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October 17, 2014

Playing with your food can be art

Filed under: Art,Food & Drink by Orangemaster @ 12:00 pm

Vla-Vermeer

Daniel Kok makes artwork with custard, in Dutch known as ‘vla’, which comes in cartons like milk cartons. He’s going strong on instagram, showcasing Dutch and international portraits. He calls it ‘Vlaart’ (‘vla’ and ‘art’). Kok says his daughter asked him to make her something in 2011 and has been honing his custard art skills every since.

(Link and image: www.froot.nl)

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October 6, 2014

Wok Agreement keeps Asian chefs in the Netherlands for now

Filed under: Food & Drink by Branko Collin @ 5:30 pm

chin-ind-restaurant-branko-collinAsian restaurants in the Netherlands will receive 3,150 work permits for the next two years.

This may be good news for the 400 or so chefs that are currently unemployed because their permits ran out. Originally the permits were not renewed because the Dutch government thought the restaurants should hire European chefs. Government departments did not agree with the restaurant sector on how difficult it is to cook with a wok.

Frank Chan, vice-president of the Association of Chinese Hospitality Entrepreneurs, told VICE that as a result of the original work permit reduction a hundred restaurants had to close shop. It’s not clear whether this is in addition to or including the restaurants that closed because young Dutch-Chinese entrepreneurs prefer running hotels.

A new agreement between the Dutch government and the sector, already dubbed the Wok Agreement, states that restaurants get a period of two years in which their number of work permits will remain at the current level on the condition that they start training European chefs.

Kaji But of the Sea Palace restaurant in Amsterdam thinks more time is needed. Dutch chefs don’t speak Cantonese and Chinese chefs tend to learn the trade while working in the kitchen but not through formal education, he says. VICE adds that last summer a seven-day course for Asian chefs was introduced to the country which includes a nasi bami bootcamp.

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October 4, 2014

Fruit grower blames Russians for publicity

Filed under: Food & Drink by Branko Collin @ 10:59 am

imageIf you want to get cheap apples, starting today you can get them in Zeeland for 50 cents per kilogram. Martin Duivekot from Vrouwenpolder has 80,000 kilogram Jonagold apples and nowhere to put them, or so newspaper PZC claims.

Apprently now that the Russians have closed the borders to European fruit, traders won’t touch his apples. The apples need to be harvested, Duivekot says, in order to make sure his trees still produce fruit next year. The European Union will buy his apples for 6 cents per kilogram, but having them picked professionally costs 10 cents per kilogram. I am sure you see the problem there.

That’s when Duivekot stumbled on the solution of letting consumers pick his apples for him. Considering though that picking your own fruit is a service offered by many farmers around the world even outside times of international tension, one might entertain the possibility this is little more than a publicity stunt.

(Photo by Alessio Maffeis, some rights reserved)

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September 28, 2014

Potato pop-up store opens in Amsterdam

Filed under: Food & Drink by Branko Collin @ 11:20 am

aardappelmannetjes-joost-vd-toorn-uair01Quick, what is the world’s foremost potato exporting country? Yes, it’s the Netherlands, a country that exports almost twice the amount of potatoes it grows, leading France by just a few fries (which are Belgian anyway).

Enough of the FAOSTAT fueled statistics. Yesterday a Pieperboetiek (potato boutique) opened on the Jan Evertsenstraat in Amsterdam. Modern Farmer writes:

Between 26 September and 11 October, 25 tons of potatoes will parade through Amsterdam on big farm trucks. [...] The pop-up will offer a wide and colourful variety of potatoes. “At first we were planning to have 30 types, but then some breeds got sick. So, it’s going to be 20 types,” says Felicia Alberding, a freelance journalist who is teaming up with potato farmers in organizing this event.

To make the pop-up more potato-y, there will naturally be an array of potato-related activities. The theatre team Superhallo will perform ‘Knol d’Amour’ which, they say, is both an ode to the potato and a delicious love story. The theatre makers will also host a fry potato party that lets people choose, peel and fry their own potatoes while they are playing music.

There will also be a tattoo artist who uses potato-based ink and both vodka and carrot-and-spinach tea are served, according to the store’s Facebook page.

The boutique was the idea of farmer Krispijn van den Dries from the Noordoostpolder area who wants to breed a better understanding between farmers and consumers. Felicia Alberding: “In most countries, farmers have become invisible over the past years. That anonymity is one of the reasons many people don’t value food and how it’s made any more.”

(Photo of De Aardappelmannetjes by Joost van den Toorn by Uair01, some rights reserved; this is a sculpture in Zoetermeer made from rocks and gilded bronze. It depicts two potato figures.)

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September 19, 2014

Authorities score cobra vodka during search

Filed under: Animals,Food & Drink,Weird by Orangemaster @ 6:23 pm

cobra-vodka

The Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority recently paid a visit to a few locations in the city centre of Amsterdam and made some interesting finds. They confiscated some ivory artworks, 19 stuffed animals and four bottles of cobra vodka, the latter of which is highly illegal and a bit scary if you ask me.

According to the author of the cobra vodka in this picture, which is surely similar to the one that was confiscated:

“It’s Laotian rice whisky in a bottle with a very dead cobra in it. I’ve seen pictures of such snake wine in Vietnam and was surprised to notice that the concept exists in Laos as well. The belief is that the spirit of the snake inside will make you as strong as a cobra and give you more manly virility. I’d probably reluctantly drink a shot if given to me in a shot glass without the snake, but looking at this bottle with the snake inside does make this super creepy.”

