Barry Callebaut opens world’s first 3D Printing Studio to craft unseen chocolate experiences

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The Barry Callebaut Group today announced the launch of the world’s first personalized 3D printed chocolate at scale, through its global decoration brand Mona Lisa .

Mona Lisa is the first brand to launch personalized 3D printed chocolate at scale, made from Belgian chocolate. The move revolutionizes the world of chocolate craft by combining industry-leading production technology, bespoke design and Barry Callebaut’s chocolate expertise – allowing chefs to craft their own unique creations and reproduce them rapidly and affordably, no matter how intricate or specific the design.

Through the new Mona Lisa 3D Studio, chefs now have a world of new creative tools at their disposal. For the launch event, Mona Lisa teamed up with Jordi Roca – one of the world’s most creative pastry chefs – to help him unleash his creativity through a unique 3D piece made out of chocolate. His latest creation ‘Flor de Cacao’ represents a cocoa bean that opens up like a cacao flower through contact with hot chocolate sauce.

Pioneering on the chocolate market

Pablo Perversi, Chief Innovation, Sustainability & Quality Officer and Head of Gourmet at Barry Callebaut

The Mona Lisa 3D Studio is equipped with innovative precision technology capable of printing thousands of pieces at a time while retaining a bespoke hand-made appearance. Chefs and customers can personalize a chocolate decoration with their own unique design, shape and size preferences, before a team of designers transform the product into a digital 3D prototype with samples. Once the prototype is approved, the final product can be quickly reproduced at scale. The creations can be used for desserts, confectionery, hot drinks and pastries. This service will be first available to chefs and hotels, coffee chains and restaurant establishments in specific European countries. The first customer of the Mona Lisa 3D Studio is Van der Valk, a leading hotel chain in the Netherlands.

Empowering brands and chefs to stay ahead of trends with unseen chocolate creations

Millennials and centennials want to celebrate life with new experiences and stories. In this context, food aesthetics are increasingly important. A recent Barry Callebaut research study showed that 70% of consumers want to try new and exciting chocolate experiences – and 6 out of 10 want to share it on social media. 3D printing is addressing consumer desires by pushing the boundaries of what’s possible aesthetically. With the new technology, chefs can develop unseen and unique creations and expand their craftsmanship while working with Belgian chocolate.

Source: barry-callebaut.com

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From cacao bean to chocolate bar

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Bean-to-bar chocolate

Chocolate is one of everyone’s favorite sweets with its unique and complex taste of sweet, bitter, nutty and even fruity flavors. Chocolate is made from cacao beans, but those who only encounter the final product often forget that the beans come from fruit pods.

A new movement in the chocolate world is the rise of craft chocolate makers who make their delicious sweets from scratch. Yoon Hyung-won and Go Yu-rim are the husband-and-wife duo behind Cacaodada, one of the first bean-to-bar chocolate makers in Korea.

Go said though the taste of a bean-to-bar chocolate bar might be unfamiliar at first, you won’t be able to return to mass-produced chocolate bars once you acquire a taste for craft chocolate.

“Chocolate is the best way to consume cacao beans ? an agricultural product,” Go said.

The two roast, grind and conch cacao beans to make chocolate every day, all by themselves, introducing a whole new world of craft chocolate to Korea.

Lives of chocolate makers

Yoon and Go describe themselves as chocolate makers.

Yoon explained this job title in comparison with chocolatier, which is one who makes confectionery products such as bonbons and truffles from chocolate.

“The distinction between a chocolate maker and a chocolatier is relatively new, dating back 100 years. As I looked through old documents, chocolatiers of the past made chocolate by themselves from cacao beans, but as food became industrialized, cacao bean processing companies emerged and they became the sole source of chocolate. Chocolatiers evolved to make confectionery from existing chocolate, which is now called couverture chocolate,” Yoon said.

Yoon, a philosophy major, was fascinated by chocolate and plunged into chocolate making about 10 years ago. He expected to make chocolate, but instead he was introduced to make confectionery with pre-made chocolate.

“I was bewildered at first. I went to learn how to make chocolate, but I was provided with ready-made chocolate. Later, I learned about bean-to-bar chocolate and chocolate makers. I was mesmerized by grinding cacao beans into chocolate,” Yoon said.

