Friday, January 22, 2010

The "toys" at Alicia - final posting on Spain... for now

I have been trying to upload the videos below through "Blogger" but there must be some glitch on their end because it has been impossible to do it, so I gave up and they are now on YouTube (links are below) and you can also see them on my facebook page (link is to the right of this column).
The following videos are just a sample of the equipment they have available at Alicia to play with. I have only seen them in photos and have always wanted to use them. The one machine I had not seen or heard of is the oil spherifier they are currently perfecting with a Swiss manufacturer. It basically is a precision machine, were one tube carries the olive oil and the other the sodium alginate; it has to be able to trap a droplet of oil with the sodium alginate before it drops it into a calcium chloride bath; easier said than done. See the results below:

What truly surprised me is that they have been using it al El Bulli for the last two seasons and I had not heard of it at all. Not that I know everything, but still...

This other video is the Rotaval and the Gastrovac (both of which you can get the specs for here: ); the rotaval is a cooking specific distiller; in this case, you will never guess what is being distilled... watch the video:

It was dirt. Dirt from the grounds around Alicia. We tasted it, and it tasted exactly like dirt. Was it good? No, not by any extent of the imagination. But the possibilities are endless (Albert Adria makes a leather ice cream). Currently it will set you back around 10k, but they are working on a more inexpensive model. The other machine in the video is the Gastrovac... I still have no idea how it works, but I want one.

Last but not least, I was taken aback that Albert Adria is not at el Bulli anymore. Did anyone know this? He has his hand on the online business ( and he owns a terrific tapas bar (which I visited and was very good: Inopia). Wonder if his second in command is now in full command?


  1. Great thanks. Franciso what is the web address of Alicia I can not find it after you mentioned it on the pastry cream post?

  2. The Gastrovac is a machine that raises the atomospheric pressure and "cooks" whatever is inside. Different pressure levels and temperatures can be used to produce different results. Kind of like a $6000 pressure cooker. PS: jealous of your trip

  3. Here is the article on AA

    Came out right around Natura
    Eater was running a thing about eL Bulli closing for around 2 years at the end of next season

    Also, in this episode of "After Hours with Daniel" at wd50, Wylie and Sam were messing around with a machine that encapsulates as it drops?,vepisode,1,0

    Tremendous pix and info from your Spanish adventures,
    Thank you!