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Tastemakers: Chef Hermann‘s Cream of Morel Soup/ Hatter Royale Hopquila

Rick Coates - May 10th, 2010
Chef Hermann’s Cream of Morel Soup
Morel season is in full swing as the blacks have peaked and the whites are now popping. Known as natures “edible gold,” morels are enjoyed best by simply tossing (thoroughly washed) them in flour and sautéing in butter. If one were to choose a second way to enjoy them it might be in the form of cream of morel soup, in particular the one perfected by Chef Hermann Suhs of Cadillac.
Chef Hermann’s Cream of Morel Soup has been a signature item on his restaurant menu for several years now. “It took me several attempts, about three months to perfect it,” said Chef Hermann. “The secret is blending in other wild mushrooms and having the right balance of morels to keep the soup’s flavor from being too poignant.”
Chef Hermann’s soup has become so popular with guests (many of whom travel hundreds of miles to Cadillac to enjoy it) that he has made it available by mail order. He retails it out of his deli as well.
Morels are found all over the world and Chef Hermann has been using them in recipes for years, dating back to his days working at fine restaurants throughout Europe.
Morels are so popular around these parts that Northern Michigan has two festivals honoring them: last weekend the Mesick Mushroom Festival took place, and this weekend Boyne City hosts the 50th Annual National Morel Mushroom Festival. To learn more about Chef Hermann’s tasty Cream of Morel Soup, check out his website at www.chefhermann.com and for a complete schedule of this weekend’s Morel Festival activities go to www.morelfest.com – Rick Coates

Hatter Royale Hopquila
When I met Fred Bueltmann at the Michigan Craftbrewers Conference, he had just joined the team of the New Holland Brewery as a partner and their new sales manager. Over dinner Bueltmann told me to “keep an eye on New Holland as they were going to revolutionize the craftbrew industry in Michigan.” Six years later I have to agree with Bueltmann; not only is New Holland creating first class brews, they have been innovative with their line of artisan spirits.
A few weeks ago they released Hatter Royale Hopquila, the latest in their impressive line of artisan spirits that includes a line of quality rums, an aromatic gin, and their Duchesses Vodka.
Now, Hopquila, according to New Holland Distiller Dennis Downing is a “vivacious spirit” that is “framed by citrus-laden hop character.” The process begins with a 100% barley mash fermented twice (same process as in making whiskey) and then steeped in Centennial hops that results in “beerquila” characteristics.
Hopquila is great chilled and enjoyed as a shot with a wedge of lemon and salt. Restaurants and bars that have brought it in have been making “Hoparitas.” In a cocktail shaker add a couple shots of Hopquila, a splash of Triple sec, a couple parts of sour mix and a couple parts of lemonade; shake and pour in a salted glass with ice and garnish with a lime.
Enjoy chilled with a New Holland Mad Hatter I.P.A. chaser. Hopquila also makes a great marinade for fish and chicken. Mix together a1/2 c. Hopquila, 1/4 c. fresh lime juice, zest from 1 lime ,1 fresh ripe jalapeño red chile - minced, 2 stalks green onion – minced,1/4 tsp. ground cumin, 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper, 1 tbsp. sugar, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/3 c. corn oil. Marinate chicken or salmon and toss on the grill.
Yes, Fred Bueltmann, you called it six years ago; New Holland’s products definitely are on the cutting edge of the craftbrew and artisan spirits business. Hopquila is available throughout Northern Michigan. For details go to www.newhollandbrew.com. ---Rick Coates

 
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