I know why I fell in love with the Bloody Mary; it got me when I was vulnerable. In fact, it always gets me when I’m vulnerable. Fuzzy headed, dry mouthed and unsure of what I like or want. For a while I questioned if I actually really liked ‘Marys or if it was just circumstance- but nope, she’s a keeper. And not just for hangovers. Or planes.
I used to be of the impression that Bloody Marys were so popular on planes because they were the acceptable face of daytime drinking. But it’s far more interesting than that; a study by Cornel University found that at altitude the umami and tomato flavours actually taste far better. It’s all to do with the sound levels dulling our taste buds. When you’re cooped up in a cabin ringing at 85 decibels your food has to shout a little louder to make itself heard. This set me thinking about how we turn the volume up on deserts. Perhaps how the big hitting flavours of a Bloody Mary - spiced, savoury, rich and smoky- translate into sweet treats.
When it comes to a little bit of flavour rule bending- like Tabasco sauce INADRINK- we don’t have to be on a plane to want a more sensory experience.
I’ve been experimenting with spiced flavours (and booze- hic!) for quite some time and so creating the world’s first bloody Mary marshmallow just kinda made sense. Tingly with pepper, a shake of sweet and a sprinkle of celery salt- delicious! But why does it still raise the odd eyebrow when chefs or confectioners whip us up another sweet/ savoury, salty pleasure? Surely we should just be putting this down now- it works. I’m not advocating garnishing your Bread and Butter Pudding with Anchovies but if you fancy adding a twist to your deserts at home or seeking out a more creative finish- here are some of my favourites dishes.
Green Tea Soft Serve
Gives a moreish twist to the classic Mr Whippy. Green tea has a powerful earthiness, especially the popular Matcha version. This pairs beautifully with black sesame as a garnish or with caramelised soft fruits- peaches or bananas work especially well - the burnt flavour bring more delicious unamniness
Crab doughnuts at London’s Chiltern Firehouse.
These are now probably more famous than the restaurant’s celebrity guests. Because sweet doughnuts packed with a slightly tomatoey, chilli, crab filling and a squeeze of lemon and maybe a glass of white wine. Turns out somethings are better than jam.
when I first set my teeth into miso caramel I went absolutely nuts for it. It has more depth than the salty stuff and by using a slick of really great miso paste (I like the Shiro White Miso by Miso Tasty) you get a silky-smooth, delicious caramel.
So, if you’re looking for flavours that go all the way up to 11- either on or off a plane-I boldly recommend you look to umami up your desserts. Or just try one of our Bloody Mary Marshmallows.