Many reach for a bottle of their favorite wine to pair food with, but few consider food pairings with spirits. When they do, it’s often as a digestif coupled with dessert. So when the experts at Diplomático Rum stopped by earlier this month, we jumped at the opportunity to challenge our palates and explore food pairings in a guided tasting of three different rums.
Founded in 1959, Diplomático is internationally recognized for producing some of the finest rums in the world. Rum is filled with flavors of vanilla, molasses, citrus and even caramel. Their rums are aged in different casks, typically former bourbon and malt whiskey barrels. This ageing, along with different blending and distillation processes, gives each rum its distinct color and flavor. Through our guided tasting, we learned that rum is filled with flavors of vanilla, molasses, citrus and even caramel.
Below, check out how ICC Culinary Events Coordinator, Chef Natalia Pozzi balanced these flavors in her food pairings with Diplomático Rum!
Planas rum is perfectly paired with seafood. Aged for up to 6 years, it has notes of coconut and ground coffee, which compliment the salinity in the seafood. For the tasting, Chef Natalia prepared a red snapper ceviche with jicama, mango and avocado. The citrus notes in both the ceviche and rum made for a delicious and balanced pairing!
Mantuano is a dark, golden rum that is aged for up to 8 years in white oak casks. They use casks which previously aged bourbon and malt-whiskey, giving this rum all of the spices and flavors—like cinnamon, apple and nutmeg—commonly associated with those spirits. Chef Natalia prepared a molasses glazed pork tenderloin with grilled pineapple and chili for this pairing, demonstrating that smoky flavors of the meat compliment the Mantuano well.
Reserva Exclusiva is an amber colored rum with a complex taste. It has bright, orange citrus flavors combined with the flavors of cocoa. The cocoa adds bitter notes to the palate, while the citrus adds freshness and sweetness. To end the tasting, Chef Natalia paired the Reserva Exclusiva with—what else?—an orange infused chocolate truffle.
Every year, after celebrating the end of the harvest season in their native Mendoza, Chef & Sommelier Pablo Ranea and Architect Alejandro Cohen pack their bags full of spices, unique ingredients and the spirit of adventure in search of inspiring experiences and challenges.
Together, they bring their unique take on food pairings and gastronomy to cities around the world. Whether the dinner event is held in a private garden or a culinary school, their carefully designed menus showcase Latin America’s best cooking techniques and recipes paired with exquisite wines.
This one-of-a kind experience is the result of Pablo’s well-tested recipes gathered through his extensive travels in cities and countries including San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Washington DC, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Finland, France, Denmark, Dominican Republic and Peru.
Friends gather around a table with a common desire to enjoy a memorable experience of aromas, tastes and textures of Argentinian and Latin American cooking, wines and history. Pablo and Alejandro arrive with a traveling kitchen of gastronomic marvels and the unique Argentinian wines not found in America. Prepare for an adventure of the senses.
GET A TASTE OF ARGENTINA IN NYC
Pop Up Dinner with Pablo Ranea
Friday, June 28th| 7:30pm
On Friday, June 28th, Chef Pablo & Alejandro return to New York City to present a six course dinner paired with 10 premium Argentinian wines at the International Culinary Center in SoHo. This will be the first time one of their pop up dinners will be open to the public.
For this dinner, Chef Pablo will prepare some of his iconic dishes such as Octopus chicharron with green chimichurri, as well as butternut squash, truffle and shrimp raviolis. He will also bring exotic flavors such as Lucuma artisan ice cream with Argentinian dulce de leche to the table.
During the dinner, Pablo—who is also a Sommelier—will introduce specially paired wines like Susana Balbo Brioso white blend (the number one white blend of Argentina); Malbecs from the best districts of Mendoza like Gauchezco Oro Appellation Gualtallary; Tinto Negro Limestone Block and Andillian by Lacoste de Los Andes.
In addition, LOS BUENDIA—a marvelous Bolero band from Mendoza—will fly to NYC to perform during the event.
They invite you to book an unforgettable experience. Attendance is by reservation and pre-payment only. Tickets are $195 and can be purchased here. For reservation questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
Please note, this is a dinner format (not a class) and seating will be communal like a big Italian family.
Guests with allergies or dietary restrictions will need to provide notice at least 10 days in advance.
Explore the flavor profiles of the food of the future—bugs! With the world’s population expected to reach 9 billion by 2050, we’ll need to find sustainable ways to deliver nutritious food to our growing population. Bugs are not only a solution to this problem, but are also one of the more provocative food sources in discussion.
