Posts from March 2010

Clean Water For a Healthy World, World Water Day 2010, March 22

When was the last time you had to walk a while to get water to wash, cook, drink, flush the toilet.

In all instances but the last one you needed clean water.

What would happen if at the end your walk, you would find that water you needed was coming out of a rusty pipe or was unsanitary?

Clean water for a healthy world is the theme for World Water Day 2010 on March 22.

Here's a definition of what quality water is as offered by the event page:

"Water quality is defined by its desired end use. Consequently, water for recreation, fishing, drinking, and habitat for aquatic organisms require higher levels of purity, whereas for hydropower, quality standards are much less important. For this reason, water quality takes on a broad definition as the ‘‘physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of water necessary to sustain desired water uses’"

Want to know where water quality versus quantity stands check the Frequently Asked Questions for details.

Remember that clean water is a precious gift, don't take it for granted.

Will Art du Fromage Convert Londoners to Art of Cheese?

According to Cheese-only restaurant opens in London (just don't expect Cheddar) by Kunal Dutta (Independent, March 20), Julien Ledogar and Jean-Charles Madenspacher, the two 24 year old Frenchmen behind L'Art du Fromage a new London eaterie have their work cut out for them.

It's not he states because the British hate cheese.

The main challenge, he says is that cheese does not have a natural place in the course of a british meal.

The menu at L'Art du Fromage (Art of Cheese) goes beyond the usual Cheese Board/ Cheese Plate with Fondue and as the owners come from Alsace they had to showcase Tartes Flambee (some call it the Alsatian pizza) not Tarte Flammee. I almost forgot to mention Raclette.

Both Raclette and Fondue have to be ordered for two.

And if your party includes a cheese resistant, they have a couple dishes like boeuf bourguignon and foie gras to pacify them

Art du fromage
Wine list seems to be all French from the Loire to Alsace, Bordeaux, the Rhone and also Savagnin and Vin Jaune from Jura.

We will see a year from now if Julien and Jean-Claude managed to gain a loyal following in the British capital.

Bonne Chance!

Sing Spring and A Week without Pesticides, March 20 to March 30

Who wants to celebrate Spring with a big chemical spray?

Some people in France and elsewhere are rebelling against the idea with Semaine sans Pesticides (Week without Pesticides).

2010 marks the 5th edition.

To get the message across, they got help from ZZ Top lookalikes, Les Pestes Acides...

Some of you might be able to get the French nuances and humor.

Sing Spring and a (long) week without pesticides, March 20 to March 30, 2010.

Get ready for World Water Day 2010 on March 22.

Business of Free, Pay 449 for Freemium Summit, March 26, San Francisco

On March 26, as I will be attending Headspace in New York, a Free exploration of the scents, others will be looking at the Business of Free at Freemium Summit in San Francisco and Pay $449 for the privilege.

What's the Freemium all about?

"The first Freemium Summit is a one day event focused on exploring what it takes to succeed under the freemium business model. Across all segments of the media landscape, entrepreneurs and executives are pioneering models that combine a free offering with a premium, paid offering. This hybrid business model is one of the most exciting areas of business model innovation impacting the world of media and the Freemium Summit will explore the most important topics on the minds of leading practitioners."

There is a Freemium Blog not related to the event as far as I know if you want to dig deeper into it for $0, just add time.

Try some, buy some?

Will it last or is it just a fad?

(* illustration from the pages of Freemium Blog)

Headspace On Scent as Design, Let your Nose Do the Thinking, Friday March 26, NY

A collaboration between Parsons and MoMA with IFF, Seed, and Coty invites us on March 26 with Headspace: On Scent as Design to let our nose do the thinking. 

What might happen on March 26 in the idea lab:

"Headspace is a one day event looking at the conception, impact, and potential applications of scent. This event gathers leading thinkers, designers, scientists, artists, established perfumers as well as "accidental perfumers" (a selection of architects, designers, and chefs invited to experiment with scent) to acknowledge scent as a new territory for design."

