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The sense of smell vital for enjoying food and drinks
Tuesday,  May 8, 2018,23:16 (GMT+7)

The sense of smell vital for enjoying food and drinks


Fanny Christophe - PHOTO: NGOC TRAN

The Saigon Times Daily spoke on the sidelines of the Vietnam International Café Show 2018 in HCMC with Fanny Christophe, business development manager of French firm Les Éditions.

The Saigon Times Daily: Do you have any particular aromas that are linked to fruits of Vietnam?

- Fanny Christophe: Let me explain first. Our olfactory system, our nose, is intimately linked to what is in our mouth. That’s why olfaction is important when we savor something, whether it is drinks or food. And in wine, we’ve singled out 54 aromas. Wine is really one of the most aromatically intricate products. We’d be able to find up to one thousand different aromatic molecules in wines around the world. We’ve tried to make a selection of aromas that would be present in wines around the world. For example, French wine, Australian wine, New Zealand wine.

Well, name fruits that are common to Vietnam, I’ll tell you if we have them.

Papaya for example…

- Well, no. Indeed, fruits that are more exotic aren’t the most present in wine. But we have the fruit we can find in Vietnam, that is pineapple. 

But, so far, do you have any Vietnamese references for coffee? 

- Yes, of course. You can see that there are different families of aroma: vegetables, spices, flowers, fruits, animal aromas, toasted aromas and aromas that we’ll call more chemical. Here, you’ll have the main 36 aromas that we’ll be able to find in coffee. What’s important to memorize is that in coffee, we can find up to 800 different aromas. It’s a selection we make and that we’ll be able to find in coffee around the world. There are more than 36 aromas in coffee.

One aroma that is always astonishing, and that is important to know, is the earth aroma. It’s an aroma we’ll be able to find in Robusta coffee of Vietnam, for example.

You also have one aroma, say, animal: butter aroma. It’s often synonymous of coffee quality. We’ll find it in really nice Arabica coffee from Columbia for example. 

Is there a way helping people recognize aromas? Do you have a school or something like that? 

- We work with many training centers, universities… and also with importers and distributors of coffee and wine. What’s important to know is that these box sets can be used by professionals, and people who just love coffee a lot, who love wine a lot, and who want to learn a little more. So it’s not just for professionals, but also for amateurs.

Do you have a representative or contact in Vietnam?

- Absolutely. We’re really happy to work for a year with a distributor named Idocean based in HCMC. Vietnam is a market quite new to us.

But do you intend to showcase all of this in hotel training schools in Vietnam?

- Of course, that’s the objective. We’ve been contacted by many university teachers who want to offer these box sets to their students to improve their sensory education. So it’s exactly the path towards where we’re going.

What is basically the practical application of this kind of training?

- The idea is to be able to really train our olfactory system. If you can recognize the aromas in wine, in coffee, in whiskey, it will allow you to know where, when and how products were made. It allows you to judge the quality of a product, as simple as that. It helps develop the sense of smell and creates a common language to describe, understand and better enjoy wine and coffee.

Reported by Ngoc Tran

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