Foods are us! Are we what we eat?

The last two days I attended this year’s ‘Science and Society Conference’ an annual conference series which –this time- was focused on “Foods are us! On becoming and eating”. I had a great time and really enjoyed many interesting presentations by food science experts from very diverse disciplines and backgrounds. This ranged from chemistry and molecular biology to psychology and sociology.

 EMBL/EMBO Science and Society Conference on Foods are us! In Heidelberg ‘Science and Society Conference’ on Foods are us! On becoming and eating taking place at EMBL in Heidelberg

Origin Chocolate Event

Although cocoa has always been a luxurious good and chocolate in its current (western) form is a highly esteemed delicacy, it feels like high-end chocolate is currently being re-invented. More and more bean-to-bar chocolate makers start to produce better and better chocolates, often by systematically questioning, testing, and improving the individual steps of chocolate making.

Origin Chocolate Event 2014 in Amsterdam - Diego Badaró from AMMADiego Badaró from AMMA at the Origin Chocolate Event 2014 in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is not yet Portland

Yesterday I learned more about the rapidly growing local microbrewery scene at Pakhuis de Zwijger. This ‘Brewery Special’ was organized by Indie Brands and mainly consisted of 5 presentations by different local breweries to introduce themselves and tell something about what they do, why they do it and additional anecdotes (the featured breweries were Amsterdam Brewboys, De Vriendschap, De Prael, Oedipus, and Browerij t’IJ). Naturally, this was followed by a beer tasting…

Indie Brands Brewery Special - Amsterdam microbreweries Selection of local craft beers at the ‘Indie Brands Brewery Special’

ArtiChoc – hints of flavor

When I started blogging about Amsterdam’s chocolate world I really had in mind to cover it as completely as possible. Somehow I never finished the list I initially had in mind. Time to catch up I guess.
One place I haven’t mentioned so far in more detail is ‘ArtiChoc‘ located south of Vondelpark in one of the traditionally richer areas of Amsterdam.

Arti Choc - Amsterdam chocolatier Bonbon selection at ‘Arti Choc’, an Amsterdam chocolatier south of Vondelpark.

First time Cider Making

When I found myself picking apples in a beautiful south-German orchard in early September, I wondered what could all be done with the large amounts of organic, delicious apples. Eating, sure. Baking, yes. But wouldn’t Cider be the ideal way to refine the apples’ potential? Only problem: I had never done Cider or anything alike by myself. Normally I use my kitchen (besides ‘normal’ cooking) to experimente with confectionery recipes. Now it’s cider as well…

First time Cider Making - apples from the south German orchard First time Cider Making – Hand-picked apples from the south German orchard I took along to Amsterdam for first cider making trials.

Amsterdam Microbrewing

There are two interesting events for people that want to learn (and taste) more about Amsterdam microbreweries in the next two weeks. The ‘Local Goods market’ and beer lectures and beer tasting in Pakhuis de Zwijger. But first let me start with a confession: As a German that moved to the Netherlands I was as arrogant as most Germans when it comes to beer. ‘German beer is the best’ is beyond dispute. So why even try other beers… well, maybe to find out that German is indeed often pretty OK. But also a bit boring. Pils, Weizen, some dark beers. That’s it…

Beer brewing infographic Brewing process (beautiful infographics taken from this site).

Microbiome hype and online courses

Dear regular followers of my blog,
I know that it must appear as if I am currently obsessed with my microbial cohabitants. Soon, I will return to more candy and chocolate stuff. Promised!
But for now: back to my microbes….

The microbiome topic is increasingly hyped in the media. The microbiome topic is increasingly hyped in the media. ‘Redefining human’ is the catchy title for a planed film project. The picture is based on a screenshot from their website (website of ‘redefine human’)

My gut feeling: no artificial sweeteners

It is not the first time artificial sweeteners are linked to negative effects on human health, such as weight gain or diabetes. But a new study by Suez et al. now published in Nature might very well mark an important cornerstone in our perception of artificial sweeteners as a frequently used food additive.

Artificial sweeteners severely affect the gut microbiota with potentially negative effects on human health

My microbes and me

During the last year I frequently stumbled over research related to the ‘microbiota’ (sometimes referred to as ‘microbiome’), which simply stands for the myriad microbes we carry around. It immediately caught my interest when I first learned more about it. I can still remember that I was totally sure that I had found a typo when I first read that we have 10-times more of those little creatures in our body than human cells!

My microbes and me - fascination microbiota, microbiome

Palatable vegan milk chocolate!

Facing the limit of growth and the threat of climate change, the term ‘sustainability’ has seen a rapidly rise in usage in recent years. The food sector is responsible for about one fifth of all greenhouse gas emissions. Out of those food-related greenhouse gas emissions, 20% stems from cow’s milk production. It hence makes total sense to think about how to create good milk-free alternatives, and this not only for those with allergies or the like.

Vivani rice milk chocolate with 40% cocoa - first palatable vegan milk chocolate I had so far. Vivani rice milk chocolate with 40% cocoa – first palatable vegan milk chocolate I had so far.