Archive for December, 2012

At $600 per pound, kopi luwak is the most expensive coffee in the world (according to Wikipedia). By comparison, pure Jamaica Blue Mountain, widely considered one of the priciest coffees, is typically $30 to $50 per pound. You would pay that much for an ounce of kopi luwak beans.

Kopi luwak is a truly unique product. It begins when the bright red coffee berries that contain the seed (or bean) from which all coffee is made, are eaten by a wild civet, a small mammal that lives in tropical Asia and Africa. Luckily for coffee connoisseurs, civets are able to digest the red fleshy pulp ...

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These two wines could hardly be more different. One is a chenin blanc from Navarro Vineyards in Mendocino on the north coast of California, the other a chenin blanc from Domaine Pichot in the Vouvray appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC) in the Loire Valley in France. Same grape. Very different wines.

It’s popular to talk about a wine’s terroir these days, and one might be tempted to say that the difference between these two wines is due to that somewhat vague concept. In my opinion, however, terroir has little or nothing to do with why these wines are so different.

Let’s back up ...

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Michael Pollan's Edible Education

Posted on December 10, 2012

This past fall (2012), UC Berkeley offered a class titled “Edible Education 103: Telling Stories About Food and Agriculture,” taught on campus by Michael Pollan. Pollan is the author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma and other books, and he's a professor in the Graduate School of Journalism at UCB. The class began on August 28, 2012 and ended on December 4.

Why should you care about a class that happened in the past? Because all of the lectures were videotaped and are currently available online – and for free! And they're wonderful. If the two I started watching are any indication, they are fascinating, ...

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Rachel Sprinkle-Strong, owner and “chief peddler” of POPcycle Creamery in Sacramento, cheerfully describers herself as an “ice cream snob.” But she’s not the kind of person you’d call arrogant. With her sunny disposition, warm smile, and perennial optimism, Rachel is as charming and friendly as the ice cream she serves.

Still, this is ice cream like no other ice cream you’ve tasted. Flavors like fleur de sel oreo, pumpkin donut 5 spice, strawberry balsamic, and vanilla bean-cardamom showcase Rachel’s ability to combine common and unusual ingredients to create extraordinary ice cream flavors. They seem to explode on your palate. Her ice ...

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