The Spherification technique was introduced at el Bulli by Ferran Adria in 2003 marking an inflexion point in molecular gastronomy.
In 2003, Ferran Adria and el Bulli team were visiting a company called Griffith España to see their installations when they came across a Mexican sauce that contained little balls in suspension which added acidity and spice when eaten. This reminded him of a drink he knew that contained little spheres made by immersing a liquid with sodium alginate in a bath of calcium. In both cases, the spheres were solid and did not have a liquid filling.
They got a sample of the alginate and when they returned to the experimentation began. Their first spherification experiment was with water as the main ingredient and a syringe to form little drops of the alginate solution. Because they used water in a water bath they couldn’t see any spheres but when they strained the liquid they discovered that they had been able to create small balls with liquid inside (now called caviar). Right after that they tried with a spoon instead of a syringe to create a larger sphere and now the first “spherical ravioli” was created.