Sausage hits a snag

snag.jpgSwiss butchers are in a lather over the fate of one of Switzerland’s favourite sausages: the cervelat. The government apparently hasn’t had the guts to take on the European Union over an import ban on one of its main ingredients – zebu intestines from Brazil. There are still enough of these natural casings to keep on making the sausage for a few more months, but after that the Swiss could be facing an untimely demise of a national institution – or at least a shortage during Euro 2008 – at the hands of the health inspectors.

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Welcome to the dark side…

chocolateChocoholics rejoice and make your’s a dark one: researchers at Zurich University have published results from a study that show that dark chocolate doesn’t just taste good or boost your morale. It can also be beneficial for blood flow. Forty grammes of chocolate with at least 70 per cent cocoa content have measurable effects two hours after being eaten. It apparently induces dilatation of heart blood vessels, improves their function and decreases platelet adhesion, responsible for blood clots. The researchers believe this is all due to the large proportion of antioxidants (flavonoids) found in darker chocolate, although these antioxidant virtues are contested by other scientists. With this kind of news, cocoa and chocolate could going up more than expected next year, and chocolate might end up being branded a health food.

Food, glorious food

cheese.jpgFoodies have been gathering in the Swiss town of Bulle for the past five days. Their aim was to sample as much quality and innovative produce from all over the country, including the usual suspects – wine, cheese and chocolate – presented at the eighth Salon des Goûts et Terroirs. One intrepid reporter risked life, limb and liver to bring back this story as well as a bag full of goodies. His colleagues are still asking him where they all disappeared… The journalist, a very unreasonable and selfish character, has so far refused to reveal his stash.

If you have worked up an appetite after reading this, here are a few additional videos on traditional Swiss fare to calm those hunger pangs:

Gotta have chocolate

choc1.jpgIf that craving for your favourite Swiss chocolate sometimes feels like it is coming from deep in your gut, there is a good reason for it. A small study in the Journal of Proteome Research links the type of bacteria living in people’s digestive system to a desire for chocolate. Everyone has a vast community of microbes in their guts. But people who crave daily chocolate show signs of having different colonies of bacteria than people who are immune to chocolate’s allure. The research was carried out at Nestlé’s Research Centre near Lausanne and Imperial College London.

And if you are still craving some chocolate, here’s a video to help satisfy that desire: