Archive for the ‘flavor pairing’ Category

A pinch of salt for your coffee, Sir?

Sunday, March 21st, 2010


A small sprinkle of salt will suppress bitterness – and in some cases it can benefit the overall coffee flavor. I’ve tried it with an espresso and somehow it works, but it’s difficult to describe the flavor.

I prefer my coffee black, and politely decline when offered milk and sugar. However, if offered salt I would probably smile and say “Yes, please!” Salt???! It turns out that adding salt to coffee is not as weird as it may sound at first. There is a tradition for adding a pinch of salt to coffee in Northern Scandinavia, Sibir, Turkey and Hungary. And when available, such as in coastal areas where fresh water from rivers mixes with the salt sea, one would simply use brackish water when preparing coffee. This water typically has a salt content of 0.5-3%, which is lower than the average 3.5% in seawater. This results in a more intense taste and more foaming. And if living far from the sea, the Swedish food blogger Lisa Förare Winbladh let me know that in Northern Sweden one would deliberately add salt if using melt water from glaciers for making coffee. But tradition aside, is there a scientific explanation of this widespread tradition of preparing coffee with addition of salt?
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TFP2010: Gadgets (part 5)

Saturday, March 13th, 2010


Crycotuv – a combined vacuum chamber and super fast freezer with internal spray nozzle.

If I were to name a topic for this year’s Flemish Primitives event I guess gadgets would be it. I’ve already covered the high pressure processing in a previous post. Regrettably we were only shown pictures and movies of this machine (it is to large/complex to be brought on stage) but there was much more that would qualify for a post focusing on some of the gadgets presented.

Crycotuv
The most obscure machine in my opinion was the Crycotuv – a vacuum chamber which could be cooled to any desired temperature between -150 and 0 °C in seconds/minutes. (more…)

The Flemish Primitives 2010 (part 1)

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

Again I was lucky that all the practical details worked out so I could attend this year’s Flemish Primitives in Brugge. For some one who’s not attended, it’s not so easy to grasp the concept and ideas behind The Flemish Primitives (TFP). And I admit, even though I’ve been there twice it’s not so easy to convey it in a short way. First of all the name is rather cryptic (unless you’re into art) as it refers to early Netherlandish painting. The link to food is described as follows by the organizers of the event (my highlights):

In the 15th and 16th century, ’The Flemish Primitives’ were masters in combining their talent with new techniques. Techniques they developed by interacting with other disciplines like manuscripting, sculpting, etc. This way of working changed the painting techniques in all of Western Europe forever. The event ‘The Flemish Primitives’ wants to continue in the same spirit. Respect for food products and beverages, the knowledge of the classic cooking techniques combined with a stimulation of new techniques and creativity. By promoting interaction between scientists, the world’s most famous chefs and artists, the event wants to deliver a creative boost for the food industry and gastronomy in Belgium and the world.

Considering last year’s sucess it was no big surprise that this year’s event was sold out (and the foyer of the Concertgebouw was equally full in the coffee breaks). And with the memories from last year I arrived in Brugge with great expectations. One main difference from previous years was that the scientific parts were much better integrated throughout the day. Scientists were on stage alongside the chefs, explaining their work. Also, contrary to last year’s back stage kitchen, they had now moved the kitchen onto the stage, flanked by a bar, some sofas and laboratory mezzanine. A good decision!
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TGRWT #20: Pumpkin and cooked chicken

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

tgrwt-20

This month’s round of TGRWT is hosted by John Sconzo over at Docsconz, and the foods to pair this time are pumpkin and cooked chicken.* As always you can find instructions on how to participate in the announcement post. If you are new to TGRWT (which stands for They Go Really Well Together), check out the round-ups of the previous 19 rounds!

* In case you wondered why the link to the announcement posts includes lemon grass: There was some confusion regarding how to read the charts at the foodpairing website. The initial suggestion was to use pumpkin and lemon grass, but his has now been changed to pumpkin and cooked chicken.

TGRWT record

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

tgrwt-18 Just a short note to let you know that there were 30 submissions to the last round of They Go Really Well Together (TGRWT #18) which featured plum and blue cheese. Aidan Brooks summed it all up in a round-up which was fun to read 🙂 And in case you didn’t notice, there is a TGRWT tab in the menu bar – click it and you’ll see links to all the previous announcements and round-ups.

TGRWT #19: Tomato and black tea

Monday, September 7th, 2009

tgrwt-19

This month’s round of TGRWT is hosted by Pablo over at Medellitin, and the foods to pair this time are tomato and black tea. As always you can find instructions on how to participate in the announcement post. If you are new to TGRWT (which stands for They Go Really Well Together), check out the round-ups of the previous 18 rounds! And if you are chemically inclined, you may want to read on to learn more about the compounds behind this months pairing.
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TGRWT #18: Norzola puffs with plum reduction

Monday, August 31st, 2009

plum-norzola-1

For TGRWT #18 hosted by Aidan Brooks I decided to use puff pastry dough and laminate some Norwegian blue cheese, “Norzola” (made to mimic Gorgonzola) between two layers and roll them out. To accompany this I made a plum reduction with my two favorite spices, star anis and ginger. I should also mention that I tried the very simplest combination of plum and gorgonzola as well: a simple slice of bread with some Gorgonzola and a thick slice of a blue plum. This was very delicious – and takes absolutely no time to prepare.
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TGRWT #18: Plum and blue cheese

Sunday, August 2nd, 2009

tgrwt-18

Finally it’s time for a new round of TGRWT. It’s the 18th round and the host this time is Aidan Brooks, a trainee chef who works in Spain. In his blog he’s touched upon flavor pairing several times and also wrote a blog post on the same topic for “Word of mouth”, the food blog of The Guardian. The foods to pair this time are plum and blue cheese, and as usual you can read more about how to participate in the announcement post. The deadline for submissions is September 1st.

TGRWT is not a competition, but Aidan wanted to add a little competitive element to round of the meal. (more…)

French book on flavor pairing of food and wine

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

papilles_molecules

The Canadian sommerlier François Chartier (he has an extensive website featuring several blogs, including a section named Sommellerie moléculaire) is out with a new book on food and wine pairing. It’s not just another (superfluous) book on the subject. As the title Papilles et molécules (= Tastebuds and Molecules, unfortunately not available in English) suggests there is some science involved. It turns out in fact that he has applied the principles of flavor pairing to food and wine. With help from Richard Béliveau from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and Martin Loignon from PerkinElmer he has analyzed wines and food and comes up with the following suggestions for lamb, as described in the article “Chemistry-set wine pairing”:
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TGFWT #17: Frozen rosy apple foam

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

As I mentioned in the previous post I put the leftover rose froam from TGRWT #16 in the freezer and was surprised by the result. Inspired by this I thought I would extend this and substitute apple juice for water for TGRWT #17. As apple juice is quite sweet I started off with 20 g sugar, but once frozen it lacked sweetness and even was a litte icy, so I upped the amount to 40 g. The picture above may suggest that the foam could be served for dessert, but read the verdict before you make huge amounts of the foam.

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