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Items filtered by date: October 2009

Demystifying Chocolate

By Eric Stein, M.S., R.D.

food3_nov09Cacao refers to the genus and beans; cocoa is the foundation of what we love.

One of the oldest and most celebrated foods on the planet today, chocolate was so highly prized by ancient civilizations that is was used as a form of currency. Today, it is nearly impossible to find a dessert menu that does not feature at least one chocolate-based confection.

Consumers desire chocolate for reasons including its decadence, flavor and various health benefits. Chocolate comes from the genus-species theobroma cocoa, theobroma being derived from the Greek words for “god” and “food.” Cocoa is grown on almost 30,000 square miles worldwide, in mostly temperate climates between 20° North and 20° South of the equator. Notable cocoa-producing areas include Central and South America, Indonesia and Africa. The cocoa plant produces myriad different products, but before they become the delicious food known as chocolate, the cocoa beans must go through an involved process.

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Bringing Sustainability to the Table

food2_nov09This year’s Chefs Collaborative Summit, held at Kendall College, revealed big news for a growing fan base from the USDA.

Chefs Collaborative’s 2009 National Summit was held at Kendall College in Chicago, Sept. 15-16, drawing chefs and media nationwide with a commitment to ecological sustainability in foodservice to the campus for the Boston-based nonprofit’s annual meeting. Keynoter Rick Bayless of Frontera Grill and Topolobampo fame broke away from his new restaurant, XOCO, to stress the importance of small, sustainable, family-owned businesses to the lifeblood of a town or neighborhood to an enthusiastic audience of nearly 150.

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Restaurant Menus to Focus on Quality, not Just Cost, in 2010

food1_nov09Flavors in high demand next year will include cardamom, hibiscus and sweet potato, says Mintel

How do you follow up a wild year of $5 menus, gourmet meals for paupers' prices and buy-one-get-one restaurant specials? You return to quality, that's how. Mintel Menu Insights, a service that tracks U.S. menu trends, releases five predictions for 2010, saying the restaurant industry will focus on high-quality food and ingredients to lure in diners.

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