Zingerman's Deli to offer virtual food tasting series

Riding the success of a series of virtual food and learning events since the COVID-19 pandemic, Zingerman's Deli will offer virtual food tasting events this summer. 

Featured topics in the lineup of events include an introduction to tinned fish, a virtual dinner with a date farmer, and a chocolate tasting. More sessions will be added throughout the next few months. 

"Zingerman's has a really long history of educating ourselves and our customers about what we offer, and we've never been more excited about what we're going to be sharing this summer," says Jennifer Hall, marketing and communications manager at Zingerman's Deli. 

Hall says the company stepped into new territory last March when it started hosting virtual food events instead of in-person ones. The overwhelming interest and positive feedback the events drew makes her confident that the summer lineup is "not to be missed."

She says the remote format also means the company is able to involve more experts and food growers in the events, adding depth to the learning experience. Unlike Zingerman's Bakehouse, the deli doesn't have a teaching/cooking space available for classes. Virtual programming, however, has solved that challenge and brought other unforeseen benefits with it. 

"These events have not only been a great way for us to share our excitement about the wonderful food we have in the deli and get these foods into the hands of customers," Hall says. "They have also been a great way for friends and family living in different cities to connect and do something fun together." 

Hall says the deli's goal is for participants to leave the events excited and having learned something new. 

"For instance, our Canned Fish 101 event is for people who might have eaten sardines their entire life and are looking to discover a type they've never heard of before," she says. "It's also for the person who might occasionally open a can of tuna for lunch."

Each workshop has a number of options and the cost of participation varies. Attendees may choose to attend the Zoom room only, or to order themed food or tasting kits at an additional cost. Some of the meals can be delivered, and all can be picked up, reheated, and enjoyed during the event. Additionally, participants will receive a 20% off coupon to shop at the deli, good for a week after the event. 

"The idea is that we can have food producers and experts in our tasting room, and as you learn about what you're eating you can find out about things like their growing processes or harvesting," Hall says. "It's about connection, conversation, and celebration of what we offer at the deli."

Jaishree Drepaul-Bruder is a freelance writer and editor currently based in Ann Arbor. She can be reached at jaishreeedit@gmail.com.

Photo courtesy of Zingerman's Deli.
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