Sweet spot

17 Jan

I have a sweet spot for chocolate because I’m from Belgium and that’s where we invented the French frites, the Belgian waffles, the mussels and the chocolate …

In France, I never found a chocolate bar which was worth the calories … So I was importing my chocolate from Belgium every time I went back home …

Recently, I was introduced to this little brand called Claudio Corallo, the name of a little producer of cocoa beans in Africa (São Tomé island) and it was a revelation.

Nothing looks more like a chocolate bar than another chocolate bar, so you thought!  So, I contacted Claudio Corallo and asked him some key questions that we, chocolate lovers, have on the tip of our tongue …

Meet Claudio, a little producer of great chocolate who cultivates with love its cocoa beans to make the best cocoa peebles in the world!

What’s a good chocolate? How can we see the difference with “regular” chocolate?

To cultivate and transform chocolate and coffee is my job since very long time. Especially in the world of chocolate I often noted a kind of fogginess, a lack of transparency that benefits to some but certainly not the consumer who actually does not really know what he is buying.

 Moreover, the nomenclatures and standards are built in a way that blurs the situation, and once again especially the consumer. For example, a 100% can be 100% white chocolate, but white chocolate does not contain one single gram of chocolate. You see?

 So lets specify that from here on we only speak about 100% cacao + sugar + eventually some cacao butter. Only this is chocolate. The rest is confectionary or chocolate-based cake.

 Here are some questions of common sense that, as an agronomist, I’d like to suggest you:

  • Is it possible to produce great chocolate with mediocre cocoa beans?
  • Have you ever tasted and compared different roasted and peeled cocoa beans?
  • Do you know what is and how tastes a pure 100%, meaning a 100% produced only from roasted, peeled and crushed cocoa beans, without adding or removing anything?

What’s the best chocolate?

The best way to understand the quality of chocolate is to do a very simple test: try chocolate diluted in water.

The water will amplify the qualities and defaults. It helps a lot in the understanding of the product and you can do it with any chocolate.

How to proceed:

  • Take 100g of 75% Chocolate
  • Break it into smaller pieces
  • Pour 250g of boiling water over it
  • Toss the mixture with a fork
  • When the chocolate is all melted, make it uniform with a hand blender

Taste-it, and you’ll see if you like it

How can a good chocolate contribute to a good health? 

There has been some serious research done regarding chocolate and it’s influence on health. I suggest reading these two articles (magazine Aqua, October 2007, in Italian) & (Reasearch study published in the Netherlands Journal of Medicine, in English) for a better and more serious understanding of the subject (read the article in the Nederlands Journal of Medecine).

How should we eat chocolate to enjoy it the best? 

I think that the best way to understand a natural product, may it be chocolate, olive oil, wine or whatsoever, is to empty your thoughts, to expect unexpected flavours, to take time to feel and enjoy and not to stop the tasting at the first impression on the palate, often treacherous.

Let behind you the very misleading influence of marketing and advertising that only aim to influence your opinion. Make up your own one. 

How should chocolate be stored to keep its freshness and great taste?

In general, always keep the chocolate in a temperate and dry place (but not in the fridge). This is the best way to preserve your chocolate for a longer period.

Regarding our chocolate, I always have a small stock of chocolate, which rarely stays longer than two months, in my house on the Terreiro Velho plantation on Principe Island. The average temperature there is 27°C (tropical climate) and humidity is quite high, therefore our chocolate keeps an ideal texture.

 

Now we know what chocolate with a big C should be, the world of sweetness will never be the same anymore. Thanks Claudio for this interesting discussion.

After some tastings, my favorite is the 100% and also the roasted cocoa beans!!

More about Claudio Corallo and his chocolate

The battle of the connected bracelets – the data battle

4 Jan

During 2 week, I wore both bracelets (the UP3 and the Shine) at the same arm and compared the results.
The aim of my little game is to find the one which will give be the most accurate data.

Let’s analyse the data.
I decided to get my lunch and walked to the take-away for some Japanese and Korean food.
I took me 39 minutes (I had to queue), and I walked 1,54km (so says Runtastic, free app, a GPS-app).

The Shine says 1,3km for 1.870 steps and 97 burn calories.
The Up3 says (thanks to the Runtastic GPS-app), 1,54km for 1.631 steps and 190 burn calories.

Runtastic gives the right information regarding the distance and the path I followed. There’s a discrepancy of steps between both devices: 14,65% more steps with the Shine vs the Up3, for 15,59% less distance between the Up3 and Shine.

