Posts Tagged ‘gourmet’

The Joy Of Gourmet Chocolate

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Like a fine wine, gourmet chocolate is the thing to which our palates instantly respond – ruining us forever for the average store-sold candy bar. While it’s true that chocolate of any variety will surely bring joy to the consumer, gourmet chocolate delivers a special treat for the taste buds. But, as would be expected, it can come at a price.

Gourmet chocolate can not be defined but rather must be experienced. What may be considered gourmet to some may be perfectly ordinary to another; in short the term ‘gourmet’ can be more than a bit subjective. But most chocolate enthusiasts agree that gourmet chocolate falls within the boundaries of that chocolate that is prepared with a certain level of care and an eye towards quality.

Such quality includes the highest percentage of cocoa butter. In many cases, a certain amount of cocoa butter is removed from the chocolate and replaced with vegetable fat. This significantly compromises the quality of the chocolate. Truly gourmet chocolate will contain the highest amount of cocoa butter – followed by sugar. Sugar should never be the first ingredient listed on chocolate.

Gourmet chocolate often derives from highly regarded chocolatiers who have built their business on using quality ingredients. Many are family businesses passed down from generation to generation. This is not to say that factories can not produce gourmet chocolate, but it stands to reason that the more personal attention the chocolate making process is given the higher quality the finished product. Many reputable chocolatiers pride themselves on their handmade chocolate and for those who taste it the effort is difficult to argue.

Gourmet chocolate runs the price range from astronomical to quite manageable. Regardless of your budget, with a little research – and a lot of tasting – you can find a delectable gourmet chocolate that’s just right for you.

Gourmet Coffee Information

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Coffee is made from those little beans that wake us up on the mornings and get most of us through the day. There is nothing quite like a cozy cup of gourmet coffee after a rough day or celebrating a great day.

Starbucks have done their research and know the perfect cup of coffee starts with only the best beans. Finding the right gourmet coffee information has made Starbucks the best in the coffee industry. They are famous for their exceptionally high quality of gourmet coffees, gourmet coffee information, and expertise in coffee roast. Each coffee is selected with care to look for the best defining qualities that distinguish its origin and from other beans. This careful examination process shows why Starbucks passion for buying, roasting the world’s best coffee and utilizing it’s gourmet coffee information to give the consumers the best coffee ever.

How does Starbucks roast their coffee

Starbucks takes pride in how they roast their coffee. The Starbucks Roast has a distinct color and brings out a very strong taste and aroma with maximum flavor. Starbucks uses its gourmet coffee information to roast the green coffee beans by heating them in a large rotating drum. It takes about seven minutes of intense heat before much of the moisture in the beans evaporates. The beans turn into a yellow color and smell similar to popcorn. The gourmet coffee information reveals that the beans will come out double in size and crackle as they expand. They are now light brown. After the first pop in the rotating drum, it is apparent that the coffee is almost roasted.

What happens to Starbucks coffee at harvest time

When it is time to harvest the coffee, Starbucks uses its gourmet coffee information to be able to identify that the coffee is ready to picked when it has a bright red color. The coffee is then picked and examined. The coffee skin looks very thick and has a bitter flavor. There is a type of fruitlike substance beneath the skin that is intensely sweet. Below the fruit is the parchment that is covered with mucilage. This mucilage serves as a protective cover for the seed, similar to that of an apple seed.

Starbucks coffee is the best in the world according to the annual sales that it reports. In addition to harvesting their own coffee, Starbuck’s gourmet coffee information allows them to evaluate thousands of samples each year to improve their stock. The coffee is examined by roasting small portions of coffee and doing a taste test. There is a small amount of these that get selected. Employees at Starbucks are hired to buy coffee and spend weeks on the road traveling to different countries and locations. These buyers don’t just travel to buy coffee. However, they do continue to learn more about gourmet coffee information to take back for production increase. They also continue to build relationships with growers and suppliers from around the world for the continued success of the company.

Gourmet Foods

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Many people claim that they do not like gourmet foods; but this may be the case only because they have not tasted enough varieties. The types of gourmet foods are endless. Not only are there meats, drinks, cheeses, fruits, and deserts, but there are hundreds of kinds of all of these. Gourmet foods are a delicacy and they taste absolutely heavenly.

Whenever anyone thinks of gourmet foods, the first thing that often comes to mind is cheese. If you are in the market for cheese, remember that gourmet cheese is not like American or Cheddar cheese. For example, Agour Ossau-Iraty is a cheese made in Poland from sheep’s milk. 34 Degrees Australian marinated feta is produced in Israel and is made from the milk of sheep and goats, with spices added. It is difficult to pick out one cheese with this many types available to try. If it is possible for you to do so, smell the cheese before you buy it. Especially if you are in France, buy what smells good to you.

