Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Cacao

Sophia Pappas

A sacred food-turned-everyday commodity, cacao is way more than the primary ingredient in chocolate

Cacao requires little introduction. It’s everywhere, from chocolate bars to almost every bakery under the sun. But cacao and chocolate are not synonymous. The former is a beautiful, fragrant fruit that has deeply ancient roots in Mesoamerica, where it was considered a sacred food from the gods. A sacred food-turned-everyday commodity: There’s a lot to say about cacao, so let’s get started.

What is cacao?

Cacao is a fruit that grows on the Theobroma cacao tree, blooming in scattered areas from its trunk and mid branches. The fruit is large and oblong; it looks similar to an American football, with a hard exterior shell that must be cracked open before discovering the treasures that lie inside.

“Cacao comes in all sorts of beautiful colors, ranging from yellows to greens and bright reds,” says Greg … Read more

Fruit Charcuterie Board

You will love the vibrant colors of all your favorite fruits beautifully displayed together on a fruit charcuterie board. Serve this as a perfect side dish or dessert alongside a creamy fruit dip at your next party!

I love serving this show-stopping fruit charcuterie with any meal, but my favorite way to serve it is with breakfast. The fresh juicy fruit is always a crowd-pleaser in the morning for guests. It would be perfect alongside this breakfast casserole, these easy cinnamon rolls, and a side of bacon.

Overhead view of the fruit charcuterie board. A tan kitchen towel and extra fruit is scattered around the board.

What is a Fruit Charcuterie Board?

I love a good charcuterie board because it visually draws in your guests! It’s the best mixture of sweet ripe fruit. Every bite is a different fruit, and every bite is sweet and juicy! The best fresh fruit charcuterie boards are made with fruit that is in season.

Everyone loves charcuterie boards because they are bursting with … Read more

Ciguatera in Europe project granted follow-up

A project looking at the surveillance and control of ciguatera poisoning in Europe has been given a second edition.

A launch meeting for EuroCigua II was attended this past week by representatives of 11 organizations involved in food safety and public health from five European countries.

Partners include the Spanish Institute of Agrifood Research and Technology (IRTA), Canary Islands Health Service (SCS), the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (ANSES), German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), Portuguese Economic and Food Safety Authority (ASAE), and Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM).

Also participating in the three-year effort are the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), European Environment Agency of the European Commission, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and experts from research groups in the United States and Japan.

Aims second time Read more

Actually, Spaghetti Is the Scariest Food


Why horror films use spaghetti of all things to make us nauseous, or uncomfortable, or otherwise terrified

Back in the ’90s, when it was still socially appropriate to scare the pants off your kids and their friends on Halloween, many of us remember attending a party or two with a “Dead Man’s Body” buffet: In the popular party game, we were encouraged by adults to stick our hands into bowls of increasingly gross-feeling stuff for a spooky sensory experience. There were the peeled grapes meant to feel like eyeballs, the dried apricots passed off as dismembered ears, and most terrifying, the bowls of cold, limp spaghetti tinted with food coloring to look like bloody guts.

And perhaps it’s that root, the squick imprinted on our brains as we touch that clammy pasta, that makes spaghetti the scariest food. Or at least the scariest-looking food. Sure, one could say that … Read more

Apple Brown Betty

An Apple Brown Betty is a warm and comforting apple dessert that is full of fall flavors. The apples are coated in lemon juice with a brown sugar spiced crumble throughout that satisfies with every bite. If you don’t like oats, this recipe is for you!

I love a good apple dessert! I even have a whole round up that I put together that has them all in one place. We’ve made so many good ones over the years! If you are looking for a great fall apple recipe, you should try this easy Apple Dump Cake, this delicious and satisfying Caramel Apple Upside Down Cake, or this stunning Apple Tart.

Apple Brown Betty in a white dish with vanilla ice cream on top and scoops taken out. A metal spoon is sitting in the dish with apples in the background

Apple Brown Betty

If you are a fan of fall flavors, then this is the dessert for you! Every bite is packed with warm spices and soft (but not TOO soft) apples. An apple brown betty is similar to … Read more