Swanson®, America’s number one broth, is pleased to introduce its first-ever broth sommelier to share culinary secrets about the flavor intricacies of broth, educate on the impact of broth flavor on your final dish, and help consumers identify the ideal broth to make their most delicious homemade cooking.
Chef Graham Zanow, soup and broth executive research chef for Campbell Soup Company, knows that all broths are not the same. In his newly appointed role as Swanson Sommelier, Chef Zanow aims to redefine how consumers think about broth, shedding light on the flavor intricacies and the impact it makes on every dish.
Chef Zanow brings a strong culinary background to the role, starting at the Culinary Institute of America with degrees in Culinary Arts and Culinary Arts Management. He sharpened his skills with world-renowned chef Thomas Keller in his three-Michelin-starred restaurant, The French Laundry.
Making or selecting broth depends on individuals’ preferences. Just like a wine tasting, we recommend using your full range of senses. This, coupled with understanding a few quality indicators, will help you select the ideal broth.
Appearance and smell are critical. The color can tell you a lot about the broth and its flavor depth, and the smell conveys the complexity of the broth.
The most important sense, however, is taste. Broth is the flavor foundation that carries through to the final dish. The unique flavor of a broth is determined by ingredient selection and the cooking process. So how do you judge a chicken broth?
The primary flavor elements of broth include:
Chicken – Dark Meat, White Meat, Roasted Meat, Roasted Skin, Fat
Vegetables – Carrot, Onion, Celery
Herb/Spices – Salt, Pepper, Bay Leaf, Sage, Rosemary
Umami – Savory, mouth-watering sensation creates craveability and spurs the next bite
Watch out for flavor spikes and off notes that result from a lack of harmony, which might include a sour or rancid oil taste.
Broth tasting can be similar to the tasting of a fine wine. What is your point of view on this?
Absolutely. Akin to a fine wine, cheese or coffee, all broths are NOT the same. Broth development is an intricate, deliberate process that requires attention to the full flavor journey – the beginning, middle and end flavor notes across the curve, the rich aroma and the bold mouthfeel.
Why should a consumer taste their broth?
I always take the time to taste my ingredients to ensure that they meet my flavor expectations. I learned in culinary school that a high quality, flavorful broth is vital to create delicious dishes. Broth is the flavor foundation for your dish and will carry through to the final dish flavor.
As the Swanson Sommelier, how do you taste broth?
I look at the visual aspects of the broth. Is it clear, is it cloudy—what is the shade of the overall color? Then, I’ll smell the aroma to understand the different flavor notes in the broth. The final and most important step is taste. I always take the time to taste and select a broth with rich layers of flavor, perfectly balanced throughout the flavor curve. The right flavor is vital as it is the foundation that carries through to your final dish.
Our 100% Natural Regular Chicken Broth has a flavor curve that starts with of herbs like sage and rosemary. The peak offers a bold taste of real dark and white meat chicken, with mirepoix (the perfect ratio of onion, carrot and celery), followed by umami, a rich and savory flavor.