There’s a reason why 80% of the world’s countries have been eating bugs for thousands of years. Bugs come out ahead of traditional live stock, like beef, in any food enviro-metric—gallons of water, Co2 equivalents of greenhouse gases, acres of land, feed-conversion-ration comparisons and more.
ICC is excited to be hosting Aly Moore founder of Bugible—a blog about the world of edible insects—and EatBugsEvents.com for an insightful presentation and tasting about how and why we eat bugs. Opening a dialogue about how what we eat impacts our bodies and our environment, we’ll examine the challenges faced by entrepreneurs, discuss how to overcome the stigma surrounding edible bugs and encourage chefs of the next generation to have an open mind to the opportunities that tasty critters offer. Join us for a guided tasting on Wednesday, June 5th from 3:30-5pm to explore the delicate flavor profiles of critters like grasshoppers and bamboo worms.
JOURNEY THROUGH THE WORLD OF ENTOMOPHAGY
Wednesday, June 5th| 3:30-5:00pm
International Culinary Center
462 Broadway, 2nd Floor Theater
After studying public health at Yale University, Aly Moore searched for a way to address the challenges to feed our growing sustainably and nutritiously feed our growing population. She started Bugible.com (blog) to support the growing insect agriculture industry and slowly grew a cult following on Instagram. To reach broader audiences, Eat Bugs Events was formed as an Aladdin’s den of unique educational events like Bug & Wine Pairings, Bug Dinners & Bug Cooking Classes. Since, Bugible has become the leading media & PR brand for the insect agriculture industry, appearing on Netflix’s Bill Nye, Food & Wine, Forbes, & others. Today, Bugible focuses on continuing to spread awareness about other sustainable and nutritious potential of bugs through collaborations with institutions of all kinds from the International Culinary Center, Yale University, Parks & Recreation Districts, or even the Girl Scouts of America.
She is heavily involved in growing the industry’s trade organization – The North American Coalition for Insect Agriculture (NACIA). Learn more here.
The Global Salmon Initiative (GSI) is a leadership initiative established by leading farmed salmon CEOs from around the world who share a vision of providing a healthy and sustainable source of protein to feed a growing population, while minimizing their environmental footprint, and continuing to improve their social contribution. Similarly, The Sustainable Shrimp Partnership (SSP) aims to create differentiation in global seafood markets so that consumers can easily find and choose shrimp products produced to the highest environmental and social standards. This month, Jose Antonio Camposano of SSP and Avrim Lazar of GSI gave insightful presentations on how the farmed shrimp and salmon sectors are making sustainability a key attribute in delivering high quality products which benefit our oceans.
For instance, did you know that Ecuador is one of the best countries in the world to get farmed shrimp from? Their use of the “extensive farming” method means that less shrimp occupy their growing ponds than other countries. In Ecuador, you can find some of the world’s leading experts on seafood farming—they have extremely strict zoning policies and regulations against farming in or near natural habitats. Their vertical integration of farming companies, paired with their high level of uniform product are just some of the reasons why the quality of shrimp from Ecuador is almost unparalleled.
To bring the conversation together and demonstrate how sustainable seafood can be used properly, the two organizations were joined by Chef Ned Bell—long-time sustainable seafood ambassador and Ocean Wise Executive Chef based at the Vancouver Aquarium—as well as Chef Gabriela Cepeda—the owner of La Central Deli Shop in Guayaquil and former Head Chef of the Presidential House in Ecuador for 4 years.
These two companies are founded on the principle that sustainability matters. Unfortunately, in farmed seafood, that isn’t always the case. There are many misconceptions that all farmed seafood is bad—that it’s raised in diseased-riddle habitats, the end ingredient is loaded with toxins and less nutritional value—the list could go on. In reality, there are pros and cons to almost every industry in the world, but educating yourself on organizations that are minimizing their environmental impact and changing the industry as we know it is key.
Below, find three facts that will illuminate your understanding of farmed seafood, and see why it’s vital for the health and wellness of our planet, and all of its inhabitants.
9 Billion People by 2050
You read that right. The world’s population will reach 9 billion by 2050. As of April 2019, it’s estimated that the current world population is at 7.7 billion, so the 9 billion mark could be reached sooner than we think.
You may be asking yourself, why does this matter?
Global seafood consumption has more than doubled in the past 50 years, which has put real stress on the sustainability of fishing. According to a study from 2011, global demand for seafood that we eat (and not just use for other purposes) is 143.8 million tonnes per year, and the overall consumption footprint, which also includes other uses of seafood, is 154 million tonnes. To preserve our Earth, ocean & species, finding new food sources, and how we cultivate them, is imperative.
