Sunday, 25 September 2011

Dry Ginger Shortage, The World's Best, Pan Am & Lebkuchen

I read somewhere last week that there could soon be a world shortage of Chinese dry ginger. The reason is that the temperature in China is lower than expected for the time of year and for those farmers who dry their ginger outdoors this is bad news. It is also bad news for us because China is the world's largest producer of dry ginger.

The Independent carried an article about a report on food flavour trends over the next year. The report, Global Food Additives Market, has been produced by the internationally renowned UK-based Leatherhead Food Research. The gist of the report is that consumers will be moving towards flavours with a bit of a punch and kick like pepper, chilli and, you've guessed it, ginger. I'm not surprised to hear that but I can't help thinking that if the researchers had come to me first I could have saved them a lot of time and effort. Ginger will be in vogue next year, the year after and the year after that.

Today sees the first broadcast of the new ABC drama Pan-Am. I haven't read much about it but I gather it is an airline equivalent of the hugely successful Mad Men. Like an increasing number of programmes recently, Pan Am will feature product placement. Some of the placements I've seen in other dramas and films appear to be so contrived or unnecessary you find that they can detract from the enjoyment. But one placement in Pan Am would be more noticeable by its absence. Cabin scenes throughout the show's first series will show characters being served with Canada Dry Ginger Ale. Apparently, you can't get more realistic than that.

An internationally famous chef has said that ginger from Fiji is the best in the world. The Fiji Times reported that Robert Oliver made the comment in his book Me’a Kai, voted the best cookbook at the 2010 Gourmand World Cookbook Awards. This is very good news for Fiji as it rebuilds its ginger industry following the ravages of disease.

As part of my self-imposed remit to report on small businesses I shall return to a company I have mentioned before. Rachel's Ginger Beer is an up-and-coming business based in Seattle. Having started production in borrowed accommodation, the company has now purchased a bar which will also house its ginger beer operation. If you live in and around Seattle, you can find the bar here.

When the Texas Rangers baseball team won last year's American League West divisional championship, they publicly celebrated by drinking and spraying Canada Dry Ginger Ale. The ginger ale was supplied by Dr Pepper, the beverage conglomerate based in Texas. Last Friday the Rangers won the title for the second year in succession and again celebrated with ginger ale. Seems like an unusual by highly effective form of advertising for Canada Dry.

Now that the northern hemisphere has entered autumn I've noticed that the Web is littered with newly-brewed pumpkin ales and harvest beers. These lovely drinks, mainly from the US, invariably contain ginger. So have a browse and see what you can find.

Autumn in the UK also sees the reappearance of adverts for the Christmas fairs in Germany. I've never been to one but I am tempted by the trips to Nuremburg, home of the famous gingerbread "Lebkuchen". It is said that the city became a centre of gingerbread making because of its position on the spice route. Records show that gingerbread was being produced in the city as far back as 1395. Have a look at this site, an interesting history of the Nuremburg gingerbread industry.

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