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Your Single Ingredient Sublime One Bite

I was thinking this afternoon about how much I love things in their "pure" form, tomatoes off the vine...oh wait I like salt on those, fried chicken...wait that is prepared, summer melons...damn I need salt on those too. Got me thinking about just what it is that I find sublime, in just one bite without preperation like a dessert or finished dish...as a flavor freak I thought my head might just implode, then it hit me....Epoisses.
I know it is milk transformed into something else but I don't have to lay a hand on it for it to be perfect for me, that one spoonfull of salty, pungent, gooey cheese for me is as good as it gets. So Chowhounders, what does it for you? That one bite of perfect-ness, an apple, the little charred bit at the end of a roast beef or tri-tip, strawberries? I would have said a glass of wine but being in the trade makes that way too obvious...and rather trite.
Epoisses for me and_____________for you?

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  1. fresh berries and herbs from the garden. When I was 9 I tasted apricots fresh from the tree on my grandfather's ramch-perfection- certainly nothing else was needed.Then in my 20's I lived near a large fig tree. I passed the tree every day on my way to the beach. Another perfect taste -thiee ripe figs just waiting for me in the church yard -, just warm from the sun ripe figs, all I wanted, on my way to the beach.
    so many years ago, but such coear memories.

    1 Reply
    1. re: karenfinan

      Ripe figs were the first thing that came to mind. Perfect.

      1. Fresh, crusty bread
        raspberries...actually, berries of all kinds
        Greek yogurt
        cherry tomatoes, no salt needed for me

        1. Oysters.

          Natures perfect food. They come preseasoned and on their own plate/spoon.


          4 Replies
          1. re: Davwud

            Yes!!! I'm with you on the oysters. I feel that way with many shellfish/seafood - I'm in heaven just looking at seafood in it's raw form. I watched Todd English once while fishing, scoop out the cheek of the fish, eat it right there on the boat! Must be why I love sushi so much. No rice, no rolls, no fillers, just raw fish!!!

            And anything fresh out of a garden/farm stand.

            1. re: lexpatti

              Slight correction, lexpatti. What you like is sashimi. Sushi is always prepared with rice.

              1. re: KTinNYC

                Yes, I know - just keeping it simple/nonspecific. When I say I'm going out for sushi, it's generally speaking and mostly sashimi.

            2. re: Davwud

              beautiful fresh seafood would be my pick as well though oysters are probably tops for something like that... really any mullosk as i can't imagine scallops being better any other way than raw either.

              fruit fruit and more fruit a very close second though.

            3. The first bite of a thick cut, perfecty cooked, medium rare steak.

              1. A ripe avocado, all the time.

                1. ripe mango.
                  like velvet......no, not velvet, like cool, juicy essence of sweetness in summer.

                  oh, and a crusty bit of pork rib tips with a good smoky bbq char.....(the piece on the end of the rack of ribs).

                  1. Pomegranate. I've eaten them every fall since childhood. There's something about the ritual of cleaning and eating them that I really get into. Love 'em.

                    1. Homemade Pasta with Truffles, That's what I'm takin about.
                      If Truffles are not available or affordable Truffle oil will just have to do.

                      1. santa maria tri tip charred over red oak

                        1. A perfect fig or a perfect peach. Both right off the tree.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: ziggylu

                            My neighbors around the block have a fig tree the size of a Toyota Corrola, and they don't eat figs. I do, every time I pass by.

                          2. A tree ripened peach, picked at its peak of juiceness. The smell, taste & texture are sublime!

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Jibe

                              Add my vote for the perfect peach--the one so juicy you eat it over the sink!

                            2. An oyster. Uni sashimi. Fresh litchi. Ripe melon (Cavaillon/cantaloupe type). Sour cherries.

                              1. wow, all of the above sounds sooo amazing...I will add...a steaming spoonful of a good broth like pho broth.

                                also, really fresh fatty dairy products like fresh butter.

                                1. The first bite of a perfectly roasted chicken with it's crispy skin and moist meat (but I guess that would probably have at least salt/pepper on it, wouldn't it?).

                                  OK, a caramelized, pan-seared scallop fresh from the ocean (or as fresh as they can be). A slice of freshly baked, warm, crusty bread. A ripe mango.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                    raw milk (found a source here after 9 years!), persimmon picked from my grandparents' tree, oysters, fresh farm egg, and the first bite of an orange after finishing a hard race (even better than the water that's handed to you!).

                                  2. pears, pineapples, second vote for avocados
                                    raw nuts
                                    fresh squeezed O.J.

