Foodies, connoisseurs and gourmets don’t have to go far to get their exotic oils, vinegars, wines and spirits with the opening of Vom Fass earlier this year.
The store – the name means “from the cask” in German – specializes in unusual and exclusive lines of oils and vinegars for cooking and wines and spirits for sipping.
“Everything we sell is from the cask and in bulk,” said owner Chistopher Vetromile. “It’s a Mediterranean style of shopping, and you get to taste everything before you purchase.”
The bulk sales model allows customers to buy as little or as much as they want, and a knowledgeable staff is on hand to help customers pick out the perfect oil or vinegar for a recipe and even find a wine to pair with it.
Each item in the store, which is located in the Westlake Court shopping center at the corner of Bee Cave Road and Westbank Drive, comes with information about its origin, suggested uses, recommended pairings and a recipe. The store also carries two exclusive cookbooks.
Most people have tried balsamic or red wine vinegar, but Vom Fass carries an unusual line of fruit vinegars, made from the actual fruits instead of mixing plain vinegar with fruit juice like some commercial varieties.
“Imagine making a raspberry vinaigrette dressing from actual raspberry vinegar,” Vetromile said. “It’s amazing.”
In the oils section, the store carries a selection of high-quality olive oils, oils infused with spices like rosemary and garlic and a selection of nut and seed oils that are perfectly suited to cooking.
“Everyone loves to cook with olive oil, but olive oil is not the best to cook with because it doesn’t have a high heat, and it will smoke sooner,” Vetromile said. He recommends avocado oil for cooking in high heat.
Over on the spirits side, Vom Fass has an exclusive line of liqueurs — everything from cherry to chocolate hazelnut — as well as rum, gin and vodka, and cask aged spirits like whiskey, cognac and brandy. Many of the spirits are from exclusive lines, and the store will occasionally get single cask offerings.
The goal for the wine side of the store is to introduce customers to new possibilities.
“We want to showcase and feature wines from around the world,” Vetromile said. “I want to broaden my horizons and broaden everyone else’s horizons and learn about these new wines from other places that we haven’t had a lot of wine from.”
While much of Vetromile’s focus is on consumer sales, he’s also working to build relationships with chefs and restaurants in the area.
“The other big side to what we want to do here is to get into restaurants and showcase our products,” he said.
Vetromile, along with his wife and business partner, Kristin, moved to Austin from Nevada, where he was a firefighter and she was a paramedic. The Austin area was the perfect place to open their first Vom Fass store, they said, because of “how nice the area was and the culture and the people that were here. It’s a foodie town with a big foodie culture.”
If the store is a hit, there are plans in the works for two more stores in the Austin area. Vom Fass originated in Germany and has 270 stores nationwide. The Westbank location is the seventh of nine in the U.S. — others are located in places such as Jackson Hole, Wy., Sarasota, Fla. and Madison, Wisc. — and the first in Texas.
For more information, visit vomfassaustin.com.