World’s oldest Italian wine found

Researchers have found evidence of the world’s oldest Italian wine in a large storage jar from the Copper Age which indicates that winemaking in the region began as early a fourth millennium BC.

The discovery, detailed in Micro-chemical Journal, could dramatically predate the commencement of winemaking in Italy. Traditionally, it has been believed that wine production developed in Italy in the Middle Bronze Age (1300-1100 BC).

winemaking process, oldest Italian wine, wine production, red wine, white wine, Indian express, Indian express newsChemical analysis conducted on the ancient large storage jar tested positive for wine. Lead study author Davide Tanasi from University of South Florida in Tampa, US, conducted chemical analysis of residue on un-glazed pottery found at the Copper Age site of Monte Kronio in Agrigento, located off the southwest coast of Sicily.

The team determined that the residue contains tartaric acid and its sodium salt, which occur naturally in grapes and in the winemaking process. The researchers are now trying to determine whether the wine was red or white.

Make Lord Ganesha and your loved ones happy with these amazing modak recipes

The life-size idols of Lord Ganesha, the gravity-defying dance moves by followers on the streets, and the general madness surrounding Ganesh Chaturthi always gets us excited. This year, the grand 10-day celebrations will begin on August 25 with the Isthapana of the Ganesh idols and will end on September 5 with the Ganpati Visarjan.

The markets are already flooded with Ganpati Bappa’s favourite sweet, Modak and people are busy stuffing their bags with these delectable dumplings. If frenzied, last-minute shopping isn’t your thing and you would prefer to try your experimental hat in the kitchen, then here are a few Modak recipes for inspiration.

We have interesting versions, from the time-tested classic steamed modaks to the fried ones. Also, chocolate modaks for the quintessential chocolate lovers!

Fried Modak by Jaypee Hotels & Resorts, New Delhi


For the stuffing
1 cup – Grated coconut
1/2 cup – Sugar
2 1/2 tbsp – Grated low fat mawa (khoya)
1 tbsp – Chopped cashew nuts
1 tbsp – Chopped pistachios
1 tbsp – Almond slivers
1/2 tsp – Cardamom powder

For The Dough
1 cup – Whole wheat flour
1 tbsp – Semolina
2 tbsp – Ghee

A pinch of salt
Oil for deep frying

For the stuffing
* Combine the coconut, sugar and mawa in a broad non-stick pan. Mix well and
cook on medium flame for 2 to 3 minutes or till it turns light brown in colour,
while stirring it occasionally.

* Add the nuts and cardamom powder, mix well and cook on medium flame for
one minute, while stirring continuously.

* Divide the mixture equally into 11 portions. Keep aside to cool completely.

For the dough
* Combine the whole wheat flour and semolina in a deep bowl and mix well.

* Heat ghee in a small non-stick pan on medium flame for 2 minutes or till it
is smoky hot. Add it to the flour mixture with a pinch of salt and mix well.

* Knead it into a semi-stiff dough and divide it into 11 balls.

* Roll each ball into a 75 mm wide circle and put a portion of the prepared stuffing in the centre. Fold the edges to create a fluted, inverted cone.

* Heat the oil in a deep non–stick pan and deep fry the Modak till it’s golden brown in colour.

* Drain on an absorbent paper and serve immediately.

At 153kg, this GIANT SAMOSA is the world’s LARGEST

Love crispy fried samosas filled with spicy potatoes and onions? Look no further, because a giant samosa is here to satiate your hunger pangs! Smashing all records, a king-sized samosa weighing 153.1kg has earned the tag of being the world’s largest. The gigantic snack was made by a dozen volunteers from the Muslim Aid UK charity and then deep-fried in a custom-built vat at East London Mosque. Wondering how it was prepared? Built on a giant wire mesh, it was lifted up into a vat of hot cooking oil before being taken out and weighed.

giant samosa, worlds largest samosa, biggest samosa world record, samosa 153 kg, samosa food, food news, largest samosa london, food, snacks, indian express, indian express newsPeople from the Guinness Book of World Records were also present to critique and certify the mega-samosa. Adjudicator Pravin Patel spelled out the rules and told AFP that it’s got to be “triangular; contain flour, potatoes, onions and peas; be fried, and retain the shape when cooked”. Not just that, he also said, “It’s got to look and feel like a samosa; it’s got to be edible by humans. The critical record is the net weight. Plus it all has to be eaten. No wastage!”