Go said Yoon approached chocolate making in a more fundamental way. “Generally, people are too accustomed to the existing chocolate, but Yoon is more interested in the raw material.”

Though the process is simple, making chocolate had become industrialized and mostly circulated in the form of cacao butter and cacao powder, which are extracted from roasted and ground cacao beans.

“Basically the cacao bean is agricultural produce, but large confectionery factories tend to bring out the chocolate flavor in a cheaper, more convenient way, instead of preserving the original taste of the fruit,” Yoon said. “Beginning from the late 1990s, artisanal chocolate makers revived the traditional way of chocolate making from cacao bean to bar.”

Yoon and Go’s first attempt of making chocolate from cacao bean started with scant resources.

“Back then, there were no chocolate making machines such as roasters and grinders in Korea. We converted a coffee roaster to roast cacao beans and an Indian spice grinder to grind the roasted beans,” Yoon said.

Journey from bean to bar

Cacaodada aims to present each products’ origin and diverse taste. Major cacao countries of origin include Ghana, Madagascar, Ecuador and the Dominican Republic.

“We all know what a cacao bean looks like as it is often featured on the packaging of chocolate. The beans turn from red and green to yellow and orange as they mature. The beans are dried and then fermented to develop the chocolate flavor we know,” Yoon explained.

Making of bean-to-bar chocolate can be roughly divided into five stages.

First, Cacaodada imports the dried beans and the process begins.

“Roasting the dried, fermented cacao beans is the first step. Then we crack and winnow them to remove the outer shells. The shelled and crushed cacao beans are called cacao nibs,” he said.

Then the cacao nibs are ground finely until they turn into a thick paste referred to as “chocolate liquor,” though there is no alcohol involved.

“The right pressure and temperature can squeeze cacao butter out of the liquor form. Cacao butter is very important because it is where chocolate holds its flavor,” Yoon said.

Conching is a relatively new process added to bean-to-bar making, which blows away unwanted flavors and fermented smells by continuously agitating the liquor with heat and air.

“This process helps us keep the best of the cacao in the chocolate,” he said.

Then the chocolate goes through tempering, which aims to change the structure to be in the stable crystal form by repeated warming and cooling.

Yoon is confident about the quality of Cacaodada’s bean-to-bar creations. Cacaodada’s major products are single origin chocolate bars.

“Anyone can distinguish the unique taste of each of our chocolate bars,” he said.

Yoon explained that the difference between each origin of cacao bean is influenced by climate as well as preference.

“Certain species of cacao trees survived in a region because they became popular. But in general, each region has its unique cacao species and characteristics,” he said.

Chocolate made from cacao beans of Ghana are bold and full-bodied, and often described as having a typical chocolate flavor. Ecuador is famous for Arriba Nacional cacao, which yields a rich floral aroma. Madagascar cacao beans have a strong fruity flavor, while South American countries such as Dominica produce distinct cacao beans with citrusy and nutty characteristics.

“Small-batch craft chocolate makers like us can imbue individuality into our products. Koreans prefer nutty chocolate while they are not used to acidity. So while respecting characteristics of each cacao bean, we try to bring out such flavor in our chocolate and we can reflect our style in it,” Go said.

Chocolate for Koreans

The company’s name, Cacaodada, was coined to combined three similar words with different meanings ? “daily” for everyday chocolate, “Dadaism” as related to the arts and the Chinese character “da” which means for something to be in abundance.

Go said Cacaodada was established in Korea, where people do not consume much chocolate.

“In Europe, where chocolate was first developed, people bring chocolate as housewarming gifts and eat them together. However, chocolate culture is almost absent in Korea except for Valentine’s Day,” she said.

“In Korea, many artisanal chocolate makers make most of their earnings during the Valentine’s Day season in February and White Day in March. However, we wanted to make chocolate for every day, not only for special occasions.”

The most basic product of Cacaodada is a dark chocolate bar, which consists of 70 percent cacao bean and 30 percent sugar. The ratio was arrived at after experiments and tastings.

“Many people think that sugar adds sweetness to chocolate, but most of the sweetness are already in the chocolate. We consider sugar as a condiment to bring the best flavor out of chocolate,” Go explained.

