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June 20, 2013

Material possessions don’t do a lot for me anymore. Once upon a time I always wanted a bigger television, higher fidelity speakers, a newer video game system, better clothes, and a whole host of other things.

There’s not much I want anymore. Well, besides a starter electric guitar, but I’m going to hold off on that purchase until New Jersey.

That makes getting a gift for me notoriously difficult. But not too long ago DocSconz wrote a tweet that came across my radar. And all of a sudden there was something I wanted. Really, it was something that I just had to have. It’s silly. But it just arrived yesterday, and I’m a bit over the moon.

Would you believe it if I told you it was perfume? But it’s not just any perfume. It’s made by Mandy Aftel in California. And while I may end up wearing some myself, its intent is to season my food and drinks.

Here’s the original tweet from DocSconz.

Usually when I see any kind of variation on The Martini, my face starts twisting up in a grimace and the vein in my forehead starts to twitch. But for some reason in this case I lit up at the notion of a “Black pepper martini.”

Okay. I can tell you. It’s because it doesn’t sound like some kind of sweet, sticky concoction that infantilizes cocktails. It sounds like a serious drink that’s intended to showcase the gin and not mask it.

But by what magic does one create a black pepper martini? The answer is Chef’s Essence. And here is what Mandy Aftel says about it on her website:

Ditch your dried out spices for delicious essential oils! These concentrated flavors have the upper hand on spices and herbs; they outlive their traditional pantry counterparts and deliver a cleaner flavor.

Mandy developed our collection of Chef’s Essences and Sprays after she and renowned Bay Area chef Daniel Patterson wrote the cookbook Aroma: the Magic of Essential Oils in Food and Fragrance. These flavorful products fulfill her desire for home chefs to be able to add pure flavor and aroma to any food or beverage with a single drop or spray of the finest all-natural essences from around the world. Fun, easy-to-use, and very economical, a dash or two of these flavorful essences transforms an everyday dish into something exciting and luxurious. They enliven everything from soups, salads, and main courses to ice cream, cakes, and mixed drinks.

Use these flavors to boost the intensity of ingredients like powdered ginger or fresh basil; substitute them for out-of-season herbs or unavailable spices; or think like a chef and layer other seasonings or Chef’s Essences and Sprays together to create amazing new flavor combinations. Be sure to try them in cocktails.

Let me tell you, it smells great. And instead of soiling my gorgeous poached eggs with flecks of peppercorn, I gave them a spritz. Wow. I think I’ll do this for all egg preparations from this point forward.

And I put another spritz over my bourbon last night just to give it a bit more complexity.

I’m starting to think that these things might be dangerous. Because now that I have the black pepper essence, I want more of Mandy’s aromas.

Just so you know, once you realize the potency of one little pump, the 30ml bottle seems like an impossibly large quantity to use. But I’m going to have fun trying. I’ll put it on desserts. I bet it improves a glass of Pepsi Throwback. It will remove the specks from polenta. And should I ever make another salad, I could really see it working well on greens.

Thank you to Mrs. Fussy and the FUSSYlittleCHILDREN for getting me exactly what I wanted for Father’s Day. Thank you DocSconz for turning me on to something wonderful. And thank you Mandy for making something so fun and fascinating. Your work is bringing great joy to the world, one person at a time.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. docsconz permalink
    June 20, 2013 10:31 am

    Great post about a great product. I’m glad you like it!

  2. June 20, 2013 3:50 pm

    Thanks so much Dan – I treasure your adventurous enthusiasm about the sprays! And thanks too to DocSconz, I love having my work spread by word of mouth, one person at a time!

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