Molecular Balsamic Pearls


Most people may have heard the term "molecular gastronomy," which is the study of the science of cooking. But once you start physically creating the food, it now becomes molecular cuisine. For the more adventurous cooks, these balsamic pearls by Chef John Placko are a fantastic way to add a fun, 'molecular' touch to your dishes. The results are small jelly-like "pearls" of balsamic vinegar, that pop in your mouth like caviar.

Balsamic Pearls


1/2 cup (125 mL) water
1/2 cup (125 mL) balsamic vinegar
2 g sodium alginate


  1. Place water and balsamic vinegar in a blender.
  2. With the blades on low speed, sprinkle sodium alginate onto the liquid by using a small tea strainer. Mix until the powder is absorbed by the liquid.
  3. Strain the mix through a small tea strainer. Pour onto a squeeze bottle.

To make the setting bath:

3.2 g calcium chloride
500 mL cold water

  1. Dissolve the calcium chloride in water by mixing with a spoon for 30 seconds.
  2. Drip the balsamic liquid slowly into the setting bath and leave to set for 1-2 minutes.
  3. Carefully pour the liquid through a small tea strainer into another 500 ml container to capture the pearls.
  4. Submerge the strainer with pearls into a small bowl of cold water for a few seconds to rinse from the calcium chloride.
  5. Remove strainer from water and spoon out the pearls onto your dish.

For more information on these ingredients, please click here.

Chef John Placko


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