Passing Opinion Off As Fact Since 2009

Passing Opinion Off As Fact Since 2009

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Something I once wrote about a glass of mango juice

Figaro Café serves a glass of mango juice, which is undeniably the juice of a mango albeit not particularly mangoey. The drink was mango-yellow, exceedingly tart, and had a faint taste of the out-of-season fruit meant to be showcased. Though refreshing and slightly enjoyable, any drinker would be left unfulfilled.

Oddly, this brought to mind El Bulli’s completely antithetical mango caviar dish. A mixture of mango puree, sodium alginate, and sodium citrate is slowly dropped from a syringe into a bath of calcium chloride. This glistening pile of tobiko-like, gel-encapsulated mango captures the essence of the fruit better than simply introducing it to a juicer. Easily dismissed as overly complicated, the end product remains deceptively simple.

The experience of eating El Bulli’s uber-mango offers fewer diversions from the true taste. Figaro juice was distractingly sour, with a texture that was equal parts mealy and gummy. Sometimes produce, regardless of freshness, will clumsily trip over its natural texture, while these much-derided bells and whistles can gracefully make something taste more like itself.

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