Ever notice how some combinations just make sense? Cajun cooks live by this concept. When they use onions, bell peppers and celery for the foundation of almost all of their dishes it’s referred to as the Cajun Trinity.
A few weeks ago I was grilling asparagus on the grill, topped with balsamic vinegar. The meal also included aged cheese and some fresh bread. What to drink with my bbq? Red wine! All this got me thinking. There are 3 elements that make all of the good things in our pantry – Heavenly.
Fermentation, Aging and Oak – The Food Trinity
Without question a vast amount of the world’s finer culinary delights derive their finer characteristics from one of these 3 items.
Fermentation – Intoxicants abound (I host a beer blog for goodness sake), but don’t forget bread, cheese, sauerkraut, chocolate and coffee beans, None of these wonderful foods would be any good without yeast and bacteria’s fermentation process. They modify the food, altering to a better more complex state. I might even suggest these natural processes predigest the food, but that would be gross.
Oak – Almost all of the more complex red wines benefit from sitting in a oak barrel. The resins and natural flavors are pulled from the wood. This techinique gives balsamic vinegar, dark tequila their complexity. Compounds in the wood mix with the contents in the barrels and add a layer of depth that is sometimes only noticed when it’s missing.
Aging – Some of the finest cheese is prized for it’s careful aging. Pasta and chili always tastes better the next day. The best products from aging? Beer and wine of course.
I recently conducted a beer aging “test” in the Sommbeer bar. I had my buddy Tony and his brother with me, both are avid beer fans so it was set-up to be a high level test! We used an Expedition stout from 2013 and another from 2012. First the freshest stout from 2013 – wonderful! Then we poured an aged bottle from 2012 and….. was this the same beer? The complexity increased and yet the rough edges were gone. Note that these were rough edges we didn’t know existed until we had the aged beer.
I’m proof that aging can remove all the rough edges – Sommbeer.
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