RUNNING OUT OF CHOCOLATE: Last year, the world ate 70,000 metric tons more cocoa than it produced. By 2020, that number could swell to 1 million metric tons, a more than 14-fold increase; by 2030, they think the deficit could reach 2 million metric tons.
Dry weather in West Africa (specifically in the Ivory Coast and Ghana, where more than 70% of the world’s cocoa is produced) has greatly decreased production in the region.
A nasty fungal disease known as frosty pod hasn’t helped either.
The International Cocoa Organization estimates it has wiped out between 30% and 40% of global coca production.
CHINA’S BORDEAUX OBSESSION: Chinese investors now own almost 100 chateaus out of the 7,400 wine estates in the Bordeaux region. Shipments of Bordeaux wines to mainland China, their largest export market by volume and value.
NEW YORK DONUT: Every corner of New York has its doughnut now. There is room for all of us, the minimalist and the profligate, the nostalgist and the radical.
The donut is prehistoric — fossilized ring-shaped cakes have been unearthed, dating back 8,000 years. Free doughnuts were handed to the huddled arrivals at Ellis Island, to lines of hollow-cheeked men during the Great Depression and to soldiers on the battlefields of the First World War, by Salvation Army volunteers who requisitioned helmets as deep fryers and punched holes with spent artillery shells.
In New York City, the doughnut no longer resembles the Dutch olykoek that Anna Joralemon started selling in 1673 from a shop on lower Broadway. Along with a hole, it has acquired glazes in Barbie hues, fillings that wheeze forth on first bite, even do-it-yourself accessories like a syringe primed with jam, waiting to be stabbed in.
Mah-Ze-Dahr Bakery’s doughnuts made in Chelsea. (Tony Cenicola/The New York Times)
WHOLE MILK NOT THAT WHOLE: Whole milk isn’t made wholly of fat, or largely of fat, or even substantially of fat. In fact, it doesn’t contain much fat all. Whole milk is actually only about 3.5% fat.
The reason it’s called “whole milk” has less to do with its fat content, than the fact that it’s comparatively unadulterated. As the Dairy Council of California puts it, whole milk is “the way it comes from the cow before processing.”
RUSSIAN PBR? Pabst Brewing, owner of some of the most well-loved, all-American, blue-collar brews in the country, will soon be bought by a Cyprus-based beverage conglomerate that calls itself the biggest independent brewer in Russia. The iconic brand behind Pabst Blue Ribbon, the red-white-and-blue-canned lager founded in Milwaukee before the Civil War, announced late last week that it will be bought by Oasis Beverages, which runs breweries in Moscow, Kazakhstan and Ukraine.
Soon, none of these will be fully owned by American-based companies. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
HEAVIEST EUROPEAN BINGE DRINKERS: Ireland is no surprise, but French binge drinking is one the rise. Other heavy drinkers include Belgium, Czech Republic, Austria, Finland, and Greece.
Prevalence of Binge Drinking in Europe (WHO 2010/WAPO)
1,000 SONGS IN YOUR POCKET: $400 was more than my car payment, but I didn’t care. This iPod — whatever that meant — was beautiful, and I wanted it bad. It promised the never-ending mix tape, the opportunity to program a radio station that served a market of one: Fountains of Wayne to Janet Jackson to Nirvana to Alan Jackson to the Pretenders? No problem.
Breakfast (Catherine A Cole, NYTimes)
SNACK CRACKLE POP: Cereal, that bedrock of the American breakfast, has lost some of its snap, crackle and pop. For the last decade, the cereal business has been declining, as consumers reach for granola bars, yogurt and drive-through fare in the morning.
The drop-off has accelerated lately, especially among those finicky millennials who tend to graze on healthy options.
Birthrate is declining — and children traditionally have been the largest consumers of cereal.
Many surveys have shown that Latinos and Asians prefer other breakfast foods.
General Mills is marketing its iconic cereals as family brands in an appeal to nostalgia: Adults account for almost half of the consumption of Cinnamon Toast Crunch.