FOR MOST, CHINESE NEW YEAR is a festive season packed with food. From sumptuous reunion dinners to addictive cookies, we (almost) always end up eating more than we should. For this Chinese New Year season, we've introduced a comforting drink that's available in-store : our longan red date tea with ginger.

A Closer Look at our Chinese New Year Tea

cnytea1 Pictured: Our longan red date tea with ginger

Let's zoom in on the specific ingredients of this hot beverage. You'll soon realize that this soothing tea contains great health benefits! Read on below to find out more.

Longan

longan

Literally translated as 'Dragon's Eye' (Long Yan) for its shiny, black seed, longans are more than just a sweet fruit. They contain nutrients and medicinal properties that have been around since as early as the Chinese Han Dynasty.

Longans are known to be a good blood tonic, and can be used as a cure for anemia - they contain a very high amount of iron (about 20 times that of grapes).

Additionally, longans are a cure for sleeping disorders like insomnia as they have a calming effect on the central nervous system and your heart. As a potassium-rich fruit, it helps maintain blood pressure and is often used as a remedy for stomach problems.

 

Red Dates

Known as the "king of nuts" for its nutritional value, we often find red dates in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) prescriptions and other brewed herbal tonics. The fruit comes from a shade tree and is higher in potassium, vitamins B1 and B2 when dried. Other than anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties, red dates also help stimulate the production of white blood cells. According to ancient Chinese herbal texts, red dates strengthen the spleen and stomach Qi (energy), which in turn helps digestion and soothes the mind.

In fact, many Chinese women consume red dates during their special time of the month, since red dates are known for enriching and replenishing blood. Ladies also drink red dates regularly for a few months to help re-balance the body's Qi and blood deficiency.

Red date tea is commonly made by soaking dried red dates in boiling water. Some add Manuka honey for more benefits. While red dates and dried longan tea is a common drink during confinement, it helps improve blood circulation and revitalize health.

 

Ginger

gingercollage Pictured, right: Cedele's Organic Ginger Tea, available online at Cedele Market

Ayurveda refers to ginger as a universal medicine. Likewise, Chinese medicine, the other most ancient yet living traditions, also use ginger medicinally because it restores Yang (hot energy). According to researchers, a compound found in raw ginger (6-gingerol) gives it anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. Other research also found that ginger helps slow down the loss of brain cells which normally lead to Alzheimer's disease.

However, ginger is most commonly known for relieving digestive problems such as nausea, loss of appetite, motion sickness and pain. In particular, the phenolic compounds in ginger are what help relieve gastrointestinal irritation. Chewing raw ginger or sipping ginger tea is a common remedy for nausea and morning sickness. It also relieves gas, aids weight loss and relieves heartburn.

The aromatic, spicy root has long been used in both traditional and Western healing systems to make tea. Ginger tea is diaphoretic, working to warm the body from within. Ginger tea contains high levels of vitamin C, amino acids and trace amounts of minerals. Drinking it regularly will help your body absorb nutrients, alleviate stomach pains and improve circulation and digestion.

 

Putting it all together...

Now that you are aware of the benefits of the three main ingredients in our festive hot drink, you can rest assured that it will be a soothing drink that is beneficial to your body. It will also be a welcome beverage to help you balance out your Chinese New Year feasting.

This soothing drink is available in-store at all Cedele outlets. Head over here to find an outlet near you. Alternatively, purchase the tea together with our festive hampers for yourself or as a gift to a loved one this Chinese New Year.

 

WHAT IS CHINESE NEW YEAR without some baked goodies? Here at Cedele, we've come up with a range of 13 different cookies for you to choose from. If you're feeling spoilt for choice, we've even created a "cheat sheet" to help you figure out which cookies are the right ones for you and your family.

Using the best European butter and organic unrefined sugar, we've also made sure to include eggless and gluten-free options in our selection of handmade cookies. Find out more below.

Chinese New Year Cookie Cheat Sheet

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CNY COOKIES flowchart infographic-01

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Take your pick!

Our full list of Chinese New Year cookies (arranged alphabetically):

 
Almond Crunch (Eggless)

Go nuts for this crunchy Cedele favourite. It's a hit with the kids.

Almond Ikan Bilis

A Peranakan-inspired treat, with a spicy yet savoury local bite.

Almond & Seeds Florentine (New & Gluten-free)

Gluten-free cookies packed with a medley of heart-friendly ingredients: linseeds, sunflower seeds, nigella seeds, sesame seeds and almond flakes.

Chocolate Chip Macadamia (Eggless)

Indulge in this decadent, chocolatey cookie with macadamia nuts.

