9 Things You Didn’t Know About Your Favorite Breakfast

9 Things You Didn't Know About Your Favorite BreakfastIt’s National Cereal Day! And to help you celebrate, we’re going to dish on some totally cool facts about your breakfast food of choice.

Cereal is one of those foods you just can’t help but associate with the good old U.S. of A. Invented in the United States in 1863 by James Caleb Jackson, according to reporting by The New York Times, and then popularized by the Kellogg brothers and beloved at our breakfast tables ever since, cereal is still a staple in most American homes.

But how much do you really know about it? Below, check out nine fun facts.

1. The first cold, ready-to-eat breakfast cereal ever made was first called Granula, as reported by Dana Rubinstein and Hilary Greenbaum in an article titled Who Made That Granola? for The New York Times, and invented by James Caleb Jackson in 1863. This first attempt at cereal was still a little labor-intensive, as it required soaking overnight to make it edible, and it never really caught on with the American public.

2. The first pre-packaged, boxed cereal was called Wheatena and created in New York in 1879 by George H. Hoyt, according to Homestat Farm, the company that eventually bought the Wheatena brand in 2001. Before Hoyt, most cereals (usually wheat- or oatmeal-based) were sold in bulk and scooped out of large barrels for customers to purchase by the pound.

3. Pre-packaged cereals really took off thanks to the Kellogg brothers. John Harvey Kellogg ran the Battle Creek Sanitarium in Battle Creek, Michigan, which was basically a health retreat for wealthy patrons. Kellogg urged his clientele to stick to a strict vegetarian diet, and so began experimenting with granola (his version of Granula) at breakfast.

4. The Kellogg bros actually invented ready-to-eat cereal flakes by accident, according to the Kellogg’s company history. The story goes that in 1894, John Kellogg and brother William, were called away while cooking some wheat to make a batch of healthy crackers. By the time they got back, the cooked wheat had cooled (and actually went a little stale), but they decided to use it anyway and William ran the grains through a roller, flattening each one into a little flake, and toasting them. They tried the same process again with corn and thus created the now-iconic Cornflakes. They filed a patent application in 1895, and Cornflakes are still a popular breakfast cereal today.

5. General Mills, another major cereal-producing company, got in on the game in 1922 with its own boxed breakfast made of toasted wheat flakes, initially called Washburn’s Gold Medal Whole Wheat Flakes. The name of that cereal was changed to Wheaties in 1925 — and it’s still sold under that name today.

6. That same company, General Mills, says it sold 795 million boxes of cereal in 2016 — that’s almost 770 million pounds! — attesting to cereal’s continued popularity as a breakfast food in the U.S.

7. For the last seven years straight, Honey Nut Cheerios has been ranked the #1 cereal in the U.S.

8. The first box of Cheerios hit store shelves in 1941, but back then, it had a slightly different name, says the cereal’s producer, General Mills. Initially dubbed “Cheerioats!” because of its oat-based recipe, but four years later the name was changed to the now-iconic Cheerios.

9. We love our cereal mascots. One of the most well-known — Lucky the Leprechaun, who has appeared on Lucky Charms boxes since 1964 — was briefly retired in 1975 in favor of “Waldo the Wizard.” Waldo didn’t last long, though. He was the official mascot for less than one year before Lucky made a comeback.

Photo: iStock

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The Cheese Geek’s Guide to Affinage

Buy Clotilde’s latest book, The French Market Cookbook!

Did you know that France produces more than 350 types of cheese? Each variety is the unique result of a specific production method and aging process, requiring both technical skill and intuition.

Jonathan DeitchWe talk about cheese a lot on Chocolate & Zucchini: we’ve covered how to shop for cheese and the notion of cheese terroir, and today I am happy to present a guest post by Jonathan Deitch, a.k.a. Monsieur Fromage, a fellow bilingual blogger and passionate explorer of all things cheese.

Jonathan is an American who’s lived in France since 2009. He recently attended an intensive two-week professional workshop at Académie Opus Caseus, the cheese industry’s center for education. He has generously offered to walk us through the process of making and aging cheese, with lots of quirky details for us cheese geeks to lap up.

