Gourmet Foods and the Use of Alba White Truffles

Whenever you think about culinary arts and skills, think gourmet foods and white truffles. Gourmet foods come with high quality and taste. These dishes are very common in the United Kingdom, despite being originally from Alba, Italy. They are as well among the most highly upheld and traditional foods of exotic cooking that have been passed down from one generation to another by the Roman culture. (more…)

Culinary Career Options in the Hospitality Industry

Careers in the culinary arts go beyond basic cooking. There are a variety of specialized chefs that focus on anything from sauces to deserts. In bigger establishments there are chefs whose duties almost exclusively involve the management of other chefs and there can even be chefs who manage them. Here are some of the culinary world careers.

Executive chefs are going to be those chefs at the highest levels and are considered executives. Their main functions are to manage the chefs and preparation workers at a restaurant. They can also advance to be responsible for multiple restaurants in a chain. They are required to plan the menu, estimate food needs and cost plus supervise the staff of chef and other kitchen help. They are also responsible for the hiring and training of new chefs. They still may have some regular cooking duties or may just prepare certain meals and at special functions.

Sous-chefs are also managers but are below executive chefs. They are responsible for the direct supervision of the staff. They also play a hands on role in the training of new techniques, equipment and recipes. They also may be involved in menu planning, food and supply ordering. They are usually still required to prepare the main dishes as well as help in special events.

A saucier is exactly as is sounds, a chef whose main purpose is to prepare sauces and also dished cooked in sauces or gravy. Sauces are a foundational part of cooking so a saucier needs to be very knowledgeable. They need to know everything that has anything to do with the possible permutations and mixtures that go in to creating a fine sauce.

A garde manager, also known as a chef garde manager, is also used to describe a chef that is in charge of all colds foods. Garde is a French term for a pantry where cold dished are stored and prepared, prepared foods such as desserts, salads, sandwiches, dressings, cold sauces and appetizers. They are usually very skilled at using left overs in a creative way to invent new dishes.

A pastry chef may have the most delicious job of all. They have to make a variety of confections and baked items. This may include pastries but also cookies, cakes, chocolates, beignets and petitfours but they can routinely make any desert imaginable. Not only are the very knowledgeable of the flavors and tastes involved in deserts, they can also fill supervisory roles in establishment large enough to a pastry staff.

Upscale establishments the career an extensive wine list will employ sommeliers. Sommeliers are experts in wine and they routinely suggest wine for customers that are complimentary to their meals. While some may think that a job that requires you to consume and judge a ton of wine sound like a dream, it can be difficult work the needs a lot of practice and an abundance of knowledge. There are classes that can be taken that will focus on wine. They will teach you the chemistry that goes into making wine as well as how to properly taste wine. You will also learn how to judge wine based on its aroma, flavor, color and body.

Finding the “Best of the Best” in Coffee

There is coffee and THERE IS COFFEE! You likely know about the generic quality coffees you find at the supermarket, using the inferior Robusta beans. And, in contrast, there is the alternative: the coffee regularly termed Gourmet Coffee you buy direct from roasters around the country. Popular large volume roasters, like Starbucks as well as most of the the smaller roasters dispersed about town, essentially utilize this far better grade, high altitude, shade grown Arabica bean.

That being said, and broadly known by all nowadays, how can you siphon out the crème de la crème of gourmet coffee beans to purchase?

To begin with, let’s hone in specifically on taste. Nowadays, coffee has become a “drink of experts”…
evolved into an art of reflection! We’ve begun to savor our coffee…flavor identify and define the subtle hints and nuances, as well as the qualities that identify the bean’s continent of origin. You as a coffee drinker, can begin to explore and experience the undertones of your coffee’s region, but better yet, begin to revel in the independently specific flavors of the bean defined by the specific hill and farm where it’s grown.

Coffee Cupping: Defining Coffee by its “Underlying Flavors”

There are, nowadays, a limited number of coffee roasters that independently test their coffee beans for taste observations and aromas. These beans are graded and assessed just like fine wine. This activity is called Coffee Cupping or Coffee Tasting. Professionals known as Master Tasters are the assessors. The procedure involves deeply sniffing a cup of brewed coffee, then loudly slurping the coffee so it draws in air, spreads to the back of the tongue, and maximizes flavor.

