Thursday, September 16, 2010

The mystery of flavor

This morning I started my day with a cup of tea and a bowl of Kashi cereal, the kind that tastes great with honey. The flavors of honey, milk, tea and a neutral cereal was pleasant. Each flavor was well balanced and complimented one another. What is the speed of flavor? Fast, slow, zig zag, or head on? In the frozen dessert business, flavor is the number one issue I consider everyday. Texture is a close second, but without the right balance, or intention, flavors can be slow, to fast, or wind up in a dead end. "Where do you go from there? No where." (Nigel Tufnel)
Today, one of my employees said he tried the Alphonso Mango gelato and did not favor it over the previous recipe. We began talking about flavor and how this mango gelato is different from the previous one. The Alphonso mango has a unique flavor. It is highly esteemed in the culinary world for it's texture and bold flavor. When you scoop into a pint of Madisono's Alphonso Mango gelato the full flavor of the fruit prevails. This new recipe is our neutral gelato mix(made from scratch at Madisono's) and Alphonso Mango. The simpler the better. But the flavor is different and I understand what he was saying. This flavor is fast by design and delivers a unique profile similar to a mango lassi. Try it with some cardamom on top, you will not be disappointed.
This weekend I am participating in the Findlay Market Fundraiser, Lunch on the Land. I have used Madison Ridgeview Farm blackberries to create a blackberry gelato. It will be served on a mini brioche from Skirtz and Johnston. I started by making a concentrated syrup from many pounds of frozen berries. The plan was to incorporate this pure syrup into the neutral gelato mix and process. The color of the syrup was a very deep purple and when mixed with the gelato mix turned a beautiful purple. Despite attempts to get this flavor into the fast lane it just refused to be hurried. I would classify this as a slow flavor, a single gear so to speak. Is this bad? My intention was to create a head on blast of blackberry, but the reality is that despite the volume of syrup added to the mix this will never happen. The use of all natural fruits and purees for flavoring gelato and sorbet is a challenge at times. So the solution is to embrace the reality of the flavor and accept it. What I decided to do was to process the blackberry gelato according to recipe design and then compliment it with puree as a swirl. The result is that I have a much more visually appealing gelato due to the marbling of the dark purple puree against a soft purple gelato. The puree adds a second gear to the flavor but does not corrupt the texture of the finished gelato. In the end I was pleased and I think that you will be as well. It will be available at Findlay Market this weekend while supplies last.
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