Spice of Life

Seasonings make up main ingredient for area businesses

Any chef or cook will agree, without the proper seasoning, even the most delectable foods are bland.

The owners of two local spice-based businesses, AMANDA JACOBS of SEA LOVE SEA SALT and KIM MALUTICH of VOM FASS, know this to be true and have built their businesses around providing their customers and fellow food-lovers with gourmet seasonings that add a burst of flavor to any dish.



Wrightsville Beach and Poplar Grove farmers markets, Whole Foods Market, sea-love.com

Jacobs makes her own sea salt from ocean water collected near her home in Wrightsville Beach. What started last November as an experiment with one five-gallon bucket of seawater that created about ten ounces of salt has turned into a booming business that now requires Jacobs to harvest ten to fifteen buckets of saltwater a week to meet the demand from her customers.

Once the seawater is collected, Jacobs filters it using a specialized filter developed for her by Xanofi, a Raleigh-based nanofiber company that produces filtration products.

The filter removes any sand and sediment that may be in the water, and the filtered water is then kept inside a large greenhouse to let the liquid evaporate.

Once the water is gone, what is left are pure white salt crystals, which Jacobs harvests to make her sea salt packages and scrubs.

“I worked closely with the (state Division) of Marine Fisheries to learn when and where I should pull the water in order to get the best results,” she says.

Her seawater is collected from the waters off Stone Street in Wrightsville Beach – the same location where the state Division of Marine Fisheries tests the ocean water for its weekly water quality report. Jacobs includes a link to the report on her website and urges customers to view it so they can be assured that the product is safe and free from impurities.

Jacobs sells her sea salts and salt body scrubs at the Wrightsville Beach and Poplar Grove Plantation farmers markets. She recently brokered a deal to sell her products to the local Whole Foods Market and also supplies salt to several area restaurants such as Rx, Pembroke’s, manna, and Bento Box.



Independence Mall, vomfassusa.com

Malutich, a Wilmington native, parlayed her passion for food into a business selling specialty vinegars, oils, and spices. Malutich and her husband opened the German franchise store Vom Fass in December, becoming only the nineteenth one in the U.S.

Vom Fass, which means “from the cask,” sells spices from vividly colored curries to gourmet peppercorns.

The store specializes in fruit vinegars that are made from whole fruit by the Vom Fass family in Germany.

“It’s a special process,” Malutich says. “They first create a fruit wine then reduce it into a vinegar.”

The result is a thick liquid that is both fruity and tangy with a strong, concentrated flavor of the original fruit and without added artificial colors or flavors.

Like the vinegars, all of the other products in the store come from small family producers.

“Vom Fass doesn’t use any distributors,” Malutich says. “All of the product comes directly from where it is made.”

Nut and seed oils are created using a traditional press by a family in France, and the infused oils are made by one family in Italy. The more than sixty spices and spice blends sold in the store are produced in small batches to ensure greater freshness and are non-irradiated.

The store’s oils are not only intended for cooking. Malutich also sells wellness and beauty oils such as black cumin seed oil, argan oil, and wild rose oil that can be used for skin care, hair care, and as a health supplement.

“I love food,” Malutich says. “Cooking for my friends and trying new foods makes me happy, and I want to share that love and joy with my customers.”



To view more of photographer Chris Brehmer's work, go to www.chrisbrehmerphotography.com