Versatile Ingredients Every Gourmet Cook Should Have

Considering how rich and diverse the world of gourmet cooking is, it might be hard to find a good starting point. Regardless of your skill level, there are some ingredients that are pretty much universal, and you should always have them in your pantry. recommends some of those ingredients.

1. Cheeses – What gourmet pantry is devoid of fine cheeses? While everyone is familiar with the classic feta, cheddar, and mozzarella, there’s a huge world of cheeses out there for you to explore. Your best bet is to shop at your local deli, or even better, cafés that have their own deli. That way you’re sure that you’re getting what they personally use.

2. Herbs – Herbs are wonderful, and most cooks can’t imagine life without them. Your pantry should have a rich selection, as you’ll probably use multiple types every day. Some of the basics that you absolutely must have are: basil, rosemary, sage, thyme, oregano, paprika, and cinnamon. There are many more, but these are the ones you’ll be reaching for nearly every time you cook something.

3. Oils – Pure olive oil is great for general cooking needs, while virgin olive oil is for drizzling. Canola oil also has excellent health benefits for your heart, and it’s a nice alternative if you’re trying to cut down on saturated fats.

4. Rice – Aside from the typical white and brown rice you’ll find in most pantries, you should also consider stocking Arborio. It’s pretty much required if you plan to make risotto sometime in the future.

5. Smallgoods – Of course, you should always have some preserved meats handy. A few essentials to start you off with are speciality sausages, cured meats, pates and terrines.

6. Preserves and others – By “others”, we mean jams, jellies, and honey. Honey is great for multiple dishes, while a wide selection of preserves makes for some really, really, good sandwiches – and happy kids, too, most likely.

7. Wines – Red and white wine are both very common in cooking, so you should have adequate stocks of each. You might want to save the good stuff as drinks for fancier nights, however, instead of using them in your sauces.

With these ingredients, you should be able to handle most recipes without needing to make a run to the local deli or supermarket. Make sure to regularly monitor your consumption, and replenish your stocks as needed.