Tastes and Traditions

Tastes & Traditions: Brioche with champagne

Tastes & Traditions

Brioche with champagne from Pierre Zimmermann

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Brioche with chapagne from Pierre Zimmermann

Ingredients: (Yield : 12 brioches scaled 400g)

Champagne preferment:

Bread flour 450 g
Fresh Yeast 12 g
Champagne 375 g


Bread flour 1500 g
Salt 53g
Fresh Yeast 20 g
Sugar 300 g
Milk 375 g
Whole eggs 525 g
Butter 790 g
Golden raisins 600 g
Rum 60 g

Macaron Mix:

Almond paste 50% 270 g
Whole almond powder 525 g
Oil 115 g
Corn starch 115 g
Egg white 200 / 300 g
Vanilla paste 40 g


Chopped whole almonds 150 g
Confectionary sugar
200 g


Brioche with chapagne from Pierre Zimmermann

Brioche with chapagne from Pierre Zimmermann

Mix the preferment with a spatula and store overnight in the cooler.


Brioche with chapagne from Pierre Zimmermann

Brioche with chapagne from Pierre Zimmermann

Mix the dough in planetary mixer like a brioche : preferment, flour, salt, yeast, sugar, milk, eggs 5 min. in 1st speed, then 10 min. in the second speed (until the dough doesn’t stick on the). Add the cold butter and mix 5 more min. in second speed. Add the soaked raisins and mix at first speed until incorporated. Let rest the dough at room temperature during 45 min. Divide and preshape, let rest 10 more min.


Brioche with chapagne from Pierre Zimmermann

Shape and put in exoglass brioche molds. Proof 2 hours at 80 F.

Brioche with chapagne from Pierre Zimmermann

Preparation of the macaron mix:

With the paddle in a kitchenaid mix all the ingredients together and adjust the consistency with more or less egg white.

Brioche with chapagne from Pierre Zimmermann

Brioche with chapagne from Pierre Zimmermann

The mix must be spreadable, but not liquid.

Brioche with chapagne from Pierre Zimmermann

At the end of the second fermentation, use a piping bag and a rubban nozzle on top of the brioches.

Brioche with chapagne from Pierre Zimmermann

With a stainless steel sieve cover the brioches with icing sugar.

Brioche with chapagne from Pierre Zimmermann

Bake at 320F during 30 min. in a convection oven or 356F during 35 min. in a deck oven.

Brioche with chapagne from Pierre Zimmermann

Tastes & Traditions: Hybrid Desserts

hybrid desserts sherrie tan

Tastes & Traditions

Dining in the Age of Digital Dessert

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

In a Millennial-informed age of “too much is never enough”, dessert is no exception. While the top trends in delectable sweets used to focus on pairing unusual and unexpected ingredients, the recent rise of hybrid desserts - the innovative combination of two distinct dessert concepts into one - has officially assumed the spotlight. Pastry chefs across the country are getting creative with the latest trend that combines two pastry staples into one sweet surprise.

hybrid desserts sherrie tan

hybrid desserts sherrie tan

Perhaps one of the most illustrious examples is the Cronut (croissant + donut) made famous by New York pastry chef, Dominique Ansel. What seems like a donut on the outside, once ravenously bitten into, reveals itself to be a buttery, flaky, and often times filled croissant on the inside. In fact, the Cronut became so popular that a trademark was issued to protect the name. Now numerous adaptations exist such as "dossants."

hybrid desserts sherrie tan

In a similar fashion, Zac Young’s holiday-themed mash up, “PieCaken”, put a spotlight on his restaurant and career - this luxuriously rich hybrid pastry includes decadent layers of cake and holiday pie with a finish of oat streusel. Not unlike Ansel’s Cronut, Young’s PieCaken resulted in a firestorm of braggadocious social media posts from sugar-saturated fans lucky enough to get in on the highly addicting and ever-so-trendy action.

With the modern pastry market now rife with everything from crepe cakes to churro ice cream cones, the question must be asked: what's driving this trend’s popularity? Perhaps it’s an increasingly health-conscious generation choosing to eat less sugar and thus wanting to cram as many sweet flavors into one serving as possible. Or - and this would seem to be a more likely assertion - perhaps it’s the democratically-driven peer pressure of social media and hybrid desserts grabbing more of our collective attention with the all-too-rampant fear of missing out (FOMO).

hybrid desserts sherrie tan

hybrid desserts sherrie tan

In recent years, there is no mistaking social media’s influence throughout the culinary space, providing a landscape where digital influencers and a mass audience protected by the screen between them and their subject matter have the combined power to make or break the success of a dish, restaurant, and/or chef within a single post. So for the time being, it would seem hybrid desserts are enjoying the favor of the social audience at large - and the chefs responsible for leading the charge have the collective approval of their consumers from a granular level.

Who’s to say what the next socially-driven food trend will be? For the time being, we say let them eat PieCaken. Read more about hybrid desserts in this month's featured Chef Spotlight with Sherrie Tan.

Tools for the Taste

As a master chef, the tools you use matter. Add the following items to your kitchen to achieve outstanding results: Revolving Cake Stand "Stabilodecor", Offset Spatula, Bourgeat Excellence Sauce Pan Without Lid, Non-Stick Crepe Pan, & “Tradition” Flared Sauté Pan Without Lid.

Tastes & Traditions: Coffee in the Spice Drawer

edible flowers

Tastes & Traditions

Coffee in the Spice Drawer

Thursday, June 1, 2017

General interest in boutique and artisanal coffee shops has exploded over the last few years as baristas are looking to more complex and interesting forms of brewing. That coffee can inspire such attention to detail and cultish following as a drink may explain why it’s being explored in culinary applications, too. But chefs aren’t just changing the face of the coffeehouse by opening coffee concepts in conjunction with their full-service restaurants — this strong bean is also making its way into cocktails, pastry, and cooking in general.

chef working with edible flowers

edible flowers and tomatoes make the perfect pair

Once coffee is added to a dish, it lends new dimension to the flavor profile as well as a level of exotic appeal. Until recently, this was most commonly seen in a classic combo: coffee and chocolate. It’s unsurprising, then, that coffee has a long history in baking because it's so well suited for sweets. However, coffee can be traced back to at least the 1930s in cocktail applications as well. Irish coffee is credited to a chef in Ireland who tossed whiskey into coffee for American travelers in the 1940s, and Tia Maria — a Jamaican coffee and rum liqueur — has been around since at least the '30s.

matfer prep chef used to slice tomatoes

Today, coffee pairings far outstrip these basic combinations as chefs experiment with the many sweet and savory flavor profiles that can be enhanced by coffee. The caffeinated bean complements many unexpected dishes by adding a quintessentially roasted, bitter, earthy, and complex taste element. Chefs are beginning to test innovative cooking processes, like simmering coffee beans in olive oil to extract their earthy essence into their cooking, or using ground coffee in spice rubs to tenderize and add flavor to meat. From prime rib to spaghetti Bolognese, we are seeing more interesting and inventive uses of coffee for beverages, desserts, and main dishes alike.

matfer prep chef used to slice tomatoes

matfer prep chef used to slice tomatoes

Coffee-infused beer, and coffee sodas will also be making a larger appearance this summer, as breweries are partnering with artisanal roasters to create boozy, coffee flavored brews. The Italian espresso brand illy is responding to consumer request and promoting an “espressoda” – illy espresso, club soda, and vanilla syrup served in a latte glass. As these trends develop and evolve, we can expect to see coffee integrating itself into the general spice drawer for general baking and cooking. Read more about baking with coffee in this month's featured Chef Spotlight with Zac Young.