                                    1. Freshly picked wild blueberry, smoked salmon, Lao sticky rice, rambutan, sashimi from what you pull in while deep sea fishing, cold crenshaw melon, ...

                                      1. sauteed foie gras
                                        salmon egg sushi with raw quail egg on top
                                        scottish smoked salmon
                                        fresh Belgium creme filled chocolates
                                        St. Marcellin cheese at exactly the right gooiness
                                        The knuckle meat from a good sized Maine lobster claw, dipped in butter
                                        Caspian Sea caviar
                                        a perfect chile relleno

                                        8 Replies
                                        1. re: Veggo

                                          Some of your choices are hardly single ingredient, Veggo, although they sound delicious.
                                          I'm a huge fan of St Marcellin, St Felcien and Epoisses, myself.
                                          And caviar- osetra and the like.
                                          Fresh ripe fruit comes in there-- almost any kind.
                                          Sugar snap peas
                                          Red bell peppers, although once we hit many vegetables, I tend to want a sprinkle of salt.

                                          But Veggo, what are 'fresh Belgium creme filled chocolates'. Specify please. And if I may, why do you-- like many many people-- use 'Belgium' rather than 'Belgian' as a qualifier? It is a mystery to me. Am I missing something? (I mean, beyond the obvious.)

                                          1. re: Veggo

                                            No fair, Veggo. You've got several ingredients put together, as Lizard said. The OP said a "single ingredient" sublime one bite. Go back to GO, do not collect $200. :-)

                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                              Lizard/Linda, I am contrite and riddled with guilt, that only 5 of my 8 offerings ( 62.5%) are single items.. Meatloaf sang "2 outa 3 ain't bad" which at 66.7 % seems a reasonable standard. So by a margin of 4.2%, I acknowledge fault and that Chounds can dunk me like a Salem witch or lock me in a public stock on the square and heave fruits and vegetables at me (hopefully soft and well-ripened). But being fastitiously aware as I am of the genesis of my infraction, tossing mixed vegetables or fruits by my jurors will constitute an infraction deserving to them of a similar punishment...

                                              1. re: Veggo

                                                Veggo, we appreciate your profound contrition but we demand MORE (or at least I do):

                                                Five, or maybe four, of your options are mixed, meaning that at most, 50% of your options are single ingredient:

                                                Chile relleno-- unless I'm mistaken which I could be-- is multiple ingredient.
                                                Sautéed foie gras-- ok, actually, you could just be using the fat from the foie, so I'll take it out. But nothing else in the pan!
                                                Salmon roe sushi with quail egg: yeah.
                                                Lobster ok-- but not with butter
                                                And those 'Begium creme chocolates'. Please help me: why do Americans use 'Belgium' as a qualifier. It is rampant and I don't get it!

                                                1. re: Lizard

                                                  Lizard, We Americans love our Belgium chocolates, and belgium waffles, which I personally prefer to eat with my France Toast, England muffins and Ireland soda bread.

                                                  1. re: Lizard

                                                    My lady-friend brough back some delicious fresh confections from Brussels so I mentioned Belgium. I am not a candy expert.
                                                    As for waffles, I can get a "belgian" waffle at almost any truck stop in America. Likewise french toast and english muffins.
                                                    Ireland soda bread is a little more upscale than typical trucker fare; one should seek out a place that serves Ireland stew. Same for that Turkey taffy...

                                                    1. re: Veggo

                                                      Funny, I made Irish soda bread at Degnan's in Yosemite Valley in the summer of 1968.

                                                      1. re: Veggo

                                                        OK, so if I understand this, it means that friends with some Belgian background are 'Belgian' but if they're national citizens and brought over by your lady friend, they're 'Belgium'.
                                                        And while you can get a 'Belgian' waffle at any truck stop, they are an affront to the waffles-- and it prevents people from truly understanding the joy that are gaufres Liegeois.

                                              2. in season sugar plum or mini grape tomatoes
                                                hawaiian pineapple
                                                steamed lobster or crab legs
                                                juicy ripe pear
                                                steamed cauliflower
                                                grilled maui or vidallia onions

                                                1. freshly picked cherry tomato, sun warmed.

                                                  A perfect POP of summer in one hit!

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: purple goddess

                                                    Oh, I completely forgot to put 'grape tomato' in my list. As with strawberries and other things, I can eat those until I have a belly ache.

                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                        Agreed...and also a sharp pecorino...and also aged gouda...and also brie...and also gorgonzola...and also robiola...

