As it often happens, it was a casual discovery!
I’m in Bad Kleinkirchheim, enjoying my holidays and a little fresh mountain air.
When I’m here I always stop at Einkehr, a lovely mountain house I’ve already told you all about (New experiences at Einkehr – Bad Kleinkirchheim).
Here we are, in our usual spot: Giovanni is fishing for trouts in the lake while Michele and I are indulging in the wonderful food of this lovely place. After dinner we order an Amaro (a bitter liquor) and traditionally (when in Austria) I always order a Jagermeister, but this time my request is denied and Jacob (the owner) suggests we try a distilled liquor made in the nearby area: the KGB 39 (Krauter.Gewurz.Bitter) made by WOB!
An excellent Amaro liquor, 38.5% in alcohol content made with herbs and spices from Bad Kleinkirchheim!
I definitely need to know more about it, so less than 24 hours later I head to WOB distillery!
I’m greeted by a collection of wooden and iron statues, all elegantly and creatively arranged and as I step into the distillery a lovely lady is there to welcome me (I’ll later discover she’s the mother of the creator of the distilled liquors). Initially I have some trouble in communicating – unfortunately my German is not very good, I only know the basic survival words: wiener schnitzel, Apfelsaft, Servus (a word for greeting in Carinthia), Alles gut … and little else.
After a few minutes spent trying to understand each other in English, Italian, sign language, we finally opt for “help from home” and she calls someone that might understand me…
A few seconds later he walks in: explosive, with a steady voice and a strong build, shorts and bare feet, he comes to the rescue: “HELLO, can I offer you a drink… a bitter?”
In less than a moment I already like him! He is Wolfram Ortner, a creative character from the Austrian mountains. He made all the statues outside the distillery, the acrylic paintings hanging on the walls and the particular lamps inside the shop!
We start chatting about the distillery and his work (a short chat unfortunately, because my saint of a son and my patient husband are waiting for me in the car).
“It all started with a passion for distilled wine, so 25 years ago, in 1989, I decided to plant my first grape vine. A real challenge, the first vineyard in Carinthia to be planted 1.00 metres above sea level!”
Wolfam, called “Wolf” by his friends, tells me how he their plans slowly evolved and took off. The right words are quality, elegance and passion for this old profession of distilled wine production.
He is dedicated to finding the best ingredients on the market; in fact he tells me that all the herbs that he uses come from the best plantations in the world. The elegance of the product also come from the choice of the bottles that Wolfam designs and has specially made. Every detail is carefully selected, from the raw material to the final packaging.
Nowadays WOB has a wide selection of distilled wines and liquors: Wob Spirits, ‘NockLand Whisky’, Rum and Gin and much more (I suggest you take a look at their online shop to get a better idea: http://www.wob.at/en/shop.html ).
Passionate as I am about particular things, I was intrigued by a cute little bottle with a vaporizer…it looked like a perfume and on the label it said: “” Parfum de Vie 71 Fior d’Arancio” !
It’s a natural flavour to add to your food as seasoning, with different aromas like orange flowers, lavender, apple and pear that will enhance and improve any dish.
Obviously the orange flower Perfume is mine, and I can guarantee that after trying it on fish, I won’t be able to do without itJ
Thank you Austria, you always have some new surprise up your sleeve!
Ph. Andrea Zangrando