There is almost no field of commerce that hasn’t been reinvented for a metal audience. There are metal Christmas sweaters, metal beers, metal hot sauces, metal cupcakes and thousands of other products. However, your friends at Decibel are always looking out for you and pointing out products and businesses that, like your favorite magazine, are a labor of love built out of creativity and passion.
Now that we have the pleasantries aside let’s tell you a bit more about Ritual & Revival, a Canadian preserve business based in Ontario started by metal enthusiast (and sometimes writer) Renee Trotier. Trotier grew up with a grandmother who taught her how to make jam. Later in life, Trotier decided to create a business that both honored and reinvented the recipes of her youth. Trotier’s recipes are specially made with the discriminating and complex palate in mind.
Ritual & Revival is now selling most of their products locally and at Canadian shows due to the onerous cost of shipping from upper North America. However, Trotier is looking to expand and we hope she does. If you are willing to pay some extra money to the Canadian government she will send some home-cooked goodness for the holidays. We talked to Trotier about her business and why preserves are a perfect match for the metal aesthetic.
To learn more about Ritual & Revival or touch base with Trotier please visit their Facebook page. An e-store is planned for the future.
Did you grow up in a family that cooked a lot?
I watched my grandmother make jam when I spent a few weeks with her every year. She was always making fudge or jam. She also made salsa and peach jam. I wasn’t interested in the process back then, but when I had to fend for myself I found out I liked cooking and testing flavors. For a while, I learned how to make bread. After that, I learned the canning process. It was a way of challenging myself.
Did you ever consider becoming a cook or a pastry chef?
I considered it within recent years when I found out that I have a bit of a talent for it. I always make interesting things for potlucks. When I went to school I didn’t know I wanted to cook and did a three-year advertising program. After graduation the recession was on and there weren’t jobs so I went and worked for Starbucks full-time. I just kept doing it. I haven’t tried to transition until now.
Did you learn anything about cooking or customer service at Starbucks?
Customer service is always something I’ve done. I’ve also done interior design but I didn’t like it. I did keep some of the design lessons and elements. They were helpful because when I did my first booth I put everything I ever learned into one thing. I was able to do sales, design a booth and handle all of the cooking which is my passion. And I combined that with my love of music and metal.
There have been metal cupcakes, metal cakes, metal donuts and metal beer. Did you decide to do jams and preserves to fill a gap or would you have done it anyway?
I thought it was a good idea because I’ve seen everything including food trucks and restaurants and hot sauces. But I never have seen preserves. I just started making preserves as a gift for family, and then the metal came as a branding idea.
When you are designing jams and preserves how do you make them fit a metal aesthetic?
The first thing I think of is the name. I have an apple rum raisin jam that I am going to call “Rum To The Hills.” More importantly, when I was making my fall batch I tried to find inspiration in the music. I’m considering writing blurbs next to the flavors that liken them to genres or bands. And the packaging is really cool; I used artists who have designed metal albums. That was a big thing for me, to have a dark aesthetic for a niche market. It’s different and boutique. I personally can’t draw but I can hire great artists to design the packaging.
Are you trying to only lure metal fans or also people who appreciate good preserves?
Definitely both. When I did my first show this fall I didn’t know how people would react to upside down crosses on a preserve label. I guess it could be intimidating. But the response I got was crazy from people I wouldn’t expect. Some metalheads just walked by and 50-year-old ladies loved everything about it. I’m open to anyone who likes it and wants unique flavor combinations.
Are metalheads adventurous gourmands who seek out interesting flavors?
It is purposely created for people who think like that. I find that some of the flavors can be a little bit challenging, like a plum with lavender gin. But metalheads are definitely open to trying new things and flavor combinations.
Can you tell us about your fall releases?
I stuck with three flavors: the plum lavender gin, the apple rum raisin and a pear jam with cardamom and citrus that’s almost a marmalade.
When you are cooking do you like to listen to anything in particular?
I only listen to metal when I’m cooking. This time around I was listening to a lot of black metal.