What? Not done with your holiday shopping? Yeah, neither are we. But we've been making lists -- and checking them twice -- and we've got some suggestions for the nice people on your list. Today, Chow Bella's Gift Guide for the Food Geek.
Ah, the food geek. Not to be confused with those so-called "foodies," who talk endlessly about the latest, hippest restaurant, the food geek trips out over things like the science behind culinary magic and proper difference between cremini, portabello and baby bella mushrooms. Here are five gift ideas to light this geek's world on fire.
Miracleberry Tablets at mberry.us
Miracleberry Tablets will be as much fun for a food geek as the biggest box of Legos you can buy for your five-year-old nephew. Thanks to Synsepalum dulcificum, a berry also known as the miracle fruit, these little tablets make sour foods taste sweet. The freaky phenomenom is caused by miraculin, a commercially used natural sugar substitute. At a neutral pH, miraculin binds and blocks the tongue's taste receptors, but at low pH (as in, when you eat sour foods) miraculin binds protons and activates the sweet receptors. In other words, bite a lemon and it tastes just like lemonade. The sensation lasts for about 60 minutes.
Food geeks will love "flavor tripping," which is when you pop a tablet and taste all sorts of flavors like never have before. Chicago's Michelin-starred chef Homaro Cantu offers flavor tripping menus at his iNG restaurant and has authored a cookbook called The Miracle Berry Cookbook that eliminates sugar from the diet without having to compromise on flavor thanks to these little tablets. And don't worry they're 100 percent natural and classified as a food additive (not a food product) by the FDA.
Modernist Cuisine at Home eBook at Inkling.com/Apple App Store
It's taken nearly a decade, but Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking is finally available for purchase in a form that will neither break the bank or your book shelf. As of this November, mad culinary scientist and former Microsoft Chief Technology Officer Nathan Myhrvold has teamed up with Inkling to create an eBook/app version of the Modernist Cuisine at Home, as in the simpler, single-volume version of the original six-volume tome.
The eBook can be purchased on the Inkling website or through the Apple App Store and can be purchased in its entirety for $79.99 or in single chapters for $4.99 each. The app includes 416 recipes and 1,683 hi-resolution photos that are sure to blow your mind. Would-be molecular gastronomists can watch videos of complex cooking techniques, add items to a grocery list that will sync to your smartphone and get product and ingredient recommendations all through the app.
Chef's Knife from Phoenix Knife House
Every cook or even just wanna-be chef needs a good chef's knife, or preferably a set of good knives. Phoenix Knife House is the place for all things sharp or in need or being sharpened and specializes in professional kitchen cutlery. The store has every thing from hundreds of different types of knives to knife rolls, sharpening stones and repair services.
For the starter chef there's a wide selection of basic chef's knives that will help keep his or his kitchen skills, er, sharp. And if you're dealing with a kitchen pro, go for the sharpening services. The Phoenix Knife House offers two types of services: standard sharpening done by the belt or waterstone sharpening done by hand. And for a gift that will truly last a lifetime, try the Sharpening Course, a two-hour class that includes a Kanetsune Meisho carbon core santoku knife for $85.
Tickets to Devoured Food and Wine Classic 2014
No food geek in the Valley would want to miss the annual Devoured Food and Wine Festival held each spring at the Phoenix Art Museum. The two-day event brings together the creme de la creme of our city's dining scene to eat, drink and generally hob nob. Tickets go on sale to the general public on December 1, meaning you can score a few and instantly become the food geek's new best friend. For Phoenix Art Museum members the deal's even sweeter since tickets cost just $70 a day or $120 for two days. For everyone else tickets start at $80 a day and increase on December 16 to $90. Purchase tickets on the Devoured website.
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Saltware from go lb. salt
Not only are Himalayan salt plates quite beautiful to look at, they also allow you to try some really cool cooking techniques. Sourced from natural salt deposits found in the Himalayas, these blocks can be used to for everything from curing fish right before your guests eyes to displaying and lightly flavoring a dish. The saltware is chock full of mineral salt, which means it hold its temperature extremely well. The saltware can be heated in the oven and used to fry scallops or fish, or frozen in the freezer and used to serve ice cream.
Local salt purveyor go lb. salt sells Saltware in a variety of sizes. The smallest blocks, two by four inches, can be used to salt sweet cream butter and cost $7. For a more extravagant gift there's an eight by twelve inch slab that can be even be used to bake bread.