Autumn flavours

It is autumn out there in the north hemisphere, and since I was a child, I have always found many reasons to like autumn.

The red on the leafs, the crisp sunny mornings, the whistling of the wind through the trees… Recently I acquired a new reason: yuzu ice cream.

When I was a child I knew this flavour very well, because, in Spain, there were some sweets called Sugus that used to have a “mandarin” flavour that was, no other than, “yuzu flavour”. In case you are wondering if yuzu tastes of mandarin, I want to say that (despite rumours) it doesn’t.

Many years later, whilst I was studying architecture, I worked as a waitress and a colleague of mine who studied chemistry explained that it takes circa 13 elements to recreate in the lab the flavouring that we identify with strawberry, which as tou will know, it does not taste like a strawberry. My guess is that by taking the flavour on to the lab, either someone forgot to compare with the original or decided to create a mandarin flavouring that coincidentally matched another real fruit.

Sugus was definitely an imaginative company as they also saw a link between pineaple and blue, a colour they used in the paper wraps. I always wondered: if strawberry was red, lemon yellow, orange ,well, orange… why was pinaple not brown? (chocolate implications?) or gold? (too expensive to print?) or dark green (as the leafs). No, it was blue. Was it to do with the Caribbean sky, the sea?

Anyway, This puzzled me for years until I went to Kobe for the first time in June 2010 and was presented with a yuzu ice cream at the end of the meal. I don’t know how to describe the feeling but as that of finding a long lost friend. This has happened to me twice before, with pancakes and Gewürztraminer wine but the significance of this was was somehow stronger. Maybe because I would have been younger when I tasted the first Sugus and memories from childhood stay with us for life, which is why I do feel that as adults we have an opportunity to implant positive memories in many young minds and we should always be aware of it.

Photography by Cristina Lanz-Azcarate

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