Tools for the Taste

As a master chef, the tools you use matter. Add the following items to your kitchen to achieve outstanding results: Exoglass® Tart RingsExoglass® Pastry CuttersExopan® Steel Non-stick Open Savarin MoldPetit Bowl Ludico, & Petit Bowl Evaz

Tastes & Traditions: Tomato Season and Edible Flowers

edible flowers

Tastes & Traditions

Tomato Season and Edible Flowers

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

With the growth of visually-driven social platforms, food is trending towards needing to be as appetizing to the eyes as it is to the palate. Bright and flavorful vegetables, fruits, and plants serve as either the garnish or the main component of home-made or chef-driven creations, allowing us to dive into Spring with plenty of opportunity for fresh and vibrant dishes. As the desire for farm-to-table dining proliferates, more and more people are turning to their own green thumb in creating edible gardens for their fruits, vegetables, and garnishes. 

chef working with edible flowers

edible flowers and tomatoes make the perfect pair

As tomato season is escalating into full gear, home gardeners and farmers market aficionados will enjoy a vast array of tomatoes, spanning from cherry, yellow pear, roma, or heirloom varieties. One of the tomato’s many benefits is that once they begin growing, they flourish, yielding a robust crop that creates the need for innovative uses for all of the extra tomatoes. 

matfer prep chef used to slice tomatoes

From homemade ketchup, to fried green tomatoes, to topical skin cleansers and sunburn ointments, tomatoes are nature’s superfood. Smoking tomatoes gives them an extra depth of flavor and allows for longer term storage, and adds an extra interesting kick to any dish they are incorporated in. 

summer is the perfect time for edible flowers and tomatoes

chef carefully placing edible flowers with tweezers

Edible flowers used as a garnish will pump up the flavor and visual aesthetics of any dish that warrants a fresh, springy flourish. Borage is a particularly vibrant and delicious flower, easy to grow, and loved by honeybees for some additional love to the rest of the garden. Borage is said to “make the mind glad” – as new science has shown that the plant stimulates the adrenal glands, giving people who consume them a mild energy buzz. Borage is great to grow with tomatoes, as they both respond particularly well to sunlight, and the honeybees drawn to the borage will help facilitate the healthy growth of the tomatoes. 

edible flowers and tomatoes in tarts on matfer silicone mat

edible flower and tomatoes make the perfect pair

Modern use of cooking and garnishing with edible flowers originated in England, with flower-infused teas and jams, that have expanded into flower-adorned main courses and desserts. As chefs embrace this resurgent trend, we can expect more home cooks to take to their gardens to enjoy fresh, garden-to-table Spring produce, for easy and healthy daily cooking. Read more in this month's featured chef spotlight with Casey Thompson.

Tools for the Taste

As a master chef, the tools you use matter. Add the following items to your kitchen to achieve outstanding results: Flat Bottom Mixing Bowl, Exopat® Nonstick Baking Mat, Multi Cut Prep Chef, Geisser Messer Knife, Exoglass® Inividual Deep Tartlet Mold, & Blue Steel Oven Baking Sheet.

Tastes & Traditions: Lavender & Earl Grey

Lavender and Earl Grey make the perfect pair

Tastes & Traditions

Lavender & Earl Grey

Monday, April 3, 2017

When looking for the sacred in daily moments, there’s no need to look further than a mindfully brewed cup of tea or a spray of fresh flowers. Tea-drinking developed in Eastern cultures through ceremonious, rigid performance, and it has embedded itself in European culture and custom through fastidious, quotidian use. All problems can be solved and all relationships strengthened over a cup of tea.

Earl Grey tea leaves in a measuring spoon

But whether hailed as a path towards spiritual awakening or simply a morning ritual that sets the tone for the day, drinking tea can aid us to savor moments of our routine and appreciate the present. Akin to the adage advising us to “stop and smell the roses,” these sensory experiences allow a peace and presence of mind that lets us appreciate life to the fullest. Taste, sight and smell are ignited with the natural simplicity found in flowers and tea. It’s no wonder that they’ve found their way into baking, too, where they add distinct dimension, flavor and feeling to each recipe.

