Food - General
By: - at May 2, 2013

10 Things You May Not Know About The World of Gourmet

Gourmet Dining ExperienceThe world of gourmet is one of taste and style; from colorful portions to vintage wine collections. The practice of appreciating the beauty and artful nature of our food must have been around since the beginning of civilized society. However, the term gourmet is said to have been originated in France. In its early usage, gourmet referred specifically to wine stewards, who were usually employed by wine dealers to serve as their connoisseurs. In the early 18th century, gourmet was given a much broader definition from just referring to wine tasters to mean connoisseurs and other individuals known to pay particular attention to their wine and food.

Today, it is generally accepted that the term gourmet means high quality food and wine, which are usually presented aesthetically. The term also refers to individuals who appreciate gourmet cuisines. There has been a perception, built from earlier centuries, that gourmet foods were exclusively meant for the rich. However, due to the increasing public awareness about climate change along with our health and the importance of natural food, there has been an increase in the number of people patronizing gourmet food.

This article will reveal 10 areas of gourmet and their definitions relating with gourmet.


10)  Wine
The different types of wines we have today are the result of the experiments of curious grape farmers in the past who tried different combinations when brewing their grapes. Red wine gets its color and heavy taste from the fact that the grapes are blended with their skin. Rose wine is produced with a similar process, but the grape’s skin is separated after a short while, hence the pink color. White wine and rose wine have about the same acidity level, which is reasonably lower than that of red wine. It is possible to produce rose wine by mixing red and white wine; however, this is illegal in some countries. Red wine has the longest storage time – some bottles have been known to be shelved for over 50 years. White wines and rose wines are stored for a maximum of 25 years. As wine ages, the fermentation process causes its compounds to form into aggregates; this is why mature wines have sediments (they are usually filtered from the wine before it is drunk).

Gourmet Wine with cheese


9)  Gourmet Gift Basket
A gourmet gift basket differs from other gift baskets in some notable ways. First, a gourmet gift basket must be made of wicker – although the size and shape may vary. The content of a gourmet gift basket is also different from that of ordinary gift baskets. While normal gift baskets may contain dried fruits, canned food, biscuits and jam, a gourmet gift basket usually comes with fresh exotic fruits, wine and cheese among other rare food and non-food items. Decorations are very important for gourmet gift baskets – this adds the finesse aesthetic quality to the package. It is common to see items in gourmet gift baskets arranged beautifully according to their colors and shapes.

Gourmet Gift Basket


8)  Gourmet Recipes
Many gourmet recipes have colorful stories behind them. Surprisingly most of these high end recipes today, were created due to the unavailability of the usual food stuffs.

One such recipe is the Chicken Marengo recipe. According to the story, Napoleon Bonaparte was at the battle of Marengo, and having fought all day without food was quite hungry. His cook, Dunard, sent out people to gather the food they could from the nearby houses, but all they got was a little chicken, some shrimps, eggs, garlic and tomatoes. The chef made the best meal he could with these items, (adding some cognac) and Napoleon loved it. This is how Chicken Marengo recipe came to be.

Another interesting gourmet story features the famous composer Guiseppe Verdi. He is said to have been a big foodie with a particular interest in Italian local foods like Spalla Cotta di San Secondo (he once sent a handwritten recipe of this meal to the Ricordi family, which still exists today).

There are many simple gourmet recipes, however, due to the intricate nature of these meals and the extra care and attention taken in preparing them, the quickest gourmet dish can be prepared in no less than 15 - 30 minutes. Here are some examples of gourmet recipes:

Shrimps and Mussels
Gourmet Shrimps and Mussels

Pork chops on a bed of vegetables
Pork chops on a bed of vegetables

Gourmet Japanese Seared Beef:
Gourmet Japanese Seared Beef


7)  Gourmet Dessert
Desserts are one of the best ways to express the color and style of gourmet dishes. There are literally hundreds of simple gourmet dessert ideas. Dessert recipes are the perfect avenue to capture the unbounded richness of gourmet dishes. One of the earliest recognized gourmet desserts is Crème brûlée, which was first recorded in Cuisiner roial et bourgeois by Massialot. It is prepared by simply sprinkling sugar over custard and heating it. Although most people who eat gourmet dishes choose to do so as part of a healthy eating goal, gourmet desserts are noted to contain ingredients with very little nutritional value such as sugars and cream. This is partly why most gourmet desserts are served in very small portions. There are basically two secrets to making good gourmet desserts. The first is to use the best ingredients available and the second is to treat the dessert like a work of art. With gourmet dishes, the taste and the presentation of the food item rank equal in their level of importance.