One of the best tasting and most popular categories of gourmet foods is deserts and sweets. Favorites include cakes, candies, cookies, and chocolate. Varieties of cakes are sponge cakes, cheesecakes, and chocolate, lemon, and raspberry cakes. Gourmet cookies can be plain or decorated, and come in a variety of flavors. Toppings, such as syrup, honey, creams, jellies, jams, and spreads, are another gourmet favorite. While any of these can be made at home or bought at the grocery store, the delightful texture and taste of the gourmet desert versions are to die for.

Another well known gourmet food is exotic tasting coffee and tea. Whether you want loose tea or tea bags, ground coffee or whole beans, hot chocolate or a chilly frappuccino, there is a gourmet drink out there for you. These drinks can give you the extra energy you need to stay awake, warm you up on a winter’s day, or be just the right complement to an excellent meal. What better for going with coffee than biscotti? These are good by themselves, or dipped in coffee, tea, cappuccino, milk, or wine. Biscotti come in all sorts of flavors, like hazelnut, chocolate, gingerbread, and many others.

If you like gourmet food and are one of those people who can’t live without your meat, there are still lots of options out there. That’s right — there is such a thing as gourmet meat. You can get Angus beef strip steaks, caviar, escargot, hot salami, free-range turkey, pheasant, Danish brown sugar slab bacon, and many more.

Gourmet food is great no matter what the occasion. The holiday season is an excellent time to try new gourmet foods, or even give them as a gift. They can be purchased in a gourmet food store, through a catalogue, or even online. Once you have tried gourmet food, the taste will have you hooked.

Are You A Gourmet Coffee Drinker?

gourmet coffee

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Do you love your coffee? Can you go a day without a cup of your favorite drink? Coffee as we know it today is much different than when it was first discovered. These days there are so many varieties of gourmet coffee that it is difficult to choose a favorite one.

What Exactly Is Gourmet Coffee?

A cup of gourmet coffee is a relatively new idea. Gourmet coffee is usually only made from Arabica beans, which are usually the coffee beans with the fullest flavors. The general average jar of coffee which you buy in supermarkets is made using a mixture of beans using low grade Brazilian coffee beans and Robusta beans. They also add a small amount of the Arabica coffee beans to ensure a nicer flavor than using just the low grade beans. Also the lower grade beans contain more caffeine than the others.

Usually, gourmet coffee is roasted at the plant and makes it into the consumer’s hands within a week. You can buy pre-ground gourmet coffee, but the preferred way to buy it is while it is still in its bean form. The beans can usually be ground at the store you buy them from.

Commercial coffee is also usually not as fresh. Commercial coffee is pre-ground before it is packaged. After packaging it can take several weeks to actually make it to a grocery store. Usually, the longer pre-ground commercial coffee sits on a shelf waiting to be purchased, the staler and bitter it will become. Generally, the biggest advantage of commercial coffee is that it is cheap compared to some types of gourmet coffee.

The two most important things to remember when looking for gourmet coffee is that it is fresher and has more flavor than the commercial jars of coffee. Another important point to remember with gourmet coffee, is that you can choose where the coffee beans have come from and also know how it has been roasted. If you have yet to try a cup of gourmet coffee, you will not be disappointed. You will be spoilt for choice in the world of gourmet coffee, give it a try. You can find small bags so that if you decide you don’t like that particular variety, you don’t have a 10 pound can in your kitchen still full of coffee. So give gourmet coffee a try, and if you find it is not to your liking you can always revert back to your old ways!

Gourmet Coffee Drinks Are Delicious And Invigorating!

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You are hooked as you stop every day at the local coffee shop and order a latte or other gourmet coffee drink. You have been alternating between ordering hot and cold beverages when you go. This gives you an opportunity to try the many different flavors that are sold there. Did you that there are literally hundreds of different flavors that you can try?

If you are looking for a real treat, try ordering special gourmet coffee drinks. Coffee beans are grown throughout the world and you can have coffee from the Middle East, America, Asia, Africa and even from Hawaii.

The different types and flavors are particular to each growing area and are influenced by 6 important elements: soil, altitude, sunshine, cloud cover, rain and slope.

So, you now know a little more about where the coffee is grown but what is really the trend behind gourmet coffee drinks? Is it the coffee itself or the amazing sweet flavored syrups, the steamed milk, the whipped cream or the little shavings of chocolate and other flavoring added to the top?

