No. 1 on the list? Finland, which blows away the competition by consuming 12kg of coffee per capita every year. According to the U.K.’s Independent newspaper, this is due in part to the fact that coffee breaks at work are protected by law. Coffee is also a big part of the social scene; it’s custom to offer coffee whenever you have a guest. Don’t expect to find a Starbucks on every corner, though — local or national establishments far outnumber multinational chains, per Culture Trip, possibly thanks to the Finns’ preference for very light brews. They share their love of coffee with other Nordic countries including Norway, Iceland, and Denmark, which rank second, third, and fourth on the ICO’s list of the world’s biggest coffee drinkers.
Ecuador’s production of cocoa cannot match the global cocoa superpowers in West Africa in terms of gross output, but many chocolate connoisseurs feel Ecuador is tops in terms of quality. While many multinational companies turn to Africa for the base of their processed chocolate treats, smaller artisan chocolatiers look to Ecuadorian cocoa to provide the complex tastes they crave.
“I hover over the expensive Scotch and then the Armagnac, but finally settle on a glass of rich red claret. I put it near my nose and nearly pass out. It smells of old houses and aged wood and dark secrets, but also of hard, hot sunshine through ancient shutters and long, wicked afternoons in a four-poster bed. It’s not a wine, it’s a life, right there in the glass.”—Nick Harkaway, author, The Gone-Away World
Verjus, basically, is grape juice — typically made from pressing slightly underripe wine grapes before they get too sweet. (It’s an elision of the French vert jus, or green juice.) If you have any verjus in your home, it’s probably in your kitchen cabinet alongside your vinegars and oils; verjus’ sweet-tart harmony is great for salad dressings.
Viva Les Veuves!
The history of Champagne is liberally sprinkled with the success of larger-than-life women, many of them widows. Unlike many women in the early 19th century, widows (veuve, in French) enjoyed the independence necessary to run a business. While unmarried women were dependent on their fathers or brothers and married women were forced to rely on their husband’s money, widows were allowed to own property and businesses and control their own finances. In fact, the Champagne Widows were so successful that some Champagne houses without their own widow added “Veuve” to their labels anyway! Some of the most famous widows and their iconic Champagne houses include:
Barbe-Nicole Ponsardin Clicquot –
Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin
Louise Pommery – Pommery
Mathilde Emilie Laurent-Perrier –
Elisabeth “Lily” Law
de Lauriston-Boubers Bollinger –
The dark green wine bottle was an English invention, the work of Sir Kenelm Digby (1603-1665). Previously wine had been kept in goat skin bags.
Bubbles in wine have been observed since ancient Greece and were attributed to the phases of the moon or to evil spirits. And you know how much I love bubbles.
The average age of a French oak tree harvested for use in creating wine barrels is 170 years.
I have published this before, but it seems quite popular:
Capacity (Liters) followed by the number of standard size wine bottles that would be:
- Standard (.75) 1
- Magnum (1.5) 2
- Jeroboam (3) 4
- Rehoboam (4.5) 6
- Methuselah (6) 8
- Salmanazar (9) 12
- Balthazar (12) 16
- Nebuchadnezzar (15) 20
With that, let me sign off of another episode of “wine with Gerry”, or that is way more than I ever wanted to know about wine!