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I’m a mini shark

17 Sep

It’s a trend, since living in the US, Shark Tank has been on TV every day of the week. It made me curious and gave me the urge to discover local startups …

For a couple of months, I’ve been contacting food and beverages startups and I discovered some interesting ones which became part of my brand new daily and healthy habits.

  • Apiterra raw Honey from Brooklyn

Perfect to make infusions, protein balls, to spread on a toast … see! Honey is not just there when you have a cough.

My favorite for the morning is ginger/tumeric (one table spoon in hot water and I sip it all morning). I alternate withe the matcha honey. I use the acay bay honey one for the protein ball.

  • NotMilk from Brooklyn.

It’s just like mommy would make it. Homemade with good products and lots of love: almond, walnuts, … basically nuts but no cows involved.

Notmilk is made with no bs and funky products but with straight and plain almonds sometimes with a twist for the adventurous ones (sesame, cinnamon or vanilla, …).

It’s also an home delivery service in beautiful glass bottles. The delivery happens 2 times a week (Tuesday and Thursday) and NotMilk takes back the empty bottles (I chose to be delivered once a week, 1 bottle (quart) each delivery).

The bottles come within a isotherm Notmilk bag.

  • Yumbutter.

Ok, we all know peanut butter and sometimes almond butter but have you ever tried the Yumbutter? It’s a small company from Wisconsin which wants to make the difference and feed the world. One pouch bought feeds one kid.

Taste it plain for pure energy or as replacement for the putter butter in you food preparations (like the protein balls, or mixed in my chia pudding, …).

  • Mombucha.
  • Made by Rich in Brooklyn! I’m not a fan of Kombucha but I like the Kombucha made by Mombucha! Beet and ginger is my favorite, and I love it in popsicles too.
  • More info

    Let’s keep the ball rolling …

    2 Jul

    I just discovered the protein balls. The ones I tried were homemade, with almonds, cranberries, oat and dates.

    It was so good that I started to look at recipes to make my very own easy-to-make protein balls.

    I gather the ingredients and on a rainy Sunday, I started mixing and rolling.

    Ingredients and proportions

    How to do it?

    1. Pour the oat, chia seeds, peanut butter and honey in a bowl and mix
    2. Keep mixing
    3. Leave in the fridge during 20′, they are less sticky to roll
    4. Then add the cacao nibs, almonds and dried mango
    5. Start rolling
    6. Store in the freeze for up to 7 days (if you didn’t eat them all the same day)

    I eat them as a snack, with with chia pudding, as a desert … it’s sooo goood.

    More info on

    Smelly cheese? 

    2 Jun

    Let’s make some cheese … cashew nuts cheese of course!

    There’s a new fancy restaurant in downtown Miami and they are all about plants.
    They also give cooking classes … I don’t really care about cooking classes but when my friends started talking about cheese made with cashew nuts … I was in!

    Timing and pricing was not easy to match so I decided to surf the web and I found lots of recipes, hop on Amazon and boom the ingredients were delivered in no time …

    I’m ready to experiment the cashew nuts cheese.

    My Amazon list is the following

    The rest of the shopping list you should have home,

    • 1/4 cup water, adjust for the consistence you like
    • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice,
    • 1 teaspoon salt,
    • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder,
    • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder,

    This is what you need for the plain no added-flavor cashew nuts cheese.

    I decided to make it with a hint of sesame taste so I added

    Let’s hit the kitchen and try to make some cheese …

    The cashew nuts were soaked last night, let’s drain it and pour it all in my trusteed Nutribullet and blend it together with all the ingredients from the list above.

    It’s doesn’t look like cheese … it’s more a spread … an healthy spread (I like it crunchy, so I leave some cashew crumbs).

    You can regulate the thickness of the spread by adding more water.

    It’s great on soft tacos, with nachos or on bread!

    It’s so easy to make and I love it. I’ll start exploring different seasonings for different tastes …

    PS: I’m not turning vegan, nor gluten free I still love my jerky … but this is a great and healthy recipe.

    Chia amigos

    27 Jun

    You know my love for the chia seeds, it’s an healthy little seed that I like to eat for breakfast every morning.
    I met some weeks ago Lina, proud entrepreneur and also founder of Chia Ballz, a local company that you can find at the farmers markets in Miami and Fort Lauderdale (good news if you are not around, they also ship nationwide).

    Let’s discuss with Lina so she can introduce us to the ChiaBallz world.

    Why chia seeds?
    I was brought up eating healthy food and my mom used chia a lot. When I started using it, I found out that chia was a super food that did not change the flavor of any of my recipies both sweet or salty. 

    How did you start ChiaBallz?
    That it is a bit of a long funny story. I needed some extra cash so I went to sell my clay pendants at farmers markets.

    In my booth I had complementary Chia balls for the people that would purchase or stop by my booth.

    People would taste my Chia balls and they would place an order for balls for the next weekend.

    Every week I would sell more Chia balls then clay pendants. And so the journey began.

    What’s on ChiaBallz menu?

    • The chia balls, are made with chia seeds, almond butter, honey cranberry, coconut and orange.
    • The chia chocolate (chiacolate), chia seeds, almonds, pecans, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds and semi sweet organic cacao. It is vegan and gluten-free.
    • The chia parfait is made of  chia pudding with almond milk, coconut cream, fresh fruits (banana, strawberry, blueberries and crumbs of chiacolate). The parfait is Vegan, gluten free, dairy free. I created it because I wanted a breakfast that tasted like a desert for my boys. The parfait is a desert that you eat and don’t feel guilty about, in fact, It’s the total opposite . When you eat it you feel good and at the same time you satisfied your sweet tooth. 

    Can you walk us through the healthy side of ChiaBallz?
    All the products of Chia Ballz are healthy treats, they are packed with power. My motto is “food that is healthy and yet you don’t have to sacrifice the taste.”

    Eating should be a fun activity that should not require the sacrifice of taste or health.

    Most of us love ice cream and whip cream and chocolate and cookies and sweets and desserts. But we stay away from them because we know that most of the products out there are unhealthy and have a lot of preservatives and processed sugars and just ingredients that are not good for our body. I always have loved food and enjoy a delicious bite. With chia I combined both worlds … tasty and healthy.

    Chia is such a healthy seed, it has been around for thousands of years. It’s a seed that contains a minerals vitamins m, high in omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, magnesium … it has so many benefits to the body.

    Chia helps digestion, gives you sustained energy, it helps a person that has sugar problems, it is brain food , heart food, it helps the muscles repair after a workout. These are a few of the benefits.

    Who is the ChiaBallz team?
    This is a family business.
    My two boys, my brother and his wife and myself make up the ChiaBallz team.

    How do you spread ChiaBallz love in south Florida
    We do numerous farmers markets and events.
    There are some juice bars that carry our products but the main place are farmers markets and special events. (gyms, sport events, holiday events etc.)

    We ship the Ballz and the chiacolate nationwide. Best way is to place your order in but you can always call me or email me and I would take your order personally .
    Where can we find you?
    Farmers markets in Dade and Broward (Miami area). The list of the markets are on the webpage or you can follow us on IG @chiaballz or Facebook @chiaBallz. I post every market or event on our social media. I post constantly to make sure our chia amigos know where we are and when.

    Another benefit of following us on social media is that we started going live at least once a week and we show you the fun activities that we get our selves into. I promise at least a chuckle from the videos.

    Thank you Chia Amigos and may the Ballz be with you.

    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

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