Saturday, June 1, 2013

Rumtopf (The famous German "rum pot") sells Rumtopfs in 3 & 5-liter sizes

Mention the word "Rumtopf" around a German and you will likely get a big smile and a story.  The story will most likely include a few "characters" like a German mother, grandmother, or other relative who was the designated rumtopf-maker of the family.

Memories of of growing and hand-picking their own fruits and/or visiting a German Farmer's Market for ripe, juicy, fresh fruits and berries is a whole chapter in the Rumtopf story.  The tale will continue with poetic words describing how, as the growing season progressed, more and more layers of fresh fruits  "at their peak" were added to the classic ceramic crock.  Each fruit layer is then covered with copious amounts of sugar and a rich, dark or medium-dark rum (see RECIPE below).  The whole magical concoction was then covered tightly and hidden away in a cool place, like a cellar or the back of a refrigerator.

The story-teller will laugh with memories of how at least one family-member would be too impatient to wait as the fruit marinated for months.  After all, the idea is for the rumtopf to be enjoyed during the winter months when fresh fruit is scarce.  Patience is called for.  However, most family stories include at least one scamp who would dip into the crock well before the rumtopf was fully-ready to be presented (typically with great fanfare) around the Holidays in December.

Languishing in a marinade of rich, dark (or medium) rum, the tipsy fruit (often a melange of cherries, peaches, plums, nectarines, pineapple, strawberries, grapes, pears, etc.) is served as a warm or cold compote with or without whipped cream or crème fraîche.  It is also marvelous warmed-up and served over vanilla ice cream or alongside a piece of simple pound cake. In other words, this story has a happy ending.

Gift idea:  A pretty glass jar with a tight seal, filled to the brim with your home-made Rumtopf concoction makes a wonderful holiday gift for a special someone.

The beginning of the story really should include a chapter on how the ceramic crock is hand-made in Germany.  The family rumtopf is often handed down from generation to generation, so it is only fitting that the maker of the rumtopf be part of a solid German family business.  Keramik Seifert produces food-safe, dishwasher safe ceramics for many household purposes.  The Rumtopf holds a special place within their high-quality ceramics.  Each one is also lovingly hand-painted.  Their production facility (Töpferei Seifert) is a popular tourist attraction in the charming little village of Königsgau, Germany, and tourists to Rothenburg ob der Tauber will be delighted to find a well-stocked Keramik Seifert Shop.  This video (in German) gives you a little peek into the Seifert family operation.

Where to buy your RUMTOPF

The RECIPE for Rumtopf: is simple.

1.) Into a clean dry rumtopf add the first layer of fruit.  The best fruits are firm-fleshed fruits like: cherries, peaches, plums, nectarines, pineapple, strawberries, grapes, pears, etc.  Select only fruits that are at their peak of flavor and texture.  Slice or cube fruit into pieces that will fit onto a fork or spoon.  It is not necessary to remove the skin of most fruits.  However, be sure to discard pits, seeds, and stems.  Leave any berries (like strawberries) whole.  Avoid fruits that are or will become mushy.  Bananas and melons are not a good option because they are too soft.  Blueberries can discolor the liquid.  Citrus fruits are not good choices for a rumtopf, but unpeeled grapes (without stems) are perfect.

2.) Generously sprinkle fine-grained sugar over the fruit layer.  Then pour a good-quality (unflavored) rum (dark or medium) over the fruit and sugar until the liquid just covers all the fruit in the crock.  Don't use a spiced rum because the flavors of the fruit won't shine through enough.

3.) Place the lid onto the rumtopf to minimize evaporation.  The GermanDeli team even likes to cover the lid and opening in extra plastic.  Store the Rumtopf in a cool location.  Personally, I like to place the rumtopf in the refrigerator because the intoxicating smell of sugar, fruit, and brandy can be a real magnet to fruit flies.

4.) As you progress through the summer, add more and more layers of fruit, sugar, and rum.  It doesn't harm anything to stir the fruits, but do so gently because you want the pieces of fruit to keep their shape as much as possible.  As you remove fruit for the rumtopf for serving, try and replace it with more fruit. Enjoy the fruits of the season in all their glory. has been around for the last 14 years serving those lusting for goodies from the Heimatland.  FULL DISCLOSURE:  I'm one of the owners.  And I am such a proud owner.  Why? Well,  because we really do have the best selection of German, Austrian, and Swiss food in the USA.  We have on average 3,500 products in stock in the summer and almost 5,000 products October - December.  And we really do know how to ship chocolate and meat in the middle of a hot summer from hot Texas to hot Florida or anywhere there is a heatwave. And our customer service is top notch!

Oh, and we have the best slogan in the business:  "It's not about the food; It's about the memories."  Just ask any German who has been away from Germany for more than a week or two and I bet they will agree.

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