Lavender and early grey have both found their way into baking

Tea’s versatility draws out the earthy, floral, fruity, spicy and even smoky flavor profiles of standard desserts, whether the dry leaves are mixed into the ingredients or steeped for a more nuanced flavor. French, Asian and California cuisine have all experienced an increased prevalence of tea-inspired desserts and savory dishes, allowing chefs and bakers to play with the various flavor profiles and bring their dishes to the next level. The flavors are intriguing, and most importantly, unexpected; this allows chefs the “surprise and delight” factor in their cooking that keeps guests talking and brings in new audiences.

Tea leaves make a great addition to many recipes

Countering tea’s versatility, lavender packs a robust punch with its fragrance and flavor profile, yet it is also beginning to stand alone as an herbal/spice component in both savory and sweet dishes. Edible flowers are a growing trend in culinary spaces. They add dimension for both the eyes and the taste buds, enhancing a chef’s offering for all sensory outlets. The edible flower trend is thought to have been derived from a general expanding interest in eating healthy and colorful food, along with the new wave of Nordic cuisine centered around foraging and repurposing herbs and plants that have long been ignored.

Floral notes like lavender are also a welcome addition

Chefs, mixologists and pâtissieres everywhere are embracing the farm-to-table trend, and taking foraging to new heights of authenticity by sourcing an evening’s menu earlier that same the morning. Virgilio Martinez rocketed his Peruvian restaurant to the pinnacle of success after leveraging Peru’s immediate terroir, and using interesting and unknown plants and herbs from different altitudes to allow guests to taste the land at each level. Similarly, Blue Hill Farm’s Dan Barber in New York sources his produce from the farm each morning, and LA mixologist Matthew Biancianiello forages his local surroundings to help corral farm-to-glass into the mainstream.

Sprinkling lavender on blueberry tarts

Like most modern, cyclical trends, tea and edible flowers were initially used in more heritage applications that centered on eating from the wild. Ironically, as we progress technologically, we tend to yearn for more bespoke and antiquated forms of production and produce that yield organic, natural outcomes. A general consumer disposition towards farm-to-table food and drink, and the incorporation of complex, natural ingredients in cooking and baking, appear to be on the rise as new culinary concepts scramble to keep up. This suggests that the trend of floral and tea-driven infusion in sweet and savory cuisine will continue to expand and develop in the years to come. Read more in this month's featured chef spotlight with Waylynn Lucas.

Tools for the Taste

As a master chef, the tools you use matter. Add the following items to your kitchen to achieve outstanding results: Elevo Thermometer Spatula, Exoglass® Round Pastry Cutters, Exoglass® Fluted Round Tart Mold, Standard Disposable Pastry Bag and Matfer Silicone Pastry Brush.

Tastes & Traditions: Bacon & Bourbon

Bacon and bourbon pairing

Tastes & Traditions

Bacon & Bourbon

Thursday, March 9, 2017

The Beautiful Marriage of Bacon & Whiskey

In the rapidly evolving world of modern cuisine, few dual ingredients have truly redefined the term, “perfect pairing” like bacon and whiskey. Each with their own respective rich gustative histories, bacon and whiskey both boast fanatic followings and a deep pride in preparation. Bacon’s surprising origins story combined with its thriving popularity amongst millennials has arrested the attentions of chefs worldwide, impacting menu innovation to an astonishing degree. In similar fashion, whiskey’s complex and multi-national history, while steeped in tradition, has inspired an excitement for invention throughout the cooking community. Whether as an absolutely delectable duo or as equally strong individual ingredients, bacon and whiskey are the veritable new frontier of finely crafted food.

Bacon with apples and bourbon in exoglass

Be it breakfast, brunch, or burgers, bacon has made its way into the modern palate with the utmost ubiquity. With a history tracing back to ancient China, bacon, or “bacoun” as it was originally called in Middle English, was the term originally used for all types of cured pork. And while the name stems from a melange of cultures and languages - the French “bako”, old High German “bakko”, Old Teutonic “backe”, to name a few - the one universally held value of the meat is its blend of lean, flavorful belly meat and buttery, luxurious fat. Chefs who embrace bacon tend to seek unexpected ways to incorporate it as an accent to both the savory and the sweet flavors of a variety of types of dishes.