Protein Demand Will Double By 2050
Millions and millions of tonnes of seafood is consumed each year worldwide. As diets change, populations grow and resources are stressed, there will be less room for protein produced on land. By 2050, double the amount of protein will be consumed worldwide, which is another reason why sustainable aquaculture will play an important role in feeding the Earth’s population.
50% of Seafood is Farmed
In order to protect and support wild caught seafood—and also to meet the demand of consumption worldwide—over 50% of seafood is now farmed. This has its pros and cons. While it protects wild seafood from becoming over fished, many of the countries where seafood is farmed don’t have strict regulations like the US, resulting in negative effects on the environment. Knowing where your seafood comes from and asking if it was raised in a sustainable way can help to counteract this.
To check where the seafood originated, you can look at the Country of Origin Labeling (COOL), which is required on all seafood sold in the US. Frozen seafood will have two labels: one to specify where the product was packaged and one that indicates where the seafood was caught or farmed. Be aware that it may seem like the seafood is from the US, but the label may be saying that it was packaged in the US.
Farmed seafood is not bad—in fact, it is helping to save many species from over fishing and is creating new ways to feed our growing population. But, it is important to keep in mind that not all farmed seafood is created equal. Finding companies like GSI and SSP who fight for properly farmed seafood regulations and practices is how this industry will grow into the next food movement that will change the world.
“Farmed Seafood.” WWF, World Wildlife Fund, www.worldwildlife.org/industries/farmed-seafood.
“Homepage.” Global Salmon Initiative, globalsalmoninitiative.org/en/.
staff, Science X. “How Much Fish Do We Consume? First Global Seafood Consumption Footprint Published.” Phys.org, Phys.org, 28 Sept. 2018, phys.org/news/2018-09-fish-consume-global-seafood-consumption.html.
On April 10th, 2019, Executive Chef Andrew Smith and Farm Manager Jonathan Sumner of Riverpark helped ICC kick off our month of programming dedicated to promoting sustainability in food, farming and business practices to better understand our foodprint. In the past, our Professional Culinary Arts program with Farm-To-Table extension has visited Riverpark as a part of the program’s dedicated field trips for a personal tour of the farm with Chef Andrew and Farm Manager Jonathan. This time the farm was brought to ICC!
FARMING NEXT TO A FREEWAY
Riverpark is arguably one of the most unique restaurants in New York City. Situated in the middle of a concrete office plaza with East River views, it’s hard to understand what a feat it is to grow ingredients worthy of a fine-dining restaurant next to the 10 mile freeway that is the FDR. Somehow, they still manage to create a dynamic environment for ingredients to flourish year-round and produce new, seasonal menus daily.
The restaurant is in it’s 9th year—8th season for the farm—and is still producing over 100 varieties of vegetables in milk crates each year. Yes, actual milk crates. This mobile method allows Farm Manager Jonathan to rotate the crops to account for unstable wind, sun exposure & more, while a drip irrigation system that was created specifically for the milk crates helps to water the plants without flooding them and depleting them of their nutrients.
With growing conditions as difficult as this, it makes sense that Riverpark’s menu focuses on using whole ingredients and featuring their farm-grown produce at the center of the plate. Sustainability runs through the DNA of the restaurant—so it’s no surprise that their demonstration dove into what it means to use an ingredient in it’s entirety and think about the different ways a single product can be used.
WASTE NOT, WANT NOT
Looking at plants & animals as a whole and respecting the ingredient is something that is ingrained into Chef Andrew. When Farm Manager Jonathan provides him with fresh vegetables from their “backyard,” or a delivery of farm-raised lamb arrives to the kitchen, it makes sense to use the whole spring onion from root to stem or every part of the lamb saddle. Chef Andrew stresses that often, the parts of the ingredients that are thrown out have the most flavor. Over $165 billion dollars in food waste is thrown out each year, when in reality, a lot of this waste could be re-purposed in kitchens, composted or used to feed those who are going hungry.
While it may be intimidating to break down a lamb saddle (the whole loin of a lamb)—and maybe not the most practical for everyday home cooking—you are able to get much more product by breaking down the animal yourself and it’s extremely doable when learned correctly. Furthermore, different parts of the animal can be re-purposed for various dishes or even frozen to be used in the future.
In addition to the popular “snout to tail” movement, it’s also important to emphasize “root to stem” cooking. As Chef Andrew broke down a whole lamb saddle for the audience, he prepared side dishes featuring produce from the farm to accompany the meat. While chopping the spring onions for garnish, Chef also utilized the roots of the spring onion for a fried crispy topping, and also shared that you can dehydrate the tops to create an onion powder.