It was conceived the program notes by Paola Antonelli, senior curator in the Department of Architecture and Design at MoMA; Jamer Hunt, chair of Urban and Transdisciplinary Design at Parsons; and Laetitia Wolff, founder of futureflair. The three will also serve as moderators, together with Adam Bly, founder and CEO of Seed.

Want to get a clearer idea of what path might be explored, read more about the genesis of this project on the Parsons Transblog (Feb 10 Piece).

Here's a highlight:

"We understand our world through our senses. Our sense of smell, however, is both rarely utilized and hardly engaged by designers. Scent is an untapped medium that presents a remarkable opportunity for design, given that it is in part through scent that we more fully perceive space, fashion our identities, encode our memories, alert ourselves to danger, enliven our appetites, stimulate curiosity, and navigate our lived and natural environments."

Scent as design

Headspace: On Scent as Design
takes place from 10 AM to 5:30 PM at the New School, Tishman Auditorium in New York.

Event is Free, Registration is Required.

Should I make the trek!

(*illustration from Transblog piece)

Nile Crocodile, Mandarin Fish, Aquarium Tropical in Paris, Perfect for Family Guy

Funny how you discover something new to you like the Aquarium Tropical in Paris (Porte Dorée) only to find out it opened its doors in 1931 for Exposition Coloniale.

The Aquarium occupies the Palais de la Porte Dorée, the only building that was built to last after the 1931 expo.

Starting in 1985, it underwent extensive renovations which allowed the aquarium to expand the range of animals on display.


Amongst the current collection are the Nile Crocodile (above). We're told that crocodiles have not changed much in the past 60 million years. Talk about staying power.

The colorful Mandarin Fish (below) can be found in the corals of the Philippines and the Grand Barrier Reef of Australia.


Making a trip to Paris with kids in tow, seems like a prefect stop for the family guy.

The Aquarium is closed on Mondays.

(*pictures from the French only site of Aquarium Tropical)

Dionisos in Lima, Wine Club-Wine Bar, Nice Setting, A Bistro A Day, March 18

Looking at their Facebook page, Dionisos Wine Bar and Restaurant in Lima with its comfy chairs and dim lights has the feel of a club.


I could not gather much information from their website as it seems you need to be a member (with login) to check the wine of the month (vino del mes) and the wine list.

An article by Sophie Kevany in April 2009 right after Dionisos opened tells us that 32 local and international wines by the glass and 450 by the bottle were offered.

Some more details offered by Sophie:

"Prices at Dionisos are on a par with retail costs at local supermarkets, plus a corkage fee of 25 to 35 Peruvian soles (€5-7), to encourage drinkers.

The bar offers different sized pours ranging from a two ounce tasting glass, to a 15 ounce flask, as well as flights of single varietals grown in different regions, or the same vintage from four different countries.

It also features a wall of pisco, a grape-based brandy and Peru's national drink."

I will have to find out if you need to register as a member first or be invited by one to make it through the door.

Latin flavors from Peru for A Bistro A Day of March 18, 2010

Portugal on April Fools Day, Argentina on Tax Day, Wine Tastings in New York

I'm not kidding.

I recently registered for two wine tastings in April, one on April Fools Day, the other on Tax Day, both in New York.

April 1st Event is Sixth Annual Wines of Portugal Grand Tasting at Cipriani 42nd Street, my first time in that location.

I will attend the trade-media session and surely find great buys.

It will be followed by a Consumer Tasting from 6 to 8 PM whose proceeds will benefit Slow Food USA. At $40 per person with about 40 producers present, a good deal and a good deed.

Interested Register Here in a few clicks.

Two weeks later exactly, on April 15 (Tax Day), the Consulate of Argentina will be hosting us for Discover the Taste of Argentina, just Trade and Media this time.

The smaller size, 20 producers, will make it easier on us to fully appreciate what's on offer.

It is presented by the Consejo Federal de Inversiones (CFI) whose job is to help harmonious economic development in the regions.

As for Old Europe, I heard through the grapevine that we might be treated to some Loire Valley wines sometimes in April.


Land of 80000 Ramen Shops, 9 of them at Shinyokohama Ramen Museum

Governments and Regional Groups these days don't limit themselves to publishing long dry studies.

