One resolution we like to make every new year is to try some totally different foods. This year's list of taste sensations includes food from several continents, and is guaranteed to wash away the taste of tired turkey and iffy chocolates.
TO BE EATEN AT TWILIGHT PERHAPS?
Even a vampire might be impressed with black garlic – it is gothic, after all. This isn’t the existing black species of Asian garlic – but a new way of fermenting normal garlic to make it sweet. Heated at a low temperature for a long period, it then tastes of molasses and can be eaten raw. Not like normal acrid garlic at all. Nothing is added – it is simply the amino acids and natural sugars in the bulbs reacting together to effectively caramelize the garlic. Imagine how spectacular it looks on a plate…
DON’T LET YOUR MOUTH GO TO SLEEP
Sleepy tongue caused by dull food? You need a pick-me-up. What could be better than a hot Korean red pepper paste called Gochujang? It has got the whole sweet/hot/sour/salty taste sensation going on. Think flour, red pepper, rice and sugar…all fermented into a devil-red paste that lasts for ages in a jar. It takes quite a while to make and there are lots of variations. I have even heard of someone using raspberries to sweeten it. It certainly will enliven a winter stew. Give your tongue a treat!
HARD CHEESE OLD CHAP
It may not look that attractive or entice you when you know it is sourced from bleaty old sheep, but Pecorino is one of those hard Italian cheeses best enjoyed on rustic bread drizzled with olive oil. Or shaved into pasta. There is even a version with walnuts. The young version is creamy, or the aged version is crumbly. Or make your life truly sweet and drizzle with honey and add a few figs. It is a salty cheese, so probably a glass of red wine would accompany it very nicely.
NOT SO DUMB(O)
Civet poo coffee is SO last year. Now it is all about Black Ivory Coffee from the charmingly wrinkled intestines of elephants. Wealthy enough? A kindly Thai elephant will digest the hand-picked Arabica coffee beans for you and infuse them for a day or so, with a lovely mixture of sugar cane, bananas and yummy sweet flavours. No bitterness. Except when you pay the $500 per pound bill. But if coffee is reputed to help memory, surely coffee that has gone through an elephant is doubly beneficial?
FINALLY, A FRUITY FINISH
It may not breathe fire but the Dragon Fruit is exquisitely named. It is also a kind of cactus, believe it or not. It comes in astonishing shades of red, pink and yellow. The Aztecs were praising it in the thirteenth century. You can slice it open and eat it raw, add to icecream or fruit salad. The sweet mild taste will make you feel very virtuous – this lurid fruit is rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin B3, protein and antioxidants. Not to mention fibre.
So what are you waiting for? New Year, new tastes!