Chocolate is good for your teeth

Today we have good news for you: chocolate is good for your teeth. Dark chocolate strengthens the teeth and helps prevent dental cavities. It has been proven by a research of the University of Osaka.

The two benefits of cocoa

The cocoa bean is rich in many nutrients playing an important role in the dental care. Phosphates and fluorides prevent the loss of minerals from the enamel, strengthening it and preventing cavities and dental plaques. Cocoa also is rich in antibacterial agents which fight the main responsible of cavities: a bacterium called Streptococco mutans, commonly found in our mouth.

Which kind of chocolate is good for the teeth?

According to the researchers, the best chocolate to protect our teeth is dark chocolate with a minimum 80% cocoa (or dark hot chocolate). The antibacterial and anti-demineralization agents are mostly found in the surface of the cocoa seed. For this reason, the researchers want to introduce extract of the cocoa bean among the ingredients of chocolate candies and even toothpaste.

Other foods preventing cavities

Besides the cocoa bean and dark chocolate, there are other commonly consumed foods that help strengthening the teeth and preventing oral cavities: coffee and tea, which are rich of flavonoids, dairy product rich in lactose and calcium, wild berries (blueberries in particular) and all the vegetables rich in fibers like celery, chicory and cabbage.

Homemade coffee and carrot cake

Today we teach you how to prepare an even tastier version of a delicious and simple recipe: the carrot cake. We add our favorite ingredient, coffee, to make it even more elegant, original and healthy. And we have a little secret to make the perfect homemade coffee and carrot cake.

How to make a coffee and carrot cake

The ingredients you will need to make the cake are: 12 oz fresh carrots (it will be 5-7 carrots, depending on their size), 3 eggs, 4 oz sugar, 8 oz flour, ½ oz leavening agent, a good Arabica coffee blend.

Here’s how to make your coffee and carrot cake. In a bowl, pour (while stirring) in the following order the very thinly minced carrots, the eggs, the sugar, the flour and the leavening agent.

Now to the coffee: here’s our secret for a classy, tasty cake. Instead of using instant coffee powder like most recipes suggest, we recommend you prepare a coffee using an espresso machine or a Moka coffee pot, with a high-quality Italian coffee blend. Prepare the equivalent of 3-4 espresso cups of coffee and add them to the part of mixture left in the bowl while delicately stirring using a spoon.

Pour the mixture into the baking pan and bake in the oven at 350°F for 35-40 minutes. Your coffee and carrot cake is ready! Serve it on a plate covered with powdered sugar. Perfect at breakfast and along with a 5 pm tea with your friends.

The benefits of carrots

Carrots are rich in beta-Carotene, a natural pigment with many healthy benefits: it protects the immune system, the eyes, the skin and the bones. Carrots also contain high amounts of Vitamins C, B, D and E and are rich in glutathione, an important antioxidant that prevents damage caused by free radicals. These properties, combined with the benefits of coffee, make this cake a great ally for our health, in particular in the prevention of cancer. For an even healthier version of the cake, replace refined sugar with organic brown sugar and use whole wheat flour.

Enjoy your coffee and carrot cake!

The color of the original Italian espresso
photo credit: Waleed Alzuhair via photopin cc

What color is coffee? The culture of coffee is made of recipes, coffee varieties, ways of preparing and consuming it. But it is also made of many different tastes, scents and colors. What is the true color of a perfect espresso coffee?

The natural color of coffee

When it is picked from the plant, the coffee bean is similar to a cherry. Its color may vary from yellow to brownish red, depending on the variety and the stage of its vital cycle. The dried coffee bean is green. The final color we see on our tables derives from the delicate roasting process.

The color of roasted coffee

During the roasting process, the beans are toasted at extremely high temperatures – around 350-400°F for the light roasting, around 420°F for the medium roasting and up to 450°F for the dark roasting. The medium roasting is the most common process for espresso coffee. The roasting process has a great influence on the final color – and taste – of coffee.

The color of the real Italian espresso

According to the guidelines of the National Institute of Italian Espresso, a cup of true espresso should have a “rich hazelnut color, a cream with gingery highlights finely knit with no bubbles or open spaces”. This is how the Italian espresso you order should look like.

Enjoy your Italian espresso!

Yuanyang - coffee and teaYou can’t choose between coffee and tea? There’s something that may be perfect for you. It was invented in Hong Kong, it’s called Yuanyang and those who tried it say it’s the ultimate coffee drink. Originally served by pai dongs, the food kiosks on the streets of Hong Kong, Yuanyang has now grown to be a must on the menu of every cha chaan teng (literally “tea restaurant”) and is now landing in the States, under many different names. Today we explain you how the original Yuanyang is made.

The original Yuanyang recipe

Yuanyang is made of one part coffee and two parts tea. To make a real Yuanyang, you must make a Hong Kong style tea using a blend of black teas and adding condensed milk and sugar to your liking. Serve in tall glasses and can be enjoyed hot or cold, simply adding ice cubes.

