Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Only Real Pomegranate Is Fake Pomegranate

I'm so sick of pomegranate. A quick stroll through any grocery will convince you that the food industry gods have anointed this flavor; it's everywhere. Making one's way through last month's Fancy Food Show was like viewing the world through pomegranate-colored lenses.

As always when a food meme goes viral, the actual implementation has all the nuance of a Kool Aid flavor. Pomegranate is one of the most richly complex of fruit flavors, but you'd never know that from the current wave of dumbed-down pomegranate products.

But today I drank some serious imported Turkish pomegranate juice, from a company that probably has no idea the fruit's gone trendy here, and remembered just how rich and nuanced a flavor this could be. it's not actually juice so much as a punch, including apple and lemon juice concentrates. But the other flavors are cannily blended in to enhance the pomegranate. Sometimes, to make something really pomegranatey, you've got to add other stuff.

Including, um, "pomegranate flavor". Well...huh. Ok, so an
artificially-flavored juice dosed with lots of non-pomegranate ingredients tastes more redolent of "real" pomegranate flavor. This is, I suppose, just more fuel for the argument I advanced in my article "How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Artificial Flavors".

Anyhoo...I bought this
Baktat Pomegranate Juice at Yaranush Mediterranenan Foods, a large White Plains grocery full of nuts, spices, breads, canned and packaged goods, and a lavish array of Armenian mezes and desserts. I'd been looking for Armenian since wonderful Ruth's Gourmet, late of Fort Lee, closed down.

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