Ideology - Dictionary
CONCEPTUAL DICTIONARY OF ESPAISUCRE 2007
DOUBLE NATURE OF INGREDIENTS:
Ingredients must always be conceived from a double perspective. Let’s take raspberry as an example.
1- Characteristic nuances: acidity, sweetness, floral scent and granulated texture.
2- Its referents or combinations such as: dairy products (cheese, milk, cream…), chocolate (strawberries and chocolate), spices (cinnamon, pepper, licorice…), aromatic herbs (peppermint, herb louise…), other fruits (melon, orange…), alcohols (beer, liquors…), savory food (meats, foie gras…) or vinegars (modena, cherry…).
REFERENCES OR USUAL COMBINATIONS:
1- Local: pork cracklings are a catalan reference to catalan pine nut. This association may be strange out of the catalan context, but is very normal inside it, given the catalan traditional pastry technique known as coca de chicharrones (a pine nut and pork cracklings flat sponge cake).
2- National: a thai reference to citronella is kaffir lime. This association is made by sympathy, since both are also citrus elements. Such reference is normal in a thai context, but it is strange out of it.
3- International: associations of flavors beyond national limits, becoming an essential part of our flavor knowledge. For example tomato amd mozzarella.
Those ingredients or family of ingredients that allow creating combinative ties with many other ingredients. Chocolate is a paradigm of promiscuous ingredients, since it can be combined with almost any type of food, whether savoury or sweet. There are clear examples of promiscuous food families such as dairy products, red berries, alcohols or citrus. As a counterpoint to these are ingredients with a lower level of promiscuity. An example is rhubarb, which is always associated to fat (white and dark chocolate, macadamia nuts, dairy products or foie gras) and strawberry (strawberry and rhubarb cakes).
When we introduce uncommon flavors in a restaurant dessert we need anchor tastes to which our palate can hold on and feel at ease. We need recognizable nuances and flavors, fully assimilated tastes tried many times before. When wrapping those uncommon tastes in a gustatory normality, our palate is able to assimilate the incorporation of new tastes.
When our pupils want to integrate in a restaurant dessert ingredients unusually used in pastry, we always suggest them to wrap them in easy, recognizable, familiar flavors so that our palate accepts them. The basic anchor flavors used in pastry are sugar, citrus, dairy products, aniseed, cinnamon, chocolate, nuts and others —all traditional ingredients belonging to the pastry field.
FLAVOR LIBRARY, PSICHOLOGICAL PALATE:
To choose ingredients correctly we need a previous knowledge of the raw materials used, which may be acquired within the slow process of trying and “storing” every flavor that may be integrated in a restaurant dessert.
This “storage” must be fed by as many possible references, since the more flavors we store, the wider our combinative possibilities will be. If we use ingredients we have not stored previously, its nuances and references will be unknown to us and therefore will be difficult to ration out. This library of flavors interacts with our psychological palate. For example, if we are told “cinnamon + apple” we are able to imagine the taste of both together. What makes this possible? Our psychological palate makes it possible; since it is a storage of flavor combinations that we have previously tried, which we have been able to withhold after. Our psychological palate is a muscle that must be exercised the same way a perfume designer does with his nose.
In the creative process, having a psychological palate is most useful because it may save us a lot of work since it makes it unnecessary to try previously stored combinations which we know for sure that work well. It may help us to prevent problems that might arise during the process. For instance in the combination of dark chocolate + carrot + orange, our psychological palate might perceive a possible problem: in this context carrot is at a disadvantage since it has a much lower range of flavors than the rest of ingredients. It cannot compete with them, so if we want the flavor to be felt, we will need to add more carrot or even apply more than one technique, which is an option used to emphasize flavors: one flavor to which are applied two or more techniques. Our psychological palate is not a hundred per cent reliable tool, but it may be a great help.
Invasive techniques are those which alter, dim or soil the raw material on which applied. Generally, invasive techniques are considered those in which negative temperatures operate (cold dims taste), and lightly aggressive techniques are those in which insipid ingredients such as gelatine, agar agar or froth operate. A technical invasion can also result of the substratum of flavor that might itself contain. For instance, in the case of sponge cakes, the genoise recipe (eggs + sugar + flour + aroma) is a scarcely invasive technique, whereas the chocolate sponge cake family (sacher, coulant, flourless sponge cake, brownies) is itself a more invasive technique, since given the powerful chocolate base, it is difficult to add other flavors.
We name “chords” those little nuances apparently not important in a restaurant dessert, but that are in fact important because of the sense of harmony they add to the whole. In the explained dessert the chords would be those subtle gustatory interventions that, in our view, improved the dessert.
The absolute expression of flavor integration in traditional pastry making is cake.
When eating it we appreciate at the same time all the flavors it contains, creating thus a harmonious whole. Our aim is to reproduce this sensation in a restaurant dessert. However it is not always possible to do so completely. Certainly, an arrangement by volume has an influence on the integration of flavors, but if we always used this form, our desserts would become repetitive. Therefore, integration must be a trend and not an obsession.
Another advantage that may be attributed to this trend is the fact that it allows to have a better control of the way the customer will eat the desert (having a better control of the taste), since by the disposition in volume we’re telling the customer in a subliminal way to taste each flavor in one spoonful. On the contrary, if the elements were separated in a principal element + garnish, it would be impossible to anticipate how the customer would eat it —therefore we would have less control of the taste.
Warnings are little gustatory notes that break away from the dominating texture or taste (decontextualization).
Warnings have a double role:
-Keeping the palate alert
-And letting it rest
i.e.: Introducing in a water context a very crunchy element or introducing in a sweet context a very acid or savory element. The absolute expression of flavor integration in traditional pastry making is cake.