Cornflake Cookies (Eggless)

This classic cookie is an addictive fan favourite.

Cranberry Almond Oatmeal

A high-fiber, mouth-watering medley of delicious fruit, nuts and rolled oats.

Espresso Crunch

An addictive cookie with a complementary caffeine kick.

Golden Almond Nuggets (New)

Multiple layers of light buttery pastry topped with almond flakes and cinnamon to usher in abundant good fortune!

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[From left, clockwise: Golden Almond Nuggets, Pandan Chia Seed cookie and our classic Cornflake Cookies]

Gula Melaka Coconut

An aromatic cookie reminiscent of your favourite local flavours.

Lemongrass Pistachio (Eggless)

A unique cookie combining crunchy pistachios with the subtle hints of lemongrass.

Pandan Chia Seed (Eggless)

An eye-catching cooking combining crunchy, antioxidant-rich chia seeds with the fragrant flavour of pandan leaves.

Pineapple Pocket Pie (Bestseller)
pineapple pocket pie

Our Pineapple Pocket Pie

Made with melt-in-your-mouth pineapple jam and coasted with a buttery crust, there's little wonder this reigns as our all-time bestseller.

Thai Chilli Rice Crisps (Eggless, New)

Crunchy, savoury cookies gently spiced with turmeric and kaffir lime leaf.

   

GOT YOUR EYE on any of these delicious cookies? May we suggest sharing the joy by giving some of these goodies away as you go out visiting? Take your pick and head over to Cedele Market to place your order online. While you're at it, feel free to browse our complete Chinese New Year catalogue.

AS WE LOOK TO the new year, what can we expect food-wise? According to Whole Foods, flexitarianism is set to be one of the biggest food trends of 2017. But what exactly is it and how did it come about?

 

What is flexitarianism?

Simply put, flexitarianism = flexible vegetarianism. If you are a flexitarian, you eat a predominantly, but not strictly vegetarian diet. You choose when to eat meat - it could be just on weekends, or when you're eating out, or only after 6pm. You get to pick whatever is most manageable for you.

At Cedele, we welcome this new trend. To us, this trend means that people are looking for more creative, flexible ways to eat healthy. We're all for it! We look forward to being part of this movement, to help you (our customers) discover what foods make you feel like your best self, without having to struggle with a stringent diet plan.

 

How did flexitarianism start?

If you dig a little deeper, you'll realise that the flexitarian way of eating isn't new at all. It's closely related to a more familiar movement: Meatless Monday.

The history of Meatless Monday can be traced back to World War I, when the US Food Administration urged families to reduce consumption of key staples to aid the war effort. With the slogan, "Food Will Win the War", the US government introduced "Meatless Monday" and "Wheatless Wednesday" to encourage Americans to do their part. Over 13 million families pledged to observe these days to help the war effort.

image “Food Will Win the War,” US Food Administration, ca. 1918. (GLC09522)

Since then, flexitarianism has gained popularity. A turning point came in 2009, when Paul, Mary and Stella McCartney started the Meat-Free Monday campaign. Supported by high-profile individuals including Sir Richard Branson, Emma Thompson and Jamie Oliver, the not-for-profit campaign encourages people to have at least one meat-free day a week.

Why would anyone decide to eat less meat?

Health

Firstly, research shows that diets high in animal products are associated with an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer. By reducing the amount of red meat you consume, you'll see positive effects on your weight and health. The World Cancer Research Fund recommends that people "choose mostly plant foods, limit red meat and avoid processed meat".

Environment

Eating less meat is also a way to care for the environment. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the livestock sector is one of the top most significant contributors to "the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global". Research also shows that livestock production is "the largest global source of methane and nitrous oxide - two particularly potent GHGs [greenhouse gases]", which are harmful to the environment.

 

What Now?

According to The Independent, flexitarianism is "emerging as a much more achievable alternative to going full vegetarian or vegan." Since studies have shown that cutting down meat has numerous health benefits, flexitarianism allows people to improve their health without giving up meat for good.

Take it One Step at a Time

meatlessmonday

We know that making significant changes to your diet can be hard to stick to. Why not take it one step at a time, and start by committing to one meat-free day a week?

Since November, Cedele has been offering $1 off meatless salads and vegetarian sandwiches/thins at all our outlets. If you're thinking of ordering in, head over to Cedele Market to have a look at our vegetarian options.

flexcollage (Pictured, from left: Beetroot Avocado Burger and our Tofutti Supreme Deli salad)

We'll leave you with the words of one of our favourite food writers, Michael Pollan, who summed up everything he learned about food and health in these few words:

"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." 

