Our chef’s latest ingredient obsessions

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What makes a dish gourmet? We believe it starts with the highest-quality ingredients, cooked with fine technique and beautifully presented. And sometimes it means a hint of the unexpected — a final touch that makes all the components of a dish come together.

Our chef, Roberto, has some finishing touches that he’s been obsessed with lately. He uses these ingredients in small amounts, as a little goes a long way. Test your gourmet palate and try to note these flavours in your next Rose & Mary meal:

Produced locally and revered globally, Maldon salt is a chef’s top choice for its flaky texture and pure taste. Hand-harvested since 1882 by a family-run company in Essex, Maldon salt is free of the additives and aftertaste of common table salt. It also retains some of the trace minerals of sea water.

From the forests of Girona in Spain’s Catalonia community, our black truffle is smaller and subtler in taste than others. Often foraged with the help of a trained truffle hound, these truffles are preserved in brine, rather than dried. You’ll find a shaving of this delicacy in our pisto with sous-vide egg dish.

Atop our cauliflower crème, you’ll find beetroot sprouts and garlic shoots, which Roberto adds for texture and a burst of freshness. He describes them as being like “a piece of the garden in your mouth.” And our nutritionist would add that sprouts contain enzymes that aid digestion.

After years of comparison taste tests, our chef is confident that Es Murtaret are the world’s best. Apparently the chef at Arzak in San Sebastián (recently voted the 8th best restaurant in the world) agrees: Roberto says this is the only restaurant where he’s seen these prized wild capers. Look for them in our slow-cooked lamb with piperade.

When Roberto got the keys to the new Rose & Mary kitchen, the first thing he did was start a batch of black garlic. This mysterious delicacy, said to originate in Korea, is slowly caramelised over 40 days at a low temperature, until it takes on a flavour variously described as candy, Modena vinegar, liquorice or meat stock. Perhaps the best way to classify it is umami, the Japanese term for the elusive fifth flavour. Taste it in our sous-vide salt cod dish, and watch for its return in future sauces.

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