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Culinary term of the day – gastrique

No, gastrique isn’t a digestive aid. Well, not in the traditional sense, at least.

Gastrique is a sauce variation, created by the reduction of vinegar and sugar and usually includes a fruit component. The sugar is usually caramelized. Sometimes a gastrique is simply vinegar and caramelized sugar and it’s added to a fruit component that exists in a dish (for instance, you might have duck with cherries and a gastrique is added in order to combine with the cherries and bridge the gap between the fruit and the meat) and sometimes fruit juice or straight fruit is added directly to the gastrique to creat a “fruit sauce”. Occasionally, you might find the addition of wine or port to the basic gastrique.

The most common fruits used are lemon, oranges and tomatoes, although virtually any fruit can be used.

Gastriques aren’t usually “sweet”, per se. When you caramelize the sugar, it reduces the sweetness.

A gastrique is useful for adding acidity to a dish and is a nice change from heavy cream or roux-based sauces.