These Master Tasters, much akin to wine tasters, then attempt to measure in detail, every aspect of the coffee’s taste. This assessment includes measurement of the body (the texture or mouth-feel, such as oiliness), acidity (a sharp and tangy feeling, like when biting into an orange), and balance (the innuendo and the harmony of flavors working together). Since coffee beans embody telltale flavors from their region or continent of their origin, cuppers may also attempt to predict where the coffee was grown.

Coffee For Your Health

Many of us rely on coffee to get us going in the mornings, wake us up in the afternoons, and prepare us for that special business meeting. Go ahead, have a cup of coffee. It’s much healthier than you may be thinking right now.

Coffee is the most consumed beverage in the world. No matter where you go, coffee is usually available. Yet, until recently there’s been very little research on the effects of coffee on our health. The researcher’s are waking up however. There have recently been studies completed on a variety of health benefits to drinking that simply delicious cup of coffee. (more…)

Candle Making Additives

There are eight distinct candle making additives used in the candle making process. Some makers choose not to use them at all while others take advantage of what each type of additive has to offer to their candle making process. Candle wax additives are inexpensive and work well if you are educated in how to use them and why to use each kind. (more…)

A Bunn Coffee Maker – It’s the Best

When it comes to brewing coffee for small or large crowds, the Bunn coffee maker is rated one of the best. Consumers will find a Bunn coffee maker not only in homes, but also in convenience stores, offices, hotels, and restaurants and even cruise ships. Bunn is a leading manufacturer of coffee makers in the world, with services to over ninety countries around the globe.

Bunn coffee makers are designed for home, commercial and industrial use. Their exceptional quality and sturdy design makes them a favorite with both small and large businesses. Bunn began in the coffee business in the late 1950’s, founding the Bunn-O-Matic Corporation. In the early 1960’s, Bunn was the first to introduce the paper coffee filter and the new design of ‘automatic drip’ coffeemakers. (more…)

A Look on Diet Fitness

Many people nowadays are very much conscious about their own health and fitness. In addition to that, these people, and many others as well, are now having that desire to sculpt their bodies to achieve that magazine-cover look. As a result, gyms, health spas and other fitness centers have proliferated all over to cater to the needs of the fitness buffs and aficionados.

Even on television exercise machines, weight loss products, and other paraphernalia to improve fitness have more or less gained control over the airwaves and made their way into the households. But exercise is not the only way to build that body beautiful. It also entails certain amount of responsibility on the foods one chooses to eat. Being healthy and fit requires one to observe diet fitness.

Diet fitness is as essential as exercise itself. Diet for fitness provides the essential nutrition one needs to restore worn-out muscles and for healthy growth. Diet fitness should never be taken for granted. With the popularity of keeping fit, many different views, methods, programs and dieting strategies have been formulated by many professionals. Among these are high carb diets and high fat diets. Which one is more effective and which one should one choose to follow?

First thing to know would be the fundamental differences between these two diet approaches. As the name implies, high carb diets concentrates on taking in carbohydrate-rich foods while high fat diets endorses fat-rich foods. High carb diets are utilized to glycogen stored in the liver and muscles. Glycogen is a glucose complex that provides large amounts of energy ready for use in anaerobic exercises.

Fats, on the other hand, is well-known for being the richest source of calories. It actually contains 2.5 times more calories than carbohydrates and proteins alike. Studies also show that it takes the body 24 calories to metabolize carbohydrates while it only takes 3 to burn down fat. So which one to follow? A person can follow a high carb and low fat fitness diet or the other way around. It is absolutely not recommended to follow both at the same time; unless of course if you want to gain body fat.

But then diet fitness is not all about losing fat, one must also consider his diet in order to keep fat away. Research shows that sustainable loss of weight can only be achieved on a diet which suits the individual food preferences, lifestyle, medical profile and satiety signals.

Diet programs all over can help you shed off excess pounds, but only one diet can help you stay sexy, and it is the one that satisfies you most. Other important aspects of having a fit diet are moderation, balance and variation. One must be careful not to leave out important nutrients and other substances necessary for healthy body functioning. health organizations are clear about the amounts of nutrients an individual should have in the body.

Low fat high carbs, high carbs low fat; the question is not which diet program will work out but which is it that will work for you. Striving for a sexy and healthy body does not have to burden an individual, diet fitness does not have to mean sticking to the same kind of food for life. One may even try to be adventurous and try out new foods out there. Who knows? one may even discover spinach interesting.