As the world becomes more populated and resources are depleted, it is important to think of new ways to feed hungry diners around the world. As chefs, it is even more vital to respect the ingredient that you’re given and work with it to use as much of it as you can. Today, the relationship between farm-to-table is expanding, and restaurants like Riverpark give us hope for these models to thrive in urban communities.
Photographer, Author and Podcast-host, Michael Harlan Turkell had his first acid trip at the age of 19 when famed Bostonian Chef Barbara Lynch gave him a cap full of something. He shot it back and recalls having “one of the most profound sensory experiences” of his life up until that point. That spiritual explosion of flavor – sweet, sour, sapid – became his gateway to the world of acidity.
Fast forward 15 years, he found himself in Vienna, Austria on the doorsteps of Erwin Gegenbauer, the maker of that first shot and quite possibly the best vinegar-craftsman in the world. While interacting with Gegenbauer, Michael learned the importance of capturing the purity of an ingredient and why it’s crucial in creating a great tasting vinegar.
“The majority of vinegar that I had tasted (up until that first Gegenbauer shot) was the kind that hits you in your chest, makes you cough; you can feel it on your tongue, but you don’t actually taste it,” says Michael.
While many people may associate it with bad grapes, during that trip, he realized that vinegar is actually made with the best grapes available. His yearning to learn more about how ingredients impact the quality of the product led him on a global journey to study vinegar-making practices from the people and places that have evolved the craft. He chronicled the expedition in a newly-released book, ACID TRIP: Travels in the World of Vinegar (Abrams, $29.99)
Through his lens, we’re transported to France, Italy, Austria, Japan and throughout North America to learn about the art and science of vinegar. The photography brings to life the richness of the recipes, the insights from world-renowned chefs including Daniel Boulud, Massimo Bottura and April Bloomfield. The book captures the essence of why good vinegar is necessary for culinary arts while the how-to tutorials give the reader front-row access to making their own vinegar at home with bases, such as honey, apple cider vinegar, rice and wine.
In France, Michael investigated the role of vinegar in relation to food techniques and the application thereof. What he concluded was that it all comes down to the basic balance of acid and fat; both elements prevalent in French food and more specifically, French sauces.
In Italy, Michelin-star Chef Massimo Bottura, who runs the number one restaurant in the world, showed Michael an example of a balsamic vinegar that was unlike any balsamic he had tasted before.
Massimo Bottura, Osteria Francescana
As a self-proclaimed Japanophile, Michael was elated to make the trip to Japan and find a producer who could explain the full cycle of rice vinegar from start to end. “Given how much rice is produced in Asia, it’s unsurprising that a remarkable range of rice vinegars can be found there, too. I am partial to the premium rice vinegars of Japan, which are exceptionally fresh and clean-tasting.”
Iio Jozo, shari, temaki
Earlier this month, the ICC’s California campus was honored to have author/photographer/ podcast-host, Michael Harlan Turkell, visit the campus. He spent the afternoon educating students, alumni and staff all about the vinegar-making process. He shared stories of his travel experiences meeting the world’s best vinegar makers and he brought with him a range of artisanal varieties for us to taste.
Acetaia Leonardi Balsamic Vinegar – a very special blend of balsamic vinegar aged for up to 25 years with the finest grapes
Acetum Mellis Mead Vinegar – a honey vinegar with a golden, translucent color that has a delicate and fresh taste with a spark of acidity
Pojer e Sandri Dolomiti Italian varieties in Cherry, Quince and Black Current – each has a distinct flavor and taste to represent its base ingredient Sparrow Lane, California Citrus Vinegar – a light, fresh and flavorful melody of orange, lime and lemon incorporated in fine barrel-aged chardonnay
At first glance, Michael Harlan Turkell may appear to be just another Brooklynite with a barrel of beer in his backyard. We came to learn, however, that he started working in kitchens as a young kid at the age of 15 in his hometown of Westchester, New York, and dreamed of becoming a full-fledged chef. Interestingly, when he later moved to Boston for college, he ended up dropping out of school to again work in restaurants. It wasn’t until he entered the high-end food scene in Boston that his palette was awakened to something new. Today, he is an expert in at-home vinegar making. He was proud to tell us that he even spent two years reverse-engineering one process and figured out the secret to making a great beer vinegar in his Brooklyn backyard!
According to Michael, generally, two kinds of vinegar have found their way to our dinner tables today; either the balsamic poured on salad or the apple-cider vinegar (ACV), touted for its health benefits. He explained that he aims to change that paradigm by broadening our acidic horizons and expanding our palettes to offer a more varied selection of vinegar that brings a harmonious balance of flavor to our everyday meals.
For a perfect summer treat, try a fresh take on the Negroni.