History of the name Yuanyang

Yuanyang is the Chinese name for Mandarin ducks, peculiar for the great difference between male and female ducks: male Mandarin ducks have long multicolor plumage. Female Mandarin ducks are smaller and have a simpler, usually grey plumage. In Chinese culture, these animals, very attached to their partner, are the symbol of love and harmony between two different elements. This is why the name was chosen for the union of tea and coffee in this unique beverage.

 Enjoy your Yuanyang!

The original recipe for Bombardino

Bombardino is a traditional Italian recipe made with egg-based liquor and coffee. Bombardino is a high-calories hot drink, usually served during winter, in mountain restaurants and ski resorts, especially in the North of the country. Today we teach you how to make a homemade Bombardino using eggs, liquor, coffee and rum. A perfect winter cocktail to warm you up in the coldest days of the year.

The main ingredient of Bombardino: egg liquor

The main ingredient in the Bombardino recipe is the egg liquor. Many families in the North of Italy traditionally make egg liquor at home, but the “official” recipe was invented by pastry chef Gian Battista Pezziol, from Padua. In 1845, Pezziol invented a new creative way to use the eggs left after the production of Torrone, another Italian delicacy. You may also use eggnog for your homemade Bombardino.

Bombardino recipe

In a small pot, pour 2 shots of egg liquor and heat up until the liquor is about to boil. Add a shot of rum. Make a good Italian espresso, pour it in a glass (an Irish coffee glass is ideal), and add the cream of liquor and rum you have just prepared. Add whipped cream and some cocoa powder or cinnamon powder as topping. Serve hot along with cookies.

Bombardino variations

There is not a unique recipe for Bombardino. Each region or family has its own traditions and adds a personal touch to the preparation. Some don’t add any coffee, some use brandy or whisky instead of rum, or liquid cream instead of whipped cream. You may change your recipe to your liking, but always remember the one rule of Bombardino: it must strong enough to deserve its name. Does the Bomb part of the word evoke something?

Enjoy your Bombardino!

Benefits of black and green tea

Tea is the second most consumed beverage in the world after water. Studies have shown that about 1,000 billion cups of tea are consumed every year. From the tradition of the 5 pm tea to the Japanese tea ceremony, in many cultures tea is not only a daily habit, but a ritual passed down from one generation to the next. Tea also had many benefits for your health: discover 3 reasons why tea is good for you and why you should drink a cup every day.

Tea against bad breath

Drinking black tea helps preventing the annoying bad breath. Tea is naturally rich in polyphenols, micronutrients that contrast the growth of bacteria in the mouth, which is the first cause of halitosis. Polyphenols also lower the acidity in the oral cavity.

Tea protects your heart

Both black and green tea have a high content of anthocyans, which strengthen the circulatory system and improve the blood flow, preventing several heart diseases and lowering the risks of hypertension.

Tea as a natural cure for anxiety

Despite what you may think, tea can have incredible soothing effects. A German research has shown that a cup of black tea with the addition of some Valerian root is the best natural cure for anxiety and sleep disorders. The researchers found that 202 patients had the same effects after consuming a cup of Valerian tea or after taking anxiety medication. If you have sleep issues, you could find in a cup of Valerian tea – or Camomile Green Tea- a natural and truly pleasant – cure.

Winter recipes with coffeeToday we recommend three quick and original winter recipes to fully enjoy the pleasure of coffee in the coldest days of the year – and to surprise your friends and family with unexpected, sophisticated taste pairings.

Cinnamon coffee (Italian special recipe)

Our first recipe features one of the most beloved ingredients of the cold season, because of its embracing scent and many health benefits: cinnamon.
The secret for a truly special cinnamon coffee is preparing a great Italian coffee using a moka coffeepot and adding the cinnamon powder to the coffee powder: in the filter of the coffeepot, pour the coffee (a delicate blend of Arabica is ideal) and add half a tea spoon of cinnamon powder for each coffee. For example, if your coffeepot makes 4 espressos you need to add 2 tea spoons of cinnamon powder. You will obtain an exceptional, tasteful cinnamon coffee in a few minutes.

Laced coffee with orange

Our second recipe combines the intense flavor of laced coffee with a delicious seasonal fruit: orange. To prepare a delicious coffee with orange, make a strong coffee using a strong-bodied, sharp-tasting blend of Arabica and Robusta. Lace your coffee with a shot of Cognac and then add the final touch: take an orange, pour a few drops of the juice into the coffee and garnish the edge of the cup with orange peel.

Brandy eggnog

A traditional European recipe called Imperial Coffee”is very similar to an eggnog laced with brandy. Perfect to warm you up and with a great energizing effect, it can be enjoyed sitting in good company in front of a fireplace, but it is also an ideal drink for a break for those who practice winter sports.
Making a brandy eggnog is very easy: for each person, scramble an egg yolk, pour half a shot of brandy and a spoonful of sugar. Stir, add a strong, hot coffee and some warm milk to your liking. Serve in punch glasses.

