` Olive Oil Takes New Form

Food & Cooking

Olive Oil Takes New Form

Jan. 30, 2012
By Naomi Tupper

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The doors of elBulli may have closed but the pub­lic can now expe­ri­ence a small taste of Fer­ran Adrià’s inno­v­a­tive and ground break­ing cui­sine in their own kitchens. The com­mer­cial prod­uct of Adrià’s famed olive oil caviar was released this past sum­mer, after two years of research and devel­op­ment. Caviaroli, as the prod­uct is known, allows the home cook as well as cater­ers and chefs to serve up a lit­tle of the elBulli magic with­out the need for expen­sive mol­e­c­u­lar gas­tron­omy equip­ment.

Caviaroli is cre­ated through a patented process, dif­fer­ing from the nor­mal spher­i­fi­ca­tion used in mol­e­c­u­lar gas­tron­omy. The nor­mal tech­nique involves the gelling reac­tion between cal­cium chlo­ride and sodium algi­nate, one of which is added to the desired liq­uid. This mix­ture is then dropped into a bath of the other com­pound in small drops. The reac­tion takes place to pro­duce a sphere shaped gel of the desired liq­uid. As the algi­nate and chlo­ride will con­tinue to react if left too long, the reac­tion must be slowed as much as pos­si­ble when the right con­sis­tency to avoid a thick, tough gel. Prod­ucts made with this basic spher­i­fi­ca­tion tech­nique must be eaten imme­di­ately or the reac­tion may con­tinue, mak­ing it unsuit­able for the use in a com­mer­cial prod­uct for the hos­pi­tal­ity indus­try.

Caviaroli, how­ever, is cre­ated using a mod­i­fied tech­nique which results in an end prod­uct con­tain­ing no algi­nate. The gelling reac­tion can­not con­tinue fur­ther and the prod­uct has a much longer shelf life, which is obvi­ously essen­tial for a com­mer­cial prod­uct. The new process involves olive oil droplets being sur­rounded by a thin layer of water con­tain­ing sodium algi­nate, which are then dropped into cal­cium chlo­ride as per the basic spher­i­fi­ca­tion tech­nique, result­ing in a thin layer of gelatin which forms around the olive oil. This is essen­tial for the pro­duc­tion of oil spheres as sodium algi­nate is insol­u­ble in oils, and has the added ben­e­fit of pro­duc­ing a pure unadul­ter­ated Picuan oil sphere con­tain­ing no algi­nate, just ready to burst into your mouth when the mem­brane is bro­ken.

This inno­v­a­tive new prod­uct is already a suc­cess with numer­ous Miche­lin Starred chefs, fea­tur­ing in a great vari­ety of inno­v­a­tive cui­sine such as Air baguette with Iber­ian bacon, Caviaroli and truf­fle’, by Chef Nando Jubany, or Oxy­g­e­nized Infu­sion of orange flower with olive oil caviar, oranges and yoghurt’, by Chef Artur Mar­tinez. How­ever, prov­ing Caviaroli is not just for the elite, it has also achieved suc­cess and recog­ni­tion in the hos­pi­tal­ity indus­try tak­ing home the prize for the best new food­ser­vice prod­uct at the 2011 Aus­tralia Fine Food Fair.

Caviaroli retails at €40 for 200g. While it is avail­able for pur­chase on some gourmet food web­sites, as yet is not read­ily avail­able out­side of Spain.

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