Note: In exchange for a product review of Los Angeles-based Tava Ghee, I received four samples of their ghee as well as a tote bag.
I first heard about Tava Ghee through an email that mentioned their presence at the 2015 New York Summer Fancy Food Show. Although I didn’t get to try their product at the time – perhaps I was too full of seaweed, too full of pickled beets or too full of it – a California PR firm later asked me for my input.
To start things off, what is ghee, aka clarified butter? Essentially, it is butter nearly entirely removed (through boiling) of milk solids. Guau!
What you may not know is that this allows lactose-intolerant people to jump back in the ring and start enjoying food again with you. So, if you’re greedy, don’t stock ghee.
Additionally, it has a high smoke point, and with all of that moisture – c/o of the milk solids – now gone, this stuff can last for months unrefrigerated. It may also have a bunch of health benefits that one wouldn’t necessarily expect from butter.
As for the extent of my knowledge of ghee…I knew it was a dairy product from South Asia, with an emphasis on India. I also knew that I knew nothing also about it. However, I can’t see how feeding grass to butter would be a productive use of one’s day.
To be fair though, that’s an admirable ingredients list. Right, on to the swag:
Although I earlier mentioned that I was sent four samples (a complete set), due to the seal of one of them – Green Chili Ghee – being broken upon arrival, the total is now down to three, Original, Himalayan Pink Salt and Vanilla Bean:
Having never tasted ghee straight out of the container, my pretzels dove right in. The original tasted light and refreshing, and reminded me of a friend’s “movie butter.” That’s not to say I dug a spoon into that, but the aromas and tastes were similar.
The Himalayan Pink Salt also lent a slight salty note to the already salty pretzel, but my favorite was easily the Vanilla Bean. I was worried that it would be an overpowering accent (bad childhood memories of vanilla-scented candles), but it was only subtly present. It would be a fine way to prepare French toast, onion rings or to go off the deep-end fried rock shrimp.
Ruefully, I found that the fridge was rather lacking for the taste test, and settled with sautéed onions. Again, although I liked each of the three varieties (and probably would have enjoyed the Green Chili one too), the Vanilla Bean stood out and offered a nice, slightly sweet addition to the humble bulb.
The tava in Tava Ghee has two meanings, one as the Hindi word for small cast iron pan, and the second as the first four letters of Tavares, the co-founder’s maiden name.
If you’re interested in making a purchase, although you can’t yet do it on their website, try contacting one of these stores.