                                                        1. re: tatamagouche

                                                          Ahhh. So perhaps "cheese" would take care of it. :-)

                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                            For the most part! Although perhaps not every single variety qualifies as 1-bite sublime for me. I love a good cheddar, for instance, but I haven't had the cheddar I lost my shit over.


                                                            1. re: tatamagouche

                                                              I had a 5 year Grafton about a year ago that elevated cheddar to a level I did not think existed. I have not found it since, and not for lack of trying. Their 4 year is OK but unremarkable.
                                                              Where's the 5, anyone?

                                                              1. re: tatamagouche

                                                                Oh, *I* have! It was an English cheddar, with a lovely sharp bite and a granularity to it that I just loved. I got it at Whole Foods, but cannot remember the name of it. I've gone through the igourmet.com list of English cheeses and couldn't find it. But it was superb. I need to check with WF again.

                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                  I found that cheese this afternoon - it's called "Seaside Rugged Mature English cheddar" - $10.99/lb. at Whole Foods. Couldn't find a website for the cheesemaker, but found this forum link:


                                                                2. re: tatamagouche

                                                                  tatamagouche, thank you for that evocative word picture.....

                                                                3. re: LindaWhit

                                                                  I wish 'cheese' could take care of it, but as I love the mixed milk ones, and I'm also a fan of the rind washed ones. No single ingredient there.

                                                                4. re: tatamagouche

                                                                  Parm-reg, a sharp pec or any bleu were the first things to come to mind for me.

                                                              2. re: msmarabini


                                                                And Mozzarella di Bufala Campana, which is almost the exact opposite -- soft, subtle, sweet and barely salty, with a velvety "skin" that gives into a squeaky/creamy/oozing interior when you bite into it -- a symphony of textures, I'd say.

                                                              3. Pick one perfectly ripe orange off the tree. Cut in quarters. Bite into and allow the juice to run down your chin. Sweet, refreshing, sunshiney (almost a word...). Yum.

                                                                1. oysters
                                                                  coconut water
                                                                  butterfish sashimi
                                                                  steak carpaccio (hm okay maybe i want this seasoned ;)

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: NovoCuisine

                                                                    that's me!!! Add smoked salmon to your list.

                                                                  2. I just had a pluot. Heaven in a bite!

                                                                    1. One I forgot. Wild strawberries.

                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                        a little ot, but when i grew up, we had a cabin in western nc (highlands), and collected the small, wild strawberries and made jam every year we went up for summer. we served it on earlier-in-the-day fresh biscuits, toasted. i think there is nothing better in any restaurant that can ever equal that deliciousness!

                                                                        1. re: alkapal

                                                                          man oh man, that sounds wonderful.

                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                            it involved me in every step, and it just tasted like pure sunshine and bliss. maybe it was my first "local food" epiphany as a child - other than fresh gulf shrimp, fried up right, as i grew up in sw florida.

                                                                      2. a sunwarmed strawberry - preferrably in the company of a small strawberry juice stained boy who enjoys them as much as I. Bonus points if the guy who owns the U-pick farm says takes a look at him and says: 'Looks like I should have weighed him first'

                                                                        a sunwarmed tomato - or two - or three

                                                                        a sunwarmed ripe peach

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: Cookiefiend

                                                                          A sun-warmed ripe strawberry, stolen from the field of a mean old guy that *everybody* knows has a shotgun and will use it! (a base slander, but we believed it.) Sun-warmed watermelon, ditto.

                                                                          Seriously, I think we're seeing a fruit, cheese, oysters theme. If you take the OP's parameters seriously--but I think there's "preparation" involved in cheese, really. Has anybody mentioned very fresh sweet corn? Cooking violates the rules but it's good raw too.

                                                                        2. BACON!
                                                                          triple-cream brie

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: azhotdish

                                                                            BACON! Me too!
                                                                            That and fresh mozzarella.
                                                                            Oooh oooh, and avocado.
                                                                            Crushed ice <---------- must be crushed, not shaved, crushed

                                                                          2. Blackberries

                                                                            1. Smoked. Gouda.
                                                                              It's what I always imagined cheese would taste like when I was little.

                                                                              1. A ripe fig.

                                                                                A firm, sweet California navel orange.

                                                                                A rock-hard, sweet-tart September apple.

                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                1. re: Angela Roberta

                                                                                  oh my...as in Macoun apples...and that ones on my list too!

                                                                                  1. re: Angela Roberta

                                                                                    I forgot about fall apples... Mutsu for me!