Six Best Culinary Herbs for Cooking

Freshly picked culinary herbs add flavour to food and many are delicious additions to salads. Edible herb flowers such as pot marigold, nasturtium and rosemary can also be added to the salad bowl. Many culinary herbs are rich in vitamins and minerals and when freshly picked and eaten raw they can form part of a well-balanced diet. Raw herbs can also be used to add flavour to oils and vinegars for cooking and for salads.

Parsley

Parsley leaves gives a fresh flavour to sauces and salads, when added just before serving. The stems and leaves of parsley can also be used in bouquet garni. Parsley tastes particularly good with pasta dishes, omelettes, vegetables, fish and any meat or poultry.

Parsley is one of the most widely known and used of the culinary herbs. There are two main types of parsley – curly leaf and flat leaf – and both are excellent for culinary purposes. Both of these herbs are a rich source of vitamins and minerals and they can be used to enhance the flavour of cooked dishes and green salads.

Basil

Basil goes with almost any dish but it has a special affinity with tomatoes and is a favourite in Italian cooking.

Sweet basil with its soft green leaves and creamy white or purple tinted flowers is the most popular type of basil. This culinary herb can be used in sauces and salads and to enhance the flavour of cooked dishes such as soups and stews. Perhaps the greatest basil dish is pesto sauce, eaten with spaghetti. This combination makes a wonderfully delicious meal.

There are many other types of basil. Purple ruffle, dark opal and Greek basil are three of the other more unusual varieties, all with differing flavours.

Mint

Spearmint and peppermint are two members of the mint family most widely known and used as culinary herbs. There are many varieties of mint, some with distinct scents and flavours and some can be used for a variety of culinary purposes, such as in sweet and savoury dishes, in salads and for herb tea.

Spearmint is a favourite for mint sauce to accompany lamb and tastes particularly good with dishes such as soups, stews, plain meats, fish and lemon-based deserts.

Peppermint is also popular as a culinary herb flavouring. This herb is most commonly used as flavouring for sweets and chocolates etc. and is also used to flavour cordials. Fresh peppermint leaves can be used to make peppermint tea and the leaves can be added to fresh green salads.

Thyme

Thyme can be used to improve the flavour of most dishes. Both the fresh and dried leaves of this herb are used for cooking. Fresh thyme leaves are useful in many savoury dishes.

Thyme has a rich flavour which makes it an ideal accompaniment to roast meats and tastes good in slowly cooked dishes such as stews and soups. The finely chopped fresh leaves may be added to new potatoes or salad.

Thyme is regarded as one of the great culinary herbs and is widely used in European cooking. This herb is an evergreen perennial it is recognisable by its mauve flowers and small leaves.

A Gourmet Coffee Club Membership – What Are the Benefits?

Membership in a gourmet coffee club offers many benefits so discerning coffee drinkers can always have their favorite coffees on hand to brew and enjoy such as:

  • Large selection of specialty coffees from around the world to make coffee drinking a daily sensory experience
  • Freshly roasted to order with a choice of whole bean or ground coffee
  • Reduced costs from on line ordering without having to commute to buy ageing coffee on the shelves
  • Flexibility to make changes, special requests, hold shipments, send gifts, etc.

Gourmet coffee club membership appeals to coffee lovers who want more than the “premium” coffee choices available in the supermarket aisle or at the coffee house or specialty store. Specialty gourmet coffee clubs are very accepted and represent a growing segment of the trade. Let’s review some basics about these clubs and why you should consider joining one.

Specialty coffee is the term given to the top fifteen to twenty per cent in quality of Arabica coffee grown and harvested from select regions worldwide. The term is sometimes used interchangeably with “gourmet” or “premium” coffee. However, according to the Specialty Coffee Association of America, “...specialty coffee refers to coffees made from exceptional beans grown only in ideal coffee-producing climates. They tend to feature distinctive flavors, which are shaped by the unique characteristics of the soil that produces them.”

Many specialty coffee growing countries have associations of growers, companies, and agencies who deal with enhancements for cultivating, exporting, and marketing coffee. Such associations also lead efforts for rural community development (infrastructure, medical, and education), and for working in harmony with the environment. The 560,000 independent coffee grower members of the National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia (FNC) is an excellent example.

Nearly all, if not all, specialty gourmet coffee is made from Arabica coffee beans grown at higher altitudes. Select specialty coffee beans are roasted to perfection. The specialty coffee roast master knows the correct degree to roast the different types of beans to bring out their unique characteristics. These freshly roasted coffee beans are immediately packed and shipped to the customer to brew and enjoy.

