What if you wanted to try a nice steak flavored with strawberries? Would you sacrifice both a prime steak and pound of organic berries to satisfy the whim? Maybe. But most of us would take the tamer route: Grab a bottle of A1 and call it a day.
The Aromafork, by Molecule-R (the Betty Crocker of molecular gastronomy), challenges the convention that you actually have to cook such a dish to taste it. Since most of what we consider taste is really just smell, the Aromafork holds an aromatic compound near your nose, mixing what’s on your tongue with what’s in your nostrils to create new flavors easily within your palette.
"The idea behind the Aromafork came to me during a wine and food pairing class," explains Molecule-R President Jonathan Coutu. "I immediately thought of a device that would provide a flow of aroma upon inspiration."
The Aromafork is a deceptively simple device. It’s just a fork with a tiny depression on its handle. The depression holds blotting paper. And the blotting paper contains a drop of an aromatic. But the fork comes with a huge kit of volatile compounds that could make the experience fun—imagine tasting one steak flavored 21 different ways, like with smoke, truffles, passion fruit, cheese cake, and bubble gum.
The entire approach reminds me of one of my favorite dishes from the molecular gastronomy mecca Alinea. It was a small plate of thinly sliced duck accompanied by 60 dime-sized accoutrements, from traditional pairings like cherries, to anonymous liquid spheres I couldn’t possibly identify without delving in. I giggled at the opulence worthy of a king.
There were maybe 50 man hours of cooking sitting in front of me for just one course—duck. But the Aromafork could capture a lot of that same experience without an army of classically trained chefs at your disposal.
The Aromafork will be available later this year for an undisclosed price.