Flavor Investigator: Dark Cherry

A cherry on top a hot fudge sundae begins your treat with a burst of tartness, sweetness and fruitiness.  This fruit is the perfect combination of sweet and sour even in its purest form-raw and straight from the tree. Cherries come from the plant genus Prunus. The most commonly cultivated varieties are the sweet cherry (Prunus avium) and sour cherry (Prunus cerasus).  Though do not be too surprised if your bill is high after you purchase them. These prices are a result of the extensive amounts of irrigation, spraying and labour involved during the growing process.  Despite this, people still purchase cherries contributing to their high demand.

Cherries also come from the family Rosaceae, making them a cousin to apples. Fruity, fresh and green are just few of the shared characteristics among the two. But remember these descriptors are just a generalization as different cultivators will unique nuisances. Overall, cherries are almond-like, nutty, woody, sFlavor Investigator: Dark Cherrylightly floral with slight notes of spice, cinnamon, rose and green.

Chemical Compounds Responsible for Cherry Flavour

There are three main compounds which are responsible for the core flavour profile of cherries: benzaldehyde, linalool and eugenol. Benzaldehyde is characteristically known for having a bitter and almond like flavour. This is why if you have ever smelled the odor of cherry extract it will smell almond like. Linalool on the other hand is a terpene alcohol which on its own resembles lavender with some notes of citrus. It can also be described as being sweet, woody, green, rose-like and lemony.  Eugenol conversely is the compound which allows cherries to be paired with spicy ingredients. This is because eugenol is spicy, woody, phenolic and reminiscent of allspice. It is quite impressive how all these conflicting flavours come together to form the beauty which as known as “cherry.”

Marachino Cherries

It is difficult to speak about the flavour of cherries without bringing up brightly red maraschino cherries. If you are not familiar, a maraschino cherry is a preserved sweetened cherry made from sweet cherries such as Royal Ann or Gold varieties.  The brine used to preserve the cherries usually contains sulfur dioxide and calcium chloride. In addition, some kind of red food colouring and sugar syrup are added to the brine. These cherries originated in the United States and as of 1975 any maraschino cherries which contain a synthetic flavour must be labeled artificially flavoured.  Marashinos taste almost like candy due to its preservation method and have a slight nuttiness. Although it might not impart a lot of flavour on its own, the cherry does becomes a nice garnish for cocktails.

Possible Unique Flavour Combination

  • Cherry and Smoked Fish- Apple, peach, cherry and pear are all great options to smoke trout and salmon. During this process the fish absorbs the smoky flavour as well as a sweetness and woodiness. These notes are already present in cherries allowing the two to be paired together.
  • Cherry and Fish Sauce- Fish sauce is loaded with umami flavour as well as salt. When paired with sour cherries and vinegar the combination is able to touch every area of one’s taste.
  • Cherry and Black Pepper- Black pepper is a distinctive flavour that is spicy and hot but not overwhelming. As well, it is sharp but not overly aromatic. This slight spice is able to add another dimension to the sweetness of cherries.

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