Available in English and only online, Highlighting Japan is a valuable effort to open world's eyes on the many facets of Japanese food, culture and business.

One of the features in the March Issue is on Ramen noodles which I am sure are experiencing a renaissance in consumed and thrifty times.

The story takes us to the Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum in Yokohama.

Visiting the museum site I learned that there are a number of styles of Ramen dishes with regional appeal amongst them Sio, Shoyu, Tonkotsu, Miso.

The museum's homepage has a few historical facts for us:

"Ramen's popularity quickly spread from Yokohama, Hakodate and Japan's other port cities to every corner of Japan during the Taisho and Showa eras (most of the 20th century).
At first, ramen restaurants enthusiastically reproduced the recipes from the big port cities. Eventually however, they learned to refine their ramen recipes to their local tastes and identities. Today, every locality in Japan boasts its own unique style of ramen."

They can be sampled in 9 restaurants hosted in the museum for example the dish below, Hokkaido style at Eki (from museum site).


To serve a bit of government statistics, Highlighting Japan reports that no less than 80,000 Ramen Shops can be found across Japan.

Perfect for budget travelers in search of a quick comforting dish to grab while exploring the country.

Noodling around for Tokyo Thursdays # 131

Previously: Mad, Bad and Dangerous, Japanese Femmes Fatales, March 31-April 18, New York

Cold Press Health, New Zealand Olivado brings Avocado Oil to the World

Keeping topics varied for our Wednesday Interview, we reached out to Neal Albert who spearheads Olivado's conquest of the US. Olivado is all about health and rich flavors with a line of oils mostly born from avocados.

Let the questions roll

Q: Who created Olivado? 

A: Olivado was conceived and founded by Chris Nathan, a New Zealand professional chef and entrepreaur, who realized that the juice of avocados could be extracted and made into an ultra-healthy edible oil. He put together a team of experts including a legal brain, a marketing wiz, an internationally renowned food scientist, and an international investor, who all worked diligently for years to make Olivado a reality. This innovative team, working hand-in-hand with the food scientists at Massey University, New Zealand's premiere Food Science University, under a New Zealand Horticultural grant, pioneered and perfected the process of oil extraction from the avocado.

Q: Where did it all start? 

A: It all began in the small, picturesque community of Kerikeri in New Zealand' s Northern Bay of Islands.

Q: Was the idea of making oil from avocados a way to turn a common food into a premium product?

A: Actually, the initial idea was to harness the flavor and health attributes of this amazing fruit in its essential form, which could then be used in a multitude of forms, with many applications.

Q: Did the overproduction of avocados in New Zealand relative to local demand a key factor into getting this project off the ground? 

A: Up to a point.  New Zealand is essentially an agricultural country, and using their healthiest
domestic produce to create an agribusiness made good sense.  Depending on the crop year, there is either an overproduction, or an underproduction.


Q: How important were health and nutrition in launching Olivado? 

A: It was essential, and the driving force behind the company.  Avocado is one of the world' s healthiest fruits...much healthier than olives.  Creating a tasty oil was important, but it was the desire to unleash the health benefits of avocado in its most essential form that drove everything that we
did.  We were quite frankly amazed at the many culinary attributes of the product that we created.

Q: Can you share some of the recognized health benefits? 

A: Yes.  Firstly, it's almost 70% mono unsaturated fat, which has been shown to lower the bad cholesterol (LDL) and raise the good (HDL).  It also contains many powerful plant sterols. It's loaded with the powerful antioxidant vitamin E, which protects the body against infections, bacterioirs and disease.  It has 4 times the beta-sitosterol of olive oil, which has been shown to protect against coronary heart disease, diabetes, and prostate enlargement.  It contains lutien, which protects the eyes against macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in the elderly.  Ounce-per-ounce, Avocado Oil ranks highest in mono unsaturated fat, folate, potassium, magnesium, lutein, Beta-Sitosterol, and glutathione.


Q: Besides the opportunity of adding Fair Trade oils to your line, where there other reasons behind the decision to start a second facility in Kenya? 