Walking activity is the easiest to track, then when you start practicing sport it will depend on the algorithm (an algorithm is a self-contained step-by-step set of operations to be performed. Algorithms exist that perform calculation, data processing, and automated reasoning) used by your connected device and how it will crunch the data.

The sleeping datas are the ones that interest me the most.

Here’s last night in data,
The Up3 says

  • I went to bed at 11:30pm, played on my iPhone and fell asleep at 12:22pm
  • my night was split between Deep Sleep (2h52m), Light Sleep (3h48m), REM Sleep 1h43m), Awake for 1h41m
  • I woke up 4 times
  • cherry on the cake, the Up3 give me the heart beat during my Zz (72bpm)

For the Shine,

  • I went to bed at 11:42pm
  • and my night is split between Restfull Sleep (4h36m) and Light Sleep (3h46m)
  • the Shine didn’t see that I woke up 4 times in the night, nor that I was playing with my phone before sleeping …

To sum up, it’s like the recipe of the Coca-Cola, you guess what’s inside but can’t make the same.

For the connected devices it’s the same, every one creates its very own algorithm and produces its own data. Whatever brand you use should give you the same trend though and that’s what I see with my Up3 and Shine.

Actually, now, the battle is somewhere else: moving away from the recreational connected devices as we know them to the Medical Grade Devices because at the end of the day, you want to perform better during the day and improve your health … story to be continued.

up3

the Up3 by Jawbone vs the Shine from Misfit

Don’t forget to read “The Battle of the Connected Bracelets

 

Happy New Year 2016!

1 Jan

A new year has come! Happy new year!!

This year was rich in smart findings, tragic events and joyful ones, I wish you all the best for 2016 and …

keep chasing!

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Let’s connect the on

Stop the noise …

21 Dec

 

Stop the noise of  your keys dangling together with Key-Bar!

I was already in when the Orbitkey was released

Recently, I discovered the Key-Bar and it echoed in me.

Rugged, versatile and looking very cool!

I have one key. The key to my kingdom (my home), and it’s always a mess to find it in my bag .

Now, I safely tuck it in his beautiful “flag” KeyBars titane/aluminium shell and my key is safe, not making any noise and seriously looking cool.

The no-noise policy comes at a price though $50 to $85 plus add-ons like

  • pocket clip, $6Photo Dec 16, 1 59 42 PM
  • titanium comb, $10
  • bottle opener, $10
  • quick key tab, $5
  • toothepick and tweezers kit, $15
  • flash drive, $9 -$23
  • spare key fob link, $1,50
  • extension screws, $5
  • hardware set, $5
  • keyrabiner, $10

More info on Key-Bars

The battle of the connected bracelets

14 Dec

For more than a year, I’ve been wearing the Shine from Misfit pod (from Misfit) on the wrist. It counts my steps, measures my activities and monitors my sleep. I have friends and everyday we can see who was the most active in our chart.

I was a bit disappointed of the accuracy of the data measured when I started skateboarding and wanted to keep track of the distance, calories spent, …

So, I did some Shine vs Runtastic … I positionned the pod on my foot, then back on the wrist with the support of the app Runtastic (an app that tracks whatever sport your are practicing).

Now, I’ve been upgraded to the brand new UP3 by Jawbone!

Let’s start with the basics:

  • Autonomy: 7 days for the UP3 vs 4 months (with a replaceable battery). I think I can cope with one charge a week to be on top.
  • Waterproof: yes for the Shine, watersplash for the Up3, perfect to go under the shower. So, you will swim with the Shine, not with the Up3.
  • Both bracelets will track the activity, steps, sleep and burn calories.

The UP3 goes further and will analyse the heart beat, the sleep pattern, the eating habits and will coach us through the day.

Let’s unpack the UP3 and set it up.

  • The pairing was super easy, just connect the band to its charging cable,
  • wait for the lights of the bracelet to blink,
  • and launch the Up3 app to pair it to your phone through a bluetooth connection.

What’s cool in the UP3 is that the apps “talks” to lots of partners apps really strong on their tracking.
1. Activity, I connected my UP3 to Runtastic* (a gps app tracking lots of physical activities, I use it mainly to track my skateboard rides, my gym).