The team kept all the conditions in mind and prepared the massive snack. Project organiser Farid Islam told the agency that it was very tense and his heart was beating all the time. “It looked like it was going to slide off. A crack appeared and I feared the worst,” the 26-year-old added.

Rajasthan to brew a different cup of tea from olive leaves

The desert state of Rajasthan will soon give the country an alternative to green tea — brewed from olive leaves. State Agriculture Minister Prabhu Lal Saini said the brand — named Olitia, The Olive Tea — will be launched “very soon” by Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje. “The process has been completed and we will launch it as soon as we get time from the chief minister.

It will be the first time in the country and the world that a green tea alternative will be produced out of olive leaves,” he told PTI on the sidelines of an event in the city.

Rajasthan started cultivating olives in 2007 in collaboration with Israel and now the state cultivates them on 5,000 hectares, the minister said. “And we have made a lot of progress since then. An olive refinery is operational in the state at Bikaner, also the country’s first.

We have also began production of olive honey,” he said. Asked how the state got the idea of producing “Olive green tea”, Saini said, “I am a PhD in Agriculture myself, and I knew olive leaves have several health benefits. So I decided to get some study and lab testing done about it.” He showed several papers with findings of the lab studies. A lab test, conducted in July, confirmed the presence of several anti-oxidants, anti-inflammatory and other such substances in the olive leaves. One of the substances found was Luteolin.

“Experiments with Luteolin show that it suppresses bacteria-induced inflammation. Luteolin is an oxygen scavenger,” reads the report. He said the lab tests confirmed the presence of “such strong anti-oxidant” in olive leaves that they can help prevent several types of cancer — blood cancer, prostate cancer and ovaries cancer. After the studies and lab tests confirmed these properties of the olive leaves, the decision to process them was taken, he said.

“It will medically benefit those who suffer from mental stress, cardiac disease. It has anti-inflammatory properties as well,” he said. The Olitia, The Olive Tea, packet also claims it has zero caffeine, builds immunity, fights fatigue and has anti-ageing properties. Saini said the “olive green tea” will come in multiple flavours which are in vogue these days like exotic, lemon and mint.

“We are trying to diversify and produces other flavours like ginger, Tulsi etc,” he said. “We have received proposals from various countries including the UK, the USA and from the Gulf, that they want to sign MoUs in this regard,” he said. The agriculture minister said that 66 per cent of “our state has arid or semi-arid climatic conditions. But we are among the leaders in the country as far as agricultural innovation is concerned thanks to the chief minister,scientists, officials and the people”.

Decoded: Why whisky tastes better with water

Adding a few drops of water enhances the taste of whisky, say scientists who confirm what alcohol connoisseurs have long known. Researchers at Linnaeus University in Sweden have found that adding water to whisky alters the drink’s molecules to make it taste better. Whisky is a chemically complicated beverage. After malting, mashing, fermentation, distillation and maturing, for at least three years in oak barrels, it is bottled.

However, first whisky is usually diluted to around 40 per cent of alcohol by volume by the addition of water, which changes the taste significantly. Researchers solved a piece of the puzzle that will help us better understand the chemical qualities of whisky. “The taste of whisky is primarily linked to so-called amphipathic molecules, which are made up of hydrophobic and hydrophilic parts,” said Bjorn Karlsson, chemistry researcher at Linnaeus University.

“One such molecule is guaiacol, a substance that develops when the grain is dried over peat smoke when making malt whisky, providing the smoky flavour to the whisky,” Karlsson said.

Researchers carried out computer simulations of water/ethanol mixtures in the presence of guaiacol to study its interactions. They found that guaiacol was preferentially associated with ethanol molecules and that in mixtures with concentrations of ethanol up to 45 per cent guaiacol was more likely to be present at the liquid-air interface than in the bulk of the liquid.

why we drink whisky with water, whisky water why, best add on to whisky“This suggests that, in a glass of whisky, guaiacol will therefore be found near the surface of the liquid, where it contributes to both the smell and taste of the spirit,” said Ran Friedman, researcher in chemistry at Linnaeus University. “Interestingly, a continued dilution down to 27 per cent resulted in an increase of guaiacol at the liquid-air interface.

“An increased percentage, over 59 per cent, had the opposite effect, that is to say, the ethanol interacted more strongly with the guaiacol, driving the molecule into the solution away from the surface,” Friedman said. These findings suggest that the taste and aroma of guaiacol, and similar compounds in whisky, are enhanced when the spirit is diluted prior to bottling and this taste may be more pronounced on further dilution in the glass.

