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Molecular gastronomy: the ingredients, the history and all the information on this incredible discipline.
The most popular sector of themolecular cuisinewould seem to be that of cocktails: info on how to prepare amolecular cocktail.
Theremolecular gastronomyormolecular cuisineit is a discipline that explores and exploits the chemical-physical characteristics of food to operate onetransformationof the ingredients.
The origins of molecular gastronomy
Theremolecular cuisineit is innovative and for its applications it exploits scientific notions from different disciplines. The termmolecular gastronomywas coined by the physicistNicholas Kurtiand by the chemist Hervé This in 1988. It is often definitiveexperimental gastronomyorsensory cuisine; in fact, to trace the roots of themolecular cuisinewe have to go back in time to the eighteenth century, when chemists began to study foods and to transform foods using chemical-physical notions.
Marie-Antoine Careme (1784 - 1833), one of the most famous French chefs, is probably a precursor of molecular gastronomy. He began to study the reactions of foods and made observations such as:the broth must be pruned to a boil very slowly otherwise the albumin coagulates and hardens, the water does not have time to penetrate and flavor the meat ...he talked about chemical reactions and studied cooking as a transformation technique.
In Italy, the official birth is linked to 1990 with the first International Molecular Gastronomy Atelier which was held in Erice, Sicily, every year since then.
Molecular gastronomy today
Today, themolecular cuisinecan count on innovative technical notions and equipment. It is not regarded as just a toolculinarybut it is a social and artistic phenomenon.
Among the techniques ofmolecular gastronomywe point out the so-calledSpherification, a word that literally translated stands for "spherification" and ... the meaning of the term is just what it seems: it is a technique that makes the liquid ingredients of solid spheres. The smarts might think "what it takes, just freeze the liquid in solid molds ... ", in fact this is also a transformation but here the change of state is not dictated by temperatures as happens with ice.
Spherification is performed by chemical reagents such as sodium alginate powder, calcium chloride, calcium lactate or gluconate.
Theremolecular gastronomyhe is interested in virtually everything. Let's take a simple egg, in classic cooking it can be used to make desserts, rustic dishes, pasta, batters, jellies…. these applications are very limited if we refer to themolecular cuisineindeed, they can be considered even superficial given that themolecular gastronomystudies the properties of the egg at different temperatures, its viscosity, surface tension and even how and how much more air to incorporate!
A sub-discipline of the molecular gastronomy, very popular among young people, is the so-calledMolecular mixology, a particular technique applied to the field of cocktails that plans to produce delicious Mojitos with the use of test tubes and pipettes.
As this is the most popular field, there is no shortage of recipe manuals and ingredient kits on the market for preparing innovative and molecular cocktails. A Molecular Mixology Kit composed of different reagents (yes, in the molecular cuisinerather than ingredients we can talk about reagents) such as:
- 4 sachets of sodium alginate
- 4 sachets of calcium lactate
- 2 sachets of sodium lecithin
If the ingredients are transformed into reagents, the classic kitchen utensils become equally technical and even laboratory equipment. The kit provides
- 2 pipettes
- a slotted spoon
- a silicone mold
- a booklet with 3 recipes
The kit thus described is offered on Amazon at a price of € 35.90 with free shipping and is used to prepare very special mojito cocktails. This molecular cocktail will feature bubbles that encapsulate the flavors and release them, exploding in the mouth and intensifying the flavor of the cocktail we are used to. N.B. the recipe booklet is in English.
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In the photo above, the three-star Michelin chef Heston Blumenthal speaking at the Taste Of London Festival as part of themolecular gastronomy.