Many believe that you should start with a flavored coffee in order to create a great gourmet coffee drink. Some of the more popular flavors are:

* Amaretto Supreme – almonds and almond flavored liqueur.
* Apricot Creme – fruit flavored.
* Butter Rum – buttery rum flavored.
* Caramel Creme – old fashioned caramel.
* Cinnamon Viennese – spicy cinnamon flavor.
* Cookies and Creme – Oreo cookie flavored.
* French Vanilla – sweet flavor of vanilla.
* Hazelnut Creme – classic nut flavor.
* Irish Creme – flavor of a famous liqueur.
* Southern Pecan – a classic flavor of the South.
* Ultimate Chocolate – a favorite for chocolate lovers.

Others believe that the right coffee is only the beginning. You also need to grind your own coffee beans so that they are always fresh and to make the flavor pop when you brew it. Your final gourmet coffee beverage will only be as good as your coffee pot can make it—especially since coffee is the main ingredient in these drinks.

No matter what flavor of gourmet coffee you start with, the other ingredients you add will enhance the flavor of your freshly made cup of gourmet coffee. Do not skim on your other ingredients. Purchase a good brand of the flavored sweet syrup and real whipping cream from a can. Invest in a milk steamer to properly heat the milk to the correct temperature. Now, put all of your ingredients together into a drink that will thrill and delight your friends and family-great gourmet coffee at home, any time of the day or night.

So whether you make it a hot cup or a cold frozen delight, sit back and enjoy the experience. Share your drinks with your family and friends-you will never have to think twice about having a special gourmet coffee drink if you can make it yourself at home.

Gourmet Chocolates Make A Fantastic Gift.

chocolates,chocolate,chocolate truffles,chocolate gifts,gourmet chocolates

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A wonderful box of chocolates would make a fantastic gift for your sweetheart or good friend, but if want to make a massive impression on them try buying a assortment of chocolates that are made in many countries. This is great way to create a gift that is out of the ordinary, and is sure to impress.

Foreign chocolates are simple to buy these days.

Finding chocolates that are manufactured in different countries of the world is not really that difficult. There are a lot of good supermarkets and gourmet chocolate stores who have selections from all around the globe. In Chicago there is a store called Treasure Island which is a fantastic place to looking for international types of chocolates. The store is laid out in different sections, with each section selling a different countries products[c] its just amazing.

It can be said, the most famous manufacturers, other than Hershey’s found in the market, will be Swiss chocolate, in particular Lindt chocolates. Swiss chocolate is so popular and prevalent, not only will it be sold in the supermarkets, but it’ll probably be shelved in the general aisle with all the other chocolates (as opposed to the specialized sections). So finding gourmet chocolate and gourmet chocolate products is very simple.

Belgium, French and Polish chocolate is also relatively natural to come across when visiting the stores, but a great variety to search for is German, in particular Kinder chocolate. Fairly more daunting to find (though I’ve found some in local supermarkets), Kinder chocolate is very good, and the different varieties are particularly interesting most notably the Kinder eggs a hollow chocolate egg (like for Easter), with a small toy inside. The egg is a cute variation on the usual chocolate egg, and could be a fun gift for adults and children alike.

Also another cool place to look for chocolates from other parts of the world is to go the different areas in your city. Chinatown is an absolute treasure trove of amazing, colorful chocolates, very often wrapped and sold in cool designs including a adorable line of cookie koala bears filled with gorgeous chocolate. Mexican stores are also a great place to find unusual chocolates that may not be on sale at the local candy store.

One point to consider when buying your chocolates from your local gourmet chocolates store, is that not only do you have many choices of chocolates to choose from, you will be supporting the local economy as well.

Gourmet chocolates candy and much more.

Quality gourmet chocolates are most often created by master chocolate makers, so can you imagine the taste of their creations like chocolate truffles, butter creams, pralines and much more. Now stop imagining, and go out and buy yourself a real treat.

Five Reasons To Give Gourmet Brownie Gifts

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There are very few people that don’t like rich, gooey, fudgey brownies. These wonderful treats are the perfect cross between cake, fudge and cookie – the best of all three rolled into one delicious dessert treat. It’s one of the many reasons that gourmet brownies have become a popular gift item for occasions ranging from birthdays to holidays and everything in between.

1. Gourmet brownies come in so many flavors. There’s a chocolate brownie for just about everyone. You don’t have to stick with just chocolate – try Amaretto, Cherry Chocolate or Macadamia Nut…there are added flavors to suit everyone. An assortment means that the gift recipient can try several.

2. Chocolate and romance go together. But giving brownies instead of traditional chocolates is original! Why give her the same box of chocolates she gets every year when chewy, gooey gourmet brownies are so much more personal? Something about brownies is just homier and tells her you put some thought into the gift.

