Archive for the ‘Local Flavor’ Category

You might be a Foodie if…..

A recent study reported by USA TODAY revealed that foodies have several things in common.  First, being a foodie is fashionable so they are very cool people. Second, they are fearless experimenters with tireless enthusiasm to try new things.  My thanks to the foodies who created some of my favorite dishes from the ‘fusion’ phase a few years ago: Maple-Chipotle Glazed Salmon, Pecan-Havarti Quesadilla with Pear Preserves, and the Peach Bellini.  What else do they share? More than half of foodies tend to favor three distinct flavor characteristics above all others:

Bitter, such as radicchio or kale (62%)

Umami (a Japanese word for savory taste), such as soy sauce (61%)

Sour, such as plain yogurt and sourdough bread (59%)

By the way, the general population generally prefers the far more familiar: sweet (81%) and salty (67%).

So what happens when you combine a foodie with a mastery of seasonings? You get Val Herzog, owner and creative director at VSpicery in Tampa, Florida.  Val has spent a lifetime blazing trails with stellar custom blends of herbs and spices, boutique vinegars, oils and salts, just to name a few tools of her trade. More than once I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the fruits of her labor and am always enriched by her wisdom. Here are two questions I asked her for this blog:

Val Herzog creating magic at VSpicery

What one thing do you wish people knew about seasonings? 

Val: People are so used to using stale seasonings.  Buy it once and keep it forever.  This may sound like self-promotion, but it isn’t. All seasonings have a “life”.  If it is fresh when initially purchased you have about 8 months to a year of true freshness.  After that the seasonings will loose their robust flavor in gradual stages.  The difference is amazing.

What pearl of wisdom have you learned that changed the way you season foods? 

Val: Play with seasonings. There are so many combinations and many tastes, so individualized. Search for what you truly crave.  I am always playing with flavors, mostly successfully.  When the kitchen becomes my playground my family will ask what’s for dinner, if my response is “I don’t know yet”, their response is usually “Oh, it’s gonna to be good”.  Dinner will have a newness to it.  The real adventure is that the finished product will be different, unusual. Knowing your flavor tolerances allows you to play, but if you don’t play you will never know the boundaries of the people you cook for.

VSpicery is located at 2913 W. Cypress, Tampa, FL 33609. (813) 870-1133. www.VSpicery.com because life should be delicious!

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