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An amuse bouche that's both soft and crunchy, creamy and sharp

News roundup for the hungry traveller.


One bite you won't soon forget

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Chef Ryan Hardy of Montagna restaurant in Aspen's Little Nell hotel makes his own cheese finocchiona sausage, knows his way around a truffle nage and fashions a mean chestnut tagliolini. However, it is his deceptively humble amuse bouche - also available on the bar menu - of toasted country bread with Manni olive oil, ricotta and chili-spiked rapini (simultaneously soft and crunchy, creamy and sharp), that proves the old adage that simple is often best.


Celebrate with a French feast

On April 6, the palace of Versailles will play host to one of this year's most epic culinary gatherings. To celebrate the inclusion of "the gastronomic meal of the French" in UNESCO's list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, Relais & Châteaux has invited 60 of the world's most renowned chefs to prepare a feast worthy of a sun king. Chefs participating include Daniel Boulud, Hélène Darroze, Thomas Keller, Kiyomi Mikuni and Michel Troisgros. Guests will visit the Hall of Mirrors and the Thrones in Majesty exhibit before sitting down for dinner in the Gallery of Battles. There are only 650 tickets available for 650 euros each ($892) with proceeds going to the French Heritage and Gastronomy Mission.


A sixth taste sensation

The so-called "fifth taste," umami, that gives foods such as Parmesan cheese, anchovy paste and Worcestershire sauce their meaty, savoury flavours, has been surpassed by kokumi, the "sixth taste," from Japan. Often translated as "heartiness," Lisa Bramen, writing on the Smithsonian Magazine blog, describes kokumi as one of the "compounds in food that don't have their own flavour, but enhance the flavours with which they're combined." It is detected by calcium channels on the tongue and can be tasted in things like scallops, yeast and fish sperm.

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