A Citrus Challenge of Flavors

Givaudan’s Spirited Champions TasteTrek Highlights UCR Citrus

Sierra LaPoint

UCR Senior Sierra LaPoint recently won kudos in a national flavor competition that was based on citrus picked from the campus’ groves.

The occasion was the “Spirited Champions TasteTrek” sponsored at the Mission Inn in Riverside by UCR corporate supporter Givaudan, a global leader in the fragrance and flavor industry.

Givaudan, based in Switzerland, brought eight of the top bartenders in America to Riverside for the event.

At the center of this competition was UCR’s citrus. To show participants the fruit from the source to the table, a special tour of the UCR Citrus Variety Collection was led by Tracy Kahn.  Kahn, curator of the collection, holds the Givaudan Citrus Variety Collection Endowed Chair.

Givaudan chemists, flavorists, and marketers challenged the bartenders to create alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks that highlighted UCR citrus. tracy kahn

At the competition, Givaudan chemists, flavorists, and marketers challenged the bartenders to create alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks that highlighted citrus picked directly from UCR’s orchards.

LaPoint, a philosophy major, is also a part-time bartender at W. Wolfskill, a craft cocktail bar in downtown Riverside. W. Wolfskill purchases UCR citrus for its drinks, and, in her work there, LaPoint has become an expert in combining citrus and spirits.

Working with citrus is both an art form and a science, she says.  “When I mix drinks, there is love that goes into this. And participating in TasteTrek gave me a new way to approach my craft.”

The experience was unique, she said, in that the competitors participated in intense scent and taste training sessions before they took on the challenges of the competition, which included creating non-alcoholic as well as alcoholic breakfast drinks, dinner cocktails, and seasonal drinks.

In the competition, a Mission Inn conference room was transformed into a flavor laboratory, with tables covered with citrus, herbs, spices, teas, coffee, and spirits.

LaPoint won the seasonal drink category by creating a fall-inspired, slightly alcoholic drink. The main ingredients were rouge vermouth and a cordial she made from high-oil sour-orange peels, fresh local raisins, winter spices, and brandy.

“It was exciting because I got to work alongside and learn from some of the world’s best flavorists,” LaPoint said.

Citrus picked directly from UCR’s orchards. tracy kahn

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E-mail: SandraB.Martinez@ucr.edu

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