Why You Should Drink Organic Coffee

In a culture that's obsessed with processed foods, the thought of "organic coffee" might scare java lovers. They may think that coffee is either too expensive or too bland for them to try out. As a result, they may continue drinking non-organic brands, making those companies even more successful.

And, since there isn't any demand for that type of coffee, brand-name manufacturers continue doing the same thing. Why switch to an that process if you can make more money with non-organic ones?

Well, manufacturers and consumers need to reevaluate their thoughts towards organic coffee. First off, since this coffee is grown without pesticides, it is extremely healthy for the environment. During their cultivation, no chemicals are released into the air or soil. In turn, not only does the air remain clean, but there's no risk of harmful substances invading the area's water supply.

20 Chocolate Facts

Chocolate is the most popular confectionary flavour worldwide. We love and enjoy it in all its variety and forms, but just how much do we know about it? Although one doesn't need to be a master chocolatiere to appreciate it, there are an endless number of fascinating facts and statistics about its production and our usage of it. Here are just 20 facts that I have compiled for your observation. I'm sure they'll make interesting points of conversation (if nothing else).

1. Chocolate was first used over 2,500 years ago, originating in Central America. The Mayan civilisation considered Cacao to be a divine gift and so, it was held in high regard. It was used ceremoniously and sometimes as a form of currency. The name 'Cacao' is a Maya word meaning 'god food' which after being introduced to Europe in the 16th century, formed the basis of the Latin name for the Cacao tree 'Theobrama Cacao' meaning 'food for the gods'. It is thought that the word 'cocoa' has come about through a miss-spelling of 'cacao.'

How is Chocolate Made?

Can I Make Chocolate?

Ever wondered how chocolate is made and whether you could make it yourself? It is probably the dream of many a chocolate lover to be able to churn out trays of personalized chocolate delights at will. Well, if you are the adventurous type and are patient with a little time on your hands and you have a few choice pieces of equipment, then you too could learn the much coveted art of chocolate making.

Before we get into the domesticated version of chocolate making, it would be beneficial to understand the tried and tested processes that the industry uses to make large volumes of our favorite treat.

It all begins with the raw material 'cacoa'. The cacoa tree produces a pod containing a number of seeds or beans (as they are commonly known) in its center surrounded by a pulp all enclosed in a thick fleshy skin. The pods are a picked, opened and the contents put into large wooden bins which are covered and left to ferment for a few days. Once they are adequately fermented, they are laid out to dry in the sun for a week or so. When the beans are sufficiently dried they are sorted, separated by category and roasted in large ovens for up to half an hour where they darken and the flavor of the bean is enhanced.

Bringing Out The Chocolate

Chocolate is one of the few gifts with which the giver can envisage, with some surety, the sensation that the receiver will experience when they indulge in it. It is a universal language that chocolate lovers the world over speak and understand. Its very presence makes people smile, eyes glow and hearts beat faster. Its silent language speaks volumes, all in the moment it takes to register the sound of its tight snap and inhale the rich warming smell of roasted cacao, with whatever befitting infusion the chocolatier has conceived and summoned into the realm of existence.

The possible flavors and textures of chocolate are endless, which, to the chocolate lover, only serves to add to the excitement. The prospect of discovering a new treat for the palette is like the lone explorer discovering new and unchartered territory which he must first explore before introducing it to the masses.

Baking Secrets for the Holiday Season

Sandra Olivier
http://www.longtail.co.za

There's something magical about this time of year when everything is trimmed with tinsel and various shades of red and green. Festive music is playing in every shop and people are having parties, entertaining friends and enjoying time with family. In that spirit, we've decided to share some of our best baking secrets with you to ensure that your holiday baking will be the best it's ever been.

1. Start out Fresh: Last season's ingredients just won't cut it. Start out fresh and stock up on fresh holiday cookie baking ingredients. A holiday cookie that tastes likes stale flour just won't do it. Sugar might be able to keep for quite a while, put products like, baking soda and flavored extracts can quickly become stale and dull-tasting.