Distilling Company in Michigan carried by Fermentations, the great wine bar in Cambria. Think of it – Chocolate Milk Cabernet! Wow!

Chocolate Milk Cabernet.

Chocolate Milk Cabernet.

That’s why Fermentations is the place to go to experience the variety of wine selections that you really cannot get anywhere else. In April of 2013, owner Erik Fredrickson moved his 18 year old business from Burton Drive around the corner to Main and Bridge Streets and set up shop in the former Cambria Pharmacy location.

“The property became available,” Fredrickson said, “and the owner of the building offered help with our renovation, so we jumped at it.”

The move enabled Fredrickson to expand his merchandise since the space is much larger. The bar is three times bigger than what was in the previous location. He also brought in bistro tables and chairs so you can sit and relax while you try some of the 25 wines that are always open at Fermentations. “We carry a lot of wines from wineries without tasting rooms,” Fredrickson said. There is also a variety of Port and Sparkling wines. While the majority of the selections are from California and the Central Coast, there are also one or two imported wines on the list. “We change the tasting list weekly so whenever you come in there will always be something different,” he said.

Wine merchant suppliers come in on Mondays with new varietals and Fredrickson tastes all of them to assure the quality that he is looking for. “It’s a good job,” he said with a smile.

A large section of the shop is devoted to a variety of wine related merchandise and gourmet food selections. “We have private label foods consisting of olive oils and grapeseed oils for tasting,” Fredrickson commented.  There is Basil Garlic Grapeseed Oil, Roasted Garlic and Lemon Olive Oil, Citrus Cilantro Grapeseed Oil and Fig Lemon Balsamic Vinegar, good over cooked vegetables, or on a spinach salad, or even as a substitute for soy sauce over rice.

Other gourmet food selections include Zinfandel mustard, something called Frog Balls, Popeye’s Passion, a garlic and spinach dip, and Taralli Italian Gourmet Pretzels. These are not the beer pretzels you are used to. These are low in salt and fat and are cholesterol and sugar free. In Italy they dip them in red wine. Then there is the decadent Pinot Noir Chocolate Cherries and Fer’s Olallieberries with Cabernet Sauvignon.

As you sip and munch be sure to look over all the interesting and fun merchandise. An artist from Morro Bay has found a wonderful use for those wine corks and made them into a variety of art objects, some to hang on the wall, and others as free standing art. Looking for a wine rack? This is the place to come. A variety of racks are offered, some made from wood, some from wrought iron, and a few that are in the shape of a lady’s snazzy high-heeled shoe.

“A popular item in the shop is the hand blown, handmade crystal wine glasses from Romania,” Fredrickson pointed out. And there is an assortment of glassware for you to choose as well as elaborate bottle stoppers, stemware brushes, wine coolers and decanters, Port sippers, and clocks dubbed “Wine-O Clocks.” There is even a wine game – Wineopoly!

Fredrickson offers a Fermentations Food & Wine Club of three bottles of wine with three shipments a year in January, May, and October. You get to pick the combinations of reds, whites, sweets, and ports and they select the wines for you. One of the combinations includes a food item with a recipe. Members enjoy a 20% discount and the average cost is from $55 to $79 and will not exceed $85. Six or more bottles are also available at a higher price.

Fermentations is located at 2306 Main Street in the East Village of Cambria and is open from 10 to 8 daily year round. You can also order from them online at fermentations.com

— Ruth Ann Angus

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