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Gourmet Food - a Matter of Location

Oct 19, 2007
Today the planet seems smaller than ever. Our modern world with all of its inventions has made it possible for people living on opposite sides of the globe not only to know about each other but also to become friends. Friendships are made by way of travel or through the Internet. This highly communicative world has made it possible for people to share information about their culture, language and of course cuisine. Originality is a must when it comes to gourmet food and location has a great impact on what will be viewed as a delicacy.

Knowing what to eat and when
It is true that gourmet food is much more than its ingredients. In most part of the world people expect a delight for the eye as well as an exquisite taste when they order in a gourmet dish. It is also considered more interesting to eat exotic foods; which brings with it the possibility of something that would be considered quite regular in its land of origin but gourmet somewhere else.

In most places of the world people love to eat cheese. In America, Swiss cheese is considered a delicacy and in Europe the French are known for their cheese making skills. In order to take the cheese up the ladder from making the morning sandwich really tasty it can simply be melted in the evening and served as Fondue. The same bread used in the morning will now be dipped in the cheese and the meal is considered gourmet food.

Time and place does matter when it comes to gourmet food. Sometimes a regular food takes on a completely different look and becomes the latest hit in one place while another food is tied to a specific time and its place of origin.

While many Swedes view the Italian Caffe Latte as a gourmet version of coffee the Italians leave it to the tourist to pay lots of money to drink their morning coffee in the afternoon. Something the Italians most likely will never view as gourmet food is the Swedish root called the black root. This root is especially cooked for the annual festival of Marten the Goose. A food connected with a local festival usually stays local unless the festival takes on wings.

Original ingredients
While the black root is a rare Swedish delicacy, snails can be found in most of the world. Repulsive to some, snails are viewed as high class cuisine to others. Under the much more elegant name of Escargots Americans and Europeans can order in this French dish as an appetizer. It is usually spiced up with garlic and butter and it is carefully prepared not to contain any toxic item that the snail might have eaten.

There are many examples of ingredients that can only be found in certain places and are therefore viewed as exotic. The truffle is a mushroom that has been called "the diamond of the kitchen" by Brillat-Savarin. It is mostly produced in Europe but there is also a Chinese version called the Chinese Truffle. This delicacy is sought after all over the world and it is very expensive. The Black Summer Truffle can cost up to $670 a pound.

Some ingredients are tied to season and can therefore be considered a seasonal gourmet food. In general gourmet food wouldn't be viewed as gourmet if it didn't taste, smell and look great. A fresh dessert with strawberries can certainly be produced year around by importing the berries but people are quite picky when it comes to these delicious red treats. It seems that in most countries around the world people believe that their native strawberries are the best. Dipped in the finest Swiss chocolate it just won't be the same treat if the berry was imported from Greece!

Recipe of the Day
Chocolate Chili Marshmallow Tree

This is a desert treat with an excellent visual effect and yet simple to make; you can even add Christmas decoration to make it look like a Christmas tree. This recipe also uses the chocolate chili sauce, for those who has not try this combination, please give it a go, you will be more than pleasantly surprise.

The candied fruit is used to add in effect, so use something like orange which are sliced and half or kiwi fruit. Another alternative to candied fruit is dried fruit such as kiwi fruit slices. However, whichever you use, make sure it is of a contrasting colour.

Serving Size
2 or 4 People depending how much you are willing share?

1. 3 x 250g packet of Dark Chocolate Rocky Road
2. 1 x 100g packet of soft candied fruit
3. 1 x 250ml jar of Dark Chocolate Chili Sauce refrigerated
4. 1 x 50g unsalted roasted peanuts coarsely chopped

1. Clean a flat serving plate with an approximate diameter of 25cm; make sure it is completely dry.

2. Build your tree using by cutting the rocky road to the appropriate size from big chunk at the bottom to smaller chunk at the top to achieve a conical shape.

3. Insert the candied or dried fruit pieces along the tree in regular interval or according to your fancy at the time.

4. Drizzle the dark chocolate chili sauce from the top to the bottom of the three generously. Avoid covering the whole tree with it and the candied/dried fruit. If the chocolate chili sauce does not drizzle, dip the bottom into a container of warm water for a few minutes to soften it.

5. Sprinkle with the coarse nut and serve immediately.
About the Author
Patrick Tang is the author of this article. His passion for good quality gourmet food and gifts has driven him to setup Fabulously Gourmet for the Australian Community.
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