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Taste Buds and Molecules: The Art and Science of Food, Wine, and Flavor Hardcover – February 28, 2012


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Taste Buds and Molecules: The Art and Science of Food, Wine, and Flavor + Neurogastronomy: How the Brain Creates Flavor and Why It Matters + Taste What You're Missing: The Passionate Eater's Guide to Why Good Food Tastes Good
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 1 edition (February 28, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1118141849
  • ISBN-13: 978-1118141847
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 0.9 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #123,626 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review




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Review

"Anyone who cares about wine-and-food matching must study this book. It’s ingenious.”— Harvey Steiman, Wine Spectator

“Young, passionate, and a rare talent, Chartier is among the two or three most articulate and intellectual thinkers I have met. His breakthrough book has been translated from his native French, and is finally available in English. TASTE BUDS and MOLECULES is not your average wine book... Chartier essentially does what Ferran Adrià at elBulli did with food... deconstruct[s] it and challenge[s] his readers to open their minds and consider the possibilities of a journey through aromas, flavors, textures and the fascinating yin and yang of it all. This is a magical mystery tour through the human sense of taste and smell... highly recommended.”— Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate

"If Catalan superchef Ferran Adria is the leading missionary of molecular gastronomy, Mr. Chartier is his counterpart with a corkscrew."—The Globe and Mail

"The first step into a new world that is now open wide in all its splendour to those who love gastronomy."—Juli Soler and Ferran Adria, elBulli restaurant

“If there were a Nobel Prize for gastronomy, François Chartier would be a deserving recipient… This book will give both the neophyte cook and the most experienced chef the confidence necessary to transgress culinary traditions and forge new paths by trying out wine and food pairings that seem unlikely at first glance.”—Martin Loignon, PhD, molecular biologist, Montreal

"François Chartier is on the cutting edge of flavor exploration. If you're in the industry and you don't know his name yet, you will, and you likely won't forget it. An acclaimed sommelier, cook, flavor detective, and best-selling author, Chartier has instigated the new aromatic discipline 'molecular food harmonies and sommellerie.' And he's sharing it all, one incredible, palate-opening, mind-blowing explanation at a time."—StarChefs

"I’m reading a new book, Tastebuds and Molecules: The Art and Science of Food, Wine, and Flavor by François Chartier, an extraordinary high-wire wine-and-food pairing equivalent of molecular gastronomy. Not surprisingly, the book is endorsed by Ferran Adrià and Juli Soler of El Bulli, with whom Mr. Chartier, a French-Canadian wine and food writer, worked closely for several seasons at their restaurant. Without offering too much detail, Tastebuds and Molecules goes astoundingly deep into the science of flavors, offering advanced techniques for matching foods and wines."— Eric Asimov, the New York Times

"The most powerful, and even empowering, elements of the book are the charts that link a main flavor with all of the culinary components and wines with which it shares a common molecular makeup. Taste Buds and Molecules is a must-have for oenophiles-turned-cook or cooks looking to pair wines with more confidence."—Drink Me magazine

"The most powerful, and even empowering, elements of the book are the charts that link a main flavor with all of the culinary components and wines with which it shares a common molecular makeup. Taste Buds and Molecules is a must-have for oenophiles-turned-cook or cooks looking to pair wines with more confidence." —Drink Me magazine


More About the Author

François Chartier is the author of the popular French-language annual wine and food guide La Sélection Chartier, now in its sixteenth edition, as well as the bestselling à Table avec François Chartier. In 2009, Chartier's original French edition of Taste Buds and Molecules (Papilles et Molécules) made its grand entrance onto the world's cooking stage when it won the prestigious Gourmand World Cookbook Award for Best Innovative Cookbook in the World--all languages considered. Chartier is the only Canadian to have ever been named the best world sommelier in French wines and spirits at the prestigious Grand Prix Sopexa. Pioneering what he calls "aromatic food harmonies and sommellerie," he used his groundbreaking research to collaborate with Ferran Adrià and Juli Soler on the 2009-2010 menu at their legendary restaurant elBulli, which was voted the world's best restaurant five times over. He has been featured in such publications as Wine Spectator and in 2008 received l'Ordre National du Québec, the highest distinction bestowed on citizens by the Québec government. The Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail named him one of the forty-five Canadians who have most influenced world change in 2010, recognizing his research work, scientific contributions, and role in the application of the theory of aromas in cooking. Chartier's new television show on Télé-Québec, Papilles, introduces unpretentious aromatic recipes, reinvented classics, and cleverly chosen and accessible food and beverage pairings.

