Category Archives: Food and Drink

18May/15

Belgian scientists use beer yeast to boost chocolate flavour

Belgium is known for its beer – and its chocolate.

Now scientists say if you put the two together, it results in a superior tasting sweet treat.

Leading chocolate producer Barry Callebaut found that its flavour forms when the sticky white pulp covering cocoa beans ferments during the drying process.

Gino Vrancken leads the company’s global research and development team.

BARRY CALLEBAUT RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT MANAGER, GINO VRANCKEN,

“The bean is always pushed through fermentation to develop the aroma potential, but it is never done in so optimally or fully.”

The chocolate connoisseurs turned to scientists from Leuven to help them find the yeast that results in the tastiest cocoa bean

Kevin Verstrepen’s team developed a cross between a beer yeast and one that occurs in the cocoa beans’ natural environment.

PROFESSOR AT KATHOLIEKE UNIVERSITEIT LEUVEN UNIVERSITY AND GROUP LEADER AT FLANDERS INSTITUTE FOR BIOTECHNOLOGY, KEVIN VERSTREPEN,

“If you just take a good brewer’s yeast and you put it on chocolate you are not really going to get great chocolate, because they are really not adapted to that environment. So, it was really key to take the yeast we added from the chocolate that are used to growing there and that can use of the sugars and nutrients that are available in these chocolate beans.”

The result is a hybrid yeast that releases the most desirable aroma compounds more quickly – and prevents the growth of unwanted fungi.

This allows the producer to replicate the purest cocoa flavour with every bean.

And the Belgian team says using yeasts to engineer the taste of the chocolate means no added chemicals or artifical flavours.

PROFESSOR AT KATHOLIEKE UNIVERSITEIT LEUVEN UNIVERSITY AND GROUP LEADER AT FLANDERS INSTITUTE FOR BIOTECHNOLOGY, KEVIN VERSTREPEN,

“You will soon be able to go to the supermarket and pick your really favourite chocolate that is a bit more fruity, whereas maybe your significant other will go and he wants some more robust, you know, smokey chocolate, or a caramel-one, or a sweet or less sweet.”

With the beer-powered yeast behind their chocolate, Barry Callebaut is now confident their product will stand up to any taste test.

14Mar/15

Foreign brands brace for China’s consumer day

(BVO) – Pies, pies and more pies.

In China, McDonald’s is having a pi day. Get it?

That’s pi as in 3.1415, the mathematical constant you use to find the circumference of a circle.

The American fast food chain will be selling the dessert this week for half price at 3.14 yuan. That’s about fifty cents (USD).
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09Mar/15

Japanese sushi – made in Africa

(Reuters Business Report) – The idea of the Japanese eating sushi fish from a tiny landlocked African country may sound unlikely.

But that’s exactly what’s happening.

The mountainous kingdom of Lesotho is completely encircled by South Africa, and supplies water to its much bigger neighbour.

It’s also home to this fish farm project, hoping to boost the country’s economy by meeting overseas demand for trout.

MAMPOI LEROTHOLI LABORATORY TECHNICIAN,

“We have a good catchment area, we get low temperature and that suitable for the growth of our product which is rainbow trout. Also pollution and other problems that you get in city life you don’t get them here, we don’t get disturbances. The fish can live peacefully.”

The Highlands Trout project exports about 2,000 tonnes of trout a year to Japan’s CGC supermarket.

It is even by-passing Tsukiji, Tokyo’s massive wholesale fish market – to sell the directly to the retail market.

Once the premium fish is processed for export in Lesotho, remaining pieces are shared among community members.

Selemo Sitsane, is nursery supervisor at Highlands Trout

SELEMO SITSANE, NURSERY SUPERVISOR, HIGHLANDS TROUT,

“Residents will be given the heads of the fish to eat. The people who work here are locals; the project has brought many changes and made things better for the community.”

Lesotho’s residents have long worked as migrants in South Africa – the vast majority underground.

But with South Africa’s gold industry is in a state of steep decline, projects like Highlands Trout are welcomed by locals.

The company has been up and running since 2012, and now now wants to expand its annual output to 10,000 tonnes a year.