I love love LOVE Farmer's Markets. If I haven't mentioned them a thousand times before, I'm sure I will plenty of times in the future. They inspire the majority of my cooking exploits, and most recipes I try or concoct usually contain at least one ingredient purchased at one. The colors, sounds, people, and variety of novel ideas and items found at Farmer's Markets are something I have truly grown to appreciate here in Southern California.
When I first started toying with the idea of a food blog, I knew I wanted to include not only recipes and fun food related tidbits. I wanted to provide an outlet to feature local artisans and products unique to Southern California. Hopefully this SoCal Locals post will be the first of many to do so. Part of the fun of being involved in community Farmer's Market is seeing the new people, vendors and great products that cycle through. Some are seasonal, some temporary, but I'm certain what I recently discovered at the Alhambra Farmers Market is here to stay.
VAVO Ginger ale is the brainchild of the family owned West LA Chinese restaurant Mandarette Cafe . For the past 10 years, Mandarette Cafe has been serving up this family recipe, to rave reviews. When the Cafe was reviewed by Zagats, their Ginger Ale was specifically noted as a must try. After encouragement from loyal patrons to the Mandarette, the owners launched into the production process a few months ago.
VAVO is available at local Farmer's Markets in Alhambra, Westwood, Torrance and Melrose, with more on the horizon shortly. They have had overwhelmingly positive feedback from customers, myself included. We were so wowed with the free sample we tried, we walked away with a case of VAVO. The flavor is more intensely ginger than commercial ginger ales, and truly the most refreshing soda-type beverage that I have ever tasted. I'm in no way a big soda drinker, but definitely look forward to a cold VAVO after a long day. Its taste is light and refreshing, and lightly effervesced. This may seem like a trivial detail, but you can appreciate the subtleties of the real ginger flavor more extensively without feeling scores of bubbles dance around your palate.
Aside from Farmer's Markets, VAVO is now available at some LA restaurants, including Curry House, Tokyo Wako, Gen Wa Korean BBQ, Sushi Eyaki and more. Three other flavors are in the works for VAVO, including Lemon-Lime Ginger Ale, Cranberry Ginger Ale and Ginger Ale with Energy. Additional information is available on the VAVO website, and you can also become a friend of VAVO Ginger ale on Facebook. Please check them out and support your local products!
If you have a suggestion for a SoCal Local to feature, please drop me an email. All suggestions will be considered, and all are appreciated.