Character Pancake of Pop-up Strawberry Café in Shinjuku, Japan

My Melody Cinnamoroll Strawberry Pancake

The price is 1,760 yen (tax included).






Olive Oil in Coffee? New Starbucks Line a Curiosity in Italy

Colleen Barry wrote . . . . . . . . .

Putting olive oil in coffee is hardly a tradition in Italy, but that didn’t stop Starbucks interim CEO Howard Schultz from launching a series of beverages that do just that in Milan, the city that inspired his coffee house empire.

The coffee-olive oil concoction — echoing a keto-inspired trend of adding butter to coffee, only with a sugary twist — has provoked both amusement and curiosity among Italians.

Gambero Rosso, an Italian food and wine magazine, called the mixing of olive oil with coffee “a curious combination” but said it was reserving judgment, having not yet sampled the drinks.

It did praise featuring the staple of Italian kitchens as a main ingredient, not just a condiment. The magazine also noted the health benefits of consuming extra virgin olive oil, which some Italians do habitually straight from the bottle.

“Did we need coffee with extra virgin olive oil and syrups? Maybe yes, maybe no,” wrote the magazine’s Michela Becchi. But the chance to promote Italian excellence is a valuable one, she added.

Italy’s olive oil producers’ association, ASSITOL, welcomed “the daring innovation,” saying the line of drinks could ”relaunch the image of olive oil, especially among young people.″ The association has been promoting adding olive oil to cocktails.

Martina Lunardi, a student of cultural mediation, was sticking to her standard cappuccino on a recent Starbucks visit but said she wasn’t offended by the olive oil combos and might even try one someday.

“Anyway, I know where to get a regular cup of coffee,” Lunardi said.

Schultz came up with the notion of adding olive oil to coffee after visiting an olive oil producer in Sicily and teased the idea as a game-changer in his last earnings call. He worked with an in-house coffee drink developer to come up with recipes, the international coffee chain said.

Schultz presided over the launch of “Oleato” — meaning “oiled” in Italian — last week on the eve of Milan Fashion Week, with a Lizzo performance for an invitation-only crowd at the company’s Milan Roastery. The beverages will be rolled out in Southern California this spring and in Japan, the Middle East and Britain later this year.

The La Stampa newspaper in Turin taste-tested four of the beverages, giving them marks of 6.5 to 7.5 on a scale of 10. It noted that the only warm beverage on the menu, a version of caffe latte, “has a strong taste that leaves a pleasant taste in the mouth. Grade: 7.”

“The (positive) sensation is that Oleato could be something to drink all year, but most of all that it could be truly tasty in the summer,″ La Stampa said because most are served with ice.

Tourists who throng the Milan Roastery are enticed to give the drinks a try by placards around the store and a special menu insert advertising the five-drink assortment, which ranges from 5.50 euros to 14 euros ($5.85 to $14.85) for a martini version with vodka.

“It’s good,” said Benedicte Hagen, a Norwegian who recently moved to Milan to pursue a modeling career. “I’m not a big coffee fan, that’s why I like to try drinks like this.”

She was sipping the Oleato Golden Foam Cold Brew, which includes vanilla bean syrup, and said she couldn’t really taste the oil. Still, she acknowledged asking the barista to add a shot of chocolate to make the drink even sweeter and would have added caramel if it had been available.

“It’s not so random,” Hagen decided.

Kaya Cupial’s Oleato Iced Cortado, meanwhile, was in a pretty V-shaped glass and garnished with an orange peel. It’s made with oat milk infused with olive oil, demerara syrup and a dash of orange bitters.

“It’s like normal coffee, but with orange. It’s not strong,” noted the 26-year-old from Warsaw, Poland, who was traveling with a group of friends. They also ordered the Golden Foam Cold Brew along with a pair of ordinary cappuccinos.

It is not the first time Italy has inspired Schultz. He acknowledges his debt to the Milan coffee bar, which he discovered during a trip to Italy in 1983, as his inspiration for building the now-global coffee chain.

