We chat with dedicated artisans across the country making jars of aioli with love and care.
Very few ingredients are required to create a culinary masterpiece and aioli is one such testament to that adage. The garlic and oil emulsion is often referred to as “fancy mayo” but when you take the artisan route there’s a very down-to-earth story behind this condiment.
The word aïoli has French Provençal origins, a combination of the words for garlic and oil. Its European history still influences the artisan craft today as a growing number of producers are focusing on wholesome, local and environmentally friendly practices.
A sustainable route
Sustainable production of aioli has resulted in many artisans choosing to make a plant-based product catering perfectly to vegans or those with egg allergies. Dibble Foods, a Sydney-based food company that styles itself as a “purveyor of plant-based foods”, is dedicated to producing game-changing sustainable, and vegan, condiments like aioli.
“I’ve always been obsessed with aioli but after doing some research I quickly realised there weren’t many egg-free/vegan aioli options available or the ones that were on the market didn’t taste as good as egg-based aioli,” explains Dibble Foods founder and director Vuong Nguyen.
“With that in mind, I was determined to make a super tasty aioli that both vegans and non-vegans could enjoy.”
Dibble Foods uses a traditional-meets contemporary process, eschewing eggs for an unlikely substitute often thrown away in food production: aquafaba. In layman’s terms, this is leftover water from cooked chickpeas and it acts as a natural emulsifier.
“I work with local businesses to collect the leftover water from cooked chickpeas and use this instead of eggs,” Nguyen explains. “This is then cultured for a minimum of 24 hours, which helps to develop the egg-like savoury notes in the final product.”
This is combined with the more familiar aioli ingredients vinegar, lemon, garlic and salt in Dibble Food’s custom-built processing equipment. “While they’re circulating, Aussie sunflower oil is slowly added,” Nguyen continues. “I then take a small sample and analyse it in our in-house lab to make sure it passes our strict high-quality standards. Once it’s passed, it’s either packaged into 280-gram glass jars for retail or pails for food service.”
This handcrafted process is also reflected in the aioli produced by Western Australia-based fine food merchants Ogilvie & Co. Production manager Sarah Moses explains: “Everything starts with a flavour base that is all natural. Our Ogilvie & Co aioli is produced on site in our purpose-built kitchen, with a small team that pay close attention to every aspect of the process.
“It’s a real labour of love — everything is manufactured, poured and labelled by hand.”
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Issue #25 2019