The Caterer – Book review: Sour by Mark Diacono

As you stare at the lime-green cover of Sour and its promise to uncover “the magical element that will transform your cooking” you may ask yourself two questions: “don’t I already know what sourness is?”; and: “do I really have space on my bookshelf for something so focused on a single flavour profile?” The answer to both should be yes.

After the opening ode to the taste, the book is split into two parts. The first is focused on the direction for using sourness in base recipes – a vast span of possibilities ranging from sourdough starters, to ricottas and paneers, kombucha and kefir – which plainly lays out how to tweak the variables to come away with the desired result. The second part features fully fledged recipes that are equally vital and gorgeous. They range from the usual possets and ceviches to the more surprising – the gooseberry and sage focaccia, and the sourdough with labneh, roast grapes and strawberry sambal stand out – and allow for a fully fledged portfolio of foundational flavour combinations to experiment with and hone.

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