What’s a Good French Chinese Wine?
Food and Wines From France offers a free 32-page guide to French, well, foods (cheeses and hams) and wines. The wine section of “It’s a Great Time to Be French” emphasizes finding the right French wine to serve with non-French cuisines such as Chinese, Italian and Cajun. (One reason must be the figures showing that nearly 80% of consumers think the French wines taste good but only just over half as many consider them easy to select.) For a guide, call (800) 522-WINE.
Chocolate’s Pulpy Past
The species of cacao tree we get chocolate from was apparently bred by human beings in Brazil several thousand years ago. Oddly, though, they didn’t breed it for chocolate but for the sweet white pulp surrounding the seeds--they threw the bitter seeds away (in some parts of South America people still do). It wasn’t until the tree reached Mexico that chocolate could be discovered, because the cocoa beans have to be fermented and then roasted to develop their flavor. As Allen M. Young observes in “The Chocolate Tree: A Natural History of Cacao” (Smithsonian Books: 1995), back in the Amazonian rain forest, they would have spoiled before the fermentation was complete.
I See a Shape, a Cone . . .
New York trendologist Faith Popcorn, whom gets big bucks for her predictions despite her astonishing name (and that of her consulting firm, BrainReserve Inc.), predicts that this year more Americans will experiment with exotic cuisines like Thai and Indian, and that Ben & Jerry’s ice cream will continue to be popular. Hey, we could have predicted that!
You Deserve a Metal
Enrich International sells nutritional supplements said to improve your love life, PerForma-F (for women) and PerForma-M (men). Both include ginseng, a glandular tonic herb named Serenoa repens, chemicals called indoles derived from cruciferous vegetables and “body-balancing herbs” such as wild yam. The difference between men’s and women’s needs seems to be that women need yellow dock, a source of iron, and men need pumpkin seed, for zinc. To order, call (800) 748-8288.
It’s a Gas, Gas, Gas
Many fruits and vegetables emit ethylene gas, which hastens the ripening process but also leads to earlier shrinkage and spoilage. Some produce warehouses are now fighting back by using “ethylene scrubber” air filters.