Please visit the M. Fromage blog, and follow him on Twitter and Instagram. Thank you Jonathan!

Part Magic, Part Biochemistry

Goat cheeses sampled on Cheese Day in Paris, in January 2016. Note the blueing on the rind.

My recent two-week professional training with the Académie Opus Caseus was an eye-opening introduction to affinage, the process of aging cheese. The principles and techniques are simple to understand, yet they take a lifetime to master. They also serve as a good reminder of the importance of environment and tradition, and the value of patience, honest labor, and passion.

To understand the aging process, we need to start with how cheese is made, and wrap our minds around the fact that the best cheeses are a direct result of flora, a less-scary term for the (good) bacteria and (good) molds that contribute to taste, texture, smell, and appearance.

Connecting Flora to Flavor

Cheese is made from milk. Milk comes from animals, such as cows and sheep and goats. Animals eat grass and flowers and hay. Whether we imagine a bucolic pasture or a giant industrial milk operation, this setting is an entire ecosystem of flora, specifically bacteria and yeasts and molds that will play a major role in the cheese making. Cheese is a living product because it comes from living things.

Cheese making starts off the same way for virtually all cheeses. Milk is heated to at least the body temperature of the animal, and naturally occurring bacteria will cause the milk to “sour” and become acidic. Stop here and you have yogurt.

Let’s keep going and add rennet, an enzyme that causes casein, the essential protein in milk, to coagulate. The water separates as the milk solids (i.e. protein, milk fat, and lactose sugar) clump together. These clumps are called curds and they look a bit like panna cotta floating in a yellowish liquid called whey.

Rennet causes the milk solids to curdle and separate from the liquid whey.

At this point, if we simply shape the curds and drain out the whey, without aging, we have fresh cheese. Good, but not as good as it can be: though still undeveloped at this stage, the cheese already contains almost all the flora it will need for taste, texture and smell. It is the affinage that will completely transform the curds.

The curds are placed in molds which will be pressed and dried.

Rind Development

The rind (or crust) of cheese begins to form during the initial drying process. What happens next depends on the type of cheese; many are washed in a dilute salt solution, or a solution with alcohol or bacteria cultures:

  • Soft blooming-rind cheeses, like Brie and Camembert, are salted and washed with a solution containing penicillium molds, which creates the white rind.
  • Soft washed-rind cheeses like Munster, Pont L’Évêque, and Langres are washed with dilute solutions containing salt and/or alcohol.
  • Hard cheeses, like the French Basque Ossau-Iraty, are washed with a dilute solution of salt and bacteria, or morge in French.

Liquids and morges are added early on in the cycle. Later, the cheeses will be brushed or patted to spread the flora over the crust, flipped regularly, carefully observed, and tasted to gauge the progress.

Rind development on my hands from patting mucor mold on the rinds of 80 Saint-Nectaires.

Rind development serves several purposes. Not only does it add aroma and flavor from the outside, it creates the conditions for flora activity inside the cheese as well. Finally, the growth of desirable flora on the rind creates competition that prevents the appearance of undesirable flora.

Paste Development

Paste (pâte in French) designates the inside of the cheese, where bacteria are busy breaking down the raw materials of milk — proteins, fats, sugars. Complex biochemical reactions are at work and we can see, taste, touch, and smell the transformation.

For example, if you see holes in the paste of the cheese, that’s evidence of proteins breaking down. A camembert or brie will go gooey just under the crust as the fats break down, and it’s the sugar breakdown that creates acidic flavors in goat and soft cheeses.

Caves and Environment

The affinage environment plays a central role in the development of the cheese. The affinage room is called une cave in French, or cellar. This can be a simple room (not necessarily below ground), a natural cave, an abandoned railway tunnel, or even a trailer. What matters is that the affineur, or cheese ager, be able to regulate humidity, temperature, and air movement, in order to stimulate or retard bacteria and mold growth.