Enjoy your winter coffee!

Eye health tips: is coffee good for your eyes?

We already told you about the many benefits of coffee when consumed in a reasonable amount and inside a balanced diet. Coffee is good for your brain, your memory, your muscles, your mood. What you may don’t know yet is that coffee is good for your eyes. It helps keep them healthy and prevent their aging, as confirmed by a research published on the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Coffee is good for your eyes: It’s because of the chlorogenic acid

According to the researchers of the Cornell Institute, coffee is a natural remedy to prevent degenerative eye conditions such as glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and the natural loss of sight due to aging.

Coffee contains chlorogenic acid (CGA), a natural antioxidant which seems to play an important role in the preservation of the retina, the thin light-sensitive layer at the back of our eye. To keep healthy and active, the tissue of the retina needs high amounts of oxygen. In an ill or old coperson, the retina may suffer a lack of oxygenation. This, along with the production of the free radicals, may cause damages and degenerative eye conditions.

The researchers are now trying to understand how the chlorogenic acid is delivered to the retina. Maybe your doctor will soon recommend to drink a coffee every day to keep your eyes healthy!

What is cocoa butter?

Cocoa butter is the main ingredient of white chocolate, but it is an important element in the production of any chocolate, even in the purest dark chocolate tablet. What is cocoa butter exactly? Today we tell you where it comes from, why it is the perfect ingredient for chocolate, and what are its health benefits.

What is cocoa butter

Cocoa butter is an edible vegetable fat. It can be found in the cocoa seed in a percentage ranging from 50% to 60%. When used for the production of chocolate, after the extraction cocoa butter is melted twice to eliminate all the impurities.

Is cocoa butter vegan?

Yes. Cocoa butter is a 100% vegetable fat. This answers another common question: Is dark chocolate vegan? Pure dark chocolate doesn’t contain any milk or animal fats. Consisting of cocoa powder, cocoa butter, sugar and – sometimes – vanilla, the finest dark chocolates are completely vegan.

Cocoa butter in the production chocolate

During the blending phase, cocoa butter is blended with cocoa liquor, sugar, and – depending on the kind of chocolate – milk and vanilla. More cocoa butter may be added during the conching phase, in order to obtain the perfect texture.

Cocoa butter is perfect for chocolate because it melts at the temperature of our mouth: it is because of this precious ingredient that the finest chocolates immediately melt as they touch our tongue and palate. Cocoa butter is also a natural emulsifier, is the responsible of the creamy texture of chocolate and thanks to the high content of antioxidants it naturally preserves the organoleptic properties of the final product.

Health benefits of cocoa butter

Being a vegetable fat, cocoa butter doesn’t contain any cholesterol. On the other hand, it is rich in important nutrients: oleic acid, a natural anti-hypertensive and antioxidant agent helping prevent heart diseases, and palmitic acid, which helps digest and absorb fatty acids.

What does “pure chocolate” mean?

Because of its organoleptic properties, cocoa butter is a natural emulsifier that also guarantees a healthy, high-quality final product. This is why the finest chocolate tablets don’t contain any fats or emulsifiers other than cocoa butter. Only chocolates containing exclusively cocoa butter can be called “pure”.

How to make a perfect hot chocolate

Any chocolate lover can hardly resist the temptation of a hot chocolate, especially in a cold winter day with snow flakes falling. But how can you make a perfect hot chocolate at home? Today we teach you how to make the best hot chocolate in the world, using fresh cream and pure dark chocolate.

Whip the cream

The whipped cream will garnish the top of your hot chocolate. However, you have to prepare this before anything else, because its preparation requires time. Before whipping the fresh cream, leave it in the freezer for 15 minutes, and do the same with the bowl you will whip it in. This will guarantee a soft, perfect final result. Whip the cream with a whisk and put it in your fridge. And now to the hot chocolate.

Make the perfect hot chocolate (for 4 people)

In a large pot, pour 70 fluid oz whole milk and and heat it on the stove. In a bowl, mix half a glass powdered milk and a spoonful of cornflour. This is a special secret to make your chocolate dense and creamy.

Now, prepare the chocolate. Take 5 oz of the finest dark chocolate (about one and a half chocolate tablet). Break it into small pieces of the size of a coin. When the milk starts to boil, lower the flame and pour the chocolate pieces into the pot, stirring delicately with a whisk. When the chocolate has almost completely melted, add the mix of powdered milk and cornflour. Don’t stop stirring!

One more special trick: The perfect hot chocolate must boil twice. The milk starts boiling before the chocolate: this is why you must leave it on the fire and keep stirring for a few seconds while it boils, so that the dark chocolate has the time to enrich the milk with its precious, intense aroma

The perfect hot chocolate recipe

Let the hot chocolate cool for a few seconds, and then pour it into ice cream glasses. Garnish with 2-3 spoonfuls of whipped cream and add a topping to your liking: cocoa powder, cinnamon or minced nuts.

Enjoy your hot chocolate!