Champagne makers have agreed to pick 32% fewer grapes and to slash supply as sales worldwide have dropped because of the global economic downturn. Sales could plunge to 260 million bottles this year, down from 339 million bottles in 2007.
Matcha, powdered green tea from Japan, can be consumed as a beverage or used as an ingredient in baked goods. It is complex and a bit bitter as hot tea, but becomes more subtle and sweet when used in recipes.
Cubebs, popular in the Middle Ages, have added flavor to everything from gin to beef, but the spice is now nearly impossible to find. The relative of peppercorn tastes of juniper berries and allspice, and is being grown by Ben and Blair Ripple on their Big Tree Farms in Bali.
Hospital kitchens, once derided as sources of bland chicken and soggy sandwiches, now attract top chefs who create healthful and palatable meals. This year's winner of the Healthcare Foodservice Management Culinary Competition was Daniel Skay, executive chef of Parker Adventist Hospital in Colorado, who created a Machaca Flat Iron Steak With Cilantro Tomalito and Corn Chile Sauce.