Wow! The first time I’ve been tagged for anything. I’ve been tagged by Faith at mekuno cooking to participate in the Five Things to Eat Before You Die meme, which was started by Melissa at The Traveler’s Lunchbox.
The goal of the project is to “create a list of food bloggers’ top picks for things you’ve eaten and think that everyone should eat at least once before they die. Think of it as kind of a global food guide, which can enrich and inform our travels and perhaps even clue us into things closer to home that we’ve somehow overlooked. And although it will probably be too long for any one person to dream of completing, I hope it will give us all some small inkling of how many more edible treasures there still are out there, and how much there still is to experience.
Here are my general guidelines. I’m restricting contributions to five items per blogger, which is hard, I know! But this will keep the list semi-manageable in length and will force you to really think hard about what your absolute top picks would be. You’re welcome to be as general or as pin-sharp as you like, referring to specific dishes, restaurants, ingredients, products or preparations (although I think entire cuisines are a bit too general…), but they should definitely be things you know and love and couldn’t imagine not having tasted. A sentence or two about your history with this food and why it means so much to you would also be great, and an item or two that is local to you, your cuisine or a place you have lived will help maintain a nice geographical diversity.”
Now, with the basis of the list in mind, here are my five choices:
1. Good chocolate. If you think Whitman’s or even Godiva is great chocolate, then you will go absolutely nuts for the real stuff. I rave about the truffles at Pure Imagination on a regular basis, and with good reason. It’s pure sex in chocolate form. To narrow it down, if I had to pick one, it would be the Eruption chocolate from the new line. The combination of dark, dark chocolate ganache, salt, and the effect of pop rocks (without the fruity taste) work on all your senses at once, and is an experience everyone should have at least once in their lives.
2. Nothing says summer like Insalata Caprese. Something about this combination just works, and there’s nothing more refreshing on a hot summer day. Fresh mozzarella slices, sliced tomatoes from your own garden, fresh basil and olive oil. Nothing more simple, and it showcases the individual ingredients beautifully. I just finished making some for tonight’s dinner, and cannot wait to dig in!
3. On the cheese theme – everyone should make a habit of trying every cheese they can at least once. Without that sense of adventure, I would have never found black truffle cheese. I’m not a big fungus/mushroom person, but this cheese hints at it without being overpowering. Creamy, rich and complex. In the same sense, I’m a big fan of Parrano Robusto, which is sharp with salt crystals, and many others.
4. Lescure butter, with layers of sea salt infused in it. It’s absolutely amazing. I’ve found it locally at Katzinger’s in Columbus, and it’s sublime spread on Cuban bread from the Starliner Diner in Hilliard. And while I technically shouldn’t lump this in here, I can’t help myself – if you’re ever at Katzinger’s, pick up a bottle of Saporoso balsamic vinegar made by Acetaia Malpighi. Thick and syrupy, sweet and tangy – I add it to just about everything. $38 a bottle, but well worth every penny.
5. An authentic Philly cheesesteak. Wit whiz. Anywhere on South Street is a good bet, with my personal favorite being Jim’s Steaks.
And there you go. If you haven’t done this meme yet, please do it!!