Flames over copper Matfer sugar pan

With a legacy as diverse and regionally-influenced as wine, whiskey attracts those who appreciate wood-barrel aging and the task of distinguishing subtle differences of flavor. And while an appreciation and understanding of whiskey has long been heralded as a sign of tasteful sophistication, the prospect of eating food with whiskey - let alone cooking with it - was historically frowned upon. The Scottish - whiskey heroes according to many - were the first to widely practice cooking with whiskey.

As chef imaginations continue to warm to the notion of including whiskey as an ingredient, use of the liquor has become increasingly diverse - whiskey continues to pop up in innovative stir fries, marinades and glazes, fruit sauces and fillings, and even in some updated renditions of French flambé preparations. The clever ability of whiskey as a flavor profile is its sweet as well as savory notes which are often used to bring out both elements in complementing ingredients.

Chef Bruce Kalman carefully plates the topping

When it comes to bacon and whiskey together, things are really heating up. Trendy brunch menus fall to the popular wayside if not inclusive of a whiskey-cured bacon flight, a bacon-infused whiskey cocktail, or better yet - a smoked whiskey syrup-drenched stack of bacon pancakes and/or waffles. Additionally, bacon burgers are now seeing additions such as whiskey-reduced chutneys and whiskey-infused mustards to accent the pork’s fruitier notes.

When asked his opinion on the current hype around pairing bacon and bourbon specifically, Chef Bruce Kalman responded by saying, “I don’t find it to be hype, it’s a fact; bacon and bourbon go really well together due to their flavor profiles - smokey, sweet, salty always pairs well with barrel-aged bourbon. And when you cook the alcohol out of bourbon, it has a sweet, rich flavor to it, that is incredibly unique.”

Flames over copper Matfer sugar pan

So while both bacon and whiskey have stood on their own for quite some time, they have come together to widely shared enthusiasm as die-hard partners in the latest and greatest of savory as well as sweet taste-pairing and inventive, contemporary cooking. Read more in this month's featured chef spotlight with Bruce Kalman.

Bacon and bourbon pairing

Tools for the Taste

As a master chef, the tools you use matter. Add the following items to your kitchen to achieve outstanding results: Matfer Prep Chef, Exoglass® Baba Molds, Bourgeat Copper Sugar Pan, Exoglass® Spoon Red Master Chef Series and Exoglass® Sieve Strainer.


By Mara Papatheodorou, your Tastes & Traditions Expert

Truffles Matfer Chef Josiah Citrin Melisse

Here’s a fabulous fungi fact: truffles tantalize! Whether black or white, these “culinary diamonds of the forest” are the most intriguing gems of the fungus family. They grow most prominently in the woods of Perigord in southwest France, the Piedmont and Alba areas of Italy, regions of Spain and Croatia as well as parts of Oregon and Washington State. These savory odd-shaped domes of nature have made such a splendid impression that patissiers paid homage to their form by creating sweet chocolate “truffles” that remain a deluxe dessert.

The Greeks and Romans of the 15th century were the first to acknowledge truffles’ allure. These obscure treasured “tubers” (Latin for swollen) were elusive to find, had an enticing earthy aroma and appeared to have an aphrodisiac effect on those who enjoyed them. From that point on, they were highly appreciated and considered an exclusive ingredient with elegant flair. Truffle essence was infused into olive oils while shaved curls or minced bits were often served in eggs or sauces, terrines and over pasta to French noblemen and Italian aristocrats. Today, they are presented in similar ways but also top salads and cheeses.

Chef Josiah Citrin Melisse using Matfer's Truffle Cutter at Melisse

Matfer Professional Stainless Steel Cookware

Clearly these subterranean wild wonders differ greatly from the commercially grown button, cremini, portobello or oyster mushrooms that are farmed and grown in open fields. In fact, truffles are the most revered relatives of the extensive fungus family and are considered decadent stars. They spawn from tree roots deep in the ground absorbing the color and flavors of the seedlings they are nearest to as they ripen for picking. Only then are they tracked down and uncovered by the supreme sniffing snouts of pigs or trained dogs. France is renowned for its black truffles that thrive in rocky porous terrain and are harvested in summer, autumn and winter. White truffles are prominent in Italy and bloom best in clay soil and make more of a mark in spring and summer.

