Cannabis, the magic ingredient
Let´s face it.. if you´re regular smoker, you probably enjoy a good meal as well. The culinary world seems to have embraced the cannabis plant now, and it´s a match made in heaven.
In the past decade we´ve seen a steadily relaxing attitude towards, and rising popularity of, cannabis. The online sharing of information has greatly contributed in exposing past lies and reaching a broader audience.
With the qualities the plant has, and the wide variety of effects and applications, the possibilities are endless. This beautiful new ingredient has inspired chefs across the globe, not only to please dinners pallets, but also open minds.
Nothing is new, but everything changes
For centuries we´ve used cannabis extract in our food, due to its great solubility in oils and fats. In fact the earliest evidence of this has been dated back to India, around 1000 BCE. A traditional infused milk called Bhang is still consumed today around religious festivities.
Everyone that has grown their own weed, knows the trimmings aren´t a waste product. For ages we´ve been passionately making butters, oils and cookies, slowly creating a foundation for what can now be considered a booming new market.. infused gourmet foods.
Edibles are no longer just made from left-overs, now high quality extracts have become the norm. This makes perfect sense as well, considering dosing is critical to create the desired experience. That, of course, is the magic word when we talk about a high-end 420 dinner.
The experience is everything! If I pay for an infused meal, I want to feel it.. but I also want to be able to get home safely. Perhaps I also want to know more about the product I´m consuming and how it has been sourced. A lot of new variables to consider when going out, but at the same time very natural considering how we look at our food these days.
There are almost infinite strains out there for chefs to experiment with. The different terpene patterns are pallets of flavours to play with. The THC and CBD levels (amongst others) are used to obtain the desired effects. Great tools for new creative expressions in kitchens around the world.
Growing popularity of the culinary cannabis hype
Although many countries are beginning to open up to new cannabis legislation, in general it´s still early days. However, looking at developments in parts of the US, it seems change is coming and new markets will soon start to open up. A good time for chefs to get educated on cannabis and the amazing opportunities it has to offer in the near future.
For now, culinary cannabis entrepreneurs have few other options than the US and Canada to freely present their creations to the general public. In this part of the world chefs have been experimenting with regulated weed for about 10 years already, and they are setting the standard for gourmet cannabis cooking.
Although we might not be able to have a taste ourselves, we see everything on Netflix, YouTube and Instagram. Cannabis cookbooks are now also more popular than ever and a great addition to any kitchen. With all this exposure, a huge demand has been created.
Eat with your eyes
Fine dining with Cannabis isn´t openly available in other parts of the world, but what cannabis and cooking also have in common is that we love watching it. YouTube channels like Vice and Munchies regularly, and openly, feature cannabis related stories and now famous stoner chefs.
A great example of the popularity of these channels is Eddie Huang, chef of the famous BOAHAUS in New York and admitted cannabis aficionado. The success of his series on Vice landed him a sitcom, Fresh off the Boat, now in its 6th season. Let´s get this straight, this chef is not about cooking with cannabis, but definitely represents stoner foodies.
To really see cannabis in action in the kitchen, Netflix now gives us Cooked with Cannabis. A classic cooking competition format with cannabis as gimmick, sure, but it works. The show is a great medium to display different strains, extractions and applications. The chefs also explain the effects they are trying to accomplish, applying different dosages of THC and CBD throughout the three courses. These dishes are then presented to a jury formed by guest. As these have varied experiences with cannabis, it´s always interesting to see the effects.
Instagram has established itself as the preferred Social Media channel for both the culinary and the cannabis community, so naturally there is also a great variety infusions and edibles on display. This channel has less limitations and people all over the world can use this platform to share their creations, whether these are comercial or personal.
Looking at Spain and its great tradition of gastronomy, it would seem foolish not to embrace cannabis as an ingredient. New concepts for trendy restaurants and bars might be just what the doctor ordered, helping to revitalise important sectors of its economy.
Many Cannabis Clubs already offer different edibles, mainly baked good and gummies. More importantly are the base ingredients, the extracts. Spain is one of the worlds’ pioneers when it comes to production of high quality extractions, perhaps soon we can add cannabis products to the list of Spanish delicacies!
Photos: Jasmin Brunner and Margo Amala