Gourmet coffee is always prepared with select specialty coffee beans roasted fresh when ordered. The whole beans then are ground to the correct fineness or coarseness for the brewing method used, and brewed with fresh cold water heated to the correct temperature. Gourmet flavored coffees require one additional process before packing can take place.

One of the benefits of a coffee club membership is that top quality specialty coffee beans are roasted fresh after you order them on line. They are packed and shipped the same day they are roasted. Coffee clubs that feature the process of using only hot air to roast the dried, raw (or “green”) coffee beans deliver great coffee each time. The reason is this roasting method, known as convection roasting™, yields uniformly roasted beans for each batch. Master roasters are part scientist and part artist who know the appropriate amount of time to attain the desired roast level to bring out the best characteristics for that varietal or blend. The result, the club member can get the perfect cup of coffee every time.

Gourmet coffee club membership also offers such benefits as:

  • Having the coffee sent automatically each month at the time of month the member chooses
  • Ease of use – no need to enter the order information each time unless making a change
  • Convenience of having your own gourmet coffee when you want it, no more trips to the coffee house or waiting in line for the morning “premium” coffee
  • Cost savings of brewing your own gourmet coffee for about twenty-five cents per cup
  • Information on the best way to grind the coffee for the method used to prepare it
  • The recommended way to store the opened bag of roasted coffee to keep it fresh to completion.

For instance, whole bean Espresso blends should be ground to the powder-like fineness of espresso grind for preparing with an espresso machine. Conventional brewing methods yield great tasting coffee with the medium-fine grind known as automatic drip grind, while coffee prepared with a coffee press (French press) should use the coarsest grind for best results. To keep the coffee beans fresh once the bag is opened, simply press out the air while folding the bag over as many times as needed and secure with a strip of tape (packing or freezer tape). Then, place the bag in an airtight container (a freezer bag will do, if no container is available) and store at normal room temperature until the next time to brew your gourmet coffee.

Each gourmet coffee club member can tell you about other benefits to be enjoyed from the club membership. Those mentioned here should give you the motivation to find a gourmet coffee club and start enjoying your favorite gourmet coffees, freshly roasted and immediately shipped, at your convenience.

It is best to brew coffee using freshly roasted beans. Ideally speaking, use up your beans within a few weeks from receipt and get ready for your next coffee club membership shipment. You could literally look at a wall calendar and plan to drink coffee from Brazil, Jamaica, Colombia, Peru, El Salvador, Panama, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Hawaii, Mexico, Java, Sumatra, Papua New Guinea, Tanzania, Kenya, and Celebes, for example, throughout the year. As a family, you could plan group activities to review basic geography, cultural traditions, music and travel information about each of the coffee producing countries. Who knows, you may really like one and decide to plan a fun vacation to that destination?

So, ready to enjoy a cup of Altura Superior specialty coffee from Mexico?

In Search of the Best Coffee Makers

Coffee may be the most popular beverage in the world. Recent statistics indicate that over 50% of the American population are coffee drinkers and this number would more than likely hold true in many other countries as well. This more than any thing else helps to explain why there is such a wide range of coffee makers available for purchase today.

With such a diverse range of coffee machines, there is more choice for the coffee drinking public than ever before. Main stream popular styles include the Automatic and Manual Drip, Pod, Automatic Espresso, French Press, Percolator, Stovetop Espresso and the Vacuum. Each one of these styles has some unique characteristic that are sure to appeal to a certain segment of the coffee drinking public.

Automatic and Manual Drip Coffee Machines

The most popular style of coffee maker continues to be the automatic drip coffee maker. The basic design is very simple and efficient. Add fresh water to the built-in reservoir, insert a filter in to the handy filter holder, measure your favorite coffee grounds and pour into the filter and then press the start button. Within minutes your senses are excited by the smell of freshly brewed hot coffee! Most models also have a built-in timer and a pot warmer included so that you can set your coffee to brew and be ready at any hour of the day or night, and kept constantly warm as well.

Manual drip coffee brewers do take a bit more work since you need to boil the water using another heat source, but after that it is basically the same coffee making process of putting coffee grounds in the filter and pouring the hot water through the filter so that the coffee liquid is collected in the pot or container below. One great advantage of the manual drip coffee machine is that is can go most any where with you as it is not dependent upon having electricity to operate so it is great for camping and other outdoor activities.