For example, Roquefort are “put to sleep” for months: they are kept at a very low temperature (2-4°C or 36-39°F), to make this blue cheese available to consumers year-round, regardless of the sheeps’ natural lactation cycle. The mold would grow too quickly otherwise.

Standardized Versus Consistent

While the essential process of cheese aging is scientific, it is hardly regular, and depends greatly on the animals’ diet, the season, the weather… The slightest variation can create a butterfly effect. Some of this variability we seek, as it contributes to taste. But variability can spell trouble, sometimes leading to waste or spoilage.

It is up to the cheesemaker to decide how much variability she or he wants to deal with, and there are two approaches. One is to standardize by eliminating sources of risk, and this is what industrial producers do. Through intensive farming techniques (controlled diets, highly regulated living and milking conditions, milk pasteurization, and machine driven aging), they reduce variability and increase the scale of production.

The primary downside is that standardized cheeses are boring, with as much gastronomic depth as Playdoh. Americans will know what I mean from the insipid Bries available state-side; French readers can just imagine a President-brand camembert.

The alternative approach is to embrace the ecosystems (of the farm, the cheese making room, the affinage cave) and focus on consistent practices. The more consistent the practices, the more consistent the cheeses will be. Process control and a disciplined approach are key to tracing changes and understand their causes.

The human relationship between farmer and maker, and between maker and affineur, are just as capital. In turn, the affineur will work with the distributors and retailers to ensure the cheeses are properly handled and stored. This fluid system does yield more variability, but also cheeses richer in flavor, smell, and texture.

Just an ordinary day in Auvergne, the region known for Cantal, Fourme d’Ambert, and Saint-Nectaire.

Raw Versus Pasteurized

Whether industrialized or artisanal, cheese making is all about bacteria, and everyone from the farmer to the retailer shares the responsability for food safety. They reduce the risk through exacting hygiene practices, regular testing of the milk and the environment, and traceability, which tracks cheeses precisely from one actor to the other.

Opinions differ on milk treatment. A country like France, where there is a long and cherished tradition of making cheeses with raw milk, represents one end of the spectrum. A country like Australia, where cheeses must be made from pasteurized milk, is at the other. The United States is somewhere in between.

Raw milk cheeses are gastronomically superior, and scientific studies have shown they are safe to eat*. They are starting to make a comeback in the United States, thanks in part to organizations like the Oldways Cheese Coalition and the American Cheese Society who have partnered with the Food and Drug Administration.

France is a little bit of a paradox. Despite being a cheese-rich and cheese-loving country, the majority of cheeses consumed are industrially-produced and pasteurized (gah!). Giant agribusiness producers continue to chip away at, and food activists continue to fight for, the system that preserves tradition: the AOC/AOP program.

AOC stands for appellation d’origine contrôlée (appellation of controlled origin) and sets strict requirements on the cheese making and affinage process, and the geographic origin of the cheese. You can’t call a cheese Camembert de Normandie or Comté unless it’s been made in the designated region and in a specific way. These appellations are awarded not just to cheese, but also wines, butters, meats, fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, and oils. The program has been expanded across the EU, where it’s known as AOP or appellation d’origine protégée; in English, PDO or Protected Designation of Origin.

Cheese Tasting

The science of affinage is fascinating, yes, but the proof is in the pudding. As part of our training, we learned about sensorial analysis, which involves more than just the tasting.

Visually examining the rind and shape of the cheese tells you a lot about external and internal flora, how humid or dry the cheese might be, and what techniques were used in making it.

By smelling the rind and paste, you pick up scents of fruit and herbs, nuts and butter, toast and caramel, sweet or sour milk, or the alcoholic smell some cheeses give off.

Finally, taste brings an indication of salty, sweet, sour, and bitter, but also the lovely meaty or mushroomy umami that characterizes a ripe Brie. This creates what the pros call trigeminal (try-gem-uh-nal) effects on the sides of the mouth and jaw, which can be experienced as piquant sensations or the taste of minerals.

