Thursday, October 29, 2009

Start shopping for the holidays!

Gourmet Fusion has just received a new shipment of beautiful cast iron teapots, great gifts for the upcoming holiday season.

All the designs are handcrafted in cast iron, with a food-safe enameled interior, and due to the strength of their construction, they can be used as a teapot, or placed on a stove top as a kettle to boil water. They all have a removable stainless steel infuser that fits just under the lid, so you can easily use whole leaf tea (or tea bags) in just the same way as you would use our ceramic infuser pots (i-pots).

The cast iron teapot has its origins in China, and later became popular in Japan in the 17th century, where it became known as "Tetsubin" ("Tetsu" and "bin", meaning iron and vessel).

We also carry a cast iron trivet, featuring a hobnail design, to use with our cast iron teapots, so you can enjoy your pot of tea without damaging your table.

All of our cast iron pots can be found, together with our range of teas, at the Gourmet Fusion store in the Leaping Lotus, 240 S. Cedros, Solana Beach, and at our online store.

We also carry a small range for sale at our popular Farmers Markets in San Diego's Little Italy on Saturday mornings, and at La Jolla's Open Aire Market on Sunday mornings.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Loose Leaf Tea at Gourmet Fusion Store

The Gourmet Fusion store has recently introduced three types of loose leaf tea by Two Leaves and Bud, two green teas and one black tea. All have been available for some time in biodegradable sachets, 15 to a box, but are now available in these great eco-friendly tea cylinders. Great for gift giving, just in time for the holidays.

Jasmine Petal
Classic Chinese Green Tea dried with Jasmine Petals

The first is our most popular tea, the Jasmine Petal, in the lavender colored cylinder. This classic green tea is the most consumed in China, and is traditional which has been dried with jasmine petals. However, as many of my customers have commented, it produces a very light, subtle flavor, and the slight floral fragrance of jasmine, known to relax the nervous system, pairs well with Asian food. It is grown in the Fujian Province, where the teas exhibit a depth and complexity not found in lesser teas.

Orange Sencha
Organic Green Tea with Italian Orange

Our second green tea is Organic Sencha Green Tea, in the lively lime green cylinder.

This Japanese green tea blend has the flavor of Italian red oranges added, giving a slight tanginess to this Japanese classic. Sencha is the most consumed tea in Japan. This long leafed tea, finished in the sun, also includes sunflowers, orange peel, and just a hint of Italian red orange flavor to add just a hint of sweet and spicy to this classic green tea. This smooth tea, with slight citrus flavor, makes a great daytime tea to sip while you are at work, or studying.
Organic Breakfast Tea

Our third loose leaf tea in the crimson red cylinder is the classic Assam tea, often known as English Breakfast Tea.

This tea is produced in the oldest growing region of Assam in north east India that has low, rolling hills creating a great environment for rich tea. Assam is one of the most popular teas in England, and although this full bodied, deep gold tea is ideal for breakfast, it is still one of the most widely served teas for all day in England. This traditional, full leaf tea produces a rich multi-layered malty flavor.

All of our teas can be found at Gourmet Fusion in the Leaping Lotus store at 240 S. Cedros, Solana Beach, CA, together with a great selection of teapots, and of course, online.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Olive Oil Could Help Alzheimer Sufferers

Gourmet Fusion recently had a special promotion on our extra virgin olive oils in the Leaping Lotus store at Solana Beach. Most people are aware that the "Mediterranean diet" which includes fish, lean meat, vegetables and fruit, and an abundance of olive oil is considered one of the healthiest in the world. Olive oil is an essential part of the Mediterranean lifestyle, and its diversity lends itself to most cooking methods and many dishes, including salad dressing, pasta making, and baking.

It is, therefore, good to learn that new findings published in the journal, Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, have just shown that a compound found in extra virgin olive oil could deter proteins from disrupting the nerve cell function that causes Alzheimer's disease. Scientists have discovered that the compound, oleocanthal, beneficially alters the structure of highly toxic proteins known as ADDLs. ADDLs are believed to directly disrupt nerve cell function, eventually leading to memory loss. The scientists are optimistic that with further research these findings could help identify effective preventive measures to help combat Alzheimer's disease.

So, if you are looking for a quick appetizer or snack, pour a little olive oil in a ramekin or olive oil dish, add some chopped garlic, or balsamic vinegar (or both) to make a healthy dip. Chop up a crusty loaf of bread for dipping, and invite your friends over for a glass of wine. Perfect!

Gourmet Fusion has extra virgin olive oils available online, and in the Leaping Lotus either natural flavor, or pressed with lemon, orange, or rosemary.

The source of the above research on Alzheimer's: Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, Volume 240, Issue 2, October 2009.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Fun at Little Italy Festa

So how was the 15th Annual Italian Festa in Little Italy, San Diego? Well, we got up early and set off in the dark, but when we arrived at about 6:30 am, the buzz and anticipation of the day ahead could already be felt. Some tents were already up - in fact, some vendors, were almost set up, even though Festa didn't begin until 10 am. The restaurants were starting to put out their ovens and grills for the day, and the smell of coffee filled the air.

People began arriving early, and locals walked their dogs, went to church, or breakfast. They didn't seem to mind that many of us had not finished setting up properly, in fact, half the fun was in seeing what we would set out next. We made our first sale long before the opening of Festa at 10, and continued to talk to customers for the rest of the day, learning many new things, including that San Diego's Little Italy has the largest dog population per residence in the US! It certainly seemed that way when you looked around.

Our dog water bottles, and silk screen printed dog dish towels were very popular, as well as our fun spreaders with every kind of theme, and our teapots and cast iron tetsubin teapots.

Talking to our customers is a great way for us to get to know what products are the most popular, and what other items people might like. If you didn't get a chance to go the Festa, stop by at one of our Farmers' Markets - Mercato at Date and Union on Saturday, and The La Jolla Open Aire Market, Girard Avenue, on Sunday.

I am expecting new holiday products to arrive this week, so the coming weeks at Gourmet Fusion will be fun.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Gourmet Fusion at Little Italy Festa

Gourmet Fusion has been very busy over the last few weeks in the store at Solana Beach, and at our two farmers' markets in San Diego's Little Italy on Saturday morning, and La Jolla on Sunday morning.

This weekend is no exception, as we will be at the Columbus Day Festa on Sunday October 11th, with all of our new items for fall. So, if you are in the area stop by and see us.

We will be showcasing a full range of espresso cups, and teapots. New fall flowers in shades of amber and plum that light up to make a beautiful table decoration, kitchen gadgets, dish towels, and, of course, Cattitude.

Little Italy is always fun and food is definitely a central theme - just take a look at the picture shown here - it is the longest Caprese Salad - I believe it was 40 feet long!!

Some of the events taking place are Italian street painting using chalk on India between Fir and Grape, a stickball tournament, beer and wine garden, street performers and a Little Italy Scooter raffle at the end of the day.