Another notable chocolate bar from Cacaodada are their specialty chocolate mixed with rice and with mint.

“Pepero Day, which falls on Nov. 11, is another high season for Korean chocolate makers, but we didn’t want to make those chocolate-dipped stick snacks. We learned that Nov. 11 is also National Agriculture Day and decided to collaborate with local farmers instead,” Go said.

Cacaodada took part in Marche@, an urban market in Seoul mainly featuring local produce.

“As we communicated with the farmers, we were able to understand cacao beans better, as it is an agricultural product after all. And we were inspired by their effort to promote their produce and it resulted in collaborations,” she said.

For instance, Cacaodada’s rice crispy chocolate is created with produce from Woobo Farm, a small family-run farm that grows an almost extinct Korean native species of rice.

“We learned that there were many different species of rice in Korea. Woobo Farm is trying to revive those Korean native rice species and we matched some of them with our bean-to-bar chocolate.”

Their experiments continued with Korean native mint, pepper and ginger.
Cacaodada also have a few awards under their belt, including the International Chocolate Awards Asia-Pacific 2018 Gold for their Peru 54.8 percent dark milk bar and the Academy of Chocolate 2019 Bronze for their Dominica 70 percent dark chocolate.

“It is rewarding to win those awards, but we are happier when our customers say our chocolate tastes good,” Yoon said.

Source: koreatimes.co.kr

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General Mills Foodservice introduces Pillsbury professional online community

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General Mills Foodservice has launched its Pillsbury Professional Online Community, a resource to help foodservice professionals, according to a press release. The website will connect users to a community of baking experts and enthusiasts nationwide to share ideas, ask questions and collaborate in a supportive online forum. The digital platform will offer recipe inspiration, how-to videos, baking trend analysis and an interactive forum that allows users to submit questions and connect with baking experts and peers from across the country.

At the website — www.PillsburyProfessional.com — food service professionals will have access to information about how to bake a wide assortment of baked goods on food service menus, including standards of identity for each item, instructional videos and photography.

Registered users can post a question or recipe photo, allowing others on the site — including experts from the professional culinary team at Pillsbury — to provide comments and advice, helping to build on the online community’s collective expertise to solve common baking challenges.

In addition to a searchable answer database around products and baking questions, the site will share trending topics, menu-planning ideas, recipes and troubleshooting tips.

Source: pizzamarketplace.com

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5 Year Anniversary of L’École Valrhona Brooklyn

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Valrhona Celebrates the Five-Year Anniversary of L’École Valrhona Brooklyn with Special Classes Located in New York, California and One in Paris with Chef Pierre Hermé

Valrhona has released its 2020 schedule for professional classes at L’École Valrhona Brooklyn, located in DUMBO. To celebrate the five-year anniversary of the Brooklyn location, the Valrhona team put together its most exciting schedule yet with world-renowned guest chefs, such as Pierre Hermé , Claire Heitzler , Oriol Balaguer , Ron Ben-Israel , M.O.F P â tissier St é phane Tr é and , and more.

For the first time, Valrhona will offer four classes in various locations in California with inspiring themes, such as “Pastry by Lincoln Carson,” the innovative chef and owner of Bon Temps L.A. and “Rethinking Ingredients & Pastry Trends” with L’École Valrhona Chef Tibbetts, a deep dive into alternative ingredients for customers with dietary restrictions.

Valrhona will also host an exclusive four-day class with Chefs Pierre Hermé and Mickaël Marsollier at a state-of-the-art kitchen in Paris. The participating chefs will learn how to create petits gâteaux, entremets, macarons and bonbons in the famous Pierre Hermé style. The trip also features an exclusive tour by Hermé of his lab in Rungis, an open discussion with Hermé about sourcing, a visit to his shop on Champs Elysées with a product tasting and a pastry tour through Paris.

“2020 is an exciting year for us as we celebrate five years since opening the doors to L’École Valrhona Brooklyn,” said Emmanuelle Brun, chief operations officer of Valrhona North America. “We’re thrilled that our new classes in California will allow us to share the L’École Valrhona experience with even more pastry chefs who want to develop their skills, learn new techniques, and discover emerging trends in the pastry world.”

