Raw Foods

In the winter, it can be all too tempting to indulge in warm, heavy comfort foods. But sometimes, we all need a bit of detox with a day or two of vegan or raw meals. While going 100% raw is truly a mission (it’s nearly impossible and a bit cold!), incorporating some raw food into your diet can really benefit your health. Luckily, doing so can be quite simple.

If you’re interested in stepping into the raw food world, I suggest trying to make about 30-40% of your meals in a week raw. Why? Eating fresh, raw ingredients is important for our “inner composting,” or digestion. When you eat a raw food, you are actually eating living, enzyme-rich food.

You see, cooking vegetables destroys important microorganisms that are found in fresh vegetables, including enzymes that aid in digestion. With cooked food, your body needs to work hard to process dinner. That’s where raw food enzymes come in handy.

My favorite raw recipes are simple and require minimal preparation. Try slicing root vegetables like carrots, parsnips, fennel and turnips very thinly on a Japanese mandolin. Marinate them lightly with lemon juice, olive oil, sea salt or soy sauce. The result is a delicious and flavorful meal with a satisfying crispness.

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For the Love of Chocolat

From waffles and beer to frîtes with mayonnaise, Belgium tends to have a reputation for its delicious culinary specialties. But perhaps the most well known food of all to emerge from this tiny country is chocolate!

Recognized the world over as the finest chocolate available, Belgian chocolate tells a story of craftsmanship, tradition and excellent ingredients.

The history of chocolate making in Belgium stretches back to the 17thcentury, when Spanish explorers introduced cacao to Europe from their South American travels. Traditionally consumed as a drink by ancient Mayans and Aztecs, this custom soon became a luxury exclusive to Spanish nobility, who ruled Belgium at the time.

Interestingly, in a 1697 visit to Brussels, Henri Escher, the mayor of Zurich, tried this chocolatey beverage and was so impressed that he brought the idea back to Switzerland. Several hundred years later, Switzerland is Belgium’s main competition in the realm of chocolate!

However, it wasn’t until Belgium’s King Leopold II colonized the Congo in the 19th century, that chocolate became more available to the general public. This not-so-sweet intervention gave Belgium direct access to high quality cacao trees, spurring the now deep culinary tradition.

Today, Belgian chocolate is distinguished by its artisanal, old world processing techniques and high quality standards. While the European Union allows chocolatiers to replace up to 5% of their cocoa butter with various vegetable fats,  Belgian chocolatiers pride themselves on using 100% cocoa butter, which enhances smoothness and flavor of the chocolate.

When it comes to chocolate at Le Pain Quotidien, we bring Belgian tradition to the table, along with some serious sustainability credentials, by partnering with Tohi, a family-owned company known for their organic, fair-trade chocolate.

Traveling the world in search of subtle and sometimes little known flavors, the master chocolatiers at Tohi have created a delicious and sustainable line of organic chocolate bars for us. Ranging from traditional flavors to more surprising and rare flavors, our favorites include Speculoos, Poivre Rose (pink peppercorn) and Earl Grey.

Besides creating organic, fair-trade chocolate, Tohi is also well known for its environmentally conscious practices such as its completely recyclable packaging and COneutral production, which means the production of our chocolate has net zero carbon footprint on our planet.

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Tea 101

Ever wonder what exactly is in your delicious bowl of Le Pain Quotidien tea, how caffeinated it is, even where it came from? Luckily, our teas are carefully selected for their wonderful and diverse flavor profiles and organic origins. Our new, biodegradable pyramid-shaped sachets allow the leaves to unfurl for the best infusion. They’re also delightfully aromatic, awakening the senses with every warm sip! Each tea we offer has its own story and is thoughtfully sourced.

Black tea is withered, rolled or crushed and torn. It is fully fermented (oxidized) then fired. Black tea has a higher concentration of caffeine compared to white, green or oolong teas.

Brussels Breakfast Tea is a 100% Ceylon tea (and our hometown favorite!). This tea exhibits the classic flavor profile of a fully fermented black tea. Brussels Breakfast is bright and intense enough to stand up to milk. The tea yields a copper colored infusion.

Origin: Sri Lanka

English Breakfast Tea is a blend of 90% Assam and 10% Ceylon black teas. Assam is grown at sea level under hot, humid conditions, which account for its malty character. This classic blend is described as “brisk.” The Ceylon tea contributes a full-bodied quality to the blend. English Breakfast tea is rich enough to stand up to milk and sugar.

Origin: India and Sri Lanka

Earl Grey is a black Assam tea scented with oil of bergamot (derived from the rind of Citrus bergamia). Earl Grey tea has been globally renowned since the 1830s.

Green tea is minimally processed and not fermented (oxidized). The tea leaves are withered, shaped, and then fired. Green teas are lower in caffeine than oolong or black teas.

Chunmee Green Teais also known as the “precious eyebrow” tea. The dusty, gray leaves are twisted into a thin arch then fired. It has fruity and floral notes with a fresh astringency. Brews to a pale yellow liquor.

Origin: China

Jasmine Green Tea (Mo Li Hua Cha) is an aromatic green tea made when flattened, pan-fired leaves are left overnight with freshly picked jasmine blossoms. The night blooming jasmine opens and releases its fragrance, which is absorbed by the tea. The tea has an intoxicating aroma.

Origin: China

Moroccan Mint is a Chinese green tea with peppermint. The tea leaves are rolled into pellets to make “gunpowder.” The tea is blended with peppermint. This tea is the drink of hospitality throughout the Maghreb. It is served well-sweetened all day and into the night.

Origin: China

Herbal teas or tisanes are the leaves, roots, bark or buds of various herbs and plants. Tisanes typically contain no caffeine.

Chamomile is a member of asteraceae, which includes daisies. The herb has a honeyed fragrance with notes of pineapple. Chamomile is reputed to have a calming effect and can be used as a sleep aid. Chamomile tea is caffeine free.

Origin: Egypt

Rooibos (Aspalathus linearis) is a legume. The bush grows only in a specific region of the Cape in South Africa. The bush is chopped and oxidized following the process used to produce black tea. Also called Red Tea, Rooibos is popular in Europe where it is served with lemon and honey or sugar and milk. Rooibos is caffeine free.

Origin: South Africa

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