Matfer Premium Zester Grater Professional Chef Tools Josiah Citrin

There is a reason that award winning Master Chef Josiah Citrin has earned the deserved accolade of two Michelin stars at Mélisse, his magnificent American French restaurant in Santa Monica California. Having trained and cooked in France at fine Parisian restaurants early in his career, he gained an intimate understanding and respect for the almighty truffle. Upon his return to the United States and during his climb up the culinary ladder, he knew that fine dining extraordinaire featured the majestic truffle in some form or fashion. “To me the use and presentation the truffle is the ultimate luxury in a dish, on the plate and for the patron’s palate. It says special, romantic, divine. The truffle creates a memory of an exceptional dining experience and that is why I feature them in diverse ways on our menus.”

Featured Matfer Chef Spotlight with Chef Josiah Citrin at Melisse

The triumphant truffle is a dazzling component for a romantic Valentine’s meal. Take a look at this alluring appetizer that is a stunning sight to see and superb on the palate too thanks to the impressive expertise and artistic vision of two-starred Michelin Master Chef Josiah Citrin.  Read more in this month's featured chef spotlight with Josiah Citrin >


As a master chef, you know that exclusive ingredients and intricate preparations make a phenomenal dish unique and memorable. Use Matfer's professional stainless steel cookware such as our Bourgeat Excellence Sauce Pan or a Stainless Steel Food Mill, along with our professional chef tools like our Spiral Vegetable Slicer "Le Rouet"Adjustable Truffle SlicerExoglass® Sieve StrainerKitchen Spatula, and Digital Timer to make your own culinary mark.   



By Mara Papatheodorou, your Tastes & Traditions Expert

Eric Greenspan's delicious clam and pasta dish at Maré  served in Matfer Bourgeat's Mussle Pot and lid.

Many members of the mollusk family—clams, mussels, scallops, oysters-arrive at the table as main attractions or as part of a bigger plated picture. The most underrated of the group is also the sturdiest, sustainable and subtle. Simply stated, when given the chance, the clam has cache. On its own or as a supportive ingredient, its presence plays an important role in evolution, culinary history, environmental responsibility, and merchants money.

For over 500 million years, it has burrowed itself deep into the sandy shores of the Atlantic, the Pacific and the Western Mediterranean. The deep crevices upon its top and bottom exteriors provide vital messages for marine biologists about aquatic life and survival at sea. Meanwhile, fishermen embrace its abundance in the coastal centers of New England, the Northwest, Canada and European countries like Italy, Spain, Portugal and Southern France. They all recognize that its tender interior makes it a restaurant commodity delight. Steamed, smoked, fried, baked or roasted, clams have an appealing flavor and texture all of their own. They are also low in calories, high in protein and rich in vitamins and minerals.
Broth is its buddy and cream, potatoes, bacon, tomatoes or breadcrumbs are often part of its most enticing equations. They are prominent components in chowders whether it is the famed creamy white New England version or the red tomato based Manhattan choice- both recipes were concocted by regional fishermen as a local specialty. Fresh fried clam rolls or buckets of steamers are standards at many casual eateries or at oceanfront boardwalk “Clam Shacks”. Fine dining establishments feature clam casino, or versions of international seafood stews like paella (Spanish), bouillabaisse (French) or cioppino (Italian) with clams as part of those dishes' entourage. And bartenders keep clam juice ready as their secret splash to a hearty Bloody Mary.