What do you think about flexitarianism? Share your thoughts by commenting below.

"What better way to ring in the festive season than to open your doors and welcome in the laughter of friends and family?" 

 

FOR MANY, CHRISTMASTIME IS ABOUT GATHERINGS. According to a recent study, research found that families who perform "collective rituals" like communal dinners or decorating the tree, feel closer to one another and experience more enjoyment.

But between work and other commitments, you might be fretting over catering your next Christmas gathering. How do you cater to everyone's dietary preferences?

When we developed our menu for Christmas this year, we made sure to have food options available for every appetite. So read on below and let us help you plan your next Christmas gathering!

 

For the Vegetarian: Going Green this Christmas

It is becoming more common these days to have a friend or family member who is vegetarian. Whether they are vegetarian by choice or just going green temporarily, we have plenty of options to help you cater to their palate this Christmas. Who says going green has to be boring?

xmas_veg

(From top left, clockwise: Chocolate Truffle Squares, Baby French Beans salad with Spicy Thai Dressing, Classic Minced Pies and our Veggie Lovers' Sliders Platter)

Created with 70% dark couverture chocolate and cream, our Chocolate Truffle Squares are the perfect melt-in-your-mouth treat that is subtly sweet and full of antioxidants.

Our lovely light salad features a medley of French beans, sweet peas, garbanzo beans and cherry tomatoes paired with a spicy Thai dressing.

A classic Christmas dessert staple, our minced pies contain a boozy mix of spiced fruits and rum with a crumbly almond tart pastry. For an alcohol-free version: our Frangipane Apricot minced pies pack a mix of almonds, apricots, currants and cranberries into a tender almond pastry crust.

For an appetizing array of petite brioche burgers, try our Veggie Lovers' Slider Platter. We offer four vegetarian fillings, including a veggie tofu patty with plum chutney and our Mushroom Overload patty with brie.

 

For the Meat Lovers

Despite the increase in veganism in Singapore, you are bound to have a carnivorous friend (or two)! For those looking for a protein-filled punch in their Christmas meal, our selection of meats are sure to satisfy. xmas_meat

(From left: Salami Deli Platter, Rosemary Christmas Turkey and Manuka Glazed Ham & Cheese Tray)

Our Salami Deli Platter features air-dried Hungarian Salami, which has been aged for six weeks. It comes packed with cheeses (Camembert and Parmigiano-Reggiano), onion marmalata chutney and a loaf of walnut bread.

For traditionalists, we offer our Rosemary Christmas Turkey - a succulent roast stuffed with fruit, complete with spiced cranberry strawberry sauce and tasty Turkey gravy. We slow roast the bird with rosemary herbs for four hours, basting it with a butter broth every half hour. It comes with a healthy side of mixed black rice, millet, edamame and mushroom.

Try our Manuka Glazed Ham & Cheese tray, which comes with a pleasing platter of cheeses and cranberry orange chutney. Our ham is nitrate-free and comes with the benefits of Manuka honey for a great tasting platter.

 

Not Forgetting Other Diets: Gluten-Free Offerings

A DISCLAIMER: our gluten-free suggestions may not be suitable for coeliacs due to the specific food preparatory environment require for coeliacs.

Gluten is a protein found primarily in wheat, barley and rye. Coeliac disease is a genetic autoimmune disorder where consumption of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine. It is estimated to affect 1 in 100 people worldwide. Gluten is found in many foods, and is often a hidden ingredient in many recipes. Unlike coeliac disease, gluten intolerance manifests in symptoms of gassiness, abdominal pain or diarrhea. Head over here for more information about gluten intolerance.

xmas_glutenfree (From top left, clockwise: Sausage platter, Roasted Roots Platter, Chocolate Flourless Truffle log cake, and our Moroccan Roasted Chicken & Golden Pilaf Rice)

Feast on our signature Sausage platter: sun dried tomato sausages, herbed Nürnberger and Pork Bratwurst. Our custom-made sausages are preservative free and come with sweet and sour caramelized sauerkraut, cranberries, Bavarian mustard and Sriracha ketchup. This finger food is great for family gatherings!

What about a side of Roasted Roots? Grilled pumpkin, purple and yellow sweet potatoes served with a maple sage dressing. Such a simple way for you to bring a delicious, gluten-free dish to the table.

For something sweet, our Chocolate Flourless Truffle log cake is a Christmas classic. The moist chocolate sponge cake is coated with a decadent layer of chocolate cream cheese and garnished with berries.

