I started to share some cooking resources that I really like, most of all because they brought me new knowledge and new perspectives on food and cooking. After listing some online cooking courses and forums I’d like to mention another type of resource that I use extensively: food podcasts!
Want to create some amazing food? Do something you have never done before? It might be my inner scientist acting, but whenever I embarque on such a mission I usually jump to the ‘theory’ first. That is: learn more about it! And luckily, there’s plenty of great ways to get the knowledge you need! But it can be quite hard to find it in the middle of all the low-quality, false, or nonsense ‘knowledge’ out there…
Last week the Chocoa festival, trade fair, and conference took place in the center of Amsterdam. Chocoa is a annual event and the ‘festival’ part resembles the Origin chocolate event although with more attention towards families, kids etc.1. This time I did not attend the festival, but I joined the trade fair instead.
Cocoa bean sampling at the Chocoa trade fair 2015 in Amsterdam. One of the most important tests for the quality of cocoa beans it the so called ‘cutting test’. Typically, a few hundred beans are cut in halves for this test. Visual inspection then reveals the percentage of beans with mold as well as poorly fermented beans (well-fermented beans often show violet colors while a grayish appearance is a sign for non-ideal fermentation).
- The Origin chocolate event is really mostly centered around premium bean-to-bar products. [↩]
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.
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 making1.
- I introduced the different steps of chocolate making in another blog post. [↩]
Dear regular followers of my blog1,
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. ‘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’)
- In case there are some… [↩]
May 9-11, Amsterdam will host the fourth edition of the Food Film Festival! Ticket sales is open since yesterday, and its program is definitely worth a closer look.
To the technical stuff. What did we do/learn in the course?
I told you that I recently enjoyed a ‘Beyond the basics” course at the chocolate academy in Wieze, Belgium. Here are some more details and pictures for those of you interested in what we technically did in the course.
Coming from science I do not find it very difficult to understand the science behind chocolate tempering, ganache emulsions, caramelization or Maillard reactions. Yet the practical work with those things is another story. I had to start as a full beginner.