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Meringue is a type of dessert, often associated with French, Swiss, and Italian cuisine, traditionally made from whipped egg whites and sugar, and occasionally an acidic ingredient such as lemon, vinegar or cream of tartar. A binding agent such as salt, cornstarch or gelatin may also be added to the eggs. The key to the formation of a good meringue is the formation of stiff peaks by denaturing the protein ovalbumin via mechanical shear. Meringues are often flavoured with vanilla, a small amount of almond, or coconut, although if extracts of these are used and are based on an oil infusion, an excess of fat from the oil may inhibit the egg whites from forming a foam.