“How we experience taste and aroma is highly individual. Some people choose to add ice cubes to their whisky, to cool it down and give it a milder taste. Thus, there is no general answer to how much water you should add to your whisky to get the best taste experience,” Karlsson added. The research was published in the journal Scientific Reports.

Lemons were status symbol in ancient Rome

Lemons were status symbols for the ancient Roman ruling elite, according to a study which found that they were the first fruits to arrive in the Mediterranean around the time of Jesus. Researchers from Tel Aviv University in Israel studied a collection of ancient texts, art, artifacts and plant remains such as fossil pollen grains, charcoals, seeds.

Until the first century AD, the only citrus produce available to the ancient Romans were the extremely rare and inordinately expensive citrons and lemons, they said. “Today, citrus orchards are a major component of the Mediterranean landscape and one of the most important
cultivated fruits in the region. But citrus is not native to the Mediterranean Basin and originated in Southeast Asia,” said Dafna Langgut, from Tel Aviv University in Israel.

“My findings show that citrons and lemons were the first citrus fruits to arrive in the Mediterranean and were status symbols for the elite,” Langgut said. “All other citrus fruits most probably spread more than a millennium later for economic reasons,” she added.

At first, Romans only had access to rough-skinned citrons, also known as etrogim – mostly rind and dry, tasteless flesh. The citron arrived in Rome from what is now Israel. The earliest botanical remains of the citron were identified in a Persian royal garden near Jerusalem and dated to the 5th-4th centuries BC. It is presumed that it spread from there to other locations around the Mediterranean, researchers said.

lemons, lemons history, lemons rome status symbol“The first remains of the earliest lemon, found in the Roman Forum, date to right around the time of Jesus Christ, the end of the first century BC and early first century AD,” said Langgut. It appears that the citron was considered a valuable commodity due to its healing qualities, symbolic use, pleasant odour and rarity, researchers said.

Only the rich could have afforded it. Its spread therefore was helped more by its high social status, its significance in religion and its unique features, rather than its culinary qualities, they said. Sour oranges, limes and pomelos were introduced to the West by Muslim traders via Sicily and the Iberian Peninsula much later, in the 10th century AD, Langgut said. “It is clear that Muslim traders played a crucial role in the dispersal of cultivated citrus in Northern Africa and Southern Europe,” Langgut said.

Researchers found that the sweet orange associated with Israel today only dates as far back as the 15th century and was the product of a trade route established by the Genoese and, later, the Portuguese. The sticky-sweet mandarin was introduced to the Mediterranean in the beginning of the 19th century, they said. “It wasn’t until the 15th century that the sweet orange arrived on European tables. By the time mandarins appeared in the 19th century, citrus fruits were considered commonplace.

They were cash crops rather than luxury items,” said Lanngut. The study was published in the journal HortScience.

Restaurant Indian Accent to open in London

Indian restaurant Indian Accent will open doors in London. It will open at 16 Albemarle Street, Mayfair, London, in early October. The site was previously occupied by Old World Hospitality’s other restaurant Chor Bizarre. Rohit Khattar, Founder Chairman of Old World Hospitality, the parent company of Indian Accent, said in a statement: “We are so very grateful to the loyal diners of Chor Bizarre for their love and patronage that kept us going for 20 glorious years.

Indian restaurant, Indian Accent, restaurant, Indian cuisine, cuisine, traditions of India, Indian food, Chor Bizarre, Indian express news“This decision to close Chor Bizarre was hard. However, it did need major refurbishment after so long and whilst we were looking for a home for Indian Accent, we realised that there was no space more perfect than 16 Albemarle Street, Mayfair. We do hope that London embraces Indian Accent as warmly as New York has.”

Indian Accent showcases inventive Indian cuisine by complementing the flavours and traditions of India with global ingredients and techniques. The restaurant opened a branch in New York in 2016 to critical acclaim.

Indian women 25 per cent more likely to order chocolate items online, says research

World Chocolate Day falls on July 7, and on the occasion Swiggy studied India’s online consumption patterns of chocolate items, read a statement from the food ordering and delivery platform. Almost half of all dessert orders placed online (on Swiggy) are made of chocolate. In fact, 60 per cent of the top orders for dessert on the platform are chocolate based, the study found.

Women are 25 per cent more likely to order chocolate items online.

Mondays aren’t the only day Indians order chocolate items to drive away the blues. According to the analysis, India’s ‘Love for chocolate items’ is consistent no matter what day of the week it is. Most ordered chocolate items in India: Death by Chocolate, Hot Chocolate Fudge, Chocolate Milkshake, Chocolate Brownie and Chocolate Truffle Pastry. Those in the age group of 18-24 order more chocolate items online.