Alert: Up3, lets you customize alerts. I turned the option on to have a little buzz in the bracelet every 2 hours of inactivity between 9am to 7pm. It will force me to move from my chair and chill with my colleagues …

2. Sleep. I think this is the key of the UP3 (all the UPs, not only the UP3, are really strong in the sleep analysis).
The analyse is quite deep and will split the sleep between

  • deep sleep,
  • light sleep,
  • awaken period and how many times you wake up
  • and the REM (aka Rapid Eye Movement, one of the 5 stages of sleep) aslo know as the paradoxal sleep
  • all those info, crossed with the passive heart rate.

I never had those data before. The cool think is that the “coach” will help you improve your sleep, heart beat, eating habits.

PS: You have the possibility to add a “nap” during the day with the Up3, not with the Shine.

3. Food.
I connected to the “Lose It” app.
This app has a great database. Scan the barcode and here you go, all the nutrition info will be in the app (sugar, sodium, …).
It’s not easy to keep up with what we eat, as somethings it’s not referenced and I don’t know how many calories, sugar, … are in my mochi. Then the UP3 will give it and “healthy note“, out of 10.
Don’t forget to drink it’s good for your heart, brain, … and will help on your healthy note.
You can scan your product or enter manually its nutritive properties in the Up3 app or you can sync it with the LooseIt app (the scan is really pertinent and their database is huge).

PS: Loose It has a great database that works well for the US, not really for Europe … lots of manual entries if you are in Europe.

4. Smart coach.
The smart coach gives you tips, following your eating/drinking, sleeping, activity habits and challenge you for your own good.
The good thing about the smart coaching is that it’s there to help you get healthier and to make you think about your habits.

I love my Up3 because

  • It really makes me think about my habits (especially the sleeping habits),
  • it’s great to see the analyses of the heart beat (passive, during the sleep)
  • The coaching is also interesting and changes from just hitting your daily goal (it’s more qualitative)

I can’t keep up with the eating habits even if I want to … I just ate a plate of 12 different sushis, don’t know and want to enter each sushi manually … (lazy me).

ChaseIt or Bchased?

ChaseIt
because

  • the Up3 comes with one of the best app on the market
  • the smart coaching is useful
  • the analysis of the sleep goes a step further than its competitors
  • the heart analysis is interesting and frees us from the chest belt
  • I love the feeding of information through 3rd parties apps

Bchased
because

  • the Up3 is a bit fragile
  • the Up3 needs to charge every week
  • the charging cable is perfectible and needs to be well align on the bracelet … or no charging

PS: Up3 communicate with the Runtastic app (the free version). If you have the pro version, download the free one, log in and keep both Runtastic Pro and Runtastic on your phone. When you start your session, launch Runtastic (free version) not the pro one. Up 3 will be fed the info by Runtastic not by the pro version.

Story to continue with the analysis of the accuracy of the data between the Shine and the Up3.

My Xmas list 2015!

7 Dec

Xmas is around the corner and better be ready when the guy in red jump down the chimney …Here’s my list and links, mom you know the drill now …

1. I already have a Biscuit and a Huntington Hop but I think I’m missing the Logger by Hamboards ($299), what do you think?

2. I need a bag that won’t move while skateboarding and running, the Base-910 (from $94.99-$104.99) by Equilibrium ticks the boxes with its comfortable fit tailored to hug my body and distribute the weight evenly while land surfing. Also, I can customize it thanks to accessories pouches and this comes handy.

3. I would like to upgrade my tennis game and compare my forehands, backhands, serves, smashes, volleys and spin to the ones of Rafael Nadal, Timea Bacsinszky, Benoit Paire, Sam Querrey … Easy with the new Babolat Pop, the first connected tennis wristband by Babolat. I can, of course, challenge my friends too. Price: $90

4. What about a steadycam for my iPhone 6? I want to “go Spielberg” while shooting my webtv episodes of Chase It, the Show! The Smoothee Universal mount (by wellknown brand Tiffen) is calling my name for only $149,95!

5. To walk (and land surf) the world, I would fancy the limited edition sneakers by Vans which teamed up with The North Face to make the best shoes for for cold and wet weather. No need anymore for the ugly big boots to tackle the winter days! Gusseted tongues, reversed waffle lug out-soles, heat retention, extra grip, water-repellent leather and suede uppers are on the menu to make it the ultimate winter shoes! Available at selected shops around the world. Prices for the MTE range spread from $90 to $130. The #VansxTheNorthFace are hard to get, check on Vans official website.

