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.