Pod Coffee Machines

These are becoming very trendy and popular in recent years. Working similar to the automatic drip machines, they feature the ability to use pre-packaged containers or pods of specialty coffees to brew great tasting coffee. With many reputable coffee chains such as Starbucks now selling their most popular coffee blends in the pod format, consumers can get the same tasting cup of specialty coffee at home that they had to go out and purchase before at a much higher price.

Automatic Espresso Coffee Brewer

Espresso coffee makers have become much more affordable in recent years and because of this, they are gaining in popularity amongst serious coffee drinkers wanting something more than just a normal cup of coffee. There are currently three types of espresso coffee brewers to choose from, namely semi automatic, fully automatic, and super automatic. As a rule, the more automatic the espresso maker is, the less you need to do to brew your coffee, but unfortunately the more expensive it is to purchase. For example, where a semi-automatic model will tamp the coffee grounds, brew the coffee, fill your cup and eject the old grounds, an entirely automatic model will also grind the coffee for you as well, and the super automatic espresso coffee maker will do all of the above plus having additional features such as built-in water filters and self-cleaning.

Stovetop Espresso Coffee Maker

The stovetop espresso coffee brewers are basically a manual method for preparing espresso coffee when you do not have access to an automatic version or an electrical source of energy. This makes it an ideal coffee maker for taking outdoors on camping or fishing trips if you feel the need to make an espresso cup of coffee. First water is placed inside the underside boiler and then a cone filter is situated inside the boiler and filled with coffee grounds. Next the top is lightly tightened and the brewer is place over the heat source. After a few minutes, once the top of the boiler is filled with the freshly brewed coffee it is removed from the heat supply and the coffee is ready to be served. Here again, the absence of any warming feature means the coffee has to be served immediately.

French Press Coffee Maker

Also known as “press pots” or “plunger pots”, the French Press coffee makers are not as common as they once were. Preparing coffee is more work than it would be using any of the coffee makers already discussed as it is a manual coffee machine. The pot is actually a glass or porcelain tube consisted of a stainless, mesh plunger that acts like a filter. To make the coffee you must first measure the coffee grounds into the pot, then pour in almost boiling water. After allowing the coffee mixture to steep for a few minutes, the plunger is then pushed downwards and the liquid beverage is forced into the waiting cup or container. As there is no built-in heating plate or element beneath the coffee container, you must serve the coffee beverage immediately or place it into an insulated container to keep it hot for later.

Percolator Coffee Maker

At one time percolator coffee makers were the standard type of coffee brewers in most households, a role now held by the automatic drip machines. Although not as popular today, they still have their place when a coffee maker is required that can brew large volumes of coffee rather than the 10-14 cup limit or less in most other popular coffee machines sold these days. Modern percolators are available as stove top models and electric and can be programmed like other automatic coffee machines. The coffee making process is based on running water continuously over the coffee grounds, held within a metal filter, as the water is boiled. One drawback of this method is that the coffee often gets stronger and more bitter tasting the longer it goes through the brewing cycle.

Vacuum Coffee Maker

Perhaps the strangest looking type of coffee machine is the vacuum coffee maker. Looking like something from a science fiction movie, the apparatus is made up of two overlapping containers connect by a siphon tube. The filter is located in the bottom section of the upper container. To brew coffee, the user first adds coffee grounds to the upper container, then pours water into the lower container. Next the brewer is placed on top of a stove where the water is then boiled and the resulting steam is passed along through the siphon tube into the upper container. After about 3 minutes the container is removed from the heat source and the steam condenses back into liquid water which is forced through the filter and back into the lower unit. Your fresh pot of coffee is now sitting in the lower unit. An interesting way to brew a cup or pot of coffee!

Needless to say, coffee lovers can select from a wide variety of coffee makers. From cheap stove top coffee pots to high end super automatic coffee machines, there is a coffee machine for every inclination as well as for every budget. Fantastic news! Now here is the unpleasant news. With all the many coffee machines to choose from today, even knowing the style you favor is not enough. Within each of the coffee maker styles noted above there are numerous different brand names and models to choose from.

Fortunately the Internet gives you a quick and really helpful way to unearth what’s presently accessible at what price. With a bit of time and investigating it’s also possible to weed out the junk from the best coffee makers. Merely go online and visit some coffee maker review websites. Please keep in mind that all coffee brewer review websites usually are not created equal, so you must take what you read with caution. For myself I’d look for coffee review sites where the reviewers include independent test data together with buyer feedback to provide unbiased and truthful information about the coffee makers being reviewed and rated.