The experienced taster immediately picks up on a cheese that has gone over to “the dark side,” as Laurent Mons and Sue Sturman from Academie Opus Caseus like to say. An overly aged goat cheese becomes hard and tastes soapy, incorrectly tended bries and Munsters can get ammoniated, and if a chemical reaction takes a bad turn, it creates the smell of baby sick (sorry!).

Try doing a tasting of cheeses from the same families; here, a plate of three pressed cooked cheeses along with three blue cheeses.

Tips on Buying Good Cheese

Clotilde has shared cheese-buying advice with you; let me add my top tips:

Ask questions. People who love cheese love talking about it! You’ll find out a lot about the cheeses and the cheese monger’s perspective by being curious. Here are two questions I like to ask to get the conversation going:

  • I got <insert cheese> last time I was here. Do you have anything similar?
  • Can recommend something that is a little out of the ordinary, or that I might not have heard of?

Smell and taste your cheese. Ask your cheese monger for a sample; don’t be intimidated! Put it up to your nose and smell it before you taste it.

Build up your own database. The more cheeses you eat, the more you’ll learn, so try to gradually broaden your horizons and keep notes. Try different cheeses of the same type or technique, or the same region. If you have access to enough variety, you can do “flights” of cheese, tasting the same cheese at different ages, to see how the cheese develops with the affinage. In France, it’s fairly easy to do this with Comté, as cheese shops typically offer it at different stages of ripeness.

Now Get Out There and Eat Some Cheese!

I hope this has given you some pointers on cheese aging, and that it encourages you to try artisanal cheeses of any origin. My focus has been on French ones because it’s where I live and study cheese, but there are terrific cheeses to be found all over Europe, in the UK, and the US.

Please share your favorites in the comments below, we’d love to hear about them!

