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Between dark and light, I choose rosé beer – Italian Cuisine


The rosé color is obtained with the grape must or with the violet carrot. The "feminine" alternative to light and dark beers

Just mix a little 'malt with red grapes and here is the beer turns rosé. Not just clear, amber or dark: beer can now be found with an appealing and fun – especially for women – pinkish color. This is the new BIGA Birra (Bio Italian Grape Ale), launched last December by Cantina Orsogna 1964 (we are in the province of Chieti), completely organic, in the Rosé version with five cereals, created in collaboration with the Mezzopasso artisanal brewery.

Rosé beer: how to taste and match

The Montepulciano red grape must, used to produce rosé beer, provides intense aromas of red berries and cherry, letting the spicy flavors of the mixture of cereals (barley, spelled, wheat, buckwheat, rye) and del coriander. To appreciate this beer at its best, they recommend one service temperature of 10 ° C, so as to fully grasp the aromaticity and the balance between the initial roundness and the dry and acidic finish. The pairing? With dishes of strong flavor, like grilled meats, cod, tuna carpaccio.

Rosy and also sparkling

With its soft pink color it is also surprising 10 Luppoli Le Bollicine Rosé created in 2016 by the master brewers of the Angelo Poretti Brewery. Made with wheat malt, purple carrot (which gives the rosé) and 10 different hops from all over the world, is refermented with the yeast Saccharomyces Bayanus, the same used for the sparkling of wines. To be served in flute, It is perfect to accompany crudité fish, shellfish, fresh cheeses and strawberries.

Sugar, pasta, salt. Dark is really better? – Italian Cuisine


For centuries the most sought after foods were the white ones, considered the most refined. And in fact, never definition has been so apt as it is precisely the refining process that deprives them of the most "coarse" components (such as bran or some minerals) modifying their color and nutritional value. The association of values ​​between the light color of food and refinement continues today, but in the opposite sense: just when "refined" food is considered unhealthy. Therefore, the white from positive and "noble" has passed to be considered negative and "poor". And, on the contrary, dark foods are today considered naturally rich and healthier. But is it really (and always) like that?

Dark does not mean "integral"

The fact that a food is dark in color is no guarantee that it is healthier or less manipulated, nor richer in terms of nutritional content. It could be so in nature (like raw sugar) or it could be a "complete false", that is a food made with refined flour and then enriched with bran or fibers. In addition there are "wholewheat" foods that are clear in color, such as oatmeal. Then, if you want to be sure of buying an "integral" food, do not limit yourself to the images you find on the packaging or to the color: look for the product definition, which is indicated before the list of ingredients, and verify that it shows the word "integral".

Salt, refined or whole

The white salt that is on the market is sodium chloride, obtained from the evaporation of sea water or extracted from the mines of rock salt. In both cases, before being packaged, it must be purified with washes in water and then refined to eliminate the other salts it contains until only almost pure sodium chloride remains. To whom substances are added that prevent the crystals from sticking to each other (such as sodium or potassium ferrocyanide additives, indicated respectively with the abbreviations E535 and E536).
therefore, the refined salt is pure sodium chloride, without other minerals or trace elements, in particular if it is salt of rock salt. In fact, there is a type with 99% minimum sodium chloride, a percentage well above that of sea salt: it is the salt of the "pure" type, the driest, crystalline and selected.
instead the whole salt it does not undergo any treatment and is not refined. Therefore, in addition to sodium chloride, preserves the other minerals and trace elements it contains in nature. It is usually not added with antiplatelet agents and therefore, often, appears more humid and forms lumps more easily.

Sugar: white or brown?

To make it white, sugar (technically it is sucrose) comes subjected to numerous treatments: first it is purified, then bleached with sulfur dioxide and then concentrated. To make it more pure, it is then filtered with charcoal and then bleached with hydrosulphite. Finally, crystallization is carried out, to obtain smaller crystals of more regular size, and sometimes a second coloring is applied to make the product more attractive and eliminate any yellow veins left in the sugar.
Better then a dark sugar? It depends. If it is "raw" sugar, it is not really a "wholemeal" product, but simply a partially refined sugar, where the differences in color and flavor are due to the traces of molasses, present in very minimal quantities and not significant in terms of nutritional intake. In some cases to darken it is added with coloring: caramel (E150 c).
Another thing is "integral" sugar: it is boiled and then dried, and during this process it naturally aggregates into granules of heterogeneous size. Here because it never presents itself in crystals, but in grains or in powder form. Moreover, the fact that it does not undergo any refining process keeps its nutritional value unaltered.
In reality, whole and raw sugar have just a little more minerals, vitamins and enzymes, but, given the recommended quantities of consumption, they are irrelevant. The most significant difference is another: raw and integral sugar contain less sucrose and more molasses. And this makes them darker and more aromatic and, in the case of cane, even less sweet than refined sugar.

