table talk

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - LIFESTYLE - fast-ed.com.au

SALTED caramel was the hit flavour of 2010, and six years on it shows no sign of its in­flu­ence abat­ing.

That the ap­peal of this sweet-savoury com­bi­na­tion goes across age groups, eth­nic­i­ties and food pref­er­ences tells us much about why it is so loved. Un­like so many flavours whose pop­u­lar­ity is the prod­uct of per­sonal pref­er­ence or tem­po­rary fas­ci­na­tion, the dash of salt to com­plex sweet dishes re­lies on its abil­ity to af­fect our sense of sea­son­ing.

Most of the world’s tastes are in fact aro­mas, de­tected by the ep­ithe­lium, a small fin­ger-sized patch in the rear of the nose. As you in­hale, the scent passes over and is in­ter­preted by the fine re­cep­tors.

On the tongue, how­ever, you have taste­buds, lit­tle bumps with a range of ca­pac­i­ties. They can de­tect sweet, salty, bit­ter, sour, umami (savouri­ness), pi­quancy, pep­per­i­ness, chilli, fat, tem­per­a­ture and tex­ture. Any one of those qual­i­ties can at­tach it­self to the prin­ci­pal flavour de­tected in the nose. As such we can iden­tify lemons in the nose, then the tongue tells us that they are sour. The nose says strawbe straw­ber­ries, the tongue says swe sweet. The nose says beer, the tongue says bit­ter. Re­ally un­der­stand­ing flavour means using the in­ter­pla in­ter­play be­tween these two or­gans. Salted caramel works be­cause the burnt sugar is aro­mati aro­matic and rich, with a dis­tinct dis­tinctly sweet mouth-feel. Ad­din Adding a pinch of salt trigg trig­gers a sec­ond adj ad­jec­ti­val re­sponse in th the mouth, dou­bling th the per­ceived idea of it its taste. Of course, that e ef­fect can work in other sweet foods too. Salted choco­late, s salted lemon curd, sa salted jams. All these ar are ef­fec­tive uses of the same culi­nary prin prin­ci­ple. Sa Salted caramel was not ju just some­thing de­li­cio de­li­cious, it was a key les­son i in how to make flavour more ef­fec­tive.

Most of the world’s tastes are in fact aro­mas

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