Nourishment with a Niche
Victual & Rave Creamworks opens in downtown Crosby
WRITTEN AND PHOTOGRAPHED BY KATHY SELL
THE TRADITIONAL HUNTER-GATHERER ROLES MAY NOT LOOK LIKE THEY DID IN EARLIER DAYS. The way we find our sustenance has evolved, but one thing remains true: we all need food. And when that food is something that takes the everyday to the extraordinary, food truly is a gift. For Paul Kirkman and Paul VanderWaal, their usual routine leaving the metro to head up north meant needing to pack a cooler for a required trip to Twin Cities stores, where they would stock up on all their favorite foods to make their time at the lake the type of experience they enjoyed.
Over time, they realized that instead of running from store to store in the metro to complete their shopping list, perhaps there was an opportunity to be considered. Likely there was a desire from others to purchase the artisan cheeses and charcuterie that they enjoyed right in Lake Country. After exploring location options, they felt the evolution and renaissance of Crosby and the increased trend in cycling tourism to the area made it just the community for a business offering of this type.
Soon the vision of Victual began to form.
Meaning food and provisions, Victual pronounced as intended would sound like “vittle.” Making it their own, Paul and Paul adjusted the pronunciation for the store to “vic-to-well.”
The dream began of what the store would offer, including one very important specialty item: super premium, delicious, full-dairy ice cream. Ice cream enjoyable by everyone. But more importantly, it also needed to be lactose free.
They had experimented with ice cream in their home with small test batches. Taking their dream to the next level, they contracted with the head of the food sciences division at the University of Wisconsin-Madison to perfect the process. They also were accepted as a project by the Agricultural Utilization Resources Institute (AURI), a non-profit with a mission to use Minnesota agriculture and agricultural byproducts for the economic benefit of Minnesota. Launched under the brand Rave Creamworks, their proprietary recipe comes to life through the help AURI provided by delving into areas such as the science and sourcing ingredients to come up with a recipe that’s full dairy, full flavor, yet lactose free. A micro dairy in Minnesota makes the base mix for the ice cream, which is then transported up north to Victual where they add the flavorings, churn it onsite, and put it out for sale.
They realize that there is a mental disconnect when people hear that the ice cream is lactose free; the norm is to assume that means less flavor. That’s far from the goal of Rave Creamworks. The process used actually breaks down the lactose, which is a sugar, ahead of time into two other sugars. No other additives are used. It’s full flavor, full dairy. Having a quality premium ice cream that could be enjoyed by everyone was achieved.
Rave Creamworks offers sixteen flavors of super- premium, artisan-style full-dairy ice cream–that also happens to be lactose free. Flavors to enjoy year round with names like Pink Squirrel, with seasonal specialties offered, such as a white chocolate peppermint around the holidays.
Creating ice cream from scratch was certainly the major project needed to make the launch of Victual a success, but it wasn’t the only piece of the puzzle. Paul Kirkman reflects on the work put in to improving the physical space. “Our building was in decrepit shape, with holes in the roof spilling water down through both levels and into the basement. It stunk to a degree that it was impossible to be in the building without gagging. It’s my understanding that the building was last occupied in 1988 and had no maintenance since that time. We toured the building and walked away a couple of times before we finally decided to purchase it anyway. The original tin ceiling was rusted to the point it flaked away with a light touch and the original hardwood floors were rotted away in places and were heaved and wavy throughout the rest of the main floor from water damage. We replaced the tin ceiling with the identical pattern used in 1911, and we replaced the floor with 2-1/4-inch maple planks, same as the original wood.”
Their vision was exactly what the building needed.
Victual opened on Crosby’s Main Street in the summer of 2019. A retail store, it features products sourced from artisans, growers, and distilleries in Minnesota and Wisconsin. The variety of offerings come together to provide everything needed to give a little bit of romance to everyday life. From artisan cheeses, charcuterie (cured meats and pâtés), packaged gourmet foods, specialty distilled liqueurs and fine wines, dinnerware, cocktail accessories, and unique gifts. Plans are in place to hold tasting and pairings classes, as well as offering appetizer “pontoon party” platters to go, featuring a mix of high-end cheeses and cured meats. An adjacent outdoor patio provides the setting to host special events throughout the summer. Custom-made bicycle-parking racks made by an artist in Longville, Minnesota, are appropriately available on the patio.
EXPERIENCE IT YOURSELF
Victual & Rave Creamworks is located at
124 West Main Street, Crosby
Connect with Victual to learn about new offerings and hours.