This mighty mollusk has also cultivated itself as a synonym for many of life’s details. It generally keeps its shell shut hence the silent term “clammed up,” or when lots of shells are poured together they create noisy “clamor”. Content to nestle in the sand has led to the emotional endearment “happy as a clam,” while its wet cold “clammy” inside is now an adjective referring to being sticky or sweaty. Native Americans, seafaring trade merchants and fishermen used them as money, while other cultures turned the shells into jewelry. They are also an inspiration for architectural design (a construction digger’s clam bucket or a lighting fixture clam shell) and have even been a part of comedy (Bette Midler’s Clams on the Half Shell Revue).

Chef Eric Greenspan creates delicious clam and pasta dish with Matfer Bourgeat's Mussle Pot and Skimmer for chef spotlight.

Executive Chef Eric Greenspan loves the sturdy shell yet delicate flavor and tenderness of clams. Noted for coastal cuisine at his magical restaurant Maré, his unique mix and match approach in which patrons choose and pair shellfish with a flavored broth is a not-to- be-missed winner.

There is no clamming up when these magnificent mollusks unite with a beautiful blended broth, an egg, and spaghetti for a dish that makes a mouthwatering impression. Check out how this bigger than life award winning chef delicately handles the clams’ “it” factor’! See the Chef Spotlight with Eric Greenspan.

As an innovative chef, make clams the star to create your own shellfish-based concoction and use Matfer's Copper Sauté Pan with Lid, the Mussel Pot with Lid, the Exoglass® Skimmer and Spoon as well as the diverse Giesser Knives.

"I follow three rules. Do the right thing. Do the best you can do and always show people you care."
--Lou Holtz, American college football coach and former coach of the
New York Jets


By Mara Papatheodorou, your Tastes & Traditions Expert

Matfer Taste and Traditions - Ode to the Orange

The holidays are here and nature’s nod to this season of appreciation and celebration is the Citrus Queen herself-- the majestic orange. Its lifeline and legacy are as long as it is delicious. Cultivated as far back as 2500 BC, this juicy eatable ball with hearty bright skin originally hails from China and India where it was initially regarded as a sour delicacy. Visiting Romans in the 1st-century AD, were enticed by its exotic taste and brought orange trees from India to Europe to grow. Those disappeared, however, along with the collapse of the Holy Roman Empire.

Centuries later the North Africans introduced oranges and tangerines (from Tangiers, hence the name) to Spain. In 1493, aware that sunshine was an important component to its sweet tasting growth, Spanish explorer Christopher Columbus sailed with seedlings across the Atlantic from the Canary Islands to Haiti to plant orange groves. Countries with parallel weather patterns like Panama, Mexico and Brazil soon followed and an orange medley industry was born. Californian William Wolfskill was the first American to harvest the fruit in 1841 where they became scrumptious snacks for miners of California’s gold rush. When the trans-continental railroad began in 1877, Wolfskill’s business acumen kicked into gear and he arranged transportation of oranges to St Louis. The crop also thrived in Florida where it went on to become and still remains the state’s primary commodity.

Considered the largest and most popular in the citrus family, this happy go lucky fruit has extended seeds of orange-type citrus cousins that vary in size and sweetness. These include the navel, valencia, tangerine, mandarin, clementine, blood orange and pixie. The fruit and color share the same name for very good reasons. Folklore attributes its successful growth to the yellow sun combined with the earth’s red soil and behold when those two colors are mixed, orange appears. In many cultures, whether fruit or hue, both symbolize joy, happiness, endurance, wealth and prosperity. Bursting with flavor, they are delectable on their own, as a juice, a sauce or a recipe ingredient, zest and peel included! They are also loaded with Vitamins C and B6, rich in fiber, potassium, magnesium and calcium.

Oranges are harvested in winter and this is how their tie to the yuletide began. With December being the time for giving, oranges became a desired edible gift and their segmented slices still represent the ability to share with others. The ancient European legend of St Nicholas who became St. Nick or Santa Claus claims that the former bishop threw gold coins down the chimney of a poor father’s home where his daughters’ stockings were drying on the hearth. Miraculously, the coins landed in each toe. Those coins secured their dowries to marry and from then on “stockings” or socks by the fire filled with gifts-including a citrus jewel-from Santa became a celebrated tradition. Throughout 19th-century Europe, the mandarin, clementine, tangerine or orange were treasured treats at banquets. England’s Queen Victoria, a lover of clementine’s, believed cheery citrus at Christmas encouraged joy and prosperity. And during America’s 1930’s Depression, these golden delicacies were a welcome Christmas surprise.

