In the last of his eight-part series on wine-and-food pairing for The Atlantic Food Channel, Grant Achatz, the wunderkind behind Chicago’s Alinea, addresses the issue of pairing wine with chocolate. But his final post is less about the trials of balancing sweetness with acidity, and more about how he came to learn how to rely on his sense of smell after losing the ability to taste in the course of his treatment for tongue cancer. Taste, they say (and many of them are wine experts), is roughly 75 percent smell. In this heartrending account, Achatz explains how he, an already acclaimed chef, never quite learned this until he was forced to.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 7, 2009