• Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

Wine and "Molecular Gastronomy"

2 posts in this topic

First off, thanks for taking time from your very busy schedule to answer our questions and brighten our days. I am also quite glad to see your book is about food, family and children, a topic both of abstract and personal interest. I have heard that your restaurant is quite welcoming to children and greatly look forward to dining there with our 3.5 yr old when we visit the UK in the spring.

My main question is about how you interact with wine (and other alcoholic beverages) both in the practical world of service at your restaurant and when you conceptualize dishes and flavours. Is it difficult to create wine suggestions for diners due to the specific interactions of disparate flavors in your dishes as wine (or alcohol) might ruin the relationship? Is wine perhaps not the best beverage for many of the dishes?

On the more theoretical level, do the complex flavours (created by so few ingredients) of wines ever inspire you? Do you ever take a wine, particularly a difficult or complex one, and use it as the inspiration for creating the flavours of a dish? Have you worked with the flavour chemistry of other beverages like scotch or beer?



Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

We are still looking at wine and food combinations and this is an area that requires an awfull amount of work still to be done on it.

Over the past couple of years of carrying out wine and food pairings, a pattern was emerging. Interestingly enough, it was a pretty basic one; the strongest dishes seemed to go with the most complex wines.

Ok, so this is not exactly a groundbreaking finding and although pretty interesting, does not at all go along with the current line of tinking of The Fat Duck.

I had been thinking for a while now; if a red wine smells, for example of blackcurrant, it is not blackcurrants making that aroma but a compound or collection of compounds that make up this aroma that also exist in blackcurrants.

If we can then analyse those flavour molecules and see what else they exist in, perhaps we can emerge with some great wine and food pairings.

This theory is still an embryo in my mind but I do think that there is a potential here for a new approach to wine and food pairings; watch this space!

Wine has often been the catalyst for a dish. For example, we have a dish combining scallops with caramelised cauliflower puree, cep and sherry jelly.

The sherry jelly was in fact the origin of that dish. Every other element stemmed from the sherry jelly.

We are currently putting a few wines through the mass specrometer to do a sniff test and analysis on the wine. This why we can look at possible combinations.

I haven't done any work yet with beer or scotch but give me a year and I am sure that I could do quite a bit of research on these!

On the whole though, it is not wine that I find difficult to pair food with but certain foods with wine. Soft-boiled egg yolks are an absolute killer as the runny yolk completely coats the mouth accentuating the acidity tremendously.

On a final note, I am completely amazed how a wine maker can turn out unbelievable results from just a bunch of grapes!

Heston Blumenthal

The Fat Duck

The Fat Duck website

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

  • Similar Content

    • By TdeV
      I've just cooked two lamb shanks sous vide for 72 hours at 141F in separate bags. When I opened the first bag, the shank looked and smelled great.
      The second bag, however, smelled bad (to me). The shank was covered in gelatinous red stuff. My husband is less smell-impaired than I, so he ate that one.
      The two shanks were purchased from the meat market associated with the Department of Animal Sciences at the local university where the students will have butchered the animals.
      I'm wondering if what's possible is that one of the shanks did not have all the blood drained out. And that the smell which I've associated with "bad" is actually the smell of blood.
    • By ulterior epicure
      Can anyone illuminate me on the appeal of cooking meat by putting it in a plastic bag and boiling it? I've had this at many a (fine) restaurant and I fail to appreciate the ecstasy at which some seem to undergo when encountering (or offering) this preparation...
      Short of sounding absolutely ignorant, I realize that the technique affords great advantages to some products (like foie gras), but chicken? pork? Tender as they may be, I prefer a more natural way of "sealing" food - perhaps the age-old bladder or other non-porous offal
      I ask only because I wish that I could be "enlightened" and join the swooning masses when offered this preparation at a restaurant...
    • By bhsimon
      I want to make mint spheres for use in a hot sauce. (Think lamb with mint caviar.)   Can this be done? Is it possible to make heat-stable spheres?   What is the most effective way to extract mint flavour from the raw leaves? I don't want the resulting spheres to contain alcohol as it will be served to children. My cursory investigations indicate that glycerol may be an alternative—has anyone done this?
    • By boudin noir
      I recently did some halibut steaks sous vide. They were about 1 1/2  inches thick. I did them for 30 minutes at 122 degrees. When i took them out to brown them, they were very fragile. As I browned them they fell apart. They were delicious, perfectly cooked from an eating point of view, but ugly. Too hot, too long or both?
    • By bhsimon
      Anyone tried this?
      I'm trying to think of something novel to do for my friends at an upcoming birthday weekend. We are renting a house in the Hunter Valley (Australian wine region) and food is a major component of our weekend. Last time I did fizzy fruit—the grapes and oranges were awesome and everyone enjoyed the unique experience. I want to do something quirky like that again.
      The whipping siphon is easy to transport so I'm interested in using it. The siphoned soufflé in Modernist Cuisine, volume 4 page 297, has a chocolate variation that does not require propylene glycol alginate or maltodextrin (I don't have those things in my pantry, yet). That looks like it might be a good one to try. Anyone done that and have some advice for me before I dive in?
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.