Friday, November 30, 2007

If not X, Then Y = Red Wine?

I can't help it, my day job is working as a "marketing genius." And, because wine marketing is a specialty of mine, any research about new trends that relate to the wine industry are like Vegas neon to me.
You can start by checking the bar chart to see where you fit in. Then check out some interesting info about Generation Y's (also known as "the Millennials") beverage preferences. For pychographic differences between Generation X and Y see the handy chart at the end of this post.

Turns out that when it comes to wine (X'ers still mostly prefer beer) they like it red.
• Millennials tend to prefer red wines (51 percent of volume) more so than older consumers (approximately 44 percent).
• Among red wines, Cabernet and Pinot Noir have the most distinct skew toward Millennials; Chardonnay remains the most popular white wine across all ages.
• Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc and Rieslings account for a higher share of Millennials’ wine purchases compared with the over-30 population.
• Similar to the beer category, Millennials are more open to trying imported varieties and also contribute more to sake sales than Gen Xers and Baby Boomers.
• Nielsen’s research shows that while Millennials perceive wine to be “relaxing” and “sophisticated,” they associate a certain formality with wine, citing it most often as the beverage of choice during a “formal” night out, and less often for casual occasions.
• While most Millennials consider themselves as novices or only slightly knowledgeable about wine, approximately one-third (34 percent) are interested in learning more.

Info for this study was collected via a triangulation of Nielsen’s Homescan consumer panel information and online survey and fieldwork from a sample of nearly 900 consumers 21 years old and older who drink beer, wine and spirits at least once every two months.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Totally Molecular, Dude

Have you been following the "molecular gastronomy" movement? It doesn't take a microscope but according to those who have sampled this phenomena it's worth it (and in the case of one the molecular hotspots, minibar in NYC, there's a one month waiting list for rezzies).

Check out the slide show of the Chef at Alinea's preparing a molecular dinner at Chow


And here's how it all started:

Students in introductory chemistry courses are taught one important and seemingly obvious rule: Do not eat in the laboratory.

But for French chemist Hervé This, eating in the lab is the whole point.

This (pronounced "Teese") is one of the founders of the field of molecular gastronomy, the application of science to culinary knowledge and practice. Along with physicist Nicholas Kurti and science writer Harold McGee, This was among the first to use the tools of science to explore the methodology and mechanisms of the culinary arts.

This will speak at the Academy on April 10, as part of the Science of Food series. Molecular Gastronomy: Exploring the Science of Flavor, his first book available in English, was published in September 2006.

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It started with a soufflé

Molecular Dining
Care to sample some molecular cooking? These international kitchens double as laboratories:

Pierre Gagnaire
Chef Pierre Gagnaire

La Maison de Marc Veyrat
Chef Marc Veyrat

Great Britain
The Fat Duck
Heston Blumenthal

Il Bulli
Chef Ferran Adria

Atlanta, GA
One Midtown Kitchen
Chef Richard Blais

Boston, MA
Louis Boston's Restaurant L
Chef Pino Maffeo

Chicago, IL
Chef Homaro Cantu

New York, NY
Chef Shea Gallante

Chef Wylie Dufresne

Room 4 Desert
Chef Will Goldfarb

While preparing a Roquefort cheese soufflé for friends one Sunday in March 1980, This—then an editor at Pour la Science, the French edition of Scientific American—stopped at a line in an ELLE magazine recipe that called for adding eggs two-by-two. Why two-by-two? This wondered. With his scientific curiosity piqued, This tempted the fate of the dinner by adding all the eggs at once—resulting in a dish that was "edible," but lacked the signature pouf of a perfectly prepared soufflé.

When another party of friends called the following Sunday, This repeated his informal experiment, this time adding the eggs one at a time. Pour la Science did without its editor the following day, as This stayed home to tinker with the recipe and postulate about the precisions, or old wives' tales, which peppered this, and many other recipes, of France's haute cuisine.

Since that day, This has collected more than 25,000 of these precisions, with the admittedly lofty goal of putting each one to the test. He continued experimenting in his home laboratory (otherwise known as his kitchen) and in 1986 met Kurti, a physicist at Oxford who shared the same passion for science and cooking. The two began collaborating almost immediately, writing papers and hosting a series of meetings in Erice, Sicily, which were attended by the few active researchers in the newly created field of molecular and physical gastronomy, including McGee and biochemist Shirley Corriher (who spoke at the Academy's first Science of Food event).

In 1995, This was awarded the first PhD in molecular and physical gastronomy ("physical" was dropped after Kurti's death in 1998), and he took a part-time position in Nobel Laureate Jean-Marie Lehn's chemistry lab at the Collège de France. Five years later, he quit his day job at Pour la Science to work as a full-time researcher at the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA).

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