Would a mere sniff of chocolate suffice?

This might sound fairly off the wall, but you can now experience some of your favourite foods via sniff alone.

Writing at the Contributoria platform for independent writers, Rich McEachran explains:

Harvard professor and biomedical engineer, David Edwards — famed for his edible packaging technology — has invented a mobile messaging system that doubles as an olfactory food inhaler. The oPhone encourages users to take pictures of food, tag the images with scents (oNotes – there are over 300,000 combinations to choose from) and then send them to friends who can receive scented whiffs via a Bluetooth-connected device.

The first transatlantic smell message of chocolate and champagne was transmitted in June, and over the summer the team successfully raised nearly $50,000 to help crowdfund the beta launch of the device. From this month, the oPhone will be on display at the Cafe ArtScience which is opening up next to MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Customers will be able to try some oNotes that will immerse them in coffee aromas.

You can read the full article here.

Disclosure – I’m co-founder and editor at Contributoria.com.


Review: Fox and Hounds, Goldsborough

The one when I get busted for snapping the food!

I found out about this place from some online research and it seemed to have all the required factors for a birthday treat for Himself. But I had no idea where it actually was which is where satnav comes in.

But as anyone foolishly relying on the bossy female instructions will know, the directions are not always that accurate and ‘you have arrived’ can be accompanied by a view of a field, or worse, a footpath.

So it seemed here, when a mile down a single track road off the main Whitby Road, narrowly avoiding some suicidal pheasants, we arrived at what seemed to be a farmyard, overseen by a bemused looking farmhand. But on closer look round, the Fox and Hounds came into view with a right-hand turn away from the tractors.

Admiring the frontage slathered with awards stickers and then we’re shown into a small dining room.
Untitled The menu for the night is presented and reveals just a few dishes. Given it’s near coastal location, there’s fishy choices alongside the traditional meat options of steak and liver.

I went for the langoustine risotto to start – a generous helping of very herb-infused rice garnished with langoustine – while he enjoyed the scallops with just a dash of chili heat.

As you can see I don’t have a picture of them. I did take one but it came out rather too dark.

As is my usual MO, I snuck a snap on my phone as the waitress had safely retired to the kitchen – or so I thought. She returned to ask why I had photographed the food. Busted! I came clean and told her I blogged about food and thought nothing more about it.

She soon came back again – this time asking if she’d offended me! I assured her I hadn’t been in the slightest bit offended by being asked (in fact it surprises me it doesn’t happen more often) and gave her the details of this food blog in the hope this would put her mind at rest. It seemed to.

So now, with nothing to lose, here’s a picture of the main course – flash and everything!


I’m not exactly sure whether I’ve ever had ling before. I’d certainly order it again on the strength of this meal – a firm fish, delicate in flavor and it’s marrying with the bright lights chard was just the perfect matching of earthiness and the sea. That’s almost a seaside holiday on a plate right there.

For desserts (well it was his birthday) I took a share of the truffle cake – to describe it as rich doesn’t come close. Essence of chocolate would be more accurate.

We left feeling truly indulged. The whole evening was one of intimacy and attention to detail in everything from the decor, to the food and the service.

I just hope their experience of having a food blogger in their midst will prove to be a welcome one.

I’d love to go somewhere where the menu positively encourages diners to photograph the food the chefs spend so much time preparing – maybe this place could be it.

* The Fox and Hounds is at Goldsborough, near Whitby, North Yorkshire.

100 days, 100 chocolate bars

Here’s a tasty venture I came across on my travels – a mission to create 100 new chocolate bars in as many days which anyone can join in with.

Every day, chocolate designer Sandra Colamartino comes up with a different look and feel for a bar;

“Some days may be better than others, but keep an eye on us and some days we may create a bar that will hit the spot with you.”

It’s a simple idea and one that allows Chocolate Library founder Sandra to explore her love of typography. We’re currently at day 11 which reads;

“Happiness is the only good. The time to be happy is now. The place to be happy is here. The way to be happy is to make others so.”

A fitting enough tribute for any chocoholic maybe,  but the wording was apparently inspired by a conversation with humanist celebrant Tim Maguire.

I bumped into Sandra, a design and publishing expert, at an event in Edinburgh where she told me how her business has developed since starting in 2007.

The clean lines of the designs and Sandra’s passionate approach to chocolate appealed to me and I’ve since spotted that it’s possible to have a completely individualised chocolate designed plus you can submit your own ideas to the project as Sandra explains;

“If you have an idea for a bar- email your ideas using the contact page. If your bar is chosen as Bar of the Day, free chocolate is coming your way and you will get a full credit on the website.”

Chocs away for Valentine’s, sleeksters

At least winter gives chocoholics the chance to indulge. After the gawdy wrappings of the Christmas pile-it-high variety packs, Valentine’s Day signals a fresh chance to get serious with those chocs.

And this Hotel Chocolat selection is one serious box of excuse to indulge with a loved a one.

The Sleekster Season of Love Selection box is made for sharing – look at the size of it for a start.

Inside, these are adults-only territory with many a tipple to be sampled. But we’re not talking a gritty globule of spirit hiding inside, these truffles are whipped to a blended frenzy.

There’s girly fluffy concoctions such as the impossibly light white chocolate encased Cosmopolitian with its vodka, orange liqueur, cranberry, orange and lime truffle centre.

But there’s also some more robust flavours – a dark chocolate blended with chilli which even the most macho man won’t mind picking out its sweetheart shape to try.

My personal favourite, being a dark chocolate fan, was the raspberry and prosecco heart – a truly divine ganache with raspberry juice, Prosecco di Grappa and raspberry liqueur.

In all there’s different 15 chocs featured in different multiples for that shared moment, should you decide to be that generous.

It’s a beautiful selection with the only thing that struck me a slightly incongruous being the ‘sleekster’ name. Maybe it’s just me, but I always think the addition of “ster” to a word belongs in the land of the TV sit-com.

It brought to mind Smithy handing over a selection box to Nessa in a tender moment on Gavin and Stacey, or even Ricky Gervais describing his own post-diet figure to colleagues in The Office!

But that’s a small diversion from the whole experience of sophistication which the generous box provides.

Roll on February chocolate lovers – the sleekster is here!

* The Hotel Chocolat Sleekster Season of Love Selection is available here for £19.50.

NOTE: The chocolates sampled here were provided free of charge for review purposes.

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