Cooking For A Crowd
Polish Your Palate and Savor the Flavors of Summer Foods
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Polish Your Palate and Savor the Flavors of Summer Foods

(ARA)- As warmer weather approaches, outdoor social dining events explode. It seems there is a new event almost every weekend, from festive Memorial Day barbecues including hamburgers and hotdogs, to family reunion potlucks featuring delicious homemade comfort foods such as lasagna and macaroni salad.

It�s no doubt that an abundance of these wonderful flavors and rich foods during summer gatherings can overwhelm one�s palate, rendering taste buds into duds. The American Culinary Institute (ACI), the authority on taste and food enjoyment, and the leading independent, chef-based organization that judges and awards the best tasting food and beverage products in America, is here to help people enjoy the taste of their food to the fullest.

�Food plays a tremendous role in all of our social celebrations, particularly during the warmer months,� said Chef Dieter Doppelfeld, Certified Master Chef and a master taster with the American Culinary Institute. �All of these tasty grilled foods and fresh summertime flavors can overwhelm your palate if care isn�t taken, and the true luxury and indulgence of savoring and enjoying the flavors of summer food pleasures are lost.�

Savor the Flavor: Polish Your Palate

Here are some simple tips from the American Culinary Institute to help make sure you savor the flavors and keep your palate refreshed and invigorated for the blitz of warm weather feasts:

* Alternate eating a variety of foods on your plate. To avoid taste fatigue, vary what you eat on your plate. Eating one food item all at once can overwhelm and saturate the taste buds. Alternate eating the different foods on your plate, taking a bite of your meat, vegetable, and bread alternately; slow down and enjoy the different flavors. Drink water in between bites during your meal; this helps in cleansing the palate, allowing you to experience the full flavors of your food.

* Invigorate your taste buds for new flavors; clean your palate with fruit. One of the more pleasant gastronomic practices that seem to have fallen aside in this day is the custom of providing diners with a palate cleanser. In earlier times, if a strong course were served, a small dish of lemon sorbet would immediately follow it. The purpose, of course, was to clear the taste buds making them ready to experience the next bountiful dish without competition from lingering flavors. Offer your guests succulent chunks of fresh summer citrus fruits on skewers or toothpicks such as pineapples, oranges, tangerines, and even melons with mint in-between courses. You only need a small amount to cleanse the palate.

* Foods that look appealing and smell good often taste better. Serve entrees and side dishes with colorful garnishes and aromatic herbs and spices. People tend to eat with their eyes, and foods that look delectably tempting and smell delicious often taste more flavorful. Showcase and garnish summer entrees with fresh herbs and fruits, and decorate and flavor seafood with bright and zesty lemons to add eye appeal and aroma.

* Vary texture, taste and temperatures of foods. Engage your guests� palates and serve dishes that emphasize flavors such as texture, temperature, and spiciness. Enhance the flavors and textures by adding crunchy foods such as nuts, or croutons to salads. Add a bit of aromatic and flavorful fresh herbs like Italian parsley or cilantro to potato or macaroni salads. Also combine hot and cold temperatures in a dish to offer a cool sensation to the palate, like a scoop of cold vanilla ice cream on top of a hot peach cobbler right out of the oven.

Find the Best Tasting Foods for Your Family

Pressed for time during the summer season, but want to be sure you�re buying the best tasting foods for your family and friends when grocery shopping?

Let the taste experts at the American Culinary Institute help you find the best tasting food products in America. The ACI�s mission is to empower the American consumer to make educated buying decisions regarding taste in their food purchases at the grocery store.

The Institute judges food products via panels of accredited, professional chefs to determine the best tasting food products available at grocery stores throughout the country. The ACI distinguishes these products with the American Culinary Institute Best Taste Award, and to help consumers easily identify them, they bear the ACI medallion on packages.

Using thorough, disciplined testing techniques based in the science of food technology and sensory and flavor evaluation, ACI evaluates thousands of food products every year. ACI determines categories of food with national brands through AC Nielsen data, and then purchases products from the grocery store as a consumer. The judging panel evaluates the food products without knowledge of brands, and determines the best tasting product through statistically analyzed data. Only one winner is chosen in a comparable set of competing products to be honored with the ACI Award medallion.

Look for the ACI Best Taste Awards on products at the supermarket to help you in your buying decisions to purchase the best tasting foods for your summer feasts. For a full list of ACI Award winners, visit to help you with your grocery shopping.

Courtesy of ARA Content

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