Don’t miss:
6 Tips to Buy Cheese Like The French
Terroir Products: What to Eat in the Jura

~~~

* In France, the official recommendation for pregnant women is to avoid soft blooming and washed rind cheeses, especially those made with raw milk, and to remove the rind on all cheeses. This is meant to reduce the risk of listeria infection. Hard-pressed cheeses are fine, including those made with raw milk, since the milk is sufficiently heated in the process.

The post The Cheese Geek’s Guide to Affinage appeared first on Chocolate & Zucchini.

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The Cheese Geek’s Guide to Affinage

Buy Clotilde’s latest book, The French Market Cookbook!

Did you know that France produces more than 350 types of cheese? Each variety is the unique result of a specific production method and aging process, requiring both technical skill and intuition.

Jonathan DeitchWe talk about cheese a lot on Chocolate & Zucchini: we’ve covered how to shop for cheese and the notion of cheese terroir, and today I am happy to present a guest post by Jonathan Deitch, a.k.a. Monsieur Fromage, a fellow bilingual blogger and passionate explorer of all things cheese.

Jonathan is an American who’s lived in France since 2009. He recently attended an intensive two-week professional workshop at Académie Opus Caseus, the cheese industry’s center for education. He has generously offered to walk us through the process of making and aging cheese, with lots of quirky details for us cheese geeks to lap up.

Please visit the M. Fromage blog, and follow him on Twitter and Instagram. Thank you Jonathan!

Part Magic, Part Biochemistry

Goat cheeses sampled on Cheese Day in Paris, in January 2016. Note the blueing on the rind.

My recent two-week professional training with the Académie Opus Caseus was an eye-opening introduction to affinage, the process of aging cheese. The principles and techniques are simple to understand, yet they take a lifetime to master. They also serve as a good reminder of the importance of environment and tradition, and the value of patience, honest labor, and passion.

To understand the aging process, we need to start with how cheese is made, and wrap our minds around the fact that the best cheeses are a direct result of flora, a less-scary term for the (good) bacteria and (good) molds that contribute to taste, texture, smell, and appearance.

Connecting Flora to Flavor

Cheese is made from milk. Milk comes from animals, such as cows and sheep and goats. Animals eat grass and flowers and hay. Whether we imagine a bucolic pasture or a giant industrial milk operation, this setting is an entire ecosystem of flora, specifically bacteria and yeasts and molds that will play a major role in the cheese making. Cheese is a living product because it comes from living things.

Cheese making starts off the same way for virtually all cheeses. Milk is heated to at least the body temperature of the animal, and naturally occurring bacteria will cause the milk to “sour” and become acidic. Stop here and you have yogurt.

Let’s keep going and add rennet, an enzyme that causes casein, the essential protein in milk, to coagulate. The water separates as the milk solids (i.e. protein, milk fat, and lactose sugar) clump together. These clumps are called curds and they look a bit like panna cotta floating in a yellowish liquid called whey.

Rennet causes the milk solids to curdle and separate from the liquid whey.

At this point, if we simply shape the curds and drain out the whey, without aging, we have fresh cheese. Good, but not as good as it can be: though still undeveloped at this stage, the cheese already contains almost all the flora it will need for taste, texture and smell. It is the affinage that will completely transform the curds.

The curds are placed in molds which will be pressed and dried.

Rind Development

The rind (or crust) of cheese begins to form during the initial drying process. What happens next depends on the type of cheese; many are washed in a dilute salt solution, or a solution with alcohol or bacteria cultures:

  • Soft blooming-rind cheeses, like Brie and Camembert, are salted and washed with a solution containing penicillium molds, which creates the white rind.
  • Soft washed-rind cheeses like Munster, Pont L’Évêque, and Langres are washed with dilute solutions containing salt and/or alcohol.
  • Hard cheeses, like the French Basque Ossau-Iraty, are washed with a dilute solution of salt and bacteria, or morge in French.

Liquids and morges are added early on in the cycle. Later, the cheeses will be brushed or patted to spread the flora over the crust, flipped regularly, carefully observed, and tasted to gauge the progress.

Rind development on my hands from patting mucor mold on the rinds of 80 Saint-Nectaires.

Rind development serves several purposes. Not only does it add aroma and flavor from the outside, it creates the conditions for flora activity inside the cheese as well. Finally, the growth of desirable flora on the rind creates competition that prevents the appearance of undesirable flora.

Paste Development

Paste (pâte in French) designates the inside of the cheese, where bacteria are busy breaking down the raw materials of milk — proteins, fats, sugars. Complex biochemical reactions are at work and we can see, taste, touch, and smell the transformation.

For example, if you see holes in the paste of the cheese, that’s evidence of proteins breaking down. A camembert or brie will go gooey just under the crust as the fats break down, and it’s the sugar breakdown that creates acidic flavors in goat and soft cheeses.

Caves and Environment

The affinage environment plays a central role in the development of the cheese. The affinage room is called une cave in French, or cellar. This can be a simple room (not necessarily below ground), a natural cave, an abandoned railway tunnel, or even a trailer. What matters is that the affineur, or cheese ager, be able to regulate humidity, temperature, and air movement, in order to stimulate or retard bacteria and mold growth.

For example, Roquefort are “put to sleep” for months: they are kept at a very low temperature (2-4°C or 36-39°F), to make this blue cheese available to consumers year-round, regardless of the sheeps’ natural lactation cycle. The mold would grow too quickly otherwise.

Standardized Versus Consistent

While the essential process of cheese aging is scientific, it is hardly regular, and depends greatly on the animals’ diet, the season, the weather… The slightest variation can create a butterfly effect. Some of this variability we seek, as it contributes to taste. But variability can spell trouble, sometimes leading to waste or spoilage.

