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The Hautest of Haute Cuisine Mag: Now in English

Le Sanctuaire, the bastion of top-grade spices and molecular gastronomy equipment, has a showroom right here in Union Square. And as of January, they've also gotten involved in the magazine business, co-publishing the first English language edition of Apicius, the very beautiful, very serious, very expensive ($65), semi-annual Spanish magazine on haute cuisine.

The first issue, featuring Heston Blumenthal and Wylie Dufresne as well as the requisite Spanish chefs, was just delivered to Le Sanctuaire last week and I stopped by to take a look. The rest of the limited edition—only 2000 copies were printed—will be available by the end of the month on their website.

As things go in molecular gastronomy, nothing is as it appears. A spade is not a spade. A truffle is not a truffle (although the cover image shows what looks very much like one, it turns out that it's a Parmesan-truffle custard). The trickery!

As I flipped through the beautiful pictures, I stopped on an article from El Celler de Can Roca, a famous restaurant in Girona, Spain. Here, they discuss of the cuisine of wine; "perfumed cooking" ("Could you cook with just the smell of something? it asks. Why, yes! If you use a Rotaval distiller, which Le Sanctuaire happens to sell.); sweet cuisine (peas for dessert); and mood. In the latter category, they use their "lactic dessert" as an example. Made up of sheep's milk everything (caramel, ice cream and foam), plus guava glass, cotton candy and yogurt, it sounds pretty delicious. Just don't read their description: "This plate is the embodiment of innocence and tenderness, the place whence we all came, the smell of newborn baby, the maternal aroma, the search for the mother's breast." 

Mommy! (As I read this, I had to take into account that they're European.)

Mother's milk aside, I have to admit that flipping through the pages, and seeing food as true art (it's impossible not to be impressed by much of it, no matter how much you might favor pork sugo), reminded me it's good to take a peek at what's going on outside of our little food world where manipulating our very precious ingredients is considered near sacrilege.