March was a busy month for all UNLV students, including Epicurean members. Project deadlines and midterm testing were on everyone’s mind as the end of the spring semester draws near. The Epicurean Society typically holds an event every month, but unfortunately testing did not allow for much room to plan or adjust schedules in order to hold an event worthy of the Epicurean name. As we all know, St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated in March. A themed event for that holiday would have been a great experience for all members as it would have been Epicurean’s first time to hold an event for that holiday. Of course, the Epicurean Society members were not the only ones with too much on their hands. Even other Hotel College clubs either held a small event or none at all. We hope to hold a St. Patrick’s themed event next year along with additional members.
On April 18 and 26, Epicurean will be teaming up with Greek fraternities Pi Kappa Alpha and Sigma Alpha Mu for an event held by the Greek community at UNLV. The club plans to sell fizzy fruit at the event. If you do not know or are not sure what fizzy fruit is, well let me explain. Fizzy fruit is basically fruit that has been carbonated with dry ice. Dry ice is frozen carbon dioxide at a temperature around -108 ?F (-78 ?C). Fruits that work best are grapes, oranges, pears and more. While the Epicurean Society will be using those same fruits, they will also be using a few more special fruit selections. These fruits are typically firm and sweet so that the carbonic acid from the concentrated carbon dioxide (CO2) balances out the sweetness.
In a container or a cooler, the dry ice will be placed first and then fruit. The fruit and the water inside of it has to be made as cold as possible without freezing so that the carbon dioxide can dissolve into it. If the fruit freezes, then it will not be fizzy when it is taken out of the container. The colder and higher the pressure, the fizzier the fruit. Fruits will be wrapped tightly in the container with the dry ice for about 12 to 14 hours to carbonate. The dry ice will cool the fruit down and make the solubility of the Co2 higher inside the liquid of the fruit. When it warms up, the dry ice turns back into a gas and this in turn raises the pressure. As the pressure goes up and the temperature of the fruit goes down, more Co2 molecules can be forced into the liquid of the fruit.
The sort of fizzy sensation that is felt when eating or drinking anything that has been carbonated is due to the large amount of Co2 into the mouth and retro nasally coming up into the nose, triggering a pain response in the nerves. This heightens your other sensory inputs, making everything more aromatic and fragrant. Essentially it is that same combination of coldness and acidity that makes fizzy fruit so unique and amazing, especially as it increases aromatics.
The main goal for the event is not just to earn more revenue for the club, but it is also to get the Epicurean Society’s name out there and create more interest in students of all majors to join. In turn, hopefully a lot of new members will join Epicurean this semester or the following semester. Epicurean anticipates that the sale will go well as the Valentine’s Day strawberry covered chocolate sale had been such a success.
On April 7, Epicurean Society will be holding the Epi Garden event. Epi Garden will be a mixer for all Hotel College clubs, faculty, and staff. The event will be held at the UNLV community garden, located directly next to the Rebel Recycling on the north side of campus near the Stan Fulton Building. The garden consists of about 41 raised planter beds, one belonging to Executive Chef Mark Sandoval and one to the Food and Beverage Department. The garden is rarely ever visited and many people have yet to know of its existence. The mixer will allow for more awareness of the garden and hopefully more people wanting to contribute to the garden. Not only that, but the mixer will also be both a great network opportunity and a chance to interact with and form closer relationships with other clubs. This will allow for more possible collaborations with other Hotel College clubs to create exciting and bigger events for everyone to enjoy at UNLV.