For a less traditional Christmas dish, we recommend our Moroccan Roasted Chicken & Golden Pilaf rice: the turmeric-infused rice is steamed with Moroccan-inspired herbs and spices, topped with roasted chermoula chicken breast and toasted whole almond flakes.

 

If You Have a Sweet Tooth...

Here's your chance to blow your guests away with a selection of sweet treats to end your meal. xmas_sweets

(From top left, clockwise: Christmas Butter Shortbread, Berry Pistachio log cake, Chocolate Matcha Sake Squares, Rustic Chocolate Tiramisu)

Our Christmas Butter Shortbread comes in three flavours: classic butter, green tea marble butter and chocolate marble butter. They come in a box of 48.

You'll find that our limited edition Berry Pistachio log cake is such a lovely sight! The soft pistachio cake is wrapped in a bright pink berry frosting.

A fan favourite, our Chocolate Matcha Sake Squares are made of matcha cookies and dark chocolate truffles. They contain a mix of sake-soaked fruits topped with a layer of white chocolate and green tea lace. They come in a box of 9.

Last but far from the least, the Rustic Chocolate Tiramisu is our take on the classic Italian dessert. The luscious yet light cake is layered with marscapone cream and rum-soaked dark chocolate, topped with a selection of berries.

 

A Healthier, Fuss-Free Christmas Meal

Here's another reason to consider our suggestions: you can rest assured that by choosing Cedele you are treating your loved ones to a healthier Christmas meal.

At Cedele, we don't want our indulgences to be irresponsible. We choose to use organic unrefined sugar to make sure that our food is as natural and unprocessed as possible. We also don't use any trans fat in our food. Trans fat is hydrogenated vegetable oil used widely in the food industry because of its longer shelf life. Instead, we choose to use extra virgin olive oil and unsalted butter.

STILL FRETTING over your next Christmas gathering? Visit Cedele Market to view all our available options and save your time for the ones that truly matter.

 

WHEN WE THINK OF CHRISTMAS, our minds (and stomachs) often drift to thoughts of food and feasting. Have you ever wondered what people around the world have for Christmas? Here are some interesting stories of the many festive food traditions around the globe!

XmasTraditionsInfo  

Eggnog  (United States & Canada)

Eggnog is commonly consumed from the American Thanksgiving (fourth Thursday of November) through the end of the Christmas season. The rich and creamy dairy-based beverage is traditionally made with milk and/or cream, sugar, distilled spirits (brandy, rum or bourbon) and whipped eggs, which gives it a frothy texture. Its name is most likely a combination of two colonial slang words: rum was referred to as 'grog' and bartenders served it in small wooden mugs called 'noggins'. This Christmas, try our Eggnog Speculoos cheesecake, which incorporates this uniquely festive flavour.

eggnog cake Cedele's Eggnog Speculoos Cheesecake

Minced Pies (England)

For centuries in England, minced pies have been consumed as a Christmas treat. The original pies were much larger and contained a mix of sweet and savoury ingredients. However, the pies today are much smaller in size and are mostly sweet, making them a classic bite-sized treat.

Our version of the classic minced pie contains rich, boozy spiced fruit and rum. This year, we offer our frangipane apricot minced pie as an alcohol-free version, which contains a mix of fruit and nut in a tender almond pastry crust.

 

Radish Festival (Oaxaca, Mexico)

Every year, the city of Oaxaca in Mexico holds the Noche de Rábanos (or the Night of the Radishes) during its Christmas market on 23 December. Over-sized radishes are carved to create various scenes that compete for prizes. This tradition seems to have originated from the colonial period, when the priests first encouraged the carving of religious themes on radishes for the annual Christmas market. As a result, the carvings evolved into a marketing gimmick by farmers to attract customers before a formal radish carving competition was established by the mayor of Oaxaca in 1897.

 

Yule Log (France)

The Yule log, or the Bûche de Noël, is a traditional dessert served near Christmas time in France. Its history stretches back hundreds of years to an ancient time in Europe, when families would burn logs decorated with holly, pine cones or ivy, cleansing the air of the previous year's events and to usher in the spring. The tradition has since evolved to that of eating a log cake made of sponge cake with marzipan or meringue decorations.

logcakes

We are proud to offer three special log cakes this Christmas: our soft Berry Pistachio log cake, our gluten-free Chocolate Flourless Truffle log cake, and our Lychee Champagne Tiramisu log cake with champagne-spiked marscapone frosting.

