It was a wet Thursday evening as I walked through the doors for my first tasting panel meet. An evening I was pretty excited about as I finally ticked a very specific box on a to-do list associated with my travel and food blogging persona—to become an official taster. Tick!
This awesome opportunity has set me on a tantalising journey with Urban Providore—a locally owned business selling regional Australian produce located in Fyshwick, Canberra.
For the next 12 months and along with seven other panellists, I will be bringing my palate to each tasting, sharing my thoughts, rating flavours and expressing other sensory experiences I may encounter along the way. I may even get the opportunity to meet the passionate producers whose creations bring joy to dining tables across the country.
Have you ever been a food taster? If you have, this might sound familiar to you. Calibrating ones palate is the first concept I learnt last night. The concept of calibration here is to learn our personal bias and recognising that the physical response we have to a variety of characteristics can be quite different than the next person.
What may be sour or bitter for me, may not be for you.
As you know, the sensory taste receptors that populate our tongue is made up of sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami. Umami is best described as savoury or yummy without being boldly sweet, sour, salty or bitter. One of the most common examples of umami are mushrooms or soy sauce. I just love it when a food experience results in added wisdom! This will also aid in developing a ‘tasting profile’ for food we know people will relish.
We had fun understanding the role of calibration and the need to objectively attach a sensory experience with a descriptor—sugar is sweet, lemons are sour, garden peas are leguminous, you get the idea. After some deep discussions and prepping ourselves for the tasting journey ahead… we sat down to nibble on a delicious smorgasbord made up of:
- La Barre caramelised balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, dukkha which were paired with soft bites of bread
- Tilba Real Dairy vintage blue cheese and Valley Produce Co cracked black pepper thins
- Australian Honey Cellars gorgeous honeycomb best eaten on its own to savour in its tender rich flavours
- Butch’s Smallgoods plain German Mettwurst from South Australia
- Crabtree’s Smokehouse kalamata olives in olive oil
- Grapes and Summerhill Road sauvignon blanc
- Fudgemental’s vegan no dairy Out-stout n’ fig fudge that paired amazingly well with pear!
What a night it was and it was only a casual first meet, no serious tastings involved yet. In the past, I’ve mostly been on the outside wondering what it would be like to taste food and offer opinions that people would want to take into consideration… lo and behold… I’m about to do just that. It makes me so happy to be able to embark on this tasting journey with my peers.
With more to come on this peregrination with Urban Providore Tasting Panel, I hope to be able to share with you first hand, what my experience in being a taster is like and also all the delectable produce I’d recommend, so stay tuned.
Read my full ‘taster’ profile. Urban Providore is located at 52 Wollongong St, Fyshwick ACT 2609.