Mumbai people tend to order the most chocolate items online, this is followed by Bengaluru and Hyderabad. Indians tend to order most chocolate items late in the night followed by snacks. This is especially true during the weekends.

Chocolate items are most ordered late in the night, with the average ordering time being 11:46 p.m. Chocolate connects strongly to sweet consumption behaviour and occasions in India. Most happy occasions tend to be collective, and are ritually accompanied by sharing something sweet.

Not surprisingly, on Valentine’s Day alone orders for chocolate items grew disproportionately (compared to other categories) by almost 50 per cent compared to the average Tuesday. A similar trend was seen with respect to Mother’s Day and Father’s Day this year, where the orders had increased by 19 per cent and 40 per cent respectively than a regular Sunday.

World Chocolate Day: 7 chocolate experiences every cocoa lover should try

Though we really do not need a special day to celebrate our love for chocolates, but then since we have one why not enjoy it to our fullest and indulge in the best chocolatey experiences – all guilt free. In case you were wondering, World Chocolate Day is celebrated on July 7 every year to honour our favourite and trusted ‘rescuer’. One cannot deny the mood uplifting qualities of chocolate that has saved us on countless occasions. And it doesn’t matter if you are a child or an adult — chocolate loves you back and certainly, age is no bar.

There are health benefits to eating chocolates as well, so at least on this special day, go ahead and indulge yourself a bit. Here are seven experience every chocoholic should try in their life, at least once!

Germany has the world’s largest chocolate museum and one shouldn’t miss an opportunity to visit it.
(Source: schokoladenmuseumofficial/ Instagram, Cadbury World/ Twitter)

1. Visit a chocolate museum

In India, we have a tendency of calling something by the name of the company that is responsible for it. For instance, saying Xerox if we mean photocopies or Cadbury when we say chocolate. So, wouldn’t it be exciting to visit the Cadbury museum? Yes, you can visit Cadbury World in England and know the story of the Cadbury family and their chocolate business. From the first Easter egg to the construction of the Bournville garden village for factory workers, it’s insightful and yummy. And the best part — you’ll get plenty of free samples to munch on!

And if you just love museum tours (chocolate ones, in this case) here are a few others you should see. Cologne Chocolate Museum, in Germany that is the largest chocolate museum in the world; Choco-Story Chocolate Museum in Prague that also gives you an insight into the history of the cultivation of the cocoa bean and how chocolate making prospered in Europe. There are chocolate museums in several other places like Switzerland, Cuba, Spain and even South Korea and each has its unique history and offering.

World Chocolate Day 2017: These three amazing recipes will make you drool

There is nothing like chocolate to uplift your mood on a bad day. It works like magic and can turn your mood around in no time. As people around the globe celebrate World Chocolate Day, it gives us more reasons to indulge in some wholesome goodness.

Be it chocolate bars, ice-creams, cakes or even drinks, there’s hardly anything that can go wrong with this cocoa bliss. It is the ultimate comfort food and there are plenty of reasons why you should consume it. Recent researches have shown that eating dark chocolate may protect your brain from age-related stress and inflammation that are thought to play an important role in the neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.

So here are three mouth-watering recipes by Chef Akram Ali, Executive Pastry Chef, JW Marriott Kolkata for you to try.

Royal Cake

For the Mousse
240 ml – Water
640g – Sugar
640g – Egg yolk
1680g – Dark chocolate
2400g – Whipped cream

For the Praline Crunchy
1500g – Praline Hazelnut
375g – Dark chocolate
150g – Milk chocolate
600g – Paillete Feuilletine (Fragments of thin pancakes for praline)
One layer of Dacqouise Biscuits

For the Mousse:

* Melt the chocolate in a double boiler.

* Meanwhile, prepare the casserole with water and sugar in it and boil it to 120°C.

* In the mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks at maximum speed till soft peaks are formed.

* Carefully fold in the hot sugar mixture into the whisked eggs. Allow it to cool down for a while then mix vigorously with the melted chocolate mixture.

* Gently fold in the whipped cream.

For the Praline Crunchy:

* Put one layer of dacquoise biscuit within a mould on a tray.

* Mix the melted chocolate with the praline hazelnut.

* Add the paillette feuilletine, mix properly then pour it into the tray and spread it evenly.

* Add the dark chocolate mousse on top.

* Refrigerate for minimum one night before you unmold and cut it. The cake is ready to serve.