The taste of type

Sarah Hyndman, the brains behind Type Tasting, has been developing initiatives to find the ‘flavour’ of typefaces – quite literally.

Burlingame

Last Christmas she released the A Taste of Type  project, in which she cooked up a series of edible fonts, including a savoury Helvetica, a sweet Comic Sans and a chocolaty Impact.

You can see tasting notes on the typefaces from Eye’s John L Walters and others here.

Hyndman says the Type Tasting projects aim to use food as a way of looking at how we respond to different typefaces in a sensory way.

More recently, she was commissioned by Monotype to create an edible version of its latest typeface Burlingame, to celebrate Monotype reaching 5000 Twitter followers.

Burlingame was designed by Carl Crossgrove for use on vehicle displays.

In response, Hyndman has cooked up a font that recreates ‘the taste of a long car journey’.

A liquorice-style coffee and mint-flavoured caramel represented the car dashboard, while ‘illuminated’ characters are made from glossy lemon jelly.

The letters are wrapped up like pick ‘n’ mix sweets from a motorway service station.

Burlingame

If you’d like to create your own edible Burlingame letters, you can follow the recipe below:

Liquorice-style caramels flavoured with coffee and mint

Ingredients

2 fl oz water

8 oz sugar

1/2 can (7 oz) sweetened condensed milk

6 oz Golden Syrup

6 oz butter

1/4 tspn black food colouring paste

5-10 drops coffee essence (adjust to taste)

5-10 drops mint essence (adjust to taste)

pinch of salt

Process

1. Line a baking tray with aluminium foil and lightly butter it.

2. Use a heavy saucepan. Mix together the water, sugar, condensed milk, Golden Syrup and butter.

3. Bring the mix to the boil slowly, stirring constantly. Clip a jam thermometer onto the pan so that it’s covered by the mixture but not touching the bottom.

4. Keep stirring while the mixture boils and cooks, until it reaches 242-245 degrees F. (You can also tell if it’s cooked by dropping a small amount into cold water. If the cooled piece is firm but not hard then it’s cooked).

5. Take it off the heat. Stir in the food colouring, coffee and mint essences and the salt.

6. Pour the mixture into the prepared tray and leave to cool at room temperature (around 2 hours). The mixture should be 50-75mm deep.

7. When cool, place on a smooth cutting surface. Take one of the sheets of letters prepared earlier and cut them out to create a stencil. This can then be placed over the sheet of cooled liquorice caramel. Cut each of the letters out with a fine, sharp knife (a new, clean scalpel is ideal). 

Storage: keep in a cool place in an airtight container and these will be fine for a week or two.

Zingy lemon jelly letters

Ingredients

4 sachets of gelatine

1/2 pint water (this is intended to set much harder than regular jelly)

2 oz sugar

1/2 tspn yellow food colouring

5-10 drops lemon essence

Process

1. Heat the water in a pan. Add the sugar, yellow food colouring and the lemon essence.

2. When the sugar’s melted and the water’s hot (but not boiling) sprinkle the gelatine on gradually, stirring briskly until it’s thoroughly mixed. Never allow the gelatine mixture to boil, ideally place it over a pan of warm water if you need to heat it further. 

3. Once the gelatine has dissolved, pour the mixture into a baking tray so that it’s 50-75mm deep. Place this in the fridge to set.

4. Once the sheet of lemon jelly has set you can transfer it from the baking tray to a glass tray or plate. Place this over the sheet of printed out letters and you can see through both the jelly and the glass to trace around and cut out the letter shapes. Use a fine, sharp knife (a new, clean scalpel is ideal), dip it in a cup of hot water from time to time to make the cutting process easier. 

Storage: keep the lemon jelly letters in the fridge in an airtight container and eat within a couple of days.

Letter templates

Print out the letters you wish to use at the required size on A4 paper. They need to be large enough for you to cut out easily, ideally at least 4cm tall.

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