We were informed on how we taste our food; using the smell, taste and touch that our nose and mouth experience to pass on the enjoyment (or dislike) of flavours and textures that we consume. There are five senses in regard to the flavours that we experience; sweet, sour, salt, bitter and umami (or savoury as it is often referred to).
We were give a simple little test to prove that our noses help us to taste the flavours of our food. Just try pinching your nose and eating. What do you sense? Creaminess, texture, 'mouth feel'? Can you taste what you're eating? Probably not. Now, release your nose and allow the flavours of your food to come through and understand how both of these senses worth together in perfect harmony to allow us to enjoy what we eat.
Amongst the human population are approximately 25% of people who are deemed to be 'super tasters'. Those who have more tightly packed receptors on the tongue which allow them to have a more intense experience of the food that they eat. This can be detected in a couple of ways; visually using a food colouring on the tongue and the number of pink receptors physically counted in a set area, or chemically with an impregnated piece of paper that is placed on the tongue. To some people, this paper has absolutely no taste. To others it can taste mildly to moderately bitter and to some it can taste absolutely vile. Unfortunately, to my dislike, I was in the absolutely vile camp within seconds of it being placed on my tongue. This Professor Smith informs me, places me firmly in the realms of being a 'super taster'; something which I hope to be able to explore further in the future.
So, now we know why and how we taste our food, it was over to Chef Cameron to excite our taste buds with a menu created using the Knorr Flavour Pots. The five Knorr Flavour Pots were used by Cameron to produce a 6 course Chef's Tasting menu that we all enjoyed;
First on the menu was Garlic Prawns, created using a few simple ingredients with the Garlic Flavour Pot. Each pot is the equivalent of 2 garlic cloves which are transformed into a ready to use, perfectly balanced paste.
Our second course was a warming Curried Parsnip Soup. Parsnips were combined with the Curry Flavour Pot to produce a warm and richly flavoured soup. The Curry Flavour Pot is a blend of 13 perfectly balanced spices which didn't overpower the parsnips, but allowed the flavour of them to come through.
Third to be served to us from the menu used the Mixed Herb Flavour Pot and came to us in the form of a Pasta Napolitana; a perfect blend of Mediterranean herbs, such as Thyme, Oregano, Rosemary and Basil which have been expertly blended to produce a paste which complemented the Umami in the tomatoes used in the sauce.
Our next course was a Chilli Chicken Stir Fry using the Mixed Chilli Pot. Now this was (to me personally) a hot dish, but nevertheless, perfectly balanced in respect of aroma & flavours.
A perfectly cooked fillet Steak was served with a Peppercorn & cream Sauce, made using the 4th pot in the collection; 3 Peppercorn Flavour Pot. A incredibly simple to produce dish, that packs a huge flavour. All the hard work really has already been done for you in these little pots.
In our final course of the evening, a Strawberry Shortcake, came the surprise. The simple & light shortcake was made using the 3 Peppercorn Flavour Pot which was stirred into the mixture prior to piping & baking. You initially get the sweet and crumbly taste of the biscuit with the added but subtle warmth of the black, green and pink peppercorns following. Team this with the cream and fresh strawberries & you've got a perfect dessert to round off a perfect evening.
All of the Flavour Pots in the range are Gluten Free are suitable for Vegetarians and they come in a pack of 4 pots.
My thanks go to the Unilever Kitchen, Knorr, Chef Cameron Healy, Professor Barry C Smith, Clarion Communications and Ice Tank for a fantastic, informative and interesting evening. I certainly look forward to being able to explore and develop my tastes and perception of food further.