A: Two factors drove our decision.  One was the need for a large, continuing, sustainable source of fresh avocado, as we had quickly exhausted the supplies available in New Zealand. The other was our desire to be a positive force in combating the continuing problems of hunger and poverty on
the African Continent. Our Fair Trade and Organic program involves contracting with a large number of small, family farms, mostly women owned. We train them in organic growing techniques and then have them certified by an international accrediting agency, allowing them to make many times more,
and raising the standard of living for themselves, their families, and their communities.

Q: Are you using a different type of avocado in New Zealand and Kenya? 

A: Yes. In New Zealand, we use Hass Avocado. In Kenya, we use the Fuente variety.

Q: Besides Lemons (in Avocado Zest Oil) and Macadamia Nuts (in Macadamia Nut Oil) which I believe come from Australia are any ingredients you use sourced from outside New Zealand?

A: Our Olive Oils (used in some of our products) also come from Australia. Everything else is locally grown and obtained.

Q: Could you share 3 favorite dishes you would cook using 3 of your oils?

A: Yes.

1. Extra Virgin Avocado Oil: Best Ever Grilled Veggies!:  Toss cut red potatoes and mixed spring vegetables with Olivado extra virgin avocado oil, and roast them for 40 minutes at 400 degrees F.  Outrageous!

2. Avocado Zest:  Out Of This World Mixed Seafood Grill:  Marinate shrimp, scallops, calamari, lobster and any fresh fish in Avocado Zest for 30 minutes, then grill and enjoy!

3. Olive Plus High Heat Cooking Oil: Garlic Pasta Primavera Olivado: Fry 20 whole garlic cloves in Olive Plus High Heat Oil until brown, add broccoli, red bell pepper and zucchini and sauté. Toss over cooked pasta.

Q: You started to build a following amongst chefs around the globe, what do they like most about Olivado oils? 

A: They like the high heat properties (avocado oil has the highest smoke point of any oil, up to 520 degrees, while olive oil breaks down and burns at around 375) as well as the light, subtle flavor, as it enhances, rather than overpowers their recipes like olive oils sometimes do. They sometimes use it as a finishing oil to add a southwest flavor to their dishes, and they note an amazing property of the oil in that it blends ingredients together to make foods taste better.

Q: Of all the countries where Olivado is available, where are your oils most popular (top 5 countries)?

A: We have a very large following in our native New Zealand, and in the UK. We have a substantial following in the US, and are very popular in Switzerland, Ireland, Finland and Japan.

Q: I noticed that in my state of New Jersey, your line is available mostly in traditional supermarkets, is the same thing true in the rest of the US as well as in other markets?

A: Yes. We at Olivado believe that our products should be part of the mainstream diet, and so we deliberately attempt to place them where most people shop for their weekly groceries.

Q: What brought you to the company? 

A: I had a 30 year career importing and marketing Olive Oils. I had watched olive oil grow from a specialty niche item into a mainstream grocery item due mainly to the heart-healthy aspects of olive oils high mono-unsaturated fat profile and the focus on the Mediterranean Diet, and its applications
for healthy living. When I looked at the health benefits of avocado oil, I realized that by comparison, it made Olive Oil seem like lard. After that, there was no looking back.

Q: Did you start with Olivado in the US?

A: Yes. I' m a Real Brooklyn American.

Q: What does being Olivado' s Evangelist in the US entails?

A: Firstly, have an understanding that we are what we eat.  Secondly be a proponent of the concept of Natural Nutrition, which is health and nutrition derived from metabolizing natural, unadulterated foods, as opposed to taking nutritive supplements and pills. Then, you must realize that the basic
essence of food is the fat it is prepared in, or is added to it. An Ohio University Study found that avocado oil acts as a nutrient booster, allowing the body to metabolize up to 17 times more nutrients from salads that without it. Once you understand this, you are our customer for life. Spread the word, and you' re an Olivado Evangelist.

Let me thank Neil for sending a bottle of Olivado's Extra Virgin Avocado Oil and of the Avocado Zest oil my way.

I put the Avocado Zest to the test for a homemade salad dressing (I never buy salad dressing). The tangy lemons came out nicely.

Now get cooking!

You are what you eat!