 

Panettone (Italy)

The Panettone's origins date back to the Roman Empire, when ancient Romans sweetened a type of leavened cake with honey. The word "panettone" derives from the Italian word "panetto" meaning a small loaf cake. Served around Christmas time, the Milanese sweet bread loaf is traditionally filled with dried and candied fruits.

This year, we offer a fragrant twist to the classic Italian fruit bread with our Christmas Baby Lemon Panettone.

 

KFC (Japan)

KFC chicken is a must-have Christmas meal in Japan as a result of an ingenious Christmas marketing campaign in 1974 with the slogan “Kurisumasu ni wa kentakkii!” (Kentucky For Christmas!). During the festive season, long queues are expected at KFC outlets and Colonel Sanders dresses up as Santa Claus. As a result, KFC outlets now take their orders for "chicken barrels" two months in advance.

 

Kulkuls (India)

This traditional Christmas sweet combines Portuguese and Indian flavours and is native to Goa. Most Christian families prepare it a few days before Christmas, using simple ingredients like flour, egg, butter and sugar. Each kulkul is delicately prepared by rolling the dough on a comb-shaped fork or mold to form intricate curls before being deep fried.

 

Stollen (Germany)

Since the 15th century, the Stollen has symbolised the infant Jesus wrapped in swaddling clothes. It is traditionally baked during the advent using only flour, yeast, oil and water. Over the years, the recipe evolved to include sweeter ingredients, such as marzipan. It is also linked closely to the traditional fruit cakes of England.

Our traditional Stollen is a lightly-spiced buttery loaf with dried fruit soaked in dark rum and almond marzipan, finished with a delicate dusting of sugar.

WHAT ARE YOUR TRADITIONS for the Christmas season? We'll help you start some new ones with our festive spread! Head over to Cedele Market to purchase some traditional treats.

CAN YOU BELIEVE that December is just right around the corner? Despite our best efforts to stay on top of things, the holidays will soon sneak up on us and you'll be scrambling to think of the perfect gifts for Christmas.

Why not let us help you out?

After all, food is never the wrong gift - giving food that is both delicious and nourishing is a great way to let people know that you care for them. Scroll down to view five gift suggestions, to help make gifting easier this year.

 

1. A Classic Gift for your Classy Boss 

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May we suggest this buttery rich, aged fruitcake as a lovely end-of-the-year gift for your boss? Baked with the finest Belgian butter and unrefined dark Muscovado sugar, our Classic Aged Fruitcake is filled with rum-soaked fruits and topped with festive dried nuts.

 

2. A Useful Gift for the Baking Enthusiast 

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We've all got that one friend who regularly turns up to outings with handmade brownies or tasty chocolate chip cookies. Why not say thank you and fuel their habit by giving them our Baking Lab hamper? With great baking ingredients that include Matcha green tea powder, organic unrefined sugar and dark chocolate couverture buttons, this hamper is a baking enthusiast's delight. It also comes with a couple of our own recipes to help him/her get started.

 

3. A Wholesome Bundle for the Health Conscious

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For friends who are mindful about what they put in their bodies, our Wholesome Pantry hamper is a good choice. It contains healthy ingredients like organic black rice, dried wakame seaweed and extra virgin olive oil, which makes it easy for anyone to whip up a healthy, hearty meal.

 

4. The Perfect Complement to the Year-End Potluck Parties 

As the year winds down, you'll probably find yourself getting more invites to year-end gatherings with ex-colleagues, old schoolmates and extended family. Impress at these events by bringing along a tasty, family-friendly treat that everyone can share!

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Try our new Smoked Salmon & Spinach Quiche! Treat your friends and family to this savoury cheddar cheese pastry with a creamy filling of smoked salmon, spinach and cherry tomatoes.

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For something sweet, may we suggest our Berry Pistachio log cake? The soft pistachio cake is wrapped in pink berry frosting will make for an eye-catching dessert centerpiece.

 

5. A Yummy Treat for the Office Gift Exchange 

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Having trouble finding a Secret Santa gift for the annual office exchange? Our affordable Cookies + Tea Gift Pack contains a pair of cookies (double chocolate chip and cranberry oatmeal) neatly wrapped with a pair of citrusy mint tea bags.

Alternatively, you can gift a decadent box of our new Chocolate Matcha Sake Squares - the sweet treat is a perfect pairing of Matcha cookies and dark chocolate truffles together with a mix of sake-soaked cherries, black currants and raisins, topped with a layer of white chocolate and green tea lace.

Seen something you fancy? You can get all of the above gifts and more at our online Cedele Market. Visit the website to make your purchase and have your gift delivered to you (or your friend) in three days! Happy gifting!