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GUEST BLOGGER: A Class in Molecular Gastronomy


Posted by : Anonymous, Sat, Oct 13 2007

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In Ontario you can't go to the closest grocery store to pick up wine to go with your meal. Instead, you have to buy from The Beer Store or the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO). Though the LCBO does not carry an innovative name, it definitely has been working on its image over the last 10 years or so. Many stores have been renovated to include modern decor as well as demonstration kitchens and large Vintages sections; they also put out a magazine called Food and Drink.

But the feature I most enjoy about my local liquor store is that it has started holding wine and cooking classes. There are fourteen centres across Ontario that include classrooms in which tutored tastings, cooking demonstrations and entertaining classes are taught. The themes of the courses depend on their location and can range from Whiskeys of the World to Sweet and Savoury Crêpes.

In the past year I have become absolutely addicted to these programs. I find the instructors to be extremely knowledgeable and the classes quite intimate. I have taken a few wine appreciation courses, and recently, I was fortunate enough to attend my first cooking one which focuses on Molecular Gastronomy.

Molecular Gastronomy mixes food with science to produce results that tease the eye and please the palate. According to our instructor, Molecular Gastronomy is a term coined by scientists Nicholas Kurti and Herve This in the 1980s. This form of cooking was made popular by Ferran Adria and his restaurant El Bulli - which was recently named Restaurant magazine's top restaurant in the world. It is no wonder so many chefs, including Marcel from TV's Top Chef fame, want to include these techniques as part of their repertoire.

Chef Michael Barlozzari introduced our group of nine to the world of food science and explained how we could use it in our cooking at home. We started the evening with a taste of both olive oil and Nutella powder. They tasted like the real thing but had the texture of baby powder that melted in your mouth. The experience was a tad surreal. Chef Barlozzari and his two assistants went throughout the evening and showed us many more recipes which included lime air (which looks like soap bubbles) and hot foam (which seems like the easiest way to make meringue that I have ever experienced).

By far, the most interesting event of the evening was making caviar. This caviar was not the fish eggs that many of us are used to, but instead small balls of mango pulp which have been mixed with Sodium Citrate and Alginate and then dropped into a Calcic bath with a syringe. I never thought I would be using the words Calcic and syringe when referring to a kitchen! These bright orange balls packed huge flavour and were a fabulous addition to the seared tuna and lime air.

This class was like no other that I have experienced and I am looking forward to trying the techniques and surprising guests at my next dinner party.

Throughout the evening we were able to taste:

  • Tomato and Bocconcini Salad with Olive Oil Powder
  • Seared Sesame Tuna with Lime Air and Mango Caviar
  • Bailey's Ice Cream with Nutella Powder

Danielle is a food lover who believes that Windsor, Ontario makes some of the best pizza in Canada. She blogs at maplesyrupandpoutine.blogspot.com.

Posted: Sat, Oct 13 2007 by Anonymous
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