It is up to the cheesemaker to decide how much variability she or he wants to deal with, and there are two approaches. One is to standardize by eliminating sources of risk, and this is what industrial producers do. Through intensive farming techniques (controlled diets, highly regulated living and milking conditions, milk pasteurization, and machine driven aging), they reduce variability and increase the scale of production.

The primary downside is that standardized cheeses are boring, with as much gastronomic depth as Playdoh. Americans will know what I mean from the insipid Bries available state-side; French readers can just imagine a President-brand camembert.

The alternative approach is to embrace the ecosystems (of the farm, the cheese making room, the affinage cave) and focus on consistent practices. The more consistent the practices, the more consistent the cheeses will be. Process control and a disciplined approach are key to tracing changes and understand their causes.

The human relationship between farmer and maker, and between maker and affineur, are just as capital. In turn, the affineur will work with the distributors and retailers to ensure the cheeses are properly handled and stored. This fluid system does yield more variability, but also cheeses richer in flavor, smell, and texture.

Just an ordinary day in Auvergne, the region known for Cantal, Fourme d’Ambert, and Saint-Nectaire.

Raw Versus Pasteurized

Whether industrialized or artisanal, cheese making is all about bacteria, and everyone from the farmer to the retailer shares the responsability for food safety. They reduce the risk through exacting hygiene practices, regular testing of the milk and the environment, and traceability, which tracks cheeses precisely from one actor to the other.

Opinions differ on milk treatment. A country like France, where there is a long and cherished tradition of making cheeses with raw milk, represents one end of the spectrum. A country like Australia, where cheeses must be made from pasteurized milk, is at the other. The United States is somewhere in between.

Raw milk cheeses are gastronomically superior, and scientific studies have shown they are safe to eat*. They are starting to make a comeback in the United States, thanks in part to organizations like the Oldways Cheese Coalition and the American Cheese Society who have partnered with the Food and Drug Administration.

France is a little bit of a paradox. Despite being a cheese-rich and cheese-loving country, the majority of cheeses consumed are industrially-produced and pasteurized (gah!). Giant agribusiness producers continue to chip away at, and food activists continue to fight for, the system that preserves tradition: the AOC/AOP program.

AOC stands for appellation d’origine contrôlée (appellation of controlled origin) and sets strict requirements on the cheese making and affinage process, and the geographic origin of the cheese. You can’t call a cheese Camembert de Normandie or Comté unless it’s been made in the designated region and in a specific way. These appellations are awarded not just to cheese, but also wines, butters, meats, fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, and oils. The program has been expanded across the EU, where it’s known as AOP or appellation d’origine protégée; in English, PDO or Protected Designation of Origin.

Cheese Tasting

The science of affinage is fascinating, yes, but the proof is in the pudding. As part of our training, we learned about sensorial analysis, which involves more than just the tasting.

Visually examining the rind and shape of the cheese tells you a lot about external and internal flora, how humid or dry the cheese might be, and what techniques were used in making it.

By smelling the rind and paste, you pick up scents of fruit and herbs, nuts and butter, toast and caramel, sweet or sour milk, or the alcoholic smell some cheeses give off.

Finally, taste brings an indication of salty, sweet, sour, and bitter, but also the lovely meaty or mushroomy umami that characterizes a ripe Brie. This creates what the pros call trigeminal (try-gem-uh-nal) effects on the sides of the mouth and jaw, which can be experienced as piquant sensations or the taste of minerals.

The experienced taster immediately picks up on a cheese that has gone over to “the dark side,” as Laurent Mons and Sue Sturman from Academie Opus Caseus like to say. An overly aged goat cheese becomes hard and tastes soapy, incorrectly tended bries and Munsters can get ammoniated, and if a chemical reaction takes a bad turn, it creates the smell of baby sick (sorry!).

Try doing a tasting of cheeses from the same families; here, a plate of three pressed cooked cheeses along with three blue cheeses.

Tips on Buying Good Cheese

Clotilde has shared cheese-buying advice with you; let me add my top tips:

Ask questions. People who love cheese love talking about it! You’ll find out a lot about the cheeses and the cheese monger’s perspective by being curious. Here are two questions I like to ask to get the conversation going:

  • I got <insert cheese> last time I was here. Do you have anything similar?
  • Can recommend something that is a little out of the ordinary, or that I might not have heard of?

Smell and taste your cheese. Ask your cheese monger for a sample; don’t be intimidated! Put it up to your nose and smell it before you taste it.

Build up your own database. The more cheeses you eat, the more you’ll learn, so try to gradually broaden your horizons and keep notes. Try different cheeses of the same type or technique, or the same region. If you have access to enough variety, you can do “flights” of cheese, tasting the same cheese at different ages, to see how the cheese develops with the affinage. In France, it’s fairly easy to do this with Comté, as cheese shops typically offer it at different stages of ripeness.

Now Get Out There and Eat Some Cheese!

I hope this has given you some pointers on cheese aging, and that it encourages you to try artisanal cheeses of any origin. My focus has been on French ones because it’s where I live and study cheese, but there are terrific cheeses to be found all over Europe, in the UK, and the US.

Please share your favorites in the comments below, we’d love to hear about them!

Don’t miss:
6 Tips to Buy Cheese Like The French
Terroir Products: What to Eat in the Jura