3. Gourmet brownies are homemade taste without the work and the mess. Who has time to bake these days? Most of us are so busy running errands, going to work, taking care of the kids and trying to keep up with family and friends that we can barely breathe. Brownies give us a bit of old-fashioned flavor without having to spend hours in the kitchen mixing, baking and cleaning up. Just grab a cup of coffee, put up your feet and sink your teeth into a mouth-watering delight.

4. Brownies are always appropriate. When you want to say “Thank you,” to your boss or congratulate a co-worker, it can be hard to find the appropriate gesture. Flowers just don’t seem right for men, and can be misinterpreted by women. What to do? Send gourmet brownies! More “grown up” than a box of cookies, gourmet brownies are just the right gift for co-workers, clients and superiors.

5. Brownies are the ultimate comfort food. There’s something reassuring and soothing about a food you’ve loved since childhood. The combination of sweet, chocolate and the soft, chewy texture all combine to evoke memories of being loved and cared for – remember those brownies Mom used to bake? Now you can order gourmet brownies online and send them to everyone who needs a bit of comfort, including:

• Your daughter at college – brownies delivered during finals week will be a great way to tell her that you’re thinking of her. And brownies stay fresher longer than cookies, which can get hard too quickly.

• Your grandfather who’s in a nursing home – he’ll love getting a care package to share with friends. They’ll be impressed by your delicious and thoughtful gift.

• Your brother, who’s in the army. Tell him to hide his box of brownies before his C.O. gets a hold of them! Army food just isn’t as good as freshly baked brownies.

• Yourself – because no one deserves a bit of gourmet pampering more than you!

Sit down and make a list of everyone you know that likes brownies. You’ll be amazed at how many people you come up with; keep that in mind the next time you’re searching for that “just right” gift for them. Gourmet brownies – the yummy gift for every occasion!

Gourmet Coffee

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Could you ever resist the craving to have a second cup of that beautiful, strongly aromatic and lazily steaming cup of coffee? Perhaps no one can do it. A passionate Gourmet’s delight, freshly brewed, thick and dark brown and irresistible coffee just brightens up your day like no other drink or anything else can do.

Why Is Gourmet Coffee So Special
One might be tempted to ask why gourmet coffee is so special. Well, here is the answer. For starters, gourmet coffee is always made by high quality fresh Arabica coffee beans which are always hand picked unlike other commercial coffees which are mostly machine graded. Hand picking of coffee beans eliminate chances for dirt such as twigs, leaves etc to sneak in and spoil your coffee.

Secondly, gourmet coffee beans are specially treated with oils after roasting which enhances its flavor to no end. The oil used for coffee bean treatment is a blend of many natural oils which do not have their adverse effect on the shelf life or stability of the ground powder unlike synthetic oils. The oils are so mixed that their characteristic flavors neutralize each other.

You can have different tailor made roast for your gourmet coffee. Deep roasted beans some what loose their natural aroma and this is why you feel the ‘roasted flavor’ when drinking it. Rather you would prefer a lighter roasting which retains its entire natural aroma.

Arabica coffee beans are ground to the exact perfection of fineness to get its best taste. But generally a finer grind results in a full-bodied cup of coffee, but as many would like it, coarser grinds are preferred to make coffee with coarse filters.

Finer grinds are preferred by those who like espresso but true lovers of gourmet coffee will almost invariably go with the coarse ground coffee powder as boiled water takes its own sweet time to pull out the flavor completely, especially in drip type filters.

Arabica coffee beans are never stored in warehouses as they are dispatched quickly after harvesting. It is the same story after roasting and grinding them, too. The beans from Arabica trees are, by nature, tastier than Robusta, another cheaper variety.

To its credit, Robusta coffee bean offers you higher caffeine content along with that characteristic acidic taste. Another little known fact is some marketers mix a small percentage of Robusta with gourmet coffee beans.

NamSing Then is a regular article contributor on many topics. Be sure to visit his other websites Coffee Resources, Coffee Grinder and Tea Resources

Choosing And Buying Gourmet Seafood – Wild American Shrimp

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When selecting items for a seafood feast, wild caught American shrimp are popular among gourmet cooks. Shrimp are not only recognized for outstanding flavor but they can be an important part of a healthy diet.

Wild American shrimp are delicious steamed, boiled, grilled, fried and in recipes such as scampi. They are also popular as an appetizers such as shrimp cocktail, bisques and salads. They also freeze well and can be purchased in large numbers, processed and excess amounts frozen for later meals.