Pasta: normal or whole

Refined carbohydrates, like those found in "normal" pasta or white bread, raise the level of sugar in the blood and this causes a peak of insulin. In parallel i intestinal bacteria produce inflammatory compounds. Result: regular consumption of "refined" pasta or bread shifts the metabolism. It triggers triglycerides and body fat accumulates.
instead whole wheat pasta has a better impact on the body because it is obtained from durum wheat or other cereals (such as rye or spelled) processed without refining processes, and then complete with all their parts, including the outer one, where the fibers are concentrated. For this the wholemeal pasta maintains all nutritional properties of the cereal from which it is obtained.
In particular, in the case of whole wheat pasta (ie the typical Italian one) also contains more minerals, vitamins (especially group B and E) and tryptophan, an amino acid that stimulates the synthesis of serotonin. This is why wholemeal pasta does not help only the intestinal regularity but favors good mood too.
And then it is also ideal when you are on a diet: in fact, in addition to being a little less calories of the other pastas, being rich in fibers, the wholemeal pasta Satisfy much more and it lowers the glycemic index of the meal, exercising a control on the insulin that helps not to get fat.

Manuela Soressi
December 2018

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To'ak: the most expensive dark chocolate in the world – Italian Cuisine


A real jewel arrives from Ecuador in numbered tablets, obtained from a variety of cocoa thought to be extinct

The history of cocoa is lost in the mists of time. A recent Canadian research, conducted by the University of Calgary and the University of British Columbia, has found that the earliest traces of its domestic consumption date back to 5300 years ago, in some communities settled in the highlands of Ecuador. And it is precisely from those suggestive South American lands that today arrive the prestigious products of To'ak Chocolate: a successful company in the enterprise of recovering a variety of cocoa that scholars thought extinct – the ancient Nacional, already grown over 5 thousand years ago ago – turning his beans into chocolate bars, to say the least, exclusive.

The Nacional cacao tree.
The Nacional cacao tree.

These incredibly rare plants, actually very popular until the early nineties, when they were exterminated in mass by a disease called "broom of the witch", have been found for the accuracy in the Ecuadorian province of Manabi, already known worldwide for the excellence of its cocoa crops. DNA tests have confirmed the origin and the genotype, and so the founders of To'ak – Jerry Toth and Carl Schweizer – have started to use the seeds to give life to their special dark chocolate. At the same time working to promote conservation and reproduction, working side by side with the Third Millennium Alliance foundation.

"Imagine that all the Pinot Noir vines of the planet were lost due to illness or hybridization, with the exception of very few specimens scattered in one or two valleys of Burgundy," explain Toth and Schweizer. "This is basically what happened to the cacao Nacional. Now the challenge is to convince farmers to re-seed this variety, which compared to the more modern hybrids gives much lower yields, but at the same time has no equal on the quality front ".

The To'ak chocolate packs.
The To'ak chocolate packs.

And this is what makes To'ak's products unique on an international level: very few plants, far from abundant crops, but at the same time excellent quality, for a cocoa with incredibly complex organoleptic characteristics. The result is a chocolate that for craftsmanship and refinement can be compared only to the finest wines and whiskeys on the market, becoming in all respects a luxury item. Every single 50 gram bar is in fact numbered and sold in a special elm wood box, inside which are all the necessary utensils for tasting, together with a guide to consciously approach the tasting of chocolate and a book with the history of the Nacional.

This goes from the El Niño tablet, made with cocoa harvested in 2016 at the end of the rainy season, with hints of mint and red fruits, up to more structured variants such as the Islay Whiskey Cask: in this case the stay of the beans for three years in barrels used for the aging of whiskey gives powerful scents of caramelized fruit and honey, with a pinch of smoke. Prices? Not exactly accessible, as is easy to imagine. It ranges from 249 euros of the most recent product, that given from the 2017 harvest, to over 320 euros of the most sought after and aged versions. Already, hundreds of euros for 50 grams of chocolate: a remarkable sacrifice, it is true, but necessary to be able to grab what is in effect the most prestigious chocolate on the planet. To be tasted without haste, piece after piece, for a moment of pure fond ecstasy.