HYDERABAD: You’re at a restaurant and you just ate a tasty appetizer. The main course is on its way but the aftertaste of the appetizer is still lingering in your mouth. If you’re the kind of person who wants your food-tasting experience to not get clouded by other tastes, then you call for a palate cleanser.
As the name suggests, a palate cleanser is a food item or drink that is ingested, often between courses, to remove food residue from your tongue, so that you can taste the flavour of the successive dish or drink more accurately.
We spoke to a few chefs and beverage experts who told us about some of the good palate cleansers and how they help to experience food items with a fresh perspective.
Chef Surya Kumar of Farzi Café talks about how palate cleansers play an important role in the menu. “We usually serve the palate cleansers after the appetizers. At Farzi, we serve different types of food and appetizers. It’s mostly Indian fusion food, which bursts out with flavours and remains in one’s mouth. When you order the main course, these flavours tend to linger in your mouth. This would definitely not do justice to the tasting experience of the main course and that is why we give palate cleansers. With these, people can start tasting new flavours,” says Surya.
Believe it or not, Hajmola, pan, aam pana, which are strong flavours, are served at Farzi Café to cleanse your mouth. “Our palate-cleansing sorbets are made with dry mango powder, ginger powder, chili powder, black salt, curd and chat masala. For consistency, we use curd, as sorbets are in liquid form, and turn them into solid form.”
Popsicles, which are also used as palate cleansers, are different from sorbets, says Surya. “Popsicle is a liquid flavour that is frozen and it mostly tastes like candy. In sorbets, you can add fruit and vegetable flavours, which we cannot do in popsicles,” he says.
Madhi Rajigani, project manager at Tulleeho, a provider of certified beverage education, talks about the different palate cleansers that are used while tasting wine. “Palate cleansers used during beverage tasting - wine, cocktail, whiskey tasting - we pretty much look to neutral taste. We use simple things such as bread sticks, crackers and plain bread. We also use nostril neutralisers and coffee beans before drinking a new or fresh beverage,” says Madhi.
While evaluating a beverage, the aroma is as important as the flavours. “They combine in the mouth and that is why we emphasise on our nostrils. We must also have water at room temperature for cleansing our palate. If you have water that is too chilled, it numbs our palate and does not let us taste the beverage well.”
What are palate cleansers
As the name suggests, a palate cleanser is a food item or drink that is ingested, often between courses, to remove food residue from your tongue, so that you can taste the flavour of the successive dish or drink more accurately