Friday, 29 July 2011

Maragogipe coffee

William H. Ukers wrote in his book All About Coffee:

Maragogipe. This is a variety of Coffea arabica first observed growing near the town of Maragogipe on All Saints Bay, county of Maragogipe, Bahia, Brazil, where it is called Coffea indigena. The green bean is of huge size, and varies in color from green to dingy brown. It is the largest of all coffee beans, and makes an elephantine roast, free from quakers, but woody and generally disagreeable in the cup. However, Dr. P.J.S. Cramer of the Netherlands government’s experimental garden in Bangelan, Java, regards it very highly, referring to it as “the finest coffee known”, and as having “a highly developed, splendid flavor”. This coffee is now found in practically all the producing countries, and shows the characteristics of the other coffees produced in the same soil.
I don’t really know what Ukers meant under “elephantine roast”. Maybe it was a joke of some sort: Maragogipe (also spelled Maragogype) is sometimes referred to as the “elephant bean”, but this is due to the size of the bean, not its taste. (I never tried a roasted elephant though, so I may be wrong.) I discovered Maragogipe coffee a few years ago, thanks to Chisnall’s Delicatessen in Saffron Walden. It quickly became my favorite variety. I bought a kilo of beans from Chisnall’s just before I went to Fuerteventura. This packet should last for a while, hopefully until I find a source of good coffee beans here.

More photos of coffee @ Shutterstock.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Oro Valei, Rías Baixas DO 2010

I don’t think I ever tasted any Galician Albariño wine before, so I may miss a reference point here. But now I did, and this one was not bad at all. Fresh, dry, with just right alcohol content (of 12%), and, at about €5, a good value. If you read Galician, you may, or may not, appreciate the poem on the label. Otherwise, just open and enjoy. Eight points (out of ten) on my scale of gluggability.

More photos of white wine @ Shutterstock.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Sex, Drugs & Chocolate: The Science of Pleasure

by Paul Martin

A book about pleasure: mmm... what a great topic. Just like Counting Sheep, it is a pleasure to read. Don’t be discouraged by the word “science”: according to the author,

There are good biological reasons for believing that the brain is engineered to reward us with pleasure for acquiring and understanding new information.
So there you are. I hate to give away the ending, so... I’ll give you the last paragraph without the last line. Check it out.

There is no single golden key that will unlock huge new realms of pleasure, nor is there a single golden path to escape addiction. Nonetheless, science and everyday human experience point to some simple tactics that should help the wily hedonist to derive more and better pleasure from life. They include adopting a little-but-often policy of favouring frequency rather than intensity of pleasure; searching for pleasurable experiences that have a good ending; having plenty of recreational sex, preferably with someone else; napping, sleeping and dreaming to your heart’s content and not feeling guilty about doing it; smiling, if necessary with the help of a pencil; eating chocolate made from at least 60 per cent cacao solids.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

The Big Issue

As you may have guessed from some of my posts, I learned a great deal about books, movies and music from The Big Issue. Oh, and festivals. Shame I did not attend any of them. TBI is the only periodical I am buying. Whenever I go up North, I am trying to get The Big Issue in the North (very different from the “main”, mostly London-orientated version). From it I learn about more books, music and (still unattended) festivals up North.

When “my” vendor, who usually sells the magazine near Waitrose, is not there, I start to worry. But why should I? Maybe he found a home and moved on. I should be happy for him, right? And then he is back. By the way, I did not see him for the last few weeks. I really miss the magazine. I am going to miss it in Spain.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Kung Fu Panda 2

a film by Jennifer Yuh Nelson

Ah, the trailers nowadays. “From the creators of Toy Story 3: Cars 2.” Really? Very exciting.

Still, Kung Fu Panda 2 is a very decent sequel to the great 2008 animation. And this time, in glorious 3-D. This is a directorial debut for Yuh Nelson who, according to Wikipedia, “is the first woman to solely direct an animated feature from a major Hollywood studio”. Less famously, this is probably the last film I watched in the cinema in this country.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Le Bal

a film by Ettore Scola

I remember seeing Le Bal in the cinema when it was just out, back in 1980s. And then going to watch it a few more times. It was — still is — unlike anything else I’ve seen.

I watched the DVD yesterday. The film has lost none of its tragicomic charm. Who needs a dialogue?

The collaborationist (Marc Berman) is the only person willing to dance with a Nazi officer (Jean-François Perrier).