Innovation in aromas

The first evidence of the use of natural aromas in cooking dates back to almost four thousand years ago. The oldest recipe manual known, transcribed in the 18th century BC on some Babylonian cuneiform tablets, suggested to improve the taste and aroma of foods by adding onions to their preparation.

Since then the use of spices and aromatic herbs to enrich and enhance the flavor of meat, fish, cured meats and gastronomic specialties has continued to expand and evolve following the changing tastes of society.

Europrodotti participates with the most commitment to the challenge of discovering new flavors and aromas, always respecting the rules of healthy and genuine nutrition in an eco-sustainable world.

Discovering the authentic flavors still hidden

As in every scientific and humanistic field research never stops in the gastronomic one too. The discovery of new natural aromatic resources is a constant activity that involves thousands of food sector specialists all over the world. The places where these professionals work are sometimes predictable, such as restaurant kitchens and historic markets, and sometimes unthinkable, such as jungles and forests in remote regions where real explorers search for spices and aromatic plants that are still unknown. In this article Europrodotti introduces you to some of the figures of the world of food engaged in the search for those still hidden flavors destined to give extraordinary emotions to our palate.

The seekers of natural aromas

Sensory analysts: tasting champions

Sensory analysts are specialists able to evaluate the characteristics of food products not only through taste and smell but also through sight and even hearing. Their multisensory approach is accompanied by three types of tests that define the relationship between human perception and a food:

  • discriminating tests, which establish the reaction of the senses when adding, removing or replacing an aroma or spice to a recipe;
  • descriptive tests, which judge the sensory attributes of a dish with numerical scores;
  • hedonic tests, which directly involve consumers in tasting and therefore rejecting or promoting a food.

The intervention of a sensory analyst is fundamental in the study of new mixes of aromas and spices for seasoning foods. It is a job that requires extraordinary qualities: great patience, to try hundreds of different combinations of ingredients, and maximum concentration, to identify that original nuance of sweet, spicy or savory that will be appreciated by the public.

Food trotters: explorers of ethnic cuisine

Today we are convinced of knowing every ingredient our planet offers. Yet there are still unknown culinary niches. Food trotters, or food travellers, tour the world covering thousands of kilometers in search of those spices and aromatic herbs that have remained in the shadows.

The mission of a food trotter is to discover new condiments in the small markets of the most remote locations, in the gastronomic traditions of villages on the mountain sides or in the middle of the jungle and in recipe books handed down within families or small communities. Only by facing the adventure of immersing themselves in still uncontaminated culinary cultures they can taste and discover unique ingredients, capable of bringing new emotions to our dishes.

Food trotters are authentic Indiana Jones who combine the passion for culinary exploration with the love for adventure. Thanks to their precious work exotic condiments were discovered such as the spicy peanut sauce typical of Indonesia or the Mexican Pico de Gallo sauce, also known as fresh salsa, based on tomatoes, onion, chili, coriander and lime. These and other sauces are designed to offer new sensory experiences to Western consumers, helping to enrich gastronomic diversity and to promote the sharing of cultures through food.

Gastronauts: daredevils of the table

Gastronauts must own a great open-mindedness towards food. Unlike food trotters they do not search for still unknown ingredients but rather broaden their gastronomic experience by trying unusual or bizarre foods and extreme culinary preparations that put their taste buds to the test.

One of the parameters used to measure this challenge is the Scoville scale, a unit that measures the spiciness of foods based on the content of capsaicin, the substance that causes the classic burning sensation when we eat spicy food. To give an example, the classic sweet red peppers do not reach 100 points on the Scoville scale while the Calabrian chili pepper falls between 30,000 and 50,000 points.

Right in a market in the village of Moruga, on the island of Trinidad and Tobago, a gastronaut discovered the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion sauce, a condiment prepared with scorpion pepper which has a spiciness level of 2 million Scoville points! Not only this sauce make Japanese wasabi seem tasteless but in its preparation the natives of the village recommend using gloves, ventilating the kitchen and wearing protective glasses.

Creative chefs: innovation in the kitchen

Creative cuisine is often seen as the search for originality at all costs. In reality, chefs who think they can succeed by proposing extravagant recipes and incompatible flavor combinations are wrong because originality is not the ultimate goal of a creative process but only one of its consequences.

The demonstration that innovation in the kitchen can be achieved through the ways of tradition is the cuisine of Yotam Ottolenghi, the chef who was able to combine traditional dishes based on pasta, gnocchi and meatballs with a skilful use of oriental spices and aromas. Its condiments based on rose water, pomegranate molasses and za'atar, an Arab spice blend based on thyme, salt and sesame, have become famous all over the world.

Europrodotti links the search for new aromas and spice blends to its corporate values ​​of passion, dedication and attention to customer desires. For our company discovering the secrets of ethnic cuisines, offering new ingredients to global store-room and supporting the experimentation of the most creative chefs is a mission. Our ultimate goal is to offer new and exciting culinary experiences to those who love to eat well and to promote mutual knowledge through food, a common heritage of all peoples.

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