BALSAMIC NEGRONI, FROM DAMON BOELTE, GRAND ARMY, BROOKLYN, NEW YORK
MAKES A 48-OUNCE (1.4-L) PITCHER, SERVES 4 TO 8
16 ounces (180 ml) of CAMPARI
16 ounces (180 ml) COCCHI VERMOUTH DI TORINO
16 ounces (180 ml) GIN, BEAFEATER preferred
½ pint (165 g) STRAWBERRIES, sliced
½ ENGLISH CUCUMBER, sliced
½ cup (120 ml) BALSAMIC VINEGAR, DOP
In the pitcher, mix together Campari, vermouth and gin. Add the sliced strawberries and cucumber, let sit for 30 minutes for all the flavors to mingle, then top with ice.
To serve, put a few ice cubes in a rocks glass, pour in 6 ounces (120 to 180 ml) of the Negroni, and float 1 tablespo0n of the balsamic vinegar on top.
Written by: Vanessa Da Silva ICC Wine Studies Coordinator
Justin, a self-described crazy person (when it comes to tea) has spent the last 2 decades not only sourcing some of the finest teas in the world but also, painstakingly retracing the historic roots & practices which have shaped the tea trade over the last 1,200 years! Justin, along with Keiko Nicolini & an entourage (truly) of trained tea enthusiasts, walked us through the cultivars & techniques of these rare & artisanal teas at a recent demo in ICC’s New York campus.
There are so many things we overlook when considering tea. Here are 5 teas that will make you thirsty:
Woojun Green Tea, South Korea – This tea is crafted in South Korea by Mr. Lee Chang Yung & his family. This is the first young leaves that are picked for the season, and Mr. Yung hand fires the tea leaves in a wok in small batches to bring out all of their beautiful fresh aromas. This tea, picked just in mid-April, was bursting with fresh spring flavors of grass & just bloomed fresh white flowers.
White Peony King Organic White Tea, Fujian province, China – Rishi was Organic, long before the USDA Organic seal came into play in 2002. They have built their career on sourcing from environmentally responsible tea farms across Asia. This White Peony King was described as the “Grand Cru of tea” and it well delivered. The tea was smooth & delicate with aromas of magnolia, hints of honey, and a savory saline quality full of umami. It’s a generally overlooked fact that white tea is the ‘freshest’ of teas. With very minimal processing, most white teas are just allowed to dry out to fully express their pure & delicate flavors.
Four Seasons Spring Oolong Tea– As the name suggests, this tea produces leaves at least 4 times yearly always offering a fresh ‘spring’ taste. Within this category, we tasted two teas of the same cultivar (variety), made in the same way, but one grown in Taiwan & the other in Thailand. Now, we wine-enthusiasts are very familiar with tasting notes in wine & the idea of ‘terroir’; however, I had no idea that Tea could show similar variations based on where they are grown. These two blew me away. The Taiwan-grown tea (where this variety originated) was incredibly fresh reminding me of hydrangeas, fresh lychee fruit, and white raspberries. In contrast, its Thai counterpart, showed a distinct nuttiness of toasted almond skin, along with bright sweet basil & sage. The comparison was a big eye opener & finding two Oolongs to compare could be a lot of fun!
Vintage Ancient Pu-erh Palace Organic Pu-erh Tea, Yunnan province, China – This tea was another eye-opener as the concept of vintage tea is completely new to me. Pu-erh teas are among the few that benefit from long-term aging, a minimum of 2-years is required before they are suitable for drinking as the teas are fermented and need to mellow out. These teas were from the Menghai Broad Leaf cultivar and we tasted the 2012 and 2009 vintage. The 2012 (just 5 years old) was strong and tannic with notes of bittersweet chocolate; whereas, the 2009 (now over 8 years old) was smooth and luxurious with notes of dark roasted coffee, cocoa, and black cherry.
Flowery Jin Xuan, Organic Oolong Tea, Doi Mae Salong, Thailand – There were so many dynamic Tea throughout the day, it was difficult to narrow down to just 5, but this was a personal favorite. This ball-rolled Oolong is oxidized to give a greenish-golden hue. It has a beautifully silky mouth-feel that made it seem almost milky (which is why this cultivar is often referred to as ‘Milk Oolong’. The tea was pleasant & smooth and smelled exactly of fresh blooming lilacs, which brought me right back to my childhood in rural Maine.
In addition to all of this, we learned that it takes around 35,000 tea leaves (each plucked by hand) to make just 1 kilo of dried tea!
The passion & expertise from the team at Rishi was infectious around the room, I heard question after question from our graduates being met with enthusiasm. It is clear that this is merely scratching the surface in what is becoming an area of interest in more & more restaurants.