I love it when an exciting product lands on my desk. Recently a very mysterious jar arrived. The caviar-like contents – gleaming, dark beads of balsamic vinegar – act not only as a condiment for flavour, but also add an aesthetic appeal to dishes.
They’re made by setting balsamic vinegar in agar agar (a seaweed gelatine) and adding them to a mixture of hot water and ice-cold oil.
The product developer, Rothea du Plessis*, is a trained pharmacist, but now has a restaurant and supplies these little wonders to others in the industry and a few markets around Johannesburg, including Rosebank Rooftop Market.
Rothea has also just launched a new Worcester sauce version, the little beads of which are fantastic nestled on top of eggs Benedict. She also waxes lyrical about white vinegar and berry beads that are perfect served on vanilla ice cream. As the vanilla ice cream melts in your mouth, she says, your taste buds will be surprised by little bursts of intense berry flavours.
Her latest idea is for peppercorn beads for steak, so that the balls erupt into a perfect pepper essence without the harsh crunch. I’m really looking forward to tasting that one…
Maybe she could contact the airline chefs to assist in creating more palatable aeroplane food! This week I was introduced to a great initiative, a website called Skydiners, where you can post reviews on your airline experiences. I checked today and Japan Airlines is at the top of the game. It’s worth a look!
*Rothea can be contacted on 079 566 5465.