By Mike Pomranz
Updated July 29, 2015
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I distinctly remember the first time I encountered molecular gastronomy. I was served “apple caviar” with oysters. Those tiny little exploding balls of apple juice were made using “spherification” – a process that can turn all sorts of foods into little pearls that have the appearance and texture of roe. Now, a new device on Kickstarter wants to give everyone the opportunity to try their hand at spherification, taking a bit of the mystery out of molecular gastronomy.

What could soon be the most over-the-top appliance in your kitchen, Imperial Spherificator, is the work of a company in Montreal that for years manufactured a seaweed-based caviar substitute called Kelp Caviar. According to their campaign, due to consumer demand, they’ve taken their technology and downsized it for household use.

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So what can you do with this mouthful of a device? In their promotional video, they show the Imperial Spherificator whipping up things like red onion and red wine pearls, Tabasco sauce pearls, saffron pearls, tomato pearls, mint pearls, black currant pearls, and even coffee liquor pearls, all “with little effort.” The one caveat is that the group does warn that, in general, spherication doesn’t work well with foods that are high in citric acid.

Kelp Caviar hopes to “retail” Imperial Spherificators for $175 a pop. Some early bird pricing is still available that brings the cost down to $125. With over two weeks left, the campaign is about halfway to its goal of just over $60,000. Assuming the project gets funded, they claim you’ll be spherifying by November, when the product is set to ship.

Of course, my inner skeptic is a bit worried this idea is too good to be true. Isn’t part of the appeal of molecular gastronomy its complexity? That said, if this device really makes spherification as easy as it claims, I’m pretty sure I know what every dinner party meal is going to look like in 2016. “Thanks, another spherified mint julep. Just what I wanted… again!”