Champagne declared healthy, Adam Platt picks the best tinned soups, least popular holiday chocolates

Champagne declared healthy, Adam Platt picks the best tinned soups, least popular holiday chocolates

Best of broth worlds: ranking canned soups (Photo by Pablo Diaz) 

• ’Tis the season for warm, hearty food—even canned soup. New York’s chief restaurant critic, Adam Platt, does a blind taste test of two dozen store-bought varieties. His discerning palate can tell right away which one is Campbell’s (“It’s immediately synthetic and metallic”), and his favourites remind him of childhood (“It makes me want to crumble up crackers in it, watch Leave It to Beaver, cry, punch my brother and stay home from school”). The winner: Wolfgang Puck Organic Classic Tomato With Basil. [New York Magazine]

• German researchers have found that, with some strategic backlighting, wine drinkers can be tricked into thinking their white wine tastes better than it does. Tipplers in an environment with red background lighting perceived their wine to be 1.5 times sweeter, and those in a blue-lit room were willing to shell out an extra euro for the same beverage. Just what we need: another reason for bar owners to overuse cheesy lighting (and higher prices). [Telegraph]

• The National Post’s Jane MacDougall holds a “semi-annual” macaroni and cheese smackdown (or, more precisely, “macdown”). In this year’s event, the winner unwittingly bends the rules, using penne instead of the mandated elbow macaroni, but was nonetheless deemed the victor by a landslide. Many attributed the win to the use of whipping cream. Check out the winning recipe here. [National Post]

• Researchers at Reading University have found that champagne is full of polyphenols: plant chemicals thought to widen blood vessels, easing strain on the heart and brain. The health-boosting chemical is also found in tea, olive oil, blueberries and broccoli, among other fruits and vegetables. The benefit of consuming the other foods that contain polyphenols is the same, says a doctor who participated in the study, “But it doesn’t seem as much fun somehow.” [Daily Mail]

• The Guardian does an “investigation” into boxed chocolate (meaning they passed boxes of chocolates to co-workers around the office) to find out which varieties would be the least popular. The most unwanted chocolates, it seems, are those with citrus flavours: lemon classic crème, orange sensation and tangy orange crème. [Guardian]