A wine barrel’s wood is between 120 and 150 years old before the oak is split and the best wood worked into a valuable barrel. The wine barrels are in use for 4-10 years or more for maturing fine wines. Then each barrel stave is hand-made into TheCookingSpoon – our unique cooking utensil. Its special mark on the backside distinguishes each piece; the serial number identifying the origin of the wine which matured in this wood.
The hand-shaped TheCookingSpoon is one-of-a-kind worldwide with its individual character and matchless aroma. It tells its own story and takes its place as a kitchen favorite over generations – be it for daily use in pots and pans or as a collector’s item. TheCookingSpoon wants to revive the forgotten craft of spoon making. Not one piece is like the other and alone its surface finishing is a source of continuous fascination for its owner.
It starts at the begin of humanity, as human beings turned into humans, when they could only eat with their fingers or slurp liquids from their hollow hands. But soon the use of eating utensils established itself, like small sticks, bones, snails and shells. The latter providing the initial idea for creating the spoon.
Next to the reference to the material originally used, the second etymological root for words signifying “spoon” in Northern European languages deal with its function. Like it is “lepel” in Dutch – obviously not far from “lip” or “to lap up. Similar in German, where “Löffel” stems from “Laffe”, Old High German for ‘lip’ – and until today is exactly the technical term used in modern German to describe the round part of the spoon used for eating.
„A loving spoonful“ – the proverbial description about how serving nutrition can be an act of caring. Eating with a spoon seems like the most natural thing in the world, even though only a small part of the world’s population actually eats with one. The English word “spoon” gives a pointer to its origins: The old-Nordic term “spann” or “sponn” in it, which was nothing but a (mostly longish) chip of wood. Until modern times forks were unknown, so next to the knife, a spoon was the most important eating utensil. Over time spoon optics changed repeatedly – according to region or taste and fashion of the period. Sometimes it was short and slim, then again wide and thick.
In medieval times the profession of the spoon carver developed in cities, originally a branch of the lathe workers. The poor rural population in turn generated extra income by selling their wood-carvings in the cities. By the 13th/14th century the artisan trade of the spoon carver is documented and evidence for mass production of spoons in standardized shapes and measurements can be found. Some in very simple execution, others in high-end, meticulous craftsmanship. Consumers already set great store in uniform sizing of the spoons, solid manufacturing and fine smoothing of the wood. Next to the spoon carving knife other tools were used: axe, hatchet and turner as well as sheeps-foot blades to carve the bowl of the spoon and materials to smoothen the wood, such as the roughened stem of the common horsetail.
Having a personal spoon was an important step in civilization. As the French author Michel de Montaigne wrote in consternation around 1580 on his travels through Germany: “rarely can as many spoons as people be found at the table”. In Upper Austria, it was pretty common in farm-houses until after World War II for everyone to eat from one bowel. Everybody cared much then for having their own, clearly marked spoon.
It all started in January 2015 with one of these casual, back-handed remarks that opened up a new reality. I, Michael Mass received the stern reprimand to never leave a cooking spoon sticking in the cookware: “Your grandmother must have taught you that!”
My answer, with an eye to the good bottle of red wine next to the cooking pot, was: “If the cooking spoon was made from the wood of a barrique, in which fine wine has matured – then everybody would leave their spoon in the pot just so that its aroma seeps into the food.” This marked the birth of TheCookingSpoon.
What originally was a joke kept digging through my mind. Coincidentally I talked to a friend about this cooking spoon a month later – and he asked me where he could buy TheCookingSpoon as present for some clients. That was the start of work-intensive months and developments which merged into the labor of love which is TheCookingSpoon.
After endless meetings, discussions and research with manufacturers and wineries the feasibility was proven and production from the 16 wineries was in full swing.
TheCookingSpoon even looked for and found an investor! We are proud that Ixolit, an Austro-US high-tech company invested in our unique, so down-to-earth product. Probably the first cooking spoon in the world with its own investor!
Shortly before partnering with our investor, we started cooperating with Venionaire Capital. Venionaire has an experienced team of business founders and finance experts who have assisted many Austrian companies in attaining rapid growth. They support us mainly in marketing, public affairs and distribution of the product.
TheCookingSpoon is unique, one-of-a-kind throughout the world. With a special backstory and memorable aroma. Not everyone can own TheCookingSpoon because of the limitation.
The individual mark makes every piece a “non-pareil” – more prized than ever in the digital future (of constant duplication).
The exclusive and graceful design of TheCookingSpoon made from barrel staves brought along a few challenges in production in order to implement all quality measures we had set ourselves. Reviving the old artisan craft of the spoon maker was the right decision for turning TheCookingSpoon into an authentic singular work of cooking art.