Some days ago, we decided to take a trip in the Annecy… That’s right, beside the passion for cooking, we share the one for traveling! Even better, if we discover new flavours and new recipes to share with you 😉
Annecy, the Venice of the Alps: a small town with marine look, nestled between the beautiful mountains of Eastern France. Just as our Aosta Valley, this town was part of the ancient Duchy of Savoy until 1860 , that’s why we feel like we were home every time we decide to visit it 🙂 .
The major attractive of this paradise is probably the beautiful lake, whose clear waters have allowed it to get the title of “Europe cleanest lake.” Every August thousands of people flock to these shores, to admire the magnificent fireworks driven across the surface of the lake 🙂 .
Another symbol of Annecy is the Palais de l’Isle, a former prison on a small island in the middle of the river Thiou, and now a museum. On the other hand, if you do not wish fo anything too demanding, just walk down the romantic streets of the ancient city, or on the lake shore, tasting maybe some croissant or some other delicacy from the Boulangeries of the centre.
Among the beautiful shops, we suggest “Saveurs d’Ici et là”, a grocery store stocked with any delight and that you can find on the porch of Rue Filaterie. Here, we came across the Tonka bean, a spice we encountered before… But its flavour close to vanilla with a hint of bitterness immediately fascinated, and we could not resist 🙂 . We had no idea how to use it, to be honest, but after careful research and culinary attempts, we are almost ready to introduce some dishes flavoured with Tonka. We took the opportunity to make even a supply of cardamom:)
The trip ended up with a good dinner of fried fishes of the lake. So good and very delicate, you should try them if you go on a trip to Annecy 😉 .
The Tonka beans are the seeds of kumaru, a tree native of South America. They have a very intense and pleasant aroma, with a bitter note. The taste is very complex and intense, reminiscent of a vanilla enriched with apricot kernels, cinnamon and a hint of nutmeg. Their flavour is so strong and pronounced, and you won’t need much, otherwise you risk ruining the dish. It is perfect creams and puddings.
The kumaru is extremely durable, the analysis of carbon 14 has shown that this plant can live more than 1,000 years… A huge amount of time, if you think that 1000 years ago wee were still in the Middle Ages! Who knows how many things a kumaru tree could have seen…
The tonka beans owe their aroma to coumarin. This organic compound can be toxic in high doses, so the beans should be used in moderation. Anyway, do not worry, we will give you the doses that will be broadly balanced and safe 🙂 … Otherwise we would not be here writing 😉 !
The green cardamom is a spice of Indian origins. You can recognize it by the typical triangular shape and the green colou. This spice was known already by the Mycenaeans, and its greek name καρδάμωμον (kardamomon) was found in the lists of spices used in the House of the Sphinxes at Mycenae.
Cardamom has a distinctive taste and aroma, vaguely reminiscent of lemon. The flavour is very intense, you won’t need much to flavour the recipes. Keep the seeds intact until you use them, because the aroma dissipates quickly in contact with air.