Saturday, August 30, 2014

What makes a pear taste like a pear?

What makes a pear taste like a pear?  That would be ethyl acetate, but the story is a bit more complicated than that.  Artificial flavors keep getting better, because we're learning what makes natural foods taste they way they do in far more detail than ever before.

A few years ago, in England, I had a glass of alcoholic pear cider that I thought was outstanding.  It was pleasantly fizzy, slightly sweet, and evocative of a fresh, ripe pear.  I was certain, in my own mind, that it was a craft-made product, involving barrels of overripe pears crushed by the feet of sweet young maidens and fermented in an old oaken barn.  Nope.  It was, instead, a laboratory creation.  There wasn't a molecule of pear in it – it was completely artificially flavored.  And it was fantastic!  Since then I've had a few other pleasant surprises with artificial flavoring – still the exception, but it's happening more often. 

I hope someone will tackle tomatoes.  I miss the flavor of an excellent fresh tomato...

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