Seven Valrhona Corporate Pastry Chefs, as well as the 17 guest pastry chefs from around the world, will teach their hands-on classes at L’École Valrhona Brooklyn’s state-of-the-art location in an intimate environment, with the exception of the offsite classes in New York, California, and Paris. All classes last two to four days and fees range from $955 to $3,640.

Source: valrhona.com

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The FAO Food Price Index rose for the fourth consecutive month in January

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» The FAO Food Price Index* (FFPI) averaged 182.5 points in January 2020, up 1.3 points (0.7 percent) from December 2019 and 11.3 percent higher than the same month last year. The increase in January marked the fourth consecutive month that FFPI has been on the upward trend. The latest rise is largely driven by continued strength in the prices of vegetable oils, sugar and, to a lesser extent, cereals and dairy products, more than offsetting a sharp drop in meat prices.

» The FAO Cereal Price Index averaged 169.2 points in January, up 4.8 points (2.9 percent) from December and reaching its highest value since May 2018. International prices of all major cereals increased in January. Wheat prices rose the most, supported by faster pace in purchases by several countries amid slowed shipments from France, due to port strikes, and a report of a possible introduction of an export quota by the Russian Federation until 30 June 2020 because of high domestic prices.  Export prices of maize also registered significant gains in January, reflecting robust trade activity and seasonal supply tightening in southern hemisphere exporting countries. International rice prices edged up on easing harvest pressure and concerns over the impact of weather on exporters’ output.

» The FAO Vegetable Oil Price Index averaged 176.3 points in January, up 11.6 points (or 7.0 percent) from December and hitting a three-year high. International palm oil values rose for the sixth consecutive month, underpinned by prospects of tightening global supplies amid brisk demand from the biodiesel sector. Prices of soy and sunflower oils also kept rising, as robust global import demand coincided with lower than anticipated export availabilities. Meanwhile, rapeseed oil quotations climbed to their highest level since May 2014, reflecting continued tightness in global supplies. From mid-January onward, however, prices across the vegetable oil complex lost strength, largely reflecting uncertainties over the implications of the US-China trade deal and concerns about the potential impact of the global coronavirus health emergency. In the case of palm oil, trade tensions between India and Malaysia added to the downward pressure on prices.

» The FAO Dairy Price Index averaged 200.6 points in January, up nearly 1.8 points (0.9 percent) from December. At this level, the Index stands 18.5 points (10.2 percent) above its value in the corresponding month last year. In January, price quotations for butter, cheese and skim milk powder (SMP) all rose, reflecting strong import demand, combined with limited spot availabilities in Europe as well as in Oceania. Seasonal-low milk production in Oceania provided additional price support. By contrast, quotations for whole milk powder (WMP) fell, reflecting limited global demand during the first half of the month.

» The FAO Meat Price Index* averaged 182.5 points in January, down 7.5 points (4.0 percent) from December, marking a break from eleven months of continued increases. At this level, the Index exceeds by 22.4 points (14.0 percent) that of January last year. Price quotations for all meat categories represented in the Index dropped in January, with those of ovine meat falling the most, followed by bovine, pig and poultry meats, pressured by reduced purchases, especially from China and the Far East after large imports towards the end of 2019. Furthermore, large export availabilities, especially of pig and bovine meats, weighed on export prices in recent weeks.

» The FAO Sugar Price Index averaged 200.7 points in January, up 10.4 points (5.5 percent) from December, marking the fourth consecutive monthly increase and the highest level since December 2017. The latest increase was propelled by expectations of a 17 percent drop in India’s sugar output, a 66 percent production fall in Brazil’s largest producing region (the Centre-South) and a 25 percent contraction in Mexico’s harvest. However, recent declines in crude oil prices and the continuous weakness of the Brazilian currency (Real) against the United States Dollar limited the extent of the increase in international sugar prices.

* Unlike for other commodity groups, most prices utilized in the calculation of the FAO Meat Price Index are not available when the FAO Food Price Index is computed and published; therefore, the value of the Meat Price Index for the most recent months is derived from a mixture of projected and observed prices. This can, at times, require significant revisions in the final value of the FAO Meat Price Index which could in turn influence the value of the FAO Food Price Index.