The most unique and colorful member of this sun-kissed lineage is the blood orange that originated in Sicily and is a profound component in Italian holiday dishes and festivities. Its orange peel exterior is a brilliant contrast to its bright “bloody red interior” that is a result of the natural anthocyanin pigment. Pierino Jermonti, this month’s Master Pastry Chef Spotlight, was born in the Italian city of Calabria and has many fond tasty memories of blood oranges. He says, “When I think of Christmas, I think of the blood oranges of my childhood. To me, they are the quintessential element for the season and perfect on their own or in a dessert! And I’m thrilled that I can now also find them in California and offer them to the restaurant guests at Terranea.”

Zing and zest make a lasting impression as a meal’s phenomenal finishing touch when Pastry Chef Master Pierino Jermonti majestically marries blood orange, tangerine, pastry crème and chocolate into a triumphant torte. Take a look at his dessert stunner! Compliments of Chef Perry and Terrenea Resort, we’re sharing this fantastic Chocolate & Tangerine Cremeux recipe!  

For a pastry chef master, citrus, chocolate and sugar blend beautifully to create your own festive creamy dessert when using Matfer's Pastry Bags and Pastry TipsMixing BowlFLEXIPAT® Sheet, and Rolling Pin.

More on Chef Pierino Jermonti in the Matfer featured chef spotlight


By Mara Papatheodorou, your Tastes & Traditions Expert

Matfer Taste and Tradition - Pomegranate The Edible Gem

The pomegranate is full of panache and prestige. This ancient fruit has certainly withstood the test of time and taste with style and grace. Long before becoming the “it” ingredient of modern times, and being hailed for its nutritious benefits and dynamic flavor, its crown-like top and rustic red exterior placed it center stage as a ceremonial or tabletop decorative item. And it remains so today. Yet, looks can be as deceiving as they are intriguing. Just beneath its hearty skin lies a stunning interior of alluring ruby edible gems, on which folklore and legends have bestowed a sense of deep-seeded responsibility.

Egyptian, Greek, and Roman myths all significantly showcase its beauty while its presence remains an important component in Buddhist, Hindu, and Jewish rituals. Pomegranate power is profound and seems to have made its mark early and almost everywhere in the world. Derived from the medieval French word “Pomme Garnete” meaning “seeded apple”, rumors even abound that it was actually this lustful cousin of the apple that Eve presented to Adam in the Garden of Eden. Factually speaking, the pomegranate is evident in scriptures; this is seen in frescoes and stone carvings from biblical times onward.

Native to Iran, Israel, and India, and now a California commodity too, these tiny arils are eternally and internationally revered as symbols of fertility, hope, and renewal. They are also an appreciated element in savory and sweet dishes as well as drinks. Harvested from September to January, they can be enjoyed in versatile ways and often play a prominent part in holiday specialties. On their own, in a salad, smoothie, or cocktail, or as a sauce atop a main course or dessert, the seeds are exceptional. They are as delicious as they are pretty. In a healthy twist of food fate, they are also loaded with potassium, fiber, folic acid, and Vitamins A, C and E. Rest assured on every front, the pomegranate – is alive and well.


Matfer Chef Spotlight with Chef Brendan Collins

Pomegranate power does add pizazz when this creative Master Chef beautifully blends colorful flair and fantastic flavor with a pristine pork roast, alongside autumn squash tortellini with pecans. Take note of his rustic yet refined impressive results. > More! In this month's featured Chef Spotlight with Brendan Collins

Tools for the Taste
As an executive chef, pork perfection is a promise when preparing your own savory roast using Matfer's Copper Sauté and Sauce Pans, Exoglass® Spatula & Spoon, the Ergonomic Truffle Cutter and the Giesser Messer Knife.