Word of Mouth: Unctuous

published Nov 12, 2008
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Unctuous (ung-choo-us) adj.: 1. Having the quality or characteristics of oil, slippery; 2. Containing or composed of oil or fat; 3. Abundant in organic materials, soft and rich.

Nora’s post on

Forsterkase cheese

To us, ‘unctuous’ is much more of a texture than a flavor. It’s that feeling of having your entire mouth coated with butter, oil, or sometimes a flavor. It can equally describe the starchy-soft quality of good risotto or the melting richness of bone marrow. We’ve also heard it used to describe the qualities in a wine, particularly sweet dessert wines and rieslings.

Maybe we get this from the word’s other function to describe an oily insincere individual, but we feel that unctuous foods also have a kind of dark underbelly. They’re so indulgent and enticing. They make us prone to breaking the rules slightly – like eating with our fingers or adding another half stick of butter.

Sometimes unctuous is a good thing; sometimes not so good. We like it in small doses or when balanced with other palate-cleansing foods and flavors.

Where do you stand on unctuous foods?

(Images: Flickr members mushypea, cbcastro, mhaithaca, and bloggyboulga licensed under Creative Commons)