I recently received that latest issue of Special Events magazine (may/june 2009) in the mail and read a really neat article called "New to You". It highlights four foods/ingredients that have been around for a while, but are making a comeback in the catering business. So, even though you may not use any of these items in your kitchen, you could impress a few friends with your knowledge next time you are at a wedding!
(I'm not going to follow proper APA style, but I will let you know now, all of the following descriptions are excerpts directly from the article.)
Striking in color and Gummi Bear-like in texture, black garlic offers a tone-down garlic flavor despite its dramatic look. Made by fermenting whole cloves of garlic at high temperatures for one month, black garlic has an "almost candy-like flavor" similar to European licorice or balsamic vinegar with hints of molasses, [chef Charlie Giordana of Duvall Catering & Event Design in Charleston, S.C.] says. The ingredient is popular in Japan, China, and Korea, and recently has made its way to California thanks to the Hayward, Calif-based company Black Garlic.
This berry, found on bushes growing wild in the Middle East, is "tart and somewhat sour," according to Patrick Cuccaro, general manager of Affairs to Remember Caterers in Atlanta.
This organic rice comes from Italy, where it ages for one year in temperature- and humidity-controlled steel silos, says creative services manager Sarah Finlayson of Chicago's Blue Plate Catering. An excellent rice for risotto, the grains absorb more cooking liquid than average rice, making them bigger and firmer, not to mention less likely to stick together.
Originally from Japan, this tiny tuber made its way to France in the late 1800s, where it was named for a French town renowned for growing them. A crosnes is "small and resembles a bloated caterpillar, has a crunchy radish/potato/apple-like texture, and can be used in much the same way as sunchokes," says Richard Mooney, resident and CEO of Los Angeles-based Kensington Caterers. "The addition of the crosnes essentially adds texture and, of course, a note of mystery."
…Now you know.