Savouré MTL’s little bottles of homemade fruit sodas have been gracing our shelves for a few weeks now, proving a big hit with our customers. We also carry some of Savouré’s pickled goodies. Jess Messer, the mastermind of this local flavour purveyor, took the time to answer a few questions for the curious.
An American who’s previously lived in Boston, Brooklyn and Moscow, Messer has been based in Montreal since 2010. “I come from a long line of serious food folks, grew up cooking and canning and making everything from scratch, and I also had years of experience working in restaurants,” she says.
Not long after arriving here, she started making food and drinks for a friend who runs farmers’ markets around the city. “The soda thing came out of my buying a Sodastream and getting carried away trying to make real ginger beer for Dark & Stormies. Also, I was not allowed to drink soda pop as a kid, nor are my children, so it was a fun family project inventing healthier bubbly drinks.”
Today, the family project is a going business concern. “I sell my stuff at farmers’ markets every week, and change the flavours constantly based on what is in season,” says Messer. “Everything that goes into my jars and bottles is all-natural and high quality, often organic, and as fresh and local as possible.”
For those who haven’t tried the sodas, get ready for a flavour surprise. “My soda profile is pretty much fruit + herb – I love the way that you taste the herb with your nose before you taste the fruit in your mouth,” she says. “Then I add an off-note that gives it something different – mace, ginger, hot pepper, vinegar – something like that in subtle measure to finish the sip off strong. I use fresh, whole fruit and fresh herbs, and all-natural organic sweeteners, usually organic cane sugar, honey, or maple syrup. I just made one that is red currant with anise and fennel seed – it was lovely, and different but people went crazy for it. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how adventurous people are with my weirdo drinks.”
Savouré bottles are also notable for their labels, illustrated with various portraits of people. “I felt like that look of a drawing of a piece of fruit or a flower, etc was kind of tired so was looking around for something different,” Messer explains. “For me food is all about people: the ones who grow the food, the ones I cook for, the ones who cook for me, the ones you share food with… so the images are my friends and family, people I’ve met here in Montreal or seen on the street. They are drawn by Danielle Autran, a fabulous graphic designer who is based in Halifax. This was the funnest part of my recent Kickstarter campaign; one of the incentives was to get your face on a label, so we’ll have some new drawings soon.”
Savouré sodas are on tap at Alexandraplatz, P.A. & Gargantua food truck, and soon at the SAT Foodlab. “I recently wrapped up my Kickstarter and we are hoping to buy a bottling machine to have more sodas on shelves soon,” says Messer. But for the time being, the only place you can buy the soda bottles is right here at Le Pick-Up.