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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Dogs vs. Chocolate

When we were kids, we loved to slip Fido our broccoli under the table. Do not worry, I won't tell your parents. ( But something tells me they already know.) But BE CAREFUL!!! Giving your dog human food is not always a bad thing but letting them get into chocolate can be very dangerous and even deadly.

Chocolate contains Theobromine, a stimulant that occurs naturally in cocoa beans. It affects the central nervous system and heart as well as increased urination. They cannot metabolize chocolate. Although it depends on the type of chocolate, the size of your dog, and the amount ingested; it is good to know the signs and symptoms that your pup has been digging into the chocolate drawer.

Dogs get upset tummies too. But there may be more indications.
*Unusual nervousness or trembling
*Vomiting and/ or diarrhea
*Excessive thirst
*Muscle spasms

Do not give your dog even the smallest piece of chocolate. Like humans, it only leaves us wanting more. Keep all chocolate out of your pets way. We all love our pets, and we want to continue to love them.

Monday, March 29, 2010

More Coffee Facts

I have been having fun scouring the internet to bring some fun and insightful information to you. Here is another site with some fun facts about coffee, whose trading at one time ruled commerce.

* When shopping for perfume, take some coffee with you in your bag and have a good sniff in between smelling each perfume to refresh your nose!

* Sprinkle spent coffee grounds around the base of your garden plants and it will stop snails and slugs from munching them!

* A mixture of coffee grounds and sugar, fed to a pot plant and watered regularly, will revive houseplants that have turned yellow in winter.

* Some of the worlds most powerful business, including Lloyds of London and the New York Stock Exchange, started life as a coffee houses.

* The aromas in coffee develop at the 10th minute of roasting.

* Coffee increases in volume during roasting by 18.60%.

Coffee is...
  • The second most widely used product in the world after oil.
  • It was worth 6 million tonnes per year in the mid 90's.
  • It is worth €30 billion per year to the producing countries.
  • It is a living to more than 100 million people.
  • It is consumed at the rate of 1400 million cups per day.
  • The world's second most popular drink after water.
Check the justaboutcoffee.com site for more fun facts.

Have a great week!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

More Fun Facts For You

Try and say that 5 times fast....I'm waiting... No really....

Well, Easter facts were fun, so here are some really fun coffee facts. Stop by the oatmeal website. They have some great cartoons and facts. You can enjoy yourself while learning something new.

Now wasn't that fun? Go to the oatmeal website for more...

Have a great day!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Fun Easter Facts

Here are some fun Easter/Passover Facts and Traditions that I found on a website. It is neat to find out why we do some of these things. Enjoy!

- Many pagan traditions have found their way into Christian religious observances. Rabbits are one such symbol. Rabbits symbolize the fertility of springtime. The rabbit is also the symbol of the Egyptian moon — and the moon is used to determine the date of Easter each year.

- The hare (rabbit) is a very important Easter symbol in Germany, almost as important as Santa Claus is in the United States for Christmas. The hare is responsible for laying eggs and hiding them. This probably evolved from children hunting for Easter eggs and scaring away rabbits which happened to be in the area. The hare and egg provide a link between the pagan faith's welcoming of spring and Christianity's Easter celebration.

- The custom of decorating eggs goes back many thousands of years. When you add a few strokes of icing to the surface of a chocolate Easter egg, you are carrying on an age-old tradition. Long before the Bible was written, the egg was a sacred object and it was ornamented as part of numerous religious and superstitious practices.

- The word "Easter" is derived from Eostre or Ostara - the Anglo-Saxon goddess of the dawn. The festival in her honor was celebrated on the first day of spring. It was she who changed a bird into a rabbit, and thus this four-footed little creature joined the egg as another Easter symbol. In our Easter baskets we always include delightfully decorated eggs and rabbits. At the beginning of the 19th century, the first sugar and pastry Easter bunnies became popular in southern Germany.

- In France, children carry eggs to their churches on Holy Saturday at their first confessions for the priests' blessings. Other children hunt for eggs in the church garden, for it is said the eggs had been dropped by the church bells that were silent from Maundy Thursday.

