October 31

Chinese Coffee Coming To A Cafe Near You

In a strange twist of coffee-related developments, a large export deal may mean that China will become a big player in the coffee world. In reporting on the matter, Bloomberg notes that the Switzerland-based trading business Volcafe Ltd. is working with Simao Arabicasm Coffee Co. to promote a bean from China’s biggest coffee-growing region: Yunnan. To assist, Volcafe will begin sourcing and processing the arabica beans in order to export them to clients throughout the world. In discussing the matter, a spokesperson from Volcafe stated that the arabica bean is “still relatively new to the world coffee scene.”

Although the Yunnan area is known to produce almost as much coffee as Costa Rica, the upcoming increased production is a nascent development. Back in 1998, China produced 104,000 60 kilogram-bags of coffee. But in 2013, the region’s production was greater than one million 60-kilogram bags according to Sam’s Bloomberg story.

In commenting on these recent developments, Bloomberg stated that Starbucks’ preferred coffee bean is arabica and this may lead to their use of the Volcafe beans. If this were to happen, it wouldn’t be Starbucks’ first venture into the world of coffee sourced from China. According to a report by CNN back in 2010, the large coffee chain had been planning to grow coffee in the Yunnan region.

October 29

New York Will Soon Have It’s First All Eclair Bakery

New York City is the one place in the world that seems to have everything. Any restaurant, any store, any venue. However, the Big Apple was apparently missing one thing. Among the thousands of bakery both family owned and high end, the city didn’t have one that sold strictly eclairs. You may be like me and wonder “Well, how many types of eclairs can there be?” and satisfied with a basic chocolate French pastry. If that’s the case, the menu at the soon-to-be-opened Les Jardins de la Duchesse on the Lower East Side will blow your mind.

Owned by Thomas Cardaccia and chef Antoine Felhate, the shop will speclaize in the sale of gourmet eclairs. There are classic “sweet eclairs” such as the salted butter caramel made with marscapone cream, and then more exotic, “savory” eclairs” such as the chicken curry eclair and salmon-wasabi eclair, made with smoked salmon, Philadelphia Cream Cheese and a coup de grâce of wasabi-dill icing. The introduction of such types of eclairs sound like they’ll make for an interesting and hopefully delicious lunch or dinner, and the opening of the restaurant is just another fine illustration of the culinary and cultural diversity that defines The City That Never Sleeps.

Les Jardins de la Duchesse will be located at 138 Orchard Street, New York, NY, 10002. My eclair-loving buddy Sam Tabar is gonna freak when he hears about this.

October 28

Ancient Grains Are Making a Comeback

Everybody loves their grains. Of course, breads and pastas seem to be at the top of the grains list for most people. Fortunately, in recent years, healthier grain alternatives have taken center stage. Quinoa has been leading the pack. It seems all we hear about anymore is what quinoa can do for our bodies if we eat it every day. But while quinoa may indeed be good for us, there’s some new grains that are coming to the forefront. The funny thing is that these new grains are actually very old grains. They are so old that most dietitians and nutritionists call them ancient. These are grains like buckwheat, chia, bulgar, millet, sorghum, kamut and teff. There’s more where those came from as well.

Why are these grains so beneficial to us, and why are they being pushed on the masses? First of all, most of them are gluten free, and it seems like everyone is going gluten free these days. Secondly, people are turning away from genetically modified foods. This is for good reason. I heard Laurene Powell Jobs give a speech about how processed foods have been injected with chemicals that would give you nightmares if you knew about them should be banned in many people’s opinions. Ancient grains like bulgar and millet are not processed. They are full grains that provide great amounts of fiber and nutrients.

Finally, these amazing foods can greatly benefit your health. If eaten every day, they can replace the need for fiber supplements, and they have also been known to prevent specific types of cancer. Lastly, in patients who are looking to lose weight because of the complications of obesity, ancient grains can reduce high blood pressure and lower the risk for heart disease.

October 24

What You Missed at the 2014 Wine and Food Festival

If you missed the 2014 installment of NYC’s Wine and Food Festival, you missed out on some great festivities. There was some incredible offerings on show, and here were some of the highlights as personally chosen by myself and Keith Mann:

  1. So Much Pizza

The first major part of the event was a rooftop pizza tasting, that featured some of the best pizza slices from the best joints around the city. Including Don Antonio, Emily’s, and Rubirosa’s. Including some really great and creative pizzas. I remember a distinct flavor with honey, pistachios and truffles.

  1. Blue Moon Burger Bash

Do you even need a reason to go to a burger bash? There were some absolutely incredible burgers here, including the standout from Perla.

  1. Brooklyn’s Best Desert Party at the Maritime Hotel.

Of course, rounding out the festival was a selection of NYC’s best deserts, from some of the greatest bakeries in the city. Some brilliant Ample Hills ice cream, and Dough provided tons of different styles of amazing doughnuts. Brilliant.

October 23

The NYC Food and Film Festival is Right Around The Corner

Food and culture fans unite, the NYC Food and Film Festival is only a few days away. Beginning on October 29th, and running through November 2nd, this is the 7th installment of the now annual engagement.

Having started back in 2007, the festival is a tribute to new and groundbreaking films, as well as brilliant food from all over the world. The perfect opportunity to take in both, so that you can go on the ultimate dinner and a movie date.

So be prepared to eat Brian Torchin, because we definitely need to go to this. I’m looking forward to trying some exquisite master chef prepared dishes. Always learn something new,and get great ideas for recipes that I want to try at home.