"Most chefs possess a culinary secret: we taste primarily with our noses. At your next dinner party, think like a perfumer and make the most of all your senses by incorporating fragrant plants and flowers that enhance the experience."
Most chefs know the secret of the culinary world: we taste primarily with our noses. In fact, nearly 75 percent of what we taste comes from our sense of smell––not our taste buds. Taste buds are responsible only for the sensations of salty, sweet, sour and bitter flavors.
Some flower blossoms pair particularly well with certain foods to create a heady, immersive dining experience. Steer clear of stalemates like roses, lilacs and other floral bombasts and opt instead for these subtler pairings that can bring out different flavors and intricacies in your dining pleasure.
Iris: Traditionally a gentle and powdery scent, some varieties of iris can present a strong anise note that enhances flavors like herbaceous fennel salads, pungent Indian dishes that incorporate star anise and many Italian desserts that make licorice a star flavor.
Heliotrope: This mercurial plant acts like a culinary mood ring for each new encounter. Warm and inviting, some may say the smell calls to mind the tart sweetness of cherry pie. Others may find a rich vanilla aroma in the tiny purple blossoms. Whichever way your nose steers you, guests will enjoy this flower paired with the dessert course.
At your next dinner party, think like a perfumer and make the most of all the senses by incorporating fragrant plants and flowers that enhance the culinary experience.
WILDER QUATERLY is a biannual publication for people enthralled by the natural and growing worlds. Each issue showcases life through the lens of the growing world — indoors and out, culture, travel, food and design. Wilder Quarterly is published seasonally for this generation of passionate growers, and the next.
Photo credit: Krysta Jabczenski
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