Posts Tagged ‘wine’

Norwegian egg coffee

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

Egg coffee – a mild and refreshing drink that can be served warm as well as cold

I recently stumbled over “Norwegian egg coffee”. At first I thought it was a joke, but it turned out that this is indeed an “egg coffee” – coffee prepared with an egg! I have never heard about it here in Norway, but the fact that it’s popular among Americans of Scandinavian origin in the Midwest suggests that it could be something immigrants brought with them from Norway (feel free to fill me out on the historic origins of this!). I mentioned egg coffee to my mom, and although she had never heard of it before, she did mention that skin or swim bladders from fish were used when boiling coffee to help clearify it. In fact the Norwegian name for this – klareskinn – literally means “clearing skin”. The English name is isinglass (thank’s Rob!). Could it be that the fish skin originally used was replaced by eggs, perhaps due to a limited availability of fish in the Midwest? After all, both are good protein sources.

TGIF: Periodic tables of food

Friday, October 30th, 2009

Does food fit into this table?

Here at Khymos I aim to cover things related to food and chemistry, and as I stumbled over a periodic table of cupcakes (with clickable “elements” linked to recipes) I couldn’t resist to dig a little deeper. And look what I found! The periodic table of elements is iconic, but the periodic table has also become an organizing metaphor for all sorts of things, including food. The Internet database of periodic tables holds more periodic tables than you could ever dream of, but it’s not complete – at least not with regards to food. Here are the food related periodic tables that I’ve been able to find. Fun? Yes! Useful? No, not really 🙂 At the end of the post I’ve also included examples of how the real periodic table of elements can be illustrated in a more or less edible fashion. All images are linked to the page where I found them. Are you aware of other periodic tables of food? Please let me know and I’ll include them in this post.

French book on flavor pairing of food and wine

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009


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”:

Accelerated aging of wine

Monday, February 2nd, 2009

Can the natural process of aging wine in corked bottles be accelerated?

I recently found an interesting article on how an electric field can be used for maturation of wine (New Scientist news coverage of the article). Applying a AC field of 600 V/cm for 3 minutes resulted in an accelerated aging of wine and according to the authors of the paper, it made “harsh and pungent raw wine become harmonious and dainty”. They observed changes in concentrations of higher alcohols, aldehydes, esters and free amino acids. But I was quite surprised that they don’t say anthing about astringency and polyphenols (tannins). I’d expect some changes there as well, but alas it’s so much more difficult to measure the polyphenols than the low molecular compounds. A sensory panel identified both positive and negative effects of the electric treatment which helped identify an optimum treatment. Apparently several Chinese wine manufacturers are testing the technology on a pilot scale now. Many people have a romantic impression of how wine is made, but the extensive catalogues of “corrective chemicals” available to the modern wine maker should perhaps make you reconsider the romatic idea of wine making. Even professor Hervé Alexandre at the University of Burgundy has given the technology a thumbs up: “Using an electric field to accelerate ageing is a feasible way to shorten maturation times and improve the quality of young wine”. Who knows – maybe you’ll soon be drinking a wine that has been zapped?

A molecular gastronomer drinks wine (part 1)

Sunday, November 26th, 2006

I’m working on a page about wine from the viewpoint of a chemist. So far I’ve included a short introduction to wine from a chemical perspective and also discussed interactions between wine and saliva (including an experiment for you to try at home). Feel free to discuss in the blog! For those interested, I’ve also compiled a list of books about wine and wine chemistry. There’s also some books about food and wine pairing (but if I were you, I’d just stick with the wine and the food that you like!). More to come soon!

red wine
(Photo borrowed from “my unfair lady” at