Shrimp tend to be low in fat and calories and have no carbohydrates or trans fatty acids. They contain vitamins B3, B6, B12, vitamin D and Omega-3 fatty acids and are sources of tryptophan, selenium, protein and minerals including iron, phosphorus, zinc and copper.

American species include white (Litopenaeus setiferus), brown (Farfantepenaeus aztecus), pink (Penaeus duorarum) and royal red (Pleoticus robustus or Hymenopenaeus robustus) rock (Sicyonia brevirostris) and Northern (Pandalus borealis).

Shrimp are sized by “count”. The number is the average number of specimens per pound. This applies to both whole and heads-off products. For example, headless shrimp of 16/20 count means there are 16 to 20 headless product per pound. Counts for headless product typically range from 16/20 (large) to 60/70 (small). Pacific pink shrimp are even smaller, having counts of about 100 to 140 whole shrimp per pound.

Wild American shrimp are also a good choice in terms of sustainability. Many of the American fisheries have been recognized for ethical harvesting techniques.

The Wild American Shrimp Certification Program certifies that warm-water, wild caught shrimp from U.S. coastal waters meet a high standard of quality and consistency. Certified Wild American Shrimp receive special labeling. Participation in the certification program is available to harvesters, processors, distributors, retailers, grocers and restaurateurs.

Another American fishery has received international recognition. Oregon’s pink shrimp fishery has earned the world’s first sustainable shrimp certification under the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification program.

The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), which runs the world’s leading independent certification program for sustainable fisheries, and independent certifier TAVEL Certification Inc., awarded Oregon pink shrimp its certification on December 6, 2007. The action distinguishes Oregon’s pink shrimp trawl fishery as a sustainable and well-managed fishery. The Marine Stewardship Council certification also allows Oregon pink shrimp to be sold using the coveted blue MSC eco-label indicating a sustainable fishery.

The Marine Stewardship Council is an organization that works to improve the health of the world’s oceans and to help create a sustainable global seafood market. MSC pursues its mission by certifying fisheries that meet its sustainable standards and developing market demand for certified seafood. The MSC model is based on consumers rewarding sustainable fisheries by choosing seafood that originates from certified sustainable fisheries.

Pink shrimp, also known as bay or salad shrimp are small (100-140 whole per lb). They are harvested using advanced trawl methods. Pink MSC certified shrimp are delivered to shore for cooking, peeling and freezing, resulting in an extremely fresh product of excellent quality.

The variety of high quality, healthy and sustainable American shrimp makes them an excellent choice for seafood lovers.

Gourmet Cakes

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You may not be able to have your cake and eat it too, but you can certainly learn how to make one!

Gone are the days when cakes were considered a luxury. These days cakes are part and parcel of every day life, finding their way into Sunday dinner, church socials, and birthdays. Most of us think that gourmet cakes are hard to make, but that notion is incorrect. Gourmet cakes are one of the easiest deserts to make.

Just go to a search-engine like Google or Yahoo, and type in “elegant Gourmet cake recipes.” Click the button and you’ll find numerous sites offering recipes like ice cream cakes, walnut mud-cake, pear and raspberry cake, Sydney mud-cake, Russian cheesecake, Bailey’s marbled cheesecake, chocolate peanut-butter cheesecake, just to name a few.

I think most of us know that by using crock-pots, you can make quick and easy dishes in the morning that are ready for you when you get home from work. How mundane. But for something truly sublime, you should try one of the great recipes for ice-cream cakes.

Ice cream cakes are considered a gourmet cakes since they are something special. They are a perfectly blended rich ice-cream with smooth frosting and moist cake. You cake make one of these masterpieces with just a little bit of imagination and some store-bought ingredients.

When you go for shopping for the ingredients for this cake, pick up fresh chocolate as garnish, fresh fruit, frozen whipped topping, your favorite flavor of ice-cream, and some angel food cake.

After getting all of your ingredients, put the ice cream and cake in the freezer for about two hours. You should thaw the frozen whipped topping on the counter for at least 30 minutes just prior to starting. Now slice the fresh fruit and shave the chocolate into attractive pieces to garnish the top of the cake. Remove the ice cream from the freezer and thaw it for thirty minutes. Now remove the cake from the freezer and slice it into three pieces, horizontally.

To produce your wonderful gourmet ice-cream cake, stir the ice cream with a wooden spoon until it becomes smooth and creamy. Now spread the ice cream between the layers of cake. Once you have finished the assembling the layers, frost the exterior and top of the layers with the whipped topping. Now garnish the cake with the fruit slices and/or chocolate.

Put the cake back into the freezer until you are ready for your dinner. This recipe for gourmet ice-cream cake is sure to please your friends and family, and makes for the perfect finish for dinner.