The modern food industry, with the support of science, has reached unprecedented heights in deceiving consumers. Gradually, we discover the insidious world of fakes and are surprised to learn that crab sticks have nothing to do with crab, and Russian cheese is called cheese only out of respect for traditions. Bigpicture.ru talks about products in which we are always confident, although this is completely in vain.
The smell of vanilla is very difficult to confuse with something - the rich aroma of this spice is strongly associated with confectionery masterpieces. But the whole problem is that we do not put vanilla in the baking, but vanilla, and this, believe me, is not at all the same thing. Vanilla is one of the most expensive spices in the world and is second only to saffron in value. But a bag of vanilla in any supermarket costs a penny and all because they produce it chemically and the technology is not at all expensive.
Real vanilla is the pods of the tropical orchid Vanilla planifolia, the price of which on the world market reaches 400-500 dollars per kilogram. Growing this plant is not easy - any tropical climate is suitable for it, but a bee from the genus Melipona, capable of pollinating a flower, lives only in the homeland of vanilla - in Mexico.
Because of this, pollination of orchids is done manually and this process is very laborious. No less painstaking work is the collection of pods, their processing and the creation of conditions under which the spice can properly “ripen”. All of this raises the price of natural vanilla, which most of us have never seen.
The wasabi seasoning is familiar to patrons of sushi bars. Not a single meal claiming to be related to Japanese national cuisine can do without this bright green burning substance. Unfortunately, we are forced to inform you that all seasoning in restaurants, with very few exceptions, is just an imitation of wasabi.
If you had a chance to try a real product that is made from Japanese eutrema, then you would immediately feel the difference and would hardly want to return to a primitive fake. The original wasabi can only be tasted in Japan, as the plant quickly loses its properties and cannot be stored and transported for a long time.
On the subject: Honey, cheese, coffee and other products that may be fake
Growing eutrema is very difficult - it requires a special soil composition, high humidity, spring water, a temperate warm climate and good drainage. The rhizome, from which the seasoning is prepared, ripens only after 3-4 years, and this raw material costs from $ 250 per kilogram. Eutrema root is rubbed on a special grater by hand just before serving.
Because of this, a small ball of wasabi costs gourmets 3-5 dollars, which, you see, is a lot. But even more expensive is the so-called honwasabi, a condiment made from plants found in the wild. This is a rarity, and only wealthy people can afford it. For the rest of the Japanese, wasabi-daikon is grown - unpretentious and affordable. Semi-finished products are prepared from it - powders and special tablets that need to be dissolved in water.
But the infernal mixture of horseradish, mustard and green dye, to which we are accustomed, costs real pennies and can be provided by the institution completely free of charge, in the load of ordered rolls.
Asparagus in Korean
Korean-style asparagus is well known to Asian cuisine lovers. Many for some reason are sure that we are talking about real asparagus, prepared in a special way. But "asparagus" is called this product only in the CIS countries, and in the rest of the world they use the real name - fuju.
This is not a plant, but a product obtained from the processing of soybeans. The process of cooking fuju is quite complicated. First, soy is soaked, crushed and filtered to obtain soy milk. This liquid is boiled and simmered, and the resulting thick film is removed and dried.
Strips of film, dried and wrinkled, offer us under the guise of asparagus. This is called fuju, and in Japan - yuba. Real asparagus is the shoots of a perennial plant called Asparagus in Latin. The cost of a dish of real asparagus is an order of magnitude more expensive, and it differs in taste from imitation for the better.
Cinnamon is that incredible spice that gives a special taste and smell to apple pies, buns and mulled wine. We sell it in any grocery store both in powder and in the form of sticks. You should know that most often they sell us not real cinnamon, but its cheap substitute - cassia.
Cassia is very similar in taste and smell to the original cinnamon, but still there is a significant difference between the products. Cinnamon is a tube made from the bark of the Cinnamomum zeylanicum tree, native to western India and Sri Lanka. The spice has a delicate and very pleasant aroma, as well as a slightly sweet taste. The sticks of real cinnamon are very fragile and can easily be crushed with fingers.
On the subject: In the US, too, there are fakes: 10 things that may not be real
Cassia is a "false" cinnamon derived from the bark of the plant Cinnamomum aromaticum, which is related to the true cinnamon tree. It is widely distributed in India, Vietnam and Indonesia, has a darker color and a very high density. It is not easy to break a cassia stick with your hands, even with considerable effort.
It should be noted that to us, accustomed to cassia, the original cinnamon may not seem so fragrant. Because of this, more cinnamon is put into baking than substitute. But if you add it to tea or coffee, then it will reveal all its fragrant potential completely. Cassia in drinks can interrupt their taste and even bitter. Cinnamon will only emphasize the natural notes of the drink and complement them with a refined aroma.