6. I dreamed about Jiro and his sushis for many years now. Friends of mine told me that he opened a restaurant in NYC. After a little bit of browsing the web I found the restaurant Sushi Nakazawa operated by Dayisuke Nakazawa (apprentice at Jiro’s restaurant in Tokyo). It seems to be the closest to Jiro’s experience and I want in! Degustation menus and sake … About $500 for two.

7. I don’t like the sound of my keys digging in the pocket of my pants, that’s why I need a Key-Bar. I’ll take the titanium bars and stars ($80) with the following options toothpick & tweezer set ($15), key ravines 2.0 ($10).

8. I love jerky (it’s lean, full of protein and omega-3) and I’m into DIY these day, so I think I would like to start making my own jerky. Fleisher proposes a kit “the Fleishers Jerky Crafting kit” with everything but the meat for $29,99. Time to grill!!

9. I’m always running around and I always need to charge my phone … the best of both worls is called Ampy. Ampy is an external battery which charges itself with kinetic energy. Basically, the more you move the more the battery charges itself!! Price: $99

Happy holidays to you all!!

Chasing the tiger nuts in Paris

3 Dec

La Noix Tigree goes to Paris!
Great news for those of us living in Paris, the tiger nuts comes to town!!!

You already know everything about the tiger nuts right?

Let’s give you a quick tour just to be sure you have the basics.
The tiger nut grows in the ground and looks like weird little nuts.
They are usually pressed and drunk in Valencia, Spain and it’s then called Horchata de Chufa.

Celine, the owner and founder of La Noix Tigree, decided it was time for Celine, owner and founder of La Noix TigreeParis to wake up at the sound of this delicious and healthy nut (root)!

We met Celine and had an interesting and healthy chat about this healthy nut which is not even a nut!

1/ How did you discover the tiger nuts?
I was living in Montpellier as a teenager and I’ve been to Barcelona from time to time where I discovered the spanished valencian version of the tiger nut milk called Horchata de Chufa . Since then I’ve been trying to find it in France.

2/ Why the tiger nuts? 
They are so good and so healthy at the same time. I don’t understand why we can’t find them more easily here!

They are also called earth almonds, which explains a lot of their aspects: the taste goes between almond and chestnut, ther skin is thicker than the almond’s and you can eat the whole root.

Actually tiger nuts are not nuts, they are tubers like potatoes!

3/ Describe us the process of production? 
Like an almond milk I soak the tiger nuts, then I mix them with mineral water and I filter them.

That is for the plain flavor that I am using as a basis for all the other flavors.

Then depending on the flavor, I can add cold pressed fresh fruit juices (for the carott & ginger for instance) or powder (for the Matcha version).

Everything is cold except the Chai tea for which I infuse the tea separately in hot water and I make it cooler before adding it to the plain version.

You are going for cold pressed, why?  What are the benefits of cold press? 
La Noix Tigrée drinks are cold pressed and handmade because tiger nut milk is delicate and quite unstable while you heat it. There is no hot process yet that can keep the flavor and the quality of the milk.

The cold pressed process keeps all the nutriments that will benefit to your health.

4/ Can you introduce us to your products?
La Noix Tigrée (pronounced La Noa Teagrey) products are a wide range of organic sugar free tiger nut milk drinks which goes from plain to Golden milk – Curcuma flavor.

Tiger nut is the root of the Cyperus Esculentus plant that grows in south of Spain and west Africa.

It is well appreciated for its fibers, unsaturated fat, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, iron, vitamin E contents

All the ingredients are organic and I don’t add any sugar or dates, the tiger nut I am using is naturally sweetened.

The drinks are raw and healthy, very good for people who are dairy intolerant and their fibers make them very easy to digest.

I love drinking it before and after practising sport because it gives me a lot of energy without giving me the impression that I am heavy. And it lasts because there is no sugar added. It’s a good way to rehydrate yourself. The Baobab version will bring extra calcium and vitamin C, the spirulina version will bring extra vegetable proteins…Everybody can find a flavor that suits him!

5/ Where can we find you?
Now on La Noix Tigrée facebook page or La Noix Tigrée on Instagram.

Very soon, I’ll open an e-shop and La Noix Tigrée will be available at different partners boutiques in Paris like detox restaurants, fitness studios, …

I am starting with Paris and I have the project to deliver the whole France very soon!

Celine organises tiger nuts tastings in Paris. If you want your colleagues, friends, customers to discover tiger nuts don’t hesitate to contact Céline.

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