On The Menu: Molecular cocktails; Scrumshus granola; Lindt's wasabi-flavour chocolate; Chamucos tequila; Hada del Café
This week I've been drinking...molecular cocktails
Ever since Heston Blumenthal acquired his first canister of liquid nitrogen and Thomas Keller started cooking steak in water baths, we've been in the thrall of molecular gastronomy. We might have objected to the term as empty and without meaning (is not all cooking molecular?), yet when we look for culinary experimentation, clever, deftly executed food – we tend to look in its direction.
But unless you're a hedge funder or pro cook, the cost of the equipment puts it beyond reach.
What you can make at home, though, are molecular cocktails. I spent Saturday mixing up the Molecule R kit's version of a Cuba Libre. Instead of mixing the cola and rum, you use the gum sachet supplied to create little balls of cola, which bob in the mix, exploding on your tongue as you sip. Its fiddly, certainly. And you have to wait ages for the mix to settle, too – but, you know, it's really quite fun.
I know it's silly and juvenile to say you've fallen in love with a food (not least because it's unlikely to reciprocate). But I'm going to say it anyway: I love Scrumshus granola. I love how the maple syrup, which coats the the Great Taste Award-winning breakfast cereal, seeps into the whole milk with which I eat it on a Saturday morning, sweetening it slightly. I love how the mix of oats, seeds and cranberries give it multiple textures and lots of crunch. What I love less is its price: £6.49. Still, path of true love and all that...
What goes well in chocolate? Nuts, of course, are a pretty firmly established bedfellow. As are dried fruits. But how about Lindt's wasabi-flavour (Japanese horseradish) chocolate? Hmmm, thought not. As hard as I tried, I couldn't quite stop myself thinking of various sushi meals I've eaten over the years, which is not, really, what I want from a bar of chocolate. More of a keeper was the Swiss firm's new dark caramel and sea salt creation.
Go to Mexico and you don't find students drinking tequila. Over there it's something you sip, always on the rocks, mostly with a squeeze of fresh lime. That is also the best way to drink Chamucos tequila. It's made with 100 per cent blue agave and is classified as resposada, meaning it has been aged for between 2 and 12 months, in this case in white oak barrels. What does it taste like then? Well it is mellower than most Mexican tequilas in this price range and has a soft-spiced tang to it.
Cup of kindness
I'm loathe to fetishise coffee, on the whole. But the stuff from Hada del Café is pretty great. It's not just that part of the profits from its sale goes to helping build schools in Nicaragua. Its local bean grind – which comes in medium, dark and espresso roast – is deliciously velvety, almost chocolatey.
EastEnders Christmas specials are known for their shouty, over-the-top soap drama but tonight the show has done itself proud thanks to Danny Dyer.
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