Brewers are once again making beer from things that typically end up in one’s household trash, a 7,000-year-old custom.
Launched by two beer enthusiasts, Brussels Beer Project is known for producing unique artisanal crafts, but one of their signature concoctions is truly special. Named Babylone, it is made from things that typically end up in one’s household trash—like stale bread.
Inspired by Brussels Beer Project, New York brewery Toast Ale also started making artisanal concoctions from baked goods that didn’t sell on time from local bakeries or stores. Team Toast, as the brewers call themselves, would tell you that bread is one of the most wasted household food items.
Instead of letting this baked bounty go to waste, both teams collect the leftovers and convert them into unique libations.
While this idea may sound radical to some, the concept of brewing with old bread is several thousand years old.
In fact, the Brussels’ specialty is called Babylone because it’s based on an over 7,000-year-old custom of fermenting bread into a “divine drink.”
In the ancient Near East, beer and bread were so intimately connected that some modern scholars wondered what skill our ancestors mastered first—brewing or baking. Breweries from Egypt to Mesopotamia made beer by baking dough made from ground germinated cereals—and then placed the loaves and yeast into jars of water, where the maltose sugars would be converted into alcohol.
That ancient tradition persevered, through centuries and through countries. One of the favourite Russian drinks is kvass—a dark, bubbly beverage made with bread, water, yeast and sugar. Kvass, the name of which comes from the Russian word kvasit, meaning ferment, is usually derived from black rye bread, although other recipes exist.
Vodka may be perceived as the national drink of Russia, but kvass, which is easy to make and doesn’t need distilling, has long been a traditional beverage. An everyday table item, it often appeared in Russian literature and theatre.
And while many classically Russian recipes and dishes all but disappeared during the Soviet era, kvass persisted through the tough times, and never fell out of favour.
Keith Bellows, Editor in Chief, National Geographic Travel
When I was growing up, Quebec City was something of an also-ran compared to Montreal, its brasher, more idiosyncratic sibling and my hometown. My family would often drive the 150 miles up the St. Lawrence River to Quebec City, and as a kid I recall coming away a little underwhelmed. I
t seemed so dutiful and reserved next to the “sin city,” as Montreal was known. Sure, Quebec City could lay claim to a marginally more storied history—symbolized by the star-shaped Citadelle and the once bloody Plains of Abraham, where the British and French clashed over control of what would become Canada. But next to Montreal it lacked panache.
Notre-Dame de Quebec – Photograph by Susan Seubert
No more. These days the cities have reached a comfortable détente over which has the most to offer. They are simply different. Quebec City’s warren of cobblestone streets, hulking Fairmont Le Château Frontenac, and Upper and Lower Towns are backdrop to its francophone fashion shops, chansons echoing off centuries-old cut-stone buildings, and air heavy with thick Québécois accents—a combination that’s unique in all North America. The food has gone from pedestrian to a superbly traditional force of gustatory nature (many dishes draw on local ingredients).
Raclette – Photograph by Susan Seubert
When it turned 400 years old in 2008, Quebec City also seemed to turn a corner. Now it is a truly modern city with old bones. My advice: Learn a little French, try it out on the residents, and you’ll enter a world where the locals will help you unlock the keys to street-level Old France.
Tauranga baker Patrick Lam has been crowned the King of Pies for a record seventh time.
Lam has picked up the 2019 Supreme Award at the NZ Supreme Pie Awards for his mince and cheese pie, which was the first pie filling he ever ate and which he has called his favourite.
Speaking the morning after the awards, having had just over an hour’s sleep, Lam said that his bakery, Gold Star in Tauranga, entered the competition each year “just to update ourselves and make sure our skills are up there.
Patrick Lam, New Zealand’s most-crowned NZ Supreme Pie Awards winner. Photo Credit: STUFF
Patrick Lam, added his thoughts, “To be honest its unbelievable that we could win the Award again,” he said. “It was a big surprise… We know the competition is really hard.”
NEPAL – “This is a Nepalese milk tea accompanied by a hot pot of spicy chana gravy, which is mainly chickpeas with curry. It’s a typical Nepalese breakfast in Chautara, Sindhupalchok, one of the areas worst affected by the 25 April earthquake and its aftershocks.
And it’s what I ate while I was there with the Action Against Hunger team. Despite the difficulties many people are still facing, including a lack of shelter and exposure to monsoons and aftershocks, they still find the resources to serve this humble but energetic food early in the morning.”
Breakfast in Thailand
THAILAND – “Jok (Thai style rice porridge). This is one of the most popular breakfasts for Thai people.
You can do it at home because it’s easy to cook or just buy it at street stalls. They usually sell it in the morning or late at night.”
SENEGAL – “Breakfast in Kaolack Region near the IFAD project in Senegal composed of couscous, niebé (beans) and meat accompanied by water.”