Download full dataset: Excel, CSV

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Europain reinvents itself for its 2020 edition

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The baking tradition in France may be unparalleled. At the heart of that tradition is the vibrant city of Paris that continues to lead the way with new baking techniques, product and ingredients that have the potential to transform the global artisan baking world. The eyes of the craft baking world are constantly on Paris, and that’s never more true than during Europain.

The European craft baking tradeshow held Jan. 11-14 reinvented itself this year. Held at the Porte de Versailles located in the Paris city center, the location and size of the venue made it possible for attendees to not just attend the show but also experience all the city has to offer. Despite difficult conditions due to a more than month-long public transit strike that all but shut down the city’s Metro subway system, more than 38,000 filled the halls of Porte de Versailles for four days.

The venue was smaller than years past, but the new format and new show features were welcomed by baker attendees for the more intimate atmosphere. “While I was strolling around the stalls, I could really feel there was renewed interest in both exhibitors and visitors for this Europain trade fair,” said Christophe Girardet, owner of the bakery Victor et Compagnie in Lyon, France.

While it was a very French-focused event, about 25% of attendees were from other countries. And of the 452 exhibitors and brands at the show, 18% were international.

Nowhere else in the show could the international influence be more felt than in the Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie — World Cup of Baking.

China wins the cup

The largest competition in the world of craft baking, the Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie, saw China take home the top prize, followed by Japan then Denmark. It was the 10th ever World Cup, which occurs every four years, and it was China’s first time winning it.

It may not have been the ending Team USA was looking for, but the experience was worth the work.

Team USA, sponsored by the Bread Bakers Guild of America, competed next to 11 other countries in four categories: baguette and breads of the world, viennoiserie, artistic creation and gourmet baking.

The competition began on Jan. 11, when the team arrived at the Port de Versailles Expo Center at 4:30 a.m., ready to take on the madness of the next eight hours of baking. In that time, the team created a suite of baked foods, including traditional baguettes, pain zizzis, brioche a tetes, croissants, puff pastry and non-puff pastries. The theme of this year’s artistic creation was “Music from your country,” and the team chose to showcase New Orleans jazz in a towering piece of edible art.

One of the team’s signature creations was the “Billie Holiday,” which was a strawberry rhubarb non-puff pastry with lemon flavor.

Nicky Giusto of Central Milling was the team’s coach and oversaw the work of the young bakers. Jerod Pfeffer made the baguettes and world bread. Kate Goodpaster was in charge of the viennoiserie and pastries, and Nicolas Zimmerman was the head of artistic design. Pfeffer is the co-owner of 460 Bread, Driggs, Idaho, while Goodpaster works for Patisserie46 and Rose Street bakeries in Minneapolis. Zimmerman is a French-born baker working for his father, Pierre Zimmerman, at La Fournette, in Chicago.

Once the baking began, the team was locked in.

“Every five minutes was planned out,” Giusto said. “We have things to do every five minutes and we tick those boxes as we go.”

With under 10 seconds left on the clock, the team embraced and celebrated completing this monumental task.

“They hustled, they spent every ounce of energy they could, and then some,” Giusto said of the team. “I’m really proud of how they performed.”

Professionally, the competition also offers many opportunities to improve skills and network with some of the best bakers in the world.

“You really get to fine-tune your skills as a technician solving problems in a bakery,” Giusto explained. “That’s something that will stay with them. And it’s incredibly important for careers is the camaraderie and the people you meet at the competition. The networking opens up doors.”

Not only do the competitors get to observe different techniques and methods, but they also share ideas. Whether it’s a new combination of flours in a bread or new technique for rolling baguettes, the ideas are shared and ultimately improve everybody’s craft.

“Looking at all the other countries work is inspiring for our day-to-day production,” Giusto said. “You have all these different cultures influencing their suite of products that they’re presenting, and we get to absorb all that along the way. That’s what this competition is about, celebrating our craft as bakers, celebrating what we’ve done, our accomplishments, and then sharing all that knowledge.”