(Link: www.nieuws.nl, Photo of cobra vodka by shankaronline, some rights reserved)

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September 16, 2014

Dom Pérignon teams up with Dutch designer Iris van Herpen

Filed under: Fashion,Food & Drink by Orangemaster @ 9:50 am

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Dom Pérignon has collaborated with Dutch fashion designer Iris van Herpen to produce a limited-edition champagne box and 3D-printed sculpture, as part of its Power of Creation project (not the bottles in the picture, the ones in the video)

Iris van Herpen’s gift packs were created specifically for the Dom Pérignon Vintage 2004, drawing inspiration from concepts of metamorphosis and the length of time involved in making Dom Pérignon. Each box is signed by the designer and bears a sprawling, crystal-like green graphic set on a black backdrop.

There’s a video by German-born fashion photographer Daniel Sannwald to accompany the product, which I had to sign into to prove my age. The video also features some of Van Herpen’s creations and a nice dark green tone that just works for me.

(Link: www.dezeen.com, Photo of Dom Pérignon bottles by cherrylet, some rights reserved)

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August 23, 2014

Aniseed cubes dissolve into oblivion

Filed under: Food & Drink by Branko Collin @ 4:19 pm

aniseed-david-monniaux Last year the sole manufacturer of aniseed cubes in the Netherlands, De Ruijter, ceased manufacturing its well-known comfort product.

Aniseed flavoured hot milk is a favourite drink of many Dutch people who have trouble sleeping. Personally I prefer Blooker cacao, so I missed out on the whole aniseed cube scandal, until last night when a Facebook friend mentioned he could not sleep because he had run out of the vaunted cubes.

De Ruijter explains its decision in a FAQ:

We’ve been making aniseed cubes since 1928 using practically the same method all that time. We’ve been able to keep the aniseed cube machine running for a long time, but wear and tear and the lack of replacement parts have made it impossible to extend the life of our machine.

The company has now introduced packets of aniseed powder at more than three times the price. Nobody is happy with this price hike and several people started stockpiling the cubes as soon as they found out. The limited number of likes the activist Facebook page Wij Willen De Ruijter Anijsblokjes Terug has received, only 75 at the time of writing, suggests perhaps a more practical reason why De Ruijter has stopped production.

Another company, M. & P. S., is still producing its own brand of aniseed tablets (“since 1854″, for whatever it’s worth), but apparently they are even more expensive than De Ruijter’s new packets.

So what do you do when you cannot fall asleep?

(Photo of aniseed by David Monniaux, some rights reserved)

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August 22, 2014

Guacamole pulled from shelves for not containing avocados

Filed under: Food & Drink by Orangemaster @ 11:36 am

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I was in Munich earlier this year and went to a tapas bar with a German friend. He ordered some guacamole with nacho chips and then said that he really liked the guacamole he had eaten in the US, but didn’t understand why guacamole in Munich looked like mayonnaise with wasabi through it. I tasted it, and it was bitter: it looked very pale and didn’t taste like avocados at all. Then I told him about the guacamole dip you could buy at the Albert Heijn supermarket here that had almost the same questionable colour and tasted like weird mayonnaise.

It turns out that AH guacamole dip, which the supermarket chain has said should not be compared to real guacamole (so why do they feature a bowl of guacamole as a picture on the product?), has been pulled from their line of TexMex-style products for containing all of 0.7% avocado powder. More than 7,000 people have voted the dip ‘the biggest marketing lie of the year’. The supermarket chain has pulled the product and agreed to find another product to sell to replace it.

(Link: www.deondernemer.nl, Photo of Guacamole by my_amii, some rights reserved)

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August 6, 2014

Lab meat inspires futuristic cookbook

Filed under: Animals,Food & Drink,Science by Orangemaster @ 4:07 pm

Back in early 2012 we told you about lab produced meat being made, and in late 2013 about the meat finally hitting the grill. Now it’s time to level up with a test-tube cookbook called ‘The In Vitro Meat Cookbook” written by Dutch-based scientists, chefs and artists and recently presented in Amsterdam.

“While some dishes are innovative and delicious, others are uncanny and macabre,” such as roast raptor, dodo nuggets and oysters grown from meat stem cells.

The idea was not to get people cooking so much as letting people imagine future possibilities.

(Link: phys.org)

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August 1, 2014

Watching someone eat chocolate for the first time

Filed under: Food & Drink by Orangemaster @ 12:18 pm

choco-phone-small

While at English-language summer camp in Québec in 1984 reading a copy of TIME magazine about the Summer Olympics boycott by Eastern European countries, my Polish bunkmate stared around the big canvas tent we lived in from her bottom bunk with her distinct lack of cheerfulness, not knowing what to do with her quiet time. For the rest of us, it meant reading in bed and scarfing down some chocolate we called ‘tuck’, a British expression we didn’t know was British.

The Polish bunkmate had parents rich enough to send her to Canada for summer camp, but not enough for her to have any tuck. The other girls didn’t take to her because she couldn’t speak English very well and was quite reserved. I decided it would be funny to let he read the propaganda that is TIME magazine and also gave her some of my chocolate bar. She looks at me a bit scared, broke off a square, popped it her mouth, and went very quiet. “It’s good,” she said, finally smiling a bit. “What, you’ve never had chocolate before?” She nodded for no. She was 15.

Now it’s time to see how cocoa bean growers in Ivory Coast react when they taste chocolate for the first time, as filmed by a Dutch TV crew. Just like the Polish girl, it’s hard to believe that anyone hasn’t had chocolate before, especially cocoa bean growers.

In Dutch, French and at least another Ivory Coast language, with English subtitles:

Next, the Dutch at a market are shown a cacao pod and can’t figure out what it is, even after tasting it. I like the older man who wanted to say ‘abrikoos’ (‘apricot’) and turned into ‘Afrikoos’ (roughly ‘Africot’):

(Link: boingboing.net)

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