Made for Gaggenau

Food and Time: Maturing

London

13 September 2016

This year, Gaggenau turns 333 years old. From its origins as a small iron foundry in Germany’s Black Forest, Gaggenau has always prized slow and considered product design and development. The brand’s contemporary products – design-led, highly engineered domestic appliances – are the result of 333 years of hard earned experience and expertise.

To mark the brand’s anniversary, Gaggenau and Disegno partnered on a project that would celebrate the working method for which Gaggenau has become known: elegant product design borne out of meticulous process and deliberation.

The result was Food and Time, a project examining how the relationship between duration and food culture. From the length of the growing process, through to deliberation about when to harvest and choices as to preparation, everything that we eat is shaped by time. A food’s colour, shape, texture and structure may all fundamentally change over time. During those transformations, what remains?

To create the project, Disegno and Gaggenau turned to Arabeschi di Latte, an Italian food design studio founded by Francesca Sarti in 2001. Sarti responded with five recipes that reveal the intricate and beautiful ways in which duration shapes the dishes that we eat, as well as the way we prepare and think about food.

None of the ideas that Sarti developed represent fixed, immutable recipes, but rather they prioritise the processes involved in their creation. The Food and Time recipes will adapt as time moves on, but they still pay homage to where they have come from. All five are living entities that stand in tribute to the impact of time upon the creative process.

Food and Time is a tribute to the creative approach that Gaggenau has fostered from its inception. Gaggenau’s products are not disposable objects or the result of quick, reactionary thinking. Instead, they are the product of 333 years of history and ongoing processes of experimentation, innovation and progression.

Sarti responded to this with a project that shows this same ethos to be alive within wider food culture. Working with the photographer Michael Bodiam, she created five recipes that examine food processed to which the passage of time is essential. Accompanied by still-life images and GIFs shot by Bodiam, Sarti’s recipes encourage us to reflect on the depth of the connection between food and time.

Below, Sarti shares her recipe for aromatic labneh.


Maturing

Labneh originally hails from the Middle East. It’s a smooth, soft cheese that can be easily made at home using Greek yoghurt. The yoghurt is placed within a cloth to mature and during the maturation process water from the yoghurt seeps through the fabric, causing the mixture to become more flavoursome and thicker.

The mixture inside the plum-coloured cloth in the photographs resembles a landscape and the whole affair appears very poetic. The water dripping through the cloth becomes a means with which to measure time: each drip is like a second. They become more infrequent and eventually cease, indicating that the cheese is ready to eat.

With time passing food starts to mature and during maturation food often loses some of its original components. In the following recipe the yoghurt loses water and becomes more solid, which turns it into cheese. Generally speaking, maturing is an important ingredient in cheese making. It adds taste as well as structure.

Aromatic labneh

1kg Greek yoghurt
1 tsp sea salt
1 vanilla pod scraped
Olive oil
Fresh basil leaves, finely shredded
1 unwaxed lemon, finely grated

– Line a sieve with a double layer of muslin and place it over a bowl.

– Mix the yoghurt with the salt and the vanilla seeds.

– Put the yoghurt onto the fabric and tie the fabric up like a bag.

– Suspend this bag with kitchen string from one rack in the fridge, placing it over a bowl.

– Let the yoghurt drip for 24 to 48 hours, giving the bag a squeeze a couple of times a day.

– Unwrap the labneh, break it into chunks and roll into balls with wet hands.

– Roll the balls in the shredded basil leaves and the grated lemon peel.

– Take a sterilised jar (1.5l), pour some olive oil into the jar and start putting the balls in.

– Add more oil as you go, so the cheese balls don't stick together. Cover the balls completely with oil.

– Refrigerate and leave for two days. The cheese balls last for two weeks in the refrigerator.