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Australia has many things to inspire envy in an American – a large population of reformed, criminals, wines bottles with screw caps (if not the wines themselves), and mammals that lay eggs.  But nothing from that vast continent/nation is as impressive as Massel vegetarian stock powders

It is good

It is good

There are lots of vegetarian soup powders out there, but none like this.  No, this is the king of vegetarian stocks.  It is the secret ingredient in my cooking the way dried shrimp used to be the secret ingredient – back when I ate shrimp.  Massel’s products are the greatest vegetarian soup stocks that, to quote John Adams, ever the invention of man contrived or his imagination conceived.  He was talking about something else, however.  And something he didn’t care for, but I like the quote so I’ve twisted it to my purposes. 

The thing is, it is only available in a few places in this country, and I don’t live in one of those places.  I have a friend who, from time to time, brings me some back from a tiny convenience store in New York, the kind where the owner only speaks Serbian, but I never quite have enough, and I’m always rationing.  I contacted the company directly—on several occasions – to find out how I could order their product directly via that wonderful machine, the internet.  I never heard back. 

He's evil

He's evil

I wrote them a serious, polite, letter too, and I wrote as myself.  I did not write, as you may be thinking, under the persona of Insanio, the super-villainous cat.  I’d understand if they did not respond to something like that.  I’m passed the stage of my life where I feel the need to take on the persona of an animal super villain, and my therapist says I can find other outlets for my anger.   Such as blogging.

Yes, I have been known to write books  critical of unregulated capitalism, but I have nothing against exchanging currency for a product I wish to purchase.  What is their problem, I wonder. Why won’t the people at Massel return my emails?  Why won’t they let me buy their soup stock?  Could it be anti-semitism?  I’ve heard they have that in Australia.

Rocca delle MacìeMoving on from hateful Australians and back to things I like, let’s talk about rocking sangiovese blends such as the 2004 Rocca delle Macìe Chianti Classico Riserva.  Total winner, and more than worth the low $20s price tag.  Give this bad boy an hour in the decanter to realize its full power. Beautiful nose of dark fruit, vanilla, & cream. Wonderfully textured velvety mouthfeel, strong flavors of blueberry, blackberry and black cherry, with an undercurrent of rose and tobacco. Perfectly balanced tannins and acidity and solid length. A gem of a riserva.  92 points.

6 Responses to “”

  1. Ammon says:

    Screwtop wines are the wave of the future.
    I don’t know if I’ve had any 2004 Chianti’s. I’m still stuck on the 2003s. Saving up for a 2003 Brunello.

  2. David Liss says:

    The ’04s are pretty nice. I’ve tasted several good ones, and from what I’ve read, they’re going to shape up even better with long-term cellaring.

  3. Andrea says:

    Any chance the “Massel Better Bouillon Powder” sold from this Washington online store is the same as the stock powder? The labels look the same (except for that tricky bouillon word)
    http://www.simplyoz.com/products/aussie_food/groceries/cooking_supplies/massel_bouillon_ultracubes#ACKK

    Love the cat.

  4. David Liss says:

    Andrea, that’s it! I knew blogging was the answer. Unfortunately, they are out of chicken flavor, but even so. This is the best lead I’ve had so far. Thank you for rocking.

  5. Andrea says:

    My pleasure.

  6. Iris says:

    I’ve concluded that you must not actually be working when you come into my coffee shop. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy your writings on the relative merits of vegetarian stock powder, and your evil cat alter-ego…I’ve just been expecting to hear more squirrel stories and have been sadly let down.

    I mean, if you’re not writing a book, then I think you could fill your time more usefully by keeping me entertained.

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