Another Helping of Food Related Weirdness - 5

2009 marks the 20th anniversary of the first Wallace and Gromit film, A grand Day Out, which introduced the cheese-loving inventor and his more practical pooch to the world. So popular have these characters become that they are credited with saving the British cheese industry (Sky News), and perhaps even the whole UK economy (Telegraph). So the timing was probably a bit inopportune for the voice of Wallis, Peter Sallis, to admit that he never touches the stuff (Telegraph).

This year also marks the 20th anniversary of the coming down of the Berlin Wall, so what better way to celebrate than by building a new one, out of chocolate. Patrick Roger, a chocolatier from Paris France, decided to commemorate the historic reunification of East and West Germany by building a 15m long replica of the wall out of 900 kg of chocolate, complete with uncanny reproductions of the spray painted graffiti made with coloured cocoa butter. The chocolate wall was later "torn down" and broken up on November 9th, exactly 20 years after the original (ChocoParis).

And this isn’t the only feat of chocolate engineering in recent weeks. The “New World Whakatane” Bakery, from Australia's "baby brother" New Zealand, set a Guinness World Record this month for baking the world’s largest chocolate log. At over 35 metres in length and weighing in at nearly 78 kilos, the confectionary monster smashed the previous record of a measly 10 metres, but fell short of the 50 metres they had hoped for. Once the new record had been verified, the log was cut into slices and sold to raise money for a teenage cancer charity (TVNZ).

Still more gargantuan grub now as hundreds of students from the University of California at Berkeley became sushi chefs for a day by helping to roll a 330 foot “California roll” to celebrate the 50th anniversary of UoC’s Center for Japanese Studies. The sushi roll broke the previous record of 300 feet, and contained 200 lbs of rice and 180 lbs of fish, the last 15 feet was made with tofu for the benefit of attending vegetarians (Boston Herald).

Staying with the world of education for a moment, a furore blew up this month over the National Dairy Council’s campaign to promote chocolate milk in schools. Held out as a “healthy alternative” to sodas, the campaign has attracted criticism from some quarters for overlooking the large amount of sugar added to flavoured milks. The NDC’s response is that even sweetened milk is better than no milk (Huffington Post).

But perhaps it’s not children the NDC should be targeting. Scientists from the University of Barcelona in Spain has discovered that regular consumption of chocolate milk may slow or prevent the onset of atherosclerosis (a form of arteriosclerosis). The effect comes from a combination of favonoids in the cocoa, which reduce inflammation, and the skimmed milk diet increasing the level of HDL, to so-called “good cholesterol” (New York Times).

But if chocolate milk is not to your liking, how about a bottle of 100-year old scotch? Even better, it’s already on ice. When explorer Ernest Shackleton travelled to Antarctica in 1907, in what was ultimately an unsuccessful attempt to reach the South Pole, he took with him two cases of finest McKinlay and Co whisky, which he buried under a hut at his base camp in Cape Royds. And there they remained, forgotten until their rediscovery in 2006. Now the New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust hopes special cutting equipment will allow them to recover the crates undamaged. Though there are no immediate plans to drink the whiskey, Scottish distillery Whyte and Mackay, who took over the McKinlay label, hope to obtain a sample and possibly recreate the blend, whose recipe has since been lost (Orange News).

Finally, scientists working in Queensland, Australia have bred a variety of apple that stays fresh for weeks in the fruit bowl, or months in the fridge. The apple, currently known by the catchy name of RS103-130, is the culmination of a 20 year breeding programme and is sweet, crunchy and naturally disease and decay resistant. The developers aim to have the new apple in the shops next year, hopefully not still called RS103-130 (Telegraph).

(Image source: Wikipedia.)
     Posted By: Dumbfounded - Fri Nov 20, 2009
     Category: Anniversary | Awards, Prizes, Competitions and Contests | Education | Food | Nutrition | Inebriation and Intoxicants | Historical Figure

"Patrick Roger, a chocolatier from Paris France"

If a chocolatier is someone who cooks with chocolate, what does that make a mousekateer?
Posted by Dumbfounded on 11/20/09 at 09:25 AM
So, now, thanks to academia, we know what's worse than 300ft of raw fish!
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 11/20/09 at 10:49 AM
I'm not sure, but I think you just insulted sluts everywhere!
Posted by Dumbfounded on 11/28/09 at 05:51 PM
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