Schultz waited until 2018 to bring Starbucks to Italy, aware that he was treading sacred coffee ground. Italians typically take their coffee standing at a bar, chatting with friends or the barista for a few minutes, before continuing their day. It is not something to be nursed.

Since then, Starbucks has opened some 20 stores in northern and central Italy. The Milan Roastery is often packed, while other locations in the city have shifted in the wake of the pandemic.

Source: AP





In Pictures: New Tarts of Quil Fé Bon in Japan





Reducing Home Hazards Cuts Seniors’ Risk of Falling

Cara Murez wrote . . . . . . . . .

Nearly one-third of older people fall each year, most of them in their own homes. But it’s possible to reduce those numbers by a quarter, according to a new study.

Five steps can cut the risk of falls by 26%, the researchers reported in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. Those steps are: decluttering; reducing tripping hazards; improving lighting; and adding hand rails and non-slip strips to stairs.

“Falls are very common among older people. They can cause serious injury or even death, but they are preventable. In this review, we wanted to examine which measures could have the biggest impact on reducing falls among older people living at home,” lead author Lindy Clemson, professor emeritus at the University of Sydney, Australia, said in a journal news release.

The review found that people most at risk of falls, such as those recently hospitalized for a fall or those needing support for daily activities, such as dressing, would benefit the most from decluttering.

Other measures — such as having the correct prescription glasses or special footwear — didn’t make a difference. Neither did education about falls.

For the study, the researchers analyzed 22 studies that included data on more than 8,400 people living at home.

Taking measures to reduce falls around the house reduced falls by 38% in people who were at a higher risk.

The reviewers estimated that if 1,000 people who had previously fallen had followed these measures for a year, there would have been 1,145 falls instead of 1,847.

“Having had a fall or starting to need help with everyday activities are markers of underlying risk factors, such as being unsteady on your feet, having poor judgment or weak muscles,” Clemson said. “These risk factors make negotiating the environment more challenging and increase the risk of a trip or slip in some situations.”

Clemson added that support from an occupational therapist is an important intervention for many people living at home.

People tend to not notice the clutter in their home or to realize that continuing to climb ladders as they always have comes with a potential fall risk if their mobility or balance is diminished, she noted.

“Preventing falls is a really important way of helping people to remain healthy and independent as they grow older, and our review also highlights the need for more research in this area,” Clemson said.

Source: HealthDay





Chocolate Pecan Tartlets


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup salted butter
2 large egg yolks
2-3 Tbsp ice water


1/2 cup salted butter
4 oz unsweetened baking chocolate
2 large eggs
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup corn syrup
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups pecans, chopped


24 pecan halves
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract


  1. Prepare pastry. In medium bowl combine flour and butter with pastry cutter until dough resembles coarse meal. Add egg yolks and water, then mix with a fork just until dough can be shaped into a ball.
  2. Gather dough into a ball. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap or a plastic bag. Refrigerate until firm—about 1 hour.
  3. Pepare filling. In a 2-quart saucepan combine butter and chocolate, stirring constantly over low heat. Transfer to medium bowl and let cool for 5 minutes.
  4. With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat eggs into chocolate mixture. Add sugar, corn syrup and vanilla, and blend on low speed until smooth. Fold in pecans.
  5. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  6. Assemble tartlets. On lightly floured counter or board, use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll out dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Using a 2-1/2-inch fluted tartlet pan as a guide, cut dough 1/4 inch around entire edge. Repeat with remaining dough. Lay dough rounds in tartlet pans and press in firmly.
  7. Fill pans two-thirds full of chocolate pecan filling. Place on baking sheet to catch any drips. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until filling is set and does not look wet.
  8. While still warm, place one pecan half in center of each tartlet.
  9. Chill mixing bowl and beaters in freezer.
  10. Prepare topping. In a medium bowl with electric mixer set on high, beat cream, sugar and vanilla until stiff peaks form. Do not overbeat. Transfer the whipped topping to a pastry bag fitted with a medium star tip, and pipe decorative topping onto each tartlet.

Makes 24 (2-1/2-inch) tartlets.

Source: Mrs. Fields Cookie Book

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