- Although there are no records of Easter eggs as a general custom in Western Europe before the 15th century, there is a tribe in Africa that colors eggs at Easter. They are Mohammedans now, but were once Christians hundreds of years ago. It is also recorded that in the year 1307 King Edward I of England had 450 boiled eggs dyed and covered with gold leaf.
- Like Easter, Passover is celebrated in the spring. The Seder, the traditional meal celebrated in Jewish homes on the first day of Passover, includes the eating of hard-boiled eggs as a symbol of the hope and joy that things are to grow again. It is likely that Jesus' Last Supper was a Passover meal.
- While candy and confections are not identified with the Jewish celebration of Passover the way they are with Easter, many Seders are ended with the eating of chocolate products that are "Kosher la pesach" — Kosher for Passover. No corn syrup or lecithin can be used in the preparation of this chocolate that can be either dark or light — Kosher dairy. Passover confections include chocolate bars with nuts, raisins and dried fruit. Recently, Matzo bread (an unleavened flatbread), dipped or half-dipped in chocolate, has become a popular product.
- Every time you purchase, make or consume chocolate eggs and rabbits, or give Easter baskets or Passover chocolates, you are joining with your ancestors in helping to welcome the arrival of spring — and the joyous Christian and Jewish festivals of hope, rebirth and deliverance. Be proud of your glorious traditions, which link you to an ancient and honorable past.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Easter Bunny Has Arrived!

It is that time of year again and on April 4th, the Easter Bunny officially does his duty, but until then, swing by Bittersweet to get all those little gifts that you need.

Looking for a cute little something to give to a coworker or friend? We got it! That special little gift that shows you care? We got it! Or the tasty treat for a loved one? We got it!

Spring has definitely sprung. The beautiful weather is the perfect time to get your garden back into shape. Bittersweet has the gifts for the gardening gurus in your life.

We even have a fun Bunny Hunt Game with chocolate rewards. This one is fun for the whole family to play together. And for the little baker in the bunch, a cute bunny or chick filled with cookie cutters and chocolate.

You may not see any chocolate bunnies in this post but we have them aplenty in the store, milk and dark. Every size and shape you are looking for, including the cute little placesetting ones that are so popular.

And in this time of sun and warmth don't forget to drop by for a fabulous milkshake or sundae. The perfect way to cap of a lovely day in the park.

See ya soon!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

How much caffeine is in chocolate?

I recently came across a posting by the California Academy of Sciences, in conjunction with the Chocolate Exhibition, about some interesting chocolate health facts. Here are a few excerpts. Feel free to follow the link to get all the information.

"Does chocolate cause cavities? Not necessarily. According to a recent study, cacao contains antibacterial agents that actually fight tooth decay. However, most mass-produced chocolate contains sugar, which probably counteracts the benefits of these agents."

"Will the caffeine in chocolate make me jittery? Probably not. Cacao does contain a number of stimulants, such as caffeine and theobromine, but in small amounts that are diluted even further when processed into chocolate. In fact, one ounce of milk chocolate contains about the same amount of caffeine as one cup of decaffeinated coffee. Interestingly, one study has shown that the smell of chocolate may actually relax you by increasing theta waves in the brain."

"Will I live longer if I eat chocolate? Perhaps. A Harvard University study found that men who ate chocolate lived one year longer than those who didn’t. Scientist think that chocolate contains chemicals that help keep blood vessels elastic and increase beneficial antioxidants in the bloodstream, but research is underway and no conclusive results have been found. "


Monday, March 8, 2010

Follow Our Coffee Blog

We are proud to announce Bittersweet's new Coffee Blog! Ian Riley our roaster extraordinaire is blogging about his exploits and discoveries in the world of coffee roasting.

If you would like to learn more about how it is done, check it out and follow along.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Chocolate May Make Some Strokes Less Likely

Yet again another health benefit to eating dark chocolate.

In news, reported by HealthDay, that's sure to delight chocolate lovers, a Harvard study finds that a couple of squares of dark chocolate a day might reduce the risk of a hemorrhagic stroke, by 52 percent.

"There are several possible mechanisms, but the effect of rich cocoa on cardiovascular health seems to be through its effect on blood pressure, and the capacity to improve the flexibility of the blood vessels," said study author Dr. Martin Lajous, a doctoral candidate at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston.

"In the context of an appropriate intake, eating small amounts of cocoa could be beneficial," Lajous said. "There are several possible mechanisms, but the effect of rich cocoa on cardiovascular health seems to be through its effect on blood pressure, and the capacity to improve the flexibility of the blood vessels."

Wow! Good for your brain and for your heart. Why wouldn't you eat dark chocolate daily?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Breathable Chocolate?

Who would have thought they would come up with this one? NPR reported yesterday on a new product available online. It is called Le Whif and it has gotten some favorable reviews. It definitely is new and interesting. It is chocolate in the molecular form and placed in a tube. Open the tube and inhale, you get all the smell and flavor of chocolate without eating it. There are 8-10 "whiffs" per tube.

But does it really satisfy?

Check it out and decide for yourself. I still prefer the edible kind.