Time as a Seasoning: Aged Like a Fine Wine.

By Camilla Iannucci

Jamon Serrano and other Cured meats

The process of the popular Spanish ham with its intense flavour and tender texture can take up to 15 months to mature. From the leg of a pig preserved with salt. It is undeniable proof that some delicacies are so unique as born from an entangled backstory rather than a simple process. The critical steps are what impart Jamón Serrano’s signature bold, woody flavour.


These cured sausages hang in carefully controlled conditions, where a collection of flavours develops. As in most fermented foods, it is the action of enzymes that become responsible for Salami’s distinctive flavour. Salami is prepared by chopping meat and fat, which is then transferred in a ‘skin’ casing. It is then smoked, fermented and or dried. The action of spices, beneficial moulds and the gradual drying process allows the salami to concentrate its taste and texture. Each time, the meat undergoes a metamorphosis, resulting in a robust and complex profile which can take between six to eight weeks. Many regions in different countries give a plethora of different flavours and textures.

Spirits and Wine


And of course, the perfect wine companion is cheese. Cheese’s enhanced flavour over time is a result of cow, sheep, goat milk and even vegan versions and a complex biochemical process, where proteins and fats break down into smaller, delicious combinations.

Ageing allows for the development of unique textures and intensification of taste. The gradual reduction of moisture content also helps define a flavour profile. Time, in this case, transforms a simple process into a rich culinary delight.

The precise process varies based on the kind of cheese. The best place to explore cheese is a specialist shop.

Take for example Paxton & Whitfield, who can take cheese lovers by the hand giving them a chance to dig into an expansive, tasteful cheese journey.

From gift sets to memberships and recipients featuring cheese, the brand offers a range of carefully curated products. With the option of subscribing for a 3, 6 or 12 month plan, the brand offers monthly-picked products featuring artisan cheese paired with crackers. With the addition of accompaniments and wines, everyone has the possibility to delve into a tempting, 360°delicious experience.

Soya sauce, a staple in many Asian and now Western kitchens, is an umami-rich elixir that ferments and matures for that complex collection of flavours to take place. The fermentation process, often takes months or even years, allowing the Soya sauce to develop those signature savoury notes, entertaining with subtle sweetness and a deep umami profile. It’s the interaction between the Soyabeans, wheat and salt to create a harmonious blend that adds to its components. Like a fine wine, soya sauce benefits from patience.

Maple syrup

Maple syrup is derived from the sap of sugar maple trees, truly showing itself over time. The process of producing maple syrup involves boiling down the sap to concentrate its sugars to then leaving the liquid to rest and mature. Over time, the syrup develops a more pronounced richness, deepening in colour and complexity. The partnership between the slow caramelization of sugars and the natural compounds of the sap results in a flavour profile that transcends sweetness.

Christmas cake

Image if you will, someone tells you about a cake they bake in July but tell you they won’t eat it until December, you would think them mad? In your mind’s eye, the cake tin when opened five months later will contain nothing but mould.

Christmas cake is a delightful confection that only gets better with time. The key factor is the ‘feeding’ of the cake (once baked) with Alcohol that works as a preservative. The infusion of spices, dried fruits and spirits creates a harmonious blend. As time passes, these ingredients blend, allowing the cake to develop that deep, rich taste. The ageing process not only enhances the texture, making it moist and dense but also intensifies the festive aromas.

You can learn more about Paxton & Whitfield’s products here.

If you enjoyed reading Time as a Seasoning: Aged Like Fine Wine, why not read The Herb of the Angels; Green Fragrant and Delicious.

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