Customer Reviews

Unfortunately, the ambitious project never gets beyond the proposal stage.
Lynn Hoffman, author:Radiation Days: A Comedy
The book has a very busy and sometimes confusing design, which I found distracted from the content and made it hard to read.
John P. Plummer
Fascinating science behind the sense of taste, Great ideas for combining foods and choosing wines.
garden lady

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Richard A. Luc on November 11, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The design I find maddening.
The prose I find stilted.
The organization shows no internal cohesion.
But the guy's ideas are correct.
I've tried some wine/food pairings based on his observations and...they work.
All criitcism falls away before the realization that this is a book that gets to WHY wines and foods work together. It also shows that there are similarities with some wines and some foods that are not usually paired and when they are then paired...they work.
What the guy says works.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Brian Connors VINE VOICE on April 16, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Molecular sommelerie? Is there such a thing? Mmmmmmaybe...

François Chartier's work isn't really about food and wine pairings as such; that's just the medium Chartier is familiar with, and the one he chose to write what has got to be one of the best books I've seen describing flavor interactions. In that regard, it's pretty close to exhaustive, covering not just the foods themselves but common flavor molecules -- soloton, for example, which provides the mapley scent in fenugreek, or eugenol, the active flavor in cloves and a surprising number of other plants (including strawberries, Ceylon cinnamon, and pineapple), and many other things -- phenols, iodine compounds, terpenes, and the like. But it's not just bland academic discussions; although a quick brushup on organic chemistry wouldn't hurt, it also talks about individual foods and the flavors that develop as they're prepared, and just as importantly, how and where the same or complementary compounds show up in wines and cheeses. There's even a whole chapter on maple syrup -- while it's not very common for most people outside breakfast, I personally use it in cooking every once in a while so I'm glad to see Chartier putting in a good word for it.

I've seen a few complaints about the graphic design, and although it's pretty busy and a little hipsterish, I don't find it all that bad; the charts describing relations between foods and flavors are generally pretty clear, and the photography is generally quite good, at least if you're into food photos with very shallow depth of field (a technique I've seen used most effectively in the humor-oriented Mini-Mart A La Carte).
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Bradley Nelson on March 21, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book is the science of food and wine pairing. It is incredibly well-researched and well-written. It breaks foods down into chemical compounds and suggests food and wine pairings based on these components and the various flavor profiles of each. The chapter on beef, for example, offers pairings for other foods and for wines based on whether the beef is grilled, roasted, raw, etc. While the home cook might find some good ideas for wine pairings, this seems way beyond the realm of picking a nice bottle of wine for your dinner for four.

I think this book is a blessing for sommeliers. Professionals who already rely on their own taste buds to create pairings can now add a dose of science to the practice. We professional chefs have already been benefiting from this type of research for pairing foods. This book is a straight-forward look at how we taste, what we taste, and why we taste things, following on to why certain flavors compliment each other. I think the market for this book is small, but will be highly grateful that it has been written.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Terri J. Rice TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 27, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is a complex book that is all about combining of foods, ingredients, wines and beverages that contain the same aromatic molecules "so that harmonious pairings may occur spontaneously." And that is the real essence of things that look 'spontaneous'- it takes a lot of behind the scenes research, trial and error to look spontaneous and effortless.

François Chartier claims the book is for all of us kitchen hacks- not just culinary and wine professionals and experts in chemistry. My husband is a scientist and my daughter is a molecular biologist and they easily read and fully understood this book. I did not. Though also trained in the sciences, my eyes began to glaze with all the molecular nomenclature- ethyl cyclotene, mercapto, pentan, methylpentan,sotolon...

However, there are sufficient photos and drawings to help the layman follow along well enough. And there is plenty of plain talk: "Pineapple and strawberries (especially when very ripe), cloves, and rosemary all contain a good does of eugenol. So a dish containing any or all three ingredients will be a harmonious match for wines characterized by eugenol- which we learn would be a gewürztraminer, fino sherry, black muscat, cab. sauv., albariño.

Hot peppers are full of capsaicin. You know that burning hot sensation that you just can not squelch? Capsaicin is soluble in fatty and sugary substances as well as alcohol. It is insoluble in water, so carbonated drinks and sparkling wines will actually increase the burning sensation.

Hot chilis produce more than just heat; their sapid molecules actually temporarily inflame our mouth and thereby increase the sensitivity of the taste buds and the mucous lining. So why do we keep eating them?!
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