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Art Menu: Top-5 Dishes and Drinks Inspired by Painting

Painting a three-tiered cake similar to the masterpieces by Van Gogh is, of course, self-indulgence, albeit very cute. The starry night and blooming almonds could easily replace Monet’s water lilies or Korovin’s roses. The form has nothing to do with the content here, and art play is limited to choosing the right synthetic dyes. But there are dishes whose creators seem to have art history diplomas, apart from the cook’s. These are not just dishes painted in the right shades, but independent culinary masterpieces that look like the picturesque ones. Where do you prefer to start the tasting — the Bellini cocktail or the Kandinsky salad?
Art Menu: Top-5 Dishes and Drinks Inspired by Painting
  • 1. Vincent van Gogh. The Starry Night
  • 2. Vincent van Gogh. Almond Blossoms

Kandinsky salad

Art Menu: Top-5 Dishes and Drinks Inspired by Painting
Our list includes long-standing classics, and this salad is the only novelty. In 2012, the chef Charles Michel saw Wassily Kandinsky’s Wall Panel for Edwin R. Campbell’s villa at an exhibition in New York MOMA. It seemed to him that this abstraction was quite concrete and he reproduced it in the form of a salad, consisting of 30 ingredients, including several types of mushrooms, broccoli, chicory, red and yellow peppers, beets, carrot puree, squid ink.

Charles has long been interested in how the appearance of dishes affects their taste. He even takes a job as a freelance chef in the Oxford University research laboratory. There, in June of this year, a study was conducted, which revealed that a salad served under the guise of the Kandinsky’s canvas is much tastier than a salad of the same 30 ingredients, presented in the form of an ordinary pile.

The salad was fed to 60 volunteers aged 18 to 58 years. They liked it so much that, according to them, they would pay twice as much for such an artistically decorated salad than for the same one, but not so beautiful and, as a result, not so tasty.

The participants in the experiment also highly appreciated the salads prepared based on the motives of Pablo Picasso, Edgar Degas and Robert Delaunay, although, as you can see, they are performed much less masterly than Kandinsky, and are much inferior to their originals:
Art Menu: Top-5 Dishes and Drinks Inspired by Painting
Professor Charles Spence, who led the study
A study is an exercise painting that helps the painter better understand the object he or she paints. It is simple and clear, like sample letters in a school student’s copybook. Rough and ready, not detailed, with every stroke being to the point, a study is a proven method of touching the world and making a catalogue of it. However, in art history, the status of the study is vague and open to interpretation. Despite its auxiliary role, a study is sometimes viewed as something far more significant than the finished piece. Then, within an impressive frame, it is placed on a museum wall.
So, when does a study remain a mere drill, and when can we call it an artwork in its own right, full of life and having artistic value? Read more
, stated that the participants in the experiment apparently transferred the aesthetic qualities of the dishes and their artistic origins to the taste, which is why art salads were such a success.

Now shall we move to dishes that do not need scientific research to confirm their taste — they have all been popular all over the world for a long time.

Bellini cocktail

Art Menu: Top-5 Dishes and Drinks Inspired by Painting
As early as the first half of the last century, as many as three dishes dedicated to Italian painters were invented by Giuseppe Cipriani, a connoisseur of fine art, a bartender and creator of Harry Bar, a cult Venetian institution, which has always been visited by creative bohemians, from Ernest Hemingway and Maria Callas to Nicole Kidman and Woody Allen.

Let’s start with the Bellini cocktail — the summer won’t be as joyful without it as it could be with it. You don’t have to spend money on a trip to Venice!
Bellini cocktail. Recipe

Everything is very simple. You need two thirds of cold sparkling wine (the Italians, of course, will take prosecco, but even if you use common champagne, the world will stay unharmed) and one third of squashed "white peaches": their pulpy substance is light pink, not yellow.

At home, the cocktail is convenient to make in a blender. Whisk the peach pulp first (without the skin) with a little caster sugar and a few ice cubes. Then add the required amount of sparkling wine and make a blender move — only one, we are preparing Bellini, not Vesuvius; we just need to mix the squash and wine very well so that the cocktail does not stratify while you savour and admire it…
Well, why Bellini? Because the biblical subjects in the paintings of Giovanni Bellini wore clothes of a unique peach shade. The bartender Cipriani has reproduced and immortalized it in his famous cocktail.
  • Giovanni Bellini. Drunkenness of Noah.
  • Giovanni Bellini. Agony in the Garden.
You know what? Orange peaches shouldn’t be ignored either. They are often very juicy and aromatic and add an even richer flavour to the cocktail. Certainly, the orange cocktail shouldn’t be called Bellini. But there is a way out: show your imagination and call it Rothko!
  • Sparkling wine cocktail with orange peach.
  • Mark Rothko. Orange, Red, Yellow.

Tintoretto cocktail

Art Menu: Top-5 Dishes and Drinks Inspired by Painting
Jacopo Tintoretto dressed his subjects in rich shades of red. We already know the recipe: two thirds of sparkling wine, one third of pomegranate juice (ideally freshly squeezed, but canned is also good), ice, a shaker — enjoy.
Two more popular cocktails based on sparkling wine are prepared in the same proportions: Mimosa (with orange juice) and Rossini (with strawberry puree). But that’s another book.

Beef carpaccio

Art Menu: Top-5 Dishes and Drinks Inspired by Painting
Looking at the red and white shades combined in the paintings of Vittore Carpaccio, we unwillingly recall the marbled beef. It only retains its original flavour in its raw state, which means that it should be served this way.

The already mentioned Venetian Giuseppe Cipriani called thin marinated slices of beef carpaccio. The logic is as sophisticated and simple as the dish itself.

La Gioconda biscuit

La Gioconda biscuit contains a mystery, just like the famous subject of Leonardo da Vinci: it uses ground almonds as flour, which is why it is so moist and fragrant. It is used as a base for the most exquisite cakes. Among them is the art-related Opera cake, which resembles the interior decoration of the Parisian Grand Opera with its multi-layered cut.
Art Menu: Top-5 Dishes and Drinks Inspired by Painting
Certainly, La Gioconda biscuit and cakes and pastries on its base are the most dangerous delicacy fr

Certainly, La Gioconda biscuit and cakes and pastries on its base are the most dangerous delicacy from our art menu. If you get too carried away with them, you can easily turn into such a La Gioconda performed by Fernando Botero.

And even despite this warning, bon appetit!