~~~

* In France, the official recommendation for pregnant women is to avoid soft blooming and washed rind cheeses, especially those made with raw milk, and to remove the rind on all cheeses. This is meant to reduce the risk of listeria infection. Hard-pressed cheeses are fine, including those made with raw milk, since the milk is sufficiently heated in the process.

The post The Cheese Geek’s Guide to Affinage appeared first on Chocolate & Zucchini.

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Ten Belles Bread

I’m always on the lookout for new bakeries and pastry shops that have opened in Paris. Although to be honest, it’s hard to keep up these days! The number of new boulangeries and pâtisseries that are focusing on everything from artisanal grains to organic flours, are spreading like wild yeast across the city.

I’d met Alice Quillet a few years back, when she, and her partners ran Le Bal Café. A few years ago she went on to open Ten Belles coffee shop with her business partners, Anna Trattles and Anselme Blayney (who co-created Belleville Brûlerie), a few blocks from the Canal Saint-Martin. (I can’t remember if it’s one block or two, because I’m always racing up the street because I need my coffee!) They were instrumental in being part of the coffee “revolution” in Paris, as a growing number of young people are opening cafés that focus on good-quality, well-made coffee. And now, bread is getting its turn.

Bread is an important staple in the French diet and even at Asian and Indian restaurants, you’ll see locals searching around for a bread basket. (I have a couple of French friends that simply cannot eat unless there is bread on the table, no matter what.) I love bread, and thankfully, Paris has over a thousand bakeries where people line up morning, noon, and late afternoon, for their daily bread. As part of the vague (wave) of younger people making their mark on the food scene, Alice is at the forefront, kneading up whole-grain loaves and using dough to create treats for a new generation of Parisians.

Continue Reading Ten Belles Bread

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Gwyneth Paltrow’s Organic Cafe Will Have a Room Dedicated to Selfies

Gwyneth Paltrow’s Organic Cafe Will Have a Room Dedicated to SelfiesGwyneth Paltrow is expanding her empire and making it easier for the world to follow her food lead. The actress-turned-food-writer and healthy-lifestyle advocate is opening an organic cafe in New York, the next iteration in an endeavor that began in 2015 as a summer-in-the-Hamptons pop-up health-food purveyor.

Set to open in March adjacent to Paltrow pal and celebrity fitness trainer Tracy Anderson’s new private fitness studio — where membership will run you $900 a month, not to mention the $1,500 initiation fee — the new eatery, 3 Green Hearts, will offer coffee, juices, smoothies and healthy prepared meals. (The third member of the green-heart trio is Tracy Anderson CEO Maria Baum.)

And while fitness club members will get a discount on food (which they will either really need after shelling out that kind of dough to work out or, more likely, not need at all), the cafe is open to the public at large. There will also be a meal-delivery service offering, according to a press release, “healthy, fresh and organic” foods “with weight loss and weight management plans available.”

What’s more, the new eatery, which is located on 59th Street in New York City and is an expanded version of a lower-key downtown location, will include not only a full kitchen, but also a “theater room” dedicated to before- and after-workout social-media selfie-sharing.

Why is that not surprising?

Also not surprising: the snarkiness with which the media has received news of this latest Paltrow project.

Finally, a restaurant for people who want celebrity-curated health food served adjacent to a private $900-a-month fitness studio,” faux-gushed local news source amNewYork.

