Hump Day: Caviaroli Encapsulated Extra Virgin Olive Oil

As far as the kitchen is concerned Ferran Adrià can do everything, right? He's responsible for changing the culinary world, for reinventing techniques and combining flavors never seen or tasted before. But there was something he never accomplished. Apparently, with all his work of spherical olives and membrane coverings, he couldn't figure out how to make spheres of olive oil. But another Catalan has! And now Spain is once again hitting the international luxury market with the commercialization of Caviaroli.

A few years back the technical director of Fundación Alicia, an initiative backed by Ferran which investigates gastronomical techniques and advances, reached out to the Ramon family, individuals of entrepreneurial and biology/chemistry backgrounds to take on a project that Ferran's lab had been incapable of achieving. Two of the siblings, Santi and Rocío Ramon took on the challenge to come up with a method of encapsulating olive oil for the alta cocina.  After three years of their free time dedicated to this, they reached the formula and showed it to Adrià. He demanded that they create it on a large scale, but first a test, create 10x the amount that would be needed for a season's worth of customer consumption at elBulli, but do it in under 10 days. They succeeded and the Caviaroli brand was born with the world's most well-known chef on board.

In September 2010 Ferran carried it to Harvard University for his series Science and Cooking, and the rest is more or less history. Now the product can be found throughout Asia, Australia and Dubai, and in many of the world's best restaurants. Expected revenue for 2012 is 250,000 Euros. Not to shabby for this Picual extra virgin olive oil.

Obviously this invention goes hand-in-hand with molecular gastronomy and recipes, however plenty of foodies are hopping on-board to impress their dinner guests, create a talking piece, add color and wow-factor to tapas, smoked fish (think of it as caviar!), gazpacho or even desserts like crème brulée. On my visit to Granja Cantagrullas, Rubén left a dollop next to the cheese platter and on our fried eggs for lunch. Weighing in at 200 grams for 35€, they say it contains about 200 servings and a shelf-life of 12 months. While it may be close to the price of gold, many are willing to undertake the capricho


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