The 2020 Coupe Europe de Patisserie — the European Pastry Cup — was also held at Europain and Switzerland took home the top prize in this European competition. Sweden and Russia also made the podium and three countries will join the United States, France, Italy, Japan and the UK pastry reams in January 2021 for the World Cup of Pastry in Lyon.

Source: bakemag.com

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The Challenge of Sustainable Chocolate

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The long black pruning poles looked cumbersome. But the farmers moved quickly, swarming over the small plot of land and hoisting the poles up to slice through cacao branches with ease. On the bottom end of the pole was a small gasoline engine; on the top, a chain saw. Buzzing sounds mixed with the humming of insects echoing through this corner of the Ecuadorian Amazon. Though it was early spring, the October heat already felt solid and oppressive as the workers, in jeans, long-sleeved orange tops, hard hats, and plastic face shields, strode through the jungle, chickens scrambling to get out of their way.

Farmers in this community were skeptical at first, but pruning the branches at the start of the season can increase the cocoa yield—sometimes dramatically. The tree produces more fruit on the branches that remain. “Also, by taking away unproductive branches, we limit or eliminate plagues or diseases,” Ricardo Zapata, a coordinator for the cacao-pruning initiative in Ecuador, told me. It’s one of several innovations experts say could make an infamously environmentally destructive crop more sustainable.

Chocolate has gotten a bad rap for its environmental impacts—particularly deforestation, as farmers cut down older trees in order to clear room for cacao plants. The Ivory Coast, which is the largest exporter of cocoa at 2.2 million tons every year, has lost 80 percent of its forests in the past five decades. And the forests being cleared for cacao farming are exactly the ones that tend to be the best carbon sinks and sources of biodiversity: Cacao trees thrive in rain forests, where there’s plenty of humidity and rain, stable temperatures, rich soil, and protection from strong winds. All of this combines to make chocolate one of the worst foods one can eat in terms of greenhouse gas emissions—by some calculations , the single worst nonmeat food.

The problem has proven tough to solve at scale. In October, The Washington Post published a feature exploring why, 10 years after pledging a switch to 100 percent sustainable cocoa, candy giant Mars Inc., which sources mainly from West Africa, is far from realizing that dream. Certification schemes are unreliable in an industry dominated by thousands of smallholder farmers, often in countries with uneven governmental regulation or infrastructure.

But experts also say that small and surprisingly simple steps can drastically increase sustainability. The Ecuadorian focus on pruning cacao trees, which I saw in 2015, aimed to help farmers make the most of what they already had—so they wouldn’t need to press further into the Amazon. Among other sustainable techniques are shade-growing and multicropping, as well as the correct use of fertilizer and pesticides—including natural pest control and compost.

Shade-growing, studies show, can be particularly effective. Cacao, unlike crops such as rubber or palm oil, grows well in the shade of other trees, which helps prevent soil erosion, block the wind, stabilize temperatures, and protect the cacao from some pests naturally. In fact, that’s how cacao grows in natural rain forest, shaded by a leafy canopy of tropical trees. In 2014, an analysis of 16 studies in Africa and the Americas found that growing cacao in the shade helped improve biodiversity, carbon sequestration, and nutrients in the soil. As the Ecuadorian farmers found, practices like these can also improve yields from existing trees. One 2016 study in Brazil found that farmers could double their yields while applying climate-friendly practices like shade-growing. The shading species, such as avocado or hardwood trees, can be an additional source of income.

Farmers may also plant grass or shrubs to help keep the soil healthy and keep pests at bay. “By using those natural plants or companion planting, you can increase the nitrogen or nutrient supply to your trees naturally, so you’re making them stronger and more resilient to things like pests and disease and climate impacts,” Dave Reay, a professor of carbon management at the University of Edinburgh and author of Climate-Smart Food, told me. “But you’re getting a free load of nitrogen as well into your soil, which your trees can use.”

Chocolate originated in South America, and Ecuador prides itself on being the cradle of cacao civilization, home to some of the finest chocolate on the planet. But West Africa is where consumers get most of the cocoa that appears in their chocolate products. Four countries in Africa—Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria, and Cameroon—produce three-quarters of the world’s cocoa supply, the vast majority of that from smallholder farmers. In Ivory Coast, vast reserves of protected land have been razed for cacao production. The government is developing a plan to bring back these forests and create a model for sustainable cocoa production alongside (and among) other trees. But that will take time, and sustainable farming practices can be expensive to introduce on a widespread basis.