Chocolate gourmet dessert with strawberry:
Chocolate gourmet dessert

Gourmet dessert menu from a restaurant:
Gourmet food selection

Slice of homemade Italian tiramisu dessert:
Italian tiramisu





6)  Gastronomy
Did you know that there is a discipline dedicated to the study of food? Gastronomy has been described as the art and study of food and eating. Gastronomy has greatly influenced the spread of healthy food culture around the world and the development of gourmet cuisines. By influencing people to appreciate food, gastronomy ensures “the senses can be used to fully appreciate and relish the hedonistic pleasures of life.” Another common term associated with gourmet is a gourmand. Both terms (i.e. ‘Gourmet’ and ‘Gourmand’) are generally accepted to mean a gastronome or a person who inquires about and appreciates the beauty of food. However, there is a general perception that gourmand refers to a glutinous kind of appreciation for food. Gourmet refers to a more reserved appreciation of food which is usually marked by discretion.

Gastronomy


5)  Gourmet Vegetarian
Did you know that there are gourmet vegetarian dishes? Indeed the ideas of gourmet and vegetarianism are compatible since gourmet dishes promote the use of many fresh fruits and vegetables. According to ‘Gourmet Vegetarian’ by Jane Price, there are “a vibrant selection of [gourmet] vegetarian recipes that make gorgeously fresh, seasonal produce the star of any meal you create.” It is interesting to note that most gourmet vegetarian recipes are quite old. In another part of her book, Jane Price supports this assertion with the following statement. “Far from being the sub cultural statement that vegetarianism came to mean in the 60s and 70s, enjoying meatless meals has long been a part of balanced, local diets of the planet.”  Here are some examples of vegetarian gourmet food.

Delicious field salad with grilled pumpkin stripes:
Gourmet Vegetarian grilled pumpkin stripes

Gourmet vegetarian mushroom burger:
Gourmet vegetarian mushroom burger


4)  Gourmet on a Budget
Is it possible to maintain a gourmet diet with a very slim budget? It is natural to associate gourmet with expensive food, however this is a false assumption. Gourmet refers to any food that is fresh, organic and free of harmful materials. It is possible to maintain a gourmet diet on a budget. It is necessary to plan your meals in order to successfully indulge in gourmet dishes on a budget. Try to eliminate the unnecessary expenses as much as possible. It is also advisable to shop after meals, as cravings that lead to impulse buying will be reduced. For the best gourmet food products, it is best to shop at the farmer’s market.

Farmer’s market


3)  Gourmet Mushroom
There are special types of mushroom referred to as gourmet mushrooms. These mushrooms are usually not available in supermarkets and only at specialty shops. Button and Portobello mushrooms are the two most common types of mushroom used in food. These mushrooms however, are not gourmet mushrooms. The main difference between gourmet mushrooms and regular mushrooms is in the richness of the flavor. Gourmet mushrooms can be either fresh or dried. Most gourmet mushrooms only grow in certain parts of the world, therefore can be quite expensive. It is important to purchase gourmet mushrooms from a farmer’s market or outlet that specializes in edible fungi, as improper storage may cause the mushroom to lose some quality. It is also possible to easily grow your own gourmet mushrooms.

Delicious stuffed mushrooms with meat and cheese:
Stuffed Champignon

Roasted gourmet mushrooms with vegetables:
Roasted gourmet mushrooms


2)  Gourmet Coffee
Generally, gourmet coffee is used to describe any blend of coffee bean cultivated with a special method that gives it a distinctively rich taste. This term does not refer to a particular type of coffee bean, or coffee from a particular place. Just about any coffee can be referred to as gourmet, regardless of whether it is roasted light or dark and whether it is grown in a particular continent. The disadvantage of the open nature of this term is that it can be appropriated by unscrupulous sellers to sell low quality coffee as gourmet.

Gourmet Coffee


1)  Gourmet Serving Tips
Serving is an important part of gourmet cuisine – it is through artful serving that food is made to communicate that characteristic gourmet essence. All gourmet food items in cans, jars and bottles should be kept at room temperature until they are opened. This gives the food a longer shelf life past the best before date listed by the manufacturers. It is important to remove food from metal cans after it is opened. In cooking gourmet sources, bring it to boil slowly, this way the sauce retains its full essence. Practice arranging the food to create that splash of colors and appetizing appeal typically characteristic of gourmet cuisines.

Romantic gourmet dinner


Added Tid Bits

There are also pet gourmet foods on sale today. These items are prepared with the same high quality materials that are characteristic of gourmet dishes. The menu includes “dishes like wild salmon and whipped egg soufflé with garden greens, part of Fancy Feast’s Elegant Medleys line, or Outback Grill, an Australian-themed entree from Weruva, with native fish like barramundi and trevally.  ”The key to understanding and appreciating gourmet is to conceptualize it is an art. Prepare and savor your gourmet cuisines like one of the classical painters would go about creating a piece – with care and unwavering attention. Hopefully, these 10 aspects of have sparked your interest about the world of gourmet.


 

 

 

 

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