Archive | Trends

We All Scream for…Toothpaste?

I gathered a group of friends for a horizontal tasting. We pondered complex “noses.” We teased out elements of flowers, berries and chocolate. We swished. We spat. What’s so noteworthy about that? The invitation read, “BYO toothbrush.” We were testing Breath Palette toothpastes, made by a Japanese company that’s attempting to become the Baskin-Robbins of oral hygiene. Their 31 flavors span a wide spectrum, from flowers (Rose and Lavender) to fruits (Strawberry, Tropical Pineapple, White Peach) to beverages (Café au Lait, Green Tea, Cola) to sweets (Pumpkin Pudding and Bitter Chocolate). And then there’s Indo Curry, which only the brave were willing to sample. Yet, it surprised with a pleasant minty-masala finish. Rose did indeed leave our breath smelling like roses, but Bitter Chocolate disappointed – bitterly. Cola was uncannily like its namesake, but Strawberry rang artificial. Nonetheless, we were thrilled to escape the peppermint gulag of our humdrum brushing routine. Now, if they’ll just come up with something along the lines of Insouciant Bourdeaux… Available at at; $4.49 for a .88-oz. tube or $21.99 for a five-tube kit.

DivineCaroline – Dig in!

Like sharing stories as much as you like sharing photos of food? Check out You can browse around and read stories on a variety of topics, written by women around the world. I particularly like their Travel and Food sections (of course!). And, you can add your voice by posting stories yourself. Here are some tasty stories to get you started: Step daintily (think about it) around a cow festival in Switzerland, with Jennifer Luce Hinesman, an American expat in Switzerland in this entry from her series titled Stories from the Land of Cheese. Visit a tea estate in Darjeeling where fourth-generation tea growers will steep you in tea lore, in a story by Susan MacCallum-Whitcomb, from Canada. Have you ever eaten more than your share of a box of chocolate? Kerry Ann Reid of California confesses to the deed, but you’ve got to forgive her. These chocolates come in flavors like Chinese five spice, ancho chili, lemon, lavender and curry. lets everyone browse around and read. If you want to participate in posting stories, writing reviews or joining forums, it’s easy and free to register. Dig in!

A Touch of Bell Pepper on the Nose?

Are you sipping my orange rinds, broccoli stems and fish bones? Could be – if you buy wine produced from one of 100-plus northern California vineyards that use Four Course Compost. The fluffy, brown, non-stinky stuff is made from household food scraps collected in San Francisco, along with scraps from more than 2,000 area restaurants. I like to think that, even though I can’t dine at Chez Panisse every night, at least my garbage can mingle with the elite. Each day, San Franciscans send 330 tons of food scraps to be composted – part of an initiative to recycle 75% of all city waste by 2010. The end result is a nutrient-filled product that’s approved as an amendment to certified organic soils. I had a chance to visit with Four Course fan Kathleen Inman, of Inman Family Wines, in Sonoma’s Russian River Valley. “I like that the compost is made from restaurant scraps, and then helps grow grapes for the wine served in those same restaurants,” Inman says, “It’s a nice closed circle.” She dumps 250 cubic yards (see photo above) of Four Course Compost on her Olivet Grange Vineyard every spring, and is thrilled with the result. (It must be that insouciant moldy onion from the back of my fridge that added a certain something.) Photo by Larry Strong, courtesy of Norcal Waste Systems, Inc.