The cacoa farming–climate change relationship goes both ways: In addition to cacoa-related deforestation increasing emissions, countries where cocoa is produced are already seeing the effects of climate change, and these changes are affecting cocoa production. In Ghana, higher temperatures and lower precipitation are changing the places where cocoa is produced. These trends will worsen unless decisive action is taken to limit climate change. In Brazil, higher temperatures and drought modeled under climate scenarios would likely destroy swaths of cacao trees and significantly decrease yield. Reay highlighted the importance of using drought-resistant seeds when farmers are planting new trees, in addition to sustainable techniques to make the most of existing trees.

While cacao farming may be hard to regulate, in another sense, Reay said, it’s “one of the success stories of consumer pressure.” Customers’ interest in sustainable chocolate in recent years has driven many companies to look to eco-friendly options.

From layering crops to pruning branches, these solutions are fairly simple and low-tech, which helps on small farms with limited resources. And they don’t only apply to cacoa: Many of the techniques that help improve cacao yields and environmental effects can also be put to work on other crops, so long as there are food lovers willing to invest in more sustainable practices.

“We do not need a specialist in cacao,” Zapata said. “We need to educate people in agriculture, on innovative techniques they can apply in their farms and the farms of their families, friends, and communities.”

He’s seen the change in action. At first, the farmers resisted. “We have elderly people who tell us that they prefer their arms cut off than branches be cut off. Because they think that branch is going to produce a lot of cacao for them,” Zapata said. Yet after seeing results from pruning, that’s changed. “Friends and neighbors can visualize the results. We can convince them and ourselves.”

In the meantime, consumers and candy companies eager to make their chocolate habits more sustainable have another option—one much easier for them to control: reducing waste, whether in the factory or in restaurants and homes. One study found that it takes about 1,200 gallons of water to produce one pound of chocolate. Chocolate packaging could also be made eco-friendlier. And in the United Kingdom alone, where chocolate-lovers eat about 500,000 tons of chocolate each year, about 18,000 tons of sweets go to waste. “Traditionally, this has been a pretty high-carbon luxury for us all. But it doesn’t have to be,” Reay said.

Source: newrepublic.com

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Cadbury is testing a new plant-based version of its massively popular Dairy Milk chocolate bar as veganism sweeps the globe

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Vegan diets are on the rise, and food producers that aren’t making plant-based products are starting to take notice of this.

Cadbury, one of the world’s best-known chocolate makers, is the latest company to jump on the trend by launching a new plant-based version of its Dairy Milk chocolate bar.

“We’re always listening to our consumers, so we can develop and provide people with a greater choice of products.

“This includes looking at a plant-based Cadbury Dairy Milk bar,” a spokesperson for Cadbury’s US owner Mondelez said in a statement shared with Business Insider.

The spokesperson also said that it has “no immediate plans” to bring this product to market. “We are only interested in launching a new vegan product that retains the texture and taste that our consumers expect and love from Cadbury products,” they said.

Veganism is on the rise. According to a report from GlobalData , there was a 600% increase in the number of people identifying as vegan in the US between 2014 and 2017.

And in the UK, the number of people identifying as vegan has tripled in the past ten years, according to estimates from The Vegan Society .

Because of this, food makers are under pressure to adapt their products or rolling out alternatives to meet the needs of the consumer.

Source: businessinsider.com

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In 1981 Sara Lee Introduced Frozen Croissants – It Quickly Outsold Their Pound Cake

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In the United States, National Croissant Day recognizes a flaky pastry enjoyed at every meal.  Croissants are a buttery, crescent-shaped rolls that are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.