                                                                                  2. Room temp Brie
                                                                                    Port Salut
                                                                                    Filet Mignon
                                                                                    Crab of any sort

                                                                                    1. Every fall, I eagerly await the few short weeks when the Macoun apples are at their crispy, juicy prime. The increasing popularity of long-keeping Honeycrisps in recent years helps relieve the pain of the end of the great Macouns.

                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: greygarious

                                                                                        I'm a huge fan of McIntosh apples in the fall.

                                                                                        1. re: greygarious

                                                                                          grey, in NJ macoun apples come & go so quickly. I usually go overboard while they are avail and freeze recipes using them to stretch the enjoyment...but I wish they were a year-round apple!

                                                                                        2. A single spoonful of freshly whipped, or clotted, cream. (The stuff out of spray cans doesn't count).

                                                                                          Of course, one minute later, it goes on berries, or pie, or scones, but that first bite of cream all by itself meets the "sublime" criterion.

                                                                                          1. Nothing beats a perfectly ripe, perfectly juicy in season strawberry. That's one food that people should actually wait for the season to buy them from the market.....never when its not season. ...those aren't real strawberries...
                                                                                            mangoes, avocados, and ANY cheese, especially epoisses!

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: mmuch

                                                                                              My store in Sarasota that had 194 cheese varieties (including Berthaut epoisses) recently closed - a sign of the times. But I will remember for years the tiny, young, Vietnamese woman, early twenties at best, who had extraordinary cheese knowledge; almost impossible to acquire at such a young walk of life. I recall asking her how many of her cheeses she was personally familiar with, and with complete modesty she deadpanned: "all of them".

                                                                                            2. Good prosciutto - thinly sliced and preferably with a wide swath of melty fat. This can easily extrapolate to excellent hot coppa, jamon serrano - oooohhhh jamon iberico - that one is as sublime in the sniff as it is in the chew...

                                                                                              followed by cheese. Good cheese - that should cover it!

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: televiking

                                                                                                Fresh shelled sweet peas - right out of the pod, after just being picked.

                                                                                                And Parm-Regg.

                                                                                              2. a carrot. freshly pulled by you in the morning.
                                                                                                the sweetness and juicyness is hard to describe. anything less is wood.

                                                                                                1. Prosciutto di San Daniele
                                                                                                  A perfect ripe fig
                                                                                                  A perfect ripe strawberry
                                                                                                  A perfect ripe apricot
                                                                                                  The first lobster of Summer... on a boat.... in the middle of nowhere.

                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                  1. not a bite, but a gulp of chilled, naturally super sweet artisanal apple cider from the shenandoah valley. (dang it, i cannot recall the producer, as mr. alka bought it on a road trip. dang it again!)

                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                      Oh yes, apple cider. NY State produced for me, but it's the perfect drink that sums up autumn! Cold, crisp, just sweet enough... and has to be purchased from the cider press that produced it, not at a supermarket weeks later!

                                                                                                      1. re: Catskillgirl

                                                                                                        Haven't happened to have been to The Cider Mill in Endicott, NY have you? You can see them press the apples before your eyes, then fill and refrigerate it... serve with hot plain doughnuts... heaven.

                                                                                                        I just moved to Seattle and everything I try that says "apple cider" just tastes like plain old apple juice to me... nothing beats fresh pressed apple cider -- the real deal.

                                                                                                        1. re: mateo21

                                                                                                          Yes I have! I grew up in Lancaster, not far from Buffalo, but my parents were big on weekend drives all over western NY. We hit a lot of vineyards, all the U-pick fruit farms, and lots of cider mills too.

                                                                                                          A cider doughnut with fresh pressed cider in a waxed paper cup - a real fore-taste of heaven!

                                                                                                    2. Soft boiled egg with a bit of salt. ummmmm yolky......

                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: Evilbanana11

                                                                                                        Did this today with an egg from an organic farm just because of this post, and ...yeah, totally seconded. ummmmmm yolky....

                                                                                                        1. re: televiking

                                                                                                          but does it count if you add salt? i thought the purpose of the OP was to find something that didn't require *any* enhancement whatsoever...?

                                                                                                          it does still sound magically yolk-licious, though ;)

                                                                                                      2. A wild raspberry, fully ripe that was found in an alpine meadow while hiking at 8000 feet in Colorado. There were two, they were half the size of the nail on my smallest finger.
                                                                                                        So tart yet so sweet and so amazing.

