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Book Review: The Noma Guide to Fermentation

December 2018/January 2019 Issue
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The Noma Guide to Fermentation: Foundations of Flavor
By René Redzepi and David Zilber
(Artisan; $40)

René Redzepi may be the most obsessed upon and obsessive chef on the planet. His restaurant, Noma, four times was named the world’s best restaurant, and Redzepi has graced the cover of Time magazine twice. Noma, in Copenhagen, is famous for its use of indigenous and foraged ingredients, but were you to ask Redzepi what makes his food so special, he’d say fermentation.

Every dish served at Noma benefits from fermentation, be it a flash of vinegar, a bass note of miso, or the sweet intensity of black garlic. Fermentation isn’t responsible for one specific taste at Noma, Redzepi says, it’s responsible for improving the flavor of everything. Now, Redzepi and co-author David Zilber, the genius behind Noma’s pantry of ferments, pull back the curtain on the restaurant’s fermentation lab. The chapters, ordered from simple to complicated, cover lacto-fermented fruits and vegetables, kombucha, vinegar, koji, miso, shoyu, garum, and black fruits and vegetables.

The book translates what the chefs do into 100 approachable recipes that home cooks can use to add nuance to their cooking. “Fermentation knows no borders,” Redzepi says. Now it can travel easily from his kitchen to yours.

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