  • Legend surrounds this pastry, as is often the case with a popular, worldly treat. What is known, is that crescent-shaped breads have been found around the world for ages. One of these was the Kipferl which originated in Austria as far back as the 13th century. This nonlaminated bread is more like a roll.
  • Credit for the croissant we know today is given to an Austrian military officer, August Zang. In 1939 he opened a Viennese bakery in Paris introducing France to Viennese baking techniques.
  • Each croissant rolls are made of 50 or more thin layers of pastry & butter.
  • According to legend, it was Marie Antoinette (Austrian Princess who married Louis XVI), introduced the croissant to France.
  • The first recorded origin story about the croissant comes from the Battle of Vienna, either in 1683 or during the earlier siege in 1529, to celebrate the defeat of the Ottoman attack on the city, with the shape referring to the crescents on the Ottoman flags.
  • The French newspaper Le Figaro named the croissant from bakery Pierre Hermé the best in Paris in 2013. It also won in 2006.
  • Since Starbucks bought French baker Pascal Rigo’s San Francisco-based La Boulange ,  the chocolate croissant has become the coffee chain’s bestselling pastry.
  • In 2013, chef Dominque Ansel came up with the cronut — a deep-fried croissant/doughnut combination that became all the rage at his New York bakery.
  • The Croissant became the French national product in 1920.
  • The Croissant started as a luxury product, but by the end of the nineteenth century, it was middle-class (the rich preferred a good brioche).
  • Before the modern croissant, puff pastry was used as a garnish or shell, not to eat on its own.
  • The chocolate croissant is actually called pain au chocolat, as it is not in the shape of a crescent.
  • By 1869, the croissant was well established enough to be mentioned as a breakfast staple, and in 1872, Charles Dickens wrote (in his periodical All the Year Round) of “the workman’s pain de ménage and the soldier’s pain de munition, to the dainty croissant on the boudoir table.”
  • The baked-goods corporation Sara Lee introduced a frozen croissant to America in 1981, which soon outpaced its famous pound cakes in sales. Burger King, Arby’s, and other fast-food chains followed with croissant breakfast sandwiches and savory stuffed croissants. As a 1984 New York Times article declared, “The Americanization of the croissant” had begun.
  • It’s estimated that around 85 percent of croissants sold in French bakeries are actually industrially manufactured.
  • In February 2016 the UK supermarket giant made a startling announcement: from now on, all its croissants will be curve-less. That’s despite the fact that its name literally means ‘crescent’.

Source: southfloridareporter.com

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Scientists Gene-Edited Wheat To Create High-Fiber White Bread That’s Actually Good For You

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White bread is extremely popular but a drawback of its production is the lack of fiber content in its flour. Now an international team has discovered the gene responsible for the fiber in flour, and have been able to produce white bread that is high in fibers at last.

The new flour they created, described in the journal PLOS ONE , has identical properties to regular white flour but twice as much fiber. Getting fiber in your diet is important as it helps reduce the risk of cancer, diabetes, and obesity. The team studied the large genome of wheat, which is about six times as big as our own. They worked out which genes among wheat’s 150,000 are relevant to high fiber, finding two sites on chromosomes 1B and 6B to be particularly promising.

Knowing this, the team employed an earlier genetic screening of 150 varieties of wheat from around the world to work out what type would already have, in its current form, the highest amount of fiber occurring.

“We knew that the white flour made from one particular Chinese wheat variety, Yumai 34, was unusually high in fibre, but it’s not well suited for growing in the European climate,” lead author Dr Alison Lovegrove from Rothamsted Research in the UK said in a statement . “Using conventional breeding techniques, we crossed this high fibre trait into several other varieties. This allowed us to narrow down where in its genome the genes for high fibre are.”

Conventional breeding is a slow process when it comes to increasing a single favorable trait, but it will also, in the long run, allow for high yields and help towards disease and parasite resistance. The team believes that in just five years these high-fiber wheat plants could become a staple, and white bread that’s good for you – not as good as wholemeal bread, but better than white bread currently on offer – could be readily available.

“We’ve developed genetic markers that can easily be used by plant breeders to identify which individual wheat plants have the high fibre genes,” Dr Lovegrove explained. “We hope to go on and identify further genes that increase fibre content, thereby providing plant breeders, millers and food producers with even more options.”

Governmental guidelines suggest a typical intake of 30 grams of fiber per day, but many people fall below that. Typical white bread has about 1 gram per slice. The new bread is double that but will still fall below wholemeal bread, which is typically around 3 grams per slice.

Source: iflscience.com

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