A garnish refers to an item or substance used as embellishment along a dish or drink. Basically, some garnishes should not be eaten as they are for decorative purposes only. Nonetheless, they are edible; so it is just fine if some people prefer to eat them. In most cases, it adds a twist to the original flavor of the dish or beverage. Garnishes are chosen mainly to amplify the visual effect of the plate, but they are also selected specially for the flavor they can give to the dish.
According to Campbell’s Kitchen, the following are the most common garnishes used by chefs and home cooks around the world:
- Cheese : curled over pastas and salads
- Chocolate : arranged on top of bread, puddings, cupcakes and cakes
- Gremolata : an Italian garnish that consists of chopped parsley, garlic and sprinkled with lemon peel
- Skewers of fresh cherry tomatoes and large cuts of mozzarella cheese with basil leaves in between
- Chopped herbs such as basil, chives, oregano, and parsley
- Shrimp, slices of lemon or lime, and sour cream
Preparing a Garnish
In garnishing, there are many things to consider. Some of these things are the impact you want to create to the customers or people who would eat the dish, how the garnish will be eaten and the flavor of the garnish. When serving a food with garnish, it is recommended to have several layers as it gives more impact to the eater. In addition, keep in mind that the more colorful the dish is, the more visually appetizing it becomes.
At times, garnishes and condiments are used together to finish the arrangement of a certain dish. In fact, some dishes look incomplete without a garnish. For instance, a banana split sundae is not a banana split sundae if there is no ice cream, chocolate sauce, and strawberry or cherry on top.