Make a double batch of your delicious soup and share the wealth. We didn’t even start from scratch here, but used our favorite dried soup mix from Frontier Soups (each package makes so much soup, there’s enough to share).
When you’re cooking your homemade soups, stews and sauces, make a double batch and give the other half as a gift. Delicious home-cooked food makes a welcome gift for birthdays, get well pick-me-ups, tired new parents, housewarmings, and is a nice touch to bring to a party for the host to enjoy the next day. If you want to make the gift even more elaborate, buy a special serving dish, ladle or set of soup bowls; or deliver the food in a handsome thermal container. See some of our favorite soups and soup recipes in the Soups & Stocks Section of THE NIBBLE online magazine.
While we never turn down a plate of pancakes, this is another one of those holidays where we must question the wisdom: Why have Blueberry Pancake Day when blueberries are out of season? Who wants to make pancakes with highly expensive, not very sweet, fresh blueberries, or with tart frozen ones? The best solution, we think, is to sprinkle tasty dried blueberries onto your pancakes. We also recommend the following diversions:
Why schedule Blueberry Pancake Day when blueberries are out of season?
– THE NIBBLE’s Pancake Glossary, with dozens of different types of pancakes you’ve probably never heard of.
Don’t judge an oil by its color. Different varieties of olive produce different colors of oil.
Don’t judge an olive oil by its color. Many of us have been led to believe that the darker and greener an olive oil is, the better the quality. It’s not true: The dark green color is just a characteristic of some cultivars (varieties) of olives. Other top olive cultivars yield lighter-colored, and equally delicious, oils. Plus, knowing how people are attracted to the dark green oils, some producers add color to lesser oils (shocking, but true). Color is so unimportant that in judging competitions, oils are drunk from blue glasses to mask the color! Now that you know the “color trick” doesn’t work, how can you find the best oils? Try to research brands before buying, and buy at specialty stores where you can taste the oils. There’s plenty of information about olive oil, and reviews of 100 brands, in the Oil & Vinegar Section of THE NIBBLE online magazine. You can have hours of fun with:
– Our Olive Oil Glossary
– Understanding the Flavors & Aromas Of Olive Oil
Last week, one of the titans of chocolate entered into eternity. Rudolph R. Sprüngli, owner and chair of the largest prestige chocolate company in the world, Chocoladefabriken Lindt & Sprüngli A.G., passed away in Geneva at the age of 88. If you have noticed the pervasiveness of Lindt chocolate throughout your town, it is thanks to the leadership of Mr. Sprüngli. He took the company from being another Swiss chocolate manufacturer to the world’s largest producer of prestige chocolate, with a work force of 4,000. (The most expensive category of chocolate. In the confection industry, chocolate is categorized by its price per pound at retail. The categories include Mass Market, less than $15 per pound; Mass Market Premium, from $15 to $25 per pound; Gourmet, from $25 to $40 per pound; and Prestige, at $40 per pound and higher.) Mr. Sprüngli kept the family firm, established in 1845, from being acquired by a mass-production multinational corporation. He listed Lindt & Sprüngli on the Swiss stock exchange in 1986.
The 85% cacao bar from the Lindt Excellence line is one of the finest 85% bars in the world. Read our full review of Lindt Excellence chocolate bars.
Rodolphe Lindt revolutionized the chocolate industry in 1879 when he invented conching, the process that smooths chocolate into the velvety, aromatic product we know today. While Lindt was arguably the most famous chocolatier of his day, his business in Berne, Switzerland remained a small though high-quality one. In 1899 it was acquired by the larger Sprüngli chocolate company of Zurich, and Lindt & Sprüngli has been a major player in the quality chocolate business ever since. However, it took Rudolph R. Sprüngli, who was born in 1920 and spent his entire career with the firm, to build the brand overseas. Today, the U.S. eats so much Lindt chocolate, there’s now a production facility in Vermont! Rest in peace, in chocolate heaven, Mr. Sprüngli.
Satisfy your chocolate yearnings with this cake, made from the Triple Chocolate Cake Mix and Milk Chocolate Frosting from The King’s Cupboard.
Today is Chocolate Cake Day. There are many who opine that every day should be Chocolate Cake Day. Some days, we’re with them. Then we remember that there is too much of a good thing. And if every day were Chocolate Cake Day, when would we have lemon tart, pumpkin pie, apple crumble, etc.? So, you’ve got to watch what you wish for.
If you have a refined palate, you may have noticed that it’s not easy to go out and buy a great chocolate cake. We experience quite a bit of frustration when we bring home something that looks good—for which we have paid quite a handsome price—and the taste just isn’t there. It isn’t as if the bakery used (zut alors!) margarine instead of butter. The two biggest shortcomings are anemia in the chocolate department, and/or overly sweet, in both cake and frosting. You should never be able to taste the sugar in a recipe, any more than you should taste the salt.
So, aside from baking your own favorite recipes from scratch, what’s a time-pressed person to do to celebrate Chocolate Cake Day?
– Keep a few boxes of the most excellent chocolate cake mixes from King’s Cupboard on the shelf.
– Bake up some of the King’s Cupboard Molten Chocolate Cakes & Gourmet Chocolate Cake Mixes (lava cakes). The Molten Chocolate Cakes are the “volcano cakes” or “lava cakes” you always order at restaurants…and you can make them at home in nine minutes. The gourmet cake mixes include Triple Chocolate Cake Mix and White Chocolate Hazelnut Cake Mix, with Triple Chocolate Frosting and Milk Chocolate Frosting to match.
– Splurge on our favorite Empire Torte, a dense, flourless chocolate cake that we admit an addiction to.
If you want to bake from scratch, try this Chocolate Cabernet Flavors Di ‘Vine’ Cake, the 2007 winner of Bundts Across America. You can try it with a fruitier Cabernet Sauvignon; but you might want to take a look at our Wine & Dessert Pairings chart. Our Wine Editor prefers Late Harvest Zinfandel, Lustau Muscat Sherry “Emlin,” Recioto Amarone or Vintage Port with his chocolate cake.