Cola Caviar

by Doc-G on January 28, 2011

Coca Cola Caviar
Cola Caviar

Spherification in dining terms, is closely associated with the Molecular Gastronomy movement that was championed by the likes of Ferran Adria at El Bulli, Heston Blumenthal at The Fat Duck and Wylie Dufresne at WD-50 as well as a number of other culinary superstars across the globe. This movement, responsible for the production of avant garde cuisine seeks to find new methods and techniques for producing food whilst still preserving the taste, or essence of the ingredient. As such, the use of various chemicals and machinery has produced foams, airs, gels, ‘caviar’, ‘ravioli’ and henceforth out of all manner of ingredients to produce dishes that are spectacular to look at and interesting from the context of flavour and texture.

As a result of it’s popularity, Ferran and Albert Adria have produced a line of products called ‘Texturas’ which includes a ‘mini kit’ of ingredients and tools suitable for experimenting with food for the production of some of dishes utilizing some of these techniques.

In searching for methods and uses for this culinary ‘madness’, I found a lovely and interesting way to quickly make ‘coca cola’ caviar. The original article that I found including the original recipe is here in this wonderful little blog: The Gastro Lounge

Ferran Adria Texturas
Texturas Mini Kit

What I did was mix 5g of Sodium Alginate (Algin) with 500g of Cola as well as 10g of Calcium Chloride (Calcic). The picture below shows the baths in order of:
1. Cola/Sodium Alginate, 2. Water/Calcium Chloride, 3. Plain Water, 4. Plate for finished product.

This makes production simpler and helps to reduce beginner errors.

Molecular Gastronomy
The ‘Line-up’

Then the Cola/Alginate mixture is ‘sucked’ up into a 20ml syringe (provided with the kit) and then with just the ‘right’ amount of pressure, allow to fall into the water/calcium chloride mixture in ‘drops’. After allowing the ‘caviar’ to set for around a minute or so, the product is removed using the slotted spoon and placed into the water to ‘wash the product where it is left until ready to use.

Coca Cola Caviar
Making the ‘Caviar’

Again, using the slotted spoon, the ‘caviar’ are removed from the water and using a tea-cloth, ‘dried’ by holding the towel underneath the spoon to draw off any excess water. The caviar can then be served.

Cola Caviar
‘Washing’ and drying

The process used in this preparation is called ‘reverse spherification’, where the ‘product’ is mixed with the alginate and then dropped into a bath containing the calcium. Straight ‘spherification’ however is where the ‘product’ is mixed with the calcium and dropped into a bath of water and alginate. I did also try making larger ‘spheres’ using a bigger spoon. After a bit of practice, they came out quite nicely in terms of shape but their flavour was not so good. It is possible that further experimentation will reveal the possibility of using smaller amounts of alginate with the cola. If possible, straight spherification may give a product with a ‘cleaner’ flavour. The flavour however in the caviar was fine, presumably owing to its smaller size.

In caviar form, it is interesting to eat. It ‘pop’s in the mouth in a very similar way to salmon eggs but obviously with the flavour of the cola. From a food perspective, it means that you can serve products that are normally liquids with food in a solid form (which is convenient for service) but which still maintains its liquid properties once placed in the mouth. The possibilities are endless. I think in this particular case, ‘cola-caviar’ would go well with cured pork products, giving a sweet and slightly spiced counterpoint to any salty pork in the same manner that some people (notably Nigella Lawson) have cooked ham in coca cola. I imagine a similarly interesting effect and flavour combo could also be achieved with drinks like Dr Pepper. They would make for spectacular additions to starters and cocktail dishes.

I am currently trying to make caviar from whisky for use in a dish for a future ‘Foodologist’ article. I have seen pictures of this done but have thus far, been unable to replicate this myself using either spherification or reverse spherification techniques. I would love to hear feedback from any readers with regards to how to do this. I would wonder whether different concentrations of alginate or calcium are required or perhaps to use of any of the other products such as xanthan might help in doing this.

In Adelaide, you can purchase the Ferran Adria line of Texturas products as well as many other fine products from:

www.misenplacegourmet.com.au

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