Eater, meanwhile, characterized the cafe’s fare as “militantly healthy.” However, the site declined to note, as it did in a previous post about Paltrow’s “joyless new health food line,” that 3 Green Hearts’ gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, nut-free and egg-free cookies are “essentially made of air and the tears of disappointed children.”

Put that in your smoothie …

Photo: Getty Images, Axelle/Bauer-Griffin / Contributor

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Celebrities Enter the Chopped Kitchen for Charity in the All-New Star Power Tournament

Star PowerThe stars have aligned in the Chopped kitchen as 16 of the biggest internet sensations, athletes, comedians, and film and television actors compete in the star-studded Chopped: Star Power tournament, premiering Tuesday, March 28 at 10|9c. Through this five-part competition, the celebrities must prove their culinary skills as they are tasked to create delicious appetizers, entrees and desserts from mystery baskets of ingredients in a limited amount of time. The winner from each heat will move on to the grand finale for a chance to earn the grand prize, $50,000 for charity.

Star Power: Web Stars — Tuesday, March 28 at 10|9c
In the first competition, web stars compete to see who can crack the code of the mystery baskets. In the appetizer round, the internet phenoms seek to dazzle the judges with their blood sausage appetizers. Dealing with duck could be the biggest obstacle in the entree round. A Japanese frozen dessert and an instant breakfast food challenge the two remaining web stars in the dessert round.
Judges: Scott Conant, Amanda Freitag, Geoffrey Zakarian
Competitors: Josh Elkin, Hilah Johnson, iJustine, Lazarus Lynch

Star Power: Culinary Muscle — Tuesday, April 4 at 10|9c
Positively driven to compete, four star athletes battle it out in the kitchen for a spot in the finale. An exceptionally weird flavor of soda and a cheesy dish are two of the basket stumpers the competitors face in the appetizer round, and one competitor asks another for a surprising favor at the end of the round. The judges get three distinct lamb dishes from a threesome of sports stars in the entree round. The two athletes who get to rock the dessert round get rock candy as one of their mandatory ingredients.
Judges: Scott Conant, Alex Guarnaschelli, Eddie Jackson
Competitors: Dorothy Hamill, Paige VanZant, LaMarr Woodley, Mariel Zagunis

Star Power: The Last Laugh — Tuesday, April 11 at 10|9c
Four funny actors engage in a display of cooking improv, as a frenzied first round featuring a South American flatbread and a beautiful seafood product take the spotlight. Taming the sweet factor becomes important in an entree round with marshmallows in the basket. Premade dough seems to give the final two cooks a head start in the dessert round, but will they know what to do with it?
Judges: Scott Conant, Amanda Freitag, Marc Murphy
Competitors: Illeana Douglas, Ron Funches, Jonathan Sadowski, Julie White

Star Power: Screen Sensations — Tuesday, April 18 at 10|9c
Four famous stars of film and TV compete for the final spot in the finale. In the appetizer round, the actors must find a role for bass and ice pops in their dishes. The judges are entertained by one competitor’s liberal use of a particular pantry ingredient in the entree round. Then in the dessert round, the ice cream machine is a hot commodity for making cold treats.
Judges: Scott Conant, Amanda Freitag, Marcus Samuelsson
Competitors: Rick Fox, Jodi Lyn O’Keefe, Alysia Reiner, Alan Thicke

Star Power: Grand Finale — Tuesday, April 25 at 10|9c
Four celebrity champions return to try to repeat and reap a $50,000 win for their favorite charity. The finale drama revs up after the competitors open up an appetizer basket that includes a breakfast pastry and a pretty — but pretty bland — fruit. A pineapple transformed into something extra special is at the center of an exhilarating entree round. The last round of the tournament features a basket with a tower of cookies and a tropical fruit.
Judges: Scott Conant, Alex Guarnaschelli, Geoffrey Zakarian

Check out http://ift.tt/1R5q98c for more on the celebrity contestants, browse photo galleries and watch video extras. Join the conversation with #Chopped.

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