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5 Fun Things to Taste That Aren’t Wine and Cheese

tastingIf you love food and drink, you’ve probably already done some kind of tasting. Maybe its a wine or beer tasting, or a coffee cupping, or you’ve been to one of those popular olive oil and balsamic vinegar stores. And surely you’ve done some cheese sampling, right? (If not, create a charcuterie now!)
And I have to admit, I LOVE tasting things side by side. There’s no better way to learn about tastes and differences in products/drinks than by taste-testing. It’s the one time comparison is a really, really good thing. I’ve done it mostly with wine and the deliciousness mentioned above, but lately I’ve been expanding my tasting horizons to the following five things. It’s so fun to taste things that I figure, why not do it with more items? And, really, these things are so diverse that it really is a fabulous way to dive into flavor profiles — and discover new things you like. (Plus, if you’re entertaining and have people who don’t know each other well in a group, it’s a great conversation starter!)

5 Fun Things to Taste

1. Hot sauce. So, clearly, you need to like spicy and — at the very least — mild hot sauce, but hot sauce can be SO fun to taste! The flavors can be very complex and there’s no shortage of varieties, be it smoky, sweet, fiery, tangy or just burn-your-mouth-off hot. I’ve really enjoyed tasting the hot sauces that have come in my Fuego Box and recently came upon Bunsters Fresh hot sauces out of Australia that are So. Darn. Good. OMG.
2. Heirloom veggies that are in season. What can I say? That Chef’s Table episode with Blue Hill Farm inspired me to really start getting into not just eating but tasting fruits and veggies. And tasting whatever is in season is so enlightening. You can taste heirloom varieties versus what you can normally get in the grocery store or heirloom verus heirloom or what you grow in your own garden versus the grocery store. The results are pretty darn incredible — and talk about making produce the star of the show!
3. Hard liquor … but especially tequila. There are bourbon tours and whiskey tastings that are pretty common (and totally awesome), but I really, really enjoy tequila tastings. People always think of just shooting tequila, but sipping on the good stuff is pretty fantastic — and the flavors are so complex. You can taste aged tequilas versus newer ones or mezcal versus mezcal. From smoky to vanilla, the flavors you get are incredible.
4. Kombucha. Now this is fun for all the super health foodies in the house — tasting kombucha! Between all of the different brands out there to the different flavors, kombucha can be a really fun thing to taste. And, if you and/or your friends make your own, that can be especially fun to taste-test against commercials brands.
5. Condiments. You know how we feel about condiments. So why not try doing a tasting of different mustard varieties? Or barbecue sauces? Or, heck, even mayo (avocado versus olive oil versus homemade)? Yes, it’s a little weird, we know. But with the right group of people, it might be fun. Just be sure to give people veggies, pita, pretzels or crackers to try said condiments with.
Have you ever done tasting with some more unusual ingredients? I’m already looking forward to doing an heirloom tomato tasting this summer. Jenn

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