                                                                                                        1. i think all of mine have been covered:

                                                                                                          fresh fruit - berries, cherries, papaya, nectarine, fig, mango,fuji or macoun apple
                                                                                                          nuts & seeds - raw or toasted
                                                                                                          sashimi - most notably hamachi, maguro, anago & uni
                                                                                                          cheese - parm-regg, brie, chevre, smoked gouda, manchego...oh, forget it. cheese, period.
                                                                                                          crunchy nut butter - almond, peanut, cashew
                                                                                                          lobster & crab
                                                                                                          summer tomatoes
                                                                                                          fresh sweet corn
                                                                                                          good honey

                                                                                                          things i'd like to include but aren't applicable because they contain [or are prepared/seasoned/cured with] more than one ingredient:

                                                                                                          dark chocolate
                                                                                                          a fresh-from-the-oven NY sesame bagel
                                                                                                          perfectly cooked - charred outside, rare-plus inside - steak [seasoned w/kosher salt]
                                                                                                          crisp & chewy bacon

                                                                                                          1. A mouthful of ice cold, sweet milk.

                                                                                                            1. Fresh, ripe tamarind is one of the best single ingredients to eat alone on the planet. I could eat them forever.

                                                                                                              I'd also go with steamed sweet corn (with nothing added), and ripe evergreen heirloom tomatoes.

                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: NovoCuisine

                                                                                                                  Thanks, it would be funny were it not so true.

                                                                                                              1. A beautiful, lush, fruit-like buttery smooth bella cerignola olive.

                                                                                                                The first bite of my snappy homemade dills that have seasoned for as long as I can stand it.

                                                                                                                1. Properly brewed tea. Recent favourite - an oolong from Canton's Phoenix mountain (song4 zhong4 feng4 huang2 dan1 chong2), especially the 2nd infusion. (but no different from a glass of great wine for the purposes of this thread I suppose.)

                                                                                                                  Pierre Marcolini 85% Fleur de Cacao

                                                                                                                  Acme sourdough

                                                                                                                  1. Blackberries or Rasberries found while out walking. It's the surprise treat on a long journey
                                                                                                                    And I second all the above cheese love- haven't met many that I didn't love first bite
                                                                                                                    And second again Cherry Tomatoes vine ripened and sun warmed!!! The earthy smell and the perfect texture and flavor contrasts- It is all of summer in one bite

                                                                                                                    1. peanut butter
                                                                                                                      raw cashews
                                                                                                                      do french fries count?

                                                                                                                      1. Fresh basil from my garden with . . all sorts of stuff.

                                                                                                                        1. fresh figs
                                                                                                                          a spoonful of spicy honey
                                                                                                                          an orange
                                                                                                                          sharp swiss cheese

                                                                                                                          1. Figs and being from Florida, a fresh Florida orange right off the tree..... mos def worth getting all sticky for! mmmmm!

                                                                                                                            1. Any perfectly ripened fruit is sublime (perhaps with the exception of durian, which I now like, but would not yet call sublime)

                                                                                                                              Fresh vine ripened tomato.

                                                                                                                              Cheeses as many others mention. And oysters as mentioned before.

                                                                                                                              I will have to add caviar or other fish roe products, although technically salt has been added. And sweet raw scallop. Sashimi of all kinds is a no-brainer for me.

                                                                                                                              I've been really digging raw fennel lately. Olives, pecans, almonds, macadamia - all yummy and sublime. And capers. So much yumminess!

                                                                                                                              1. A crispy, ice cold slice of cucumber. A crispy, ice cold kosher baby dill pickle.

                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: melly

                                                                                                                                  Echoing you on the cucumber. I just had one picked this morning from a friend's garden - threw it in the fridge for an hour to chill, sliced on a plate... perfection in every bite!

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Catskillgirl

                                                                                                                                    i had a sublimely fresh, naturally sweet and super crunchy cuke last summer. first and only.... ;-((

                                                                                                                                    1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                      Isn't that sad? I don't even buy them from the supermarket anymore, because they just have zero flavor. Only the home-grown variety will do fo rme now, and my neighbor who had a fabulous garden, and supplied the whole neighborhood with fresh cukes and maters moved away. Sob. I miss them so much!

                                                                                                                                2. A crumbly, sharp chedder. Or, really, any good cheese.

                                                                                                                                  Fresh dill.

                                                                                                                                  1. For me, it'd be fruit, particularly mangos, Asian pears, logans, lychees. Everything else usually needs an extra "something" to go along with them.

                                                                                                                                    1. So many things can seem like the perfect mouthful, and the perfection can vary so much from season to season. But there are few things that even rival the perfection of a perfect satsuma plum.