The Importance of Micro Greens and Candied Flowers In Fine Dining
Perhaps of the best things about going out to eat (other than not having to cook or do dishes) is the food presentation. Going out to eat at a fine dining institution puts the “art” in the term culinary arts. Part of what makes the experience so pleasing for not just the palate but also the eyes are the small, fine details. Organic micro greens can add flavor, color, and a beautiful finishing touch to an appetizer or entree, while sugar flowers or crystallized flowers can turn a simple dessert into a work of art. Even better, most crystallized flowers or sugared flowers are edible. Who wouldn’t want to try a beautiful crystallized rose? Since the average fine dining cost per person in the United States is about $28.55, you want to be sure your fine dining experience is worth the money. Hence, chefs and those in the food service industry pull out all the stops to make sure that you have an experience to remember, with gourmet flourishes such as organic micro greens, herb crystals, and specialty produce.
How Many People Actually Partake in Fine Dining?
Visits to fine-dining establishments were actually up by 3% in the last year, which may not sound like a lot, but translated into people, that means thousands if not millions more Americans were choosing to eat in upscale restaurants. The fine dining sector of the restaurant industry is responsible for generating around 10% of total restaurant sales in the United States.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics has released data that shows that households who made $100,000 or more per year accounted for almost 40% of the total spending on food eaten outside of the home. Naturally, a good percentage of these people frequent fine dining establishments.
An interesting tidbit: when it comes to food presentation, children prefer a higher number of food colors and components as compared to adults. Children like six food colors and seven different components, whereas adults prefer three of each.
What Are Microgreens?
Contrary to popular belief, microgreens are not tiny leaves or sprouts. They’re actually shoots of leafy vegetables like arugula, beetroot, Swiss chard, mustard, etc., that are plucked early, after the first leaves have developed. Chefs and foodies like them for their intense flavor, which the fully grown and mature versions don’t offer. They add an amazing flavor accent (and often color accent) to a dish that can enhance or complement other flavors in the dish. Organic micro greens have also gotten popular in restaurants that specialize in farm to table experiences or who prize organic and locally grown food.
Microgreens have existed for between 20-30 years and organic micro greens have been around for even longer, though they weren’t harvested until more recently. They should ideally be stored at around four degrees Celsius; that is, 39.2 degrees Fahrenheit to keep them fresh and at optimal flavor. It’s also good to keep them in some water.
Microgreens, both organic micro greens and regular, are rated on a 1-5 scale, with 1 being poor and 5 being excellent. To be marketable, microgreens need to be a three or up, at least on the visual quality scale. If the microgreens have a rating under three, they’re considered unmarketable.
What Can Microgreens and Edible Flowers Be Used For?
With over 25 varieties of microgreens and around 100 types of common garden flowers that are edible and palatable, the possibilities seem endless! Microgreens in particular can add an extra charge of flavor and make a dish look completed. They add a level of meticulous detail and presentation that’s especially important in fine dining.
Edible flowers are often used similarly, to add color, elegance, and a delicate touch to desserts at the end of a meal. Orchids are often used as a pop of color and freshness for a main dish as well.
The next time you visit a fine dining establishment, take note of the food presentation and see if you can spot any microgreens or edible flowers! They’re a delicious and important part of your dining experience and undoubtedly chosen with care.