London named world’s top vegetarian city, banning Christmas cookie decorations, more French wines under $30

London named world’s top vegetarian city, banning Christmas cookie decorations, more French wines under $30

Beware the bedazzled cupcake (Photo by Ilena) 

• How safe are dragées, those weird decorative silver balls that often find their way onto desserts during the holidays? The FDA suggests that they should be used only for decoration, and they’ve disappeared from California after a lawyer argued that the silver could build up toxicity in the body over time. We couldn’t help but wonder who would miss the gaudy garnishes, but some are apparently enamoured with them. “I think Christmas is going to have to come to an end,” said one melodramatic caterer of California’s dragée ban. “How can we decorate cookies without those silver balls?” [Epicurious]

• London, England, has been declared by PETA to be the most vegetarian-friendly city in the world, beating out New York, Melbourne and even Mumbai. PETA cited London’s pantheon of meat-free restaurants and its variety of meatless ethnic cuisine as reasons why it trumped all other cities. The famously vegetarian Paul McCartney lauded the decision: “After 40 years of touring as a vegetarian, I’m proud to say that when it comes to eating, there’s no place like home.” [Daily Telegraph]

• Writer Bella Bathurst finds out the hard way that it is nearly impossible to survive for a week on foraged food in central London (she’s forced to cheat by buying some bread, and at one point suggests she may start “hooking” for quiche), but she comes up with some interesting recipes nonetheless. How about acorn coffee, which is far less retch-inducing than expected? Or crabapple jelly? [Guardian]

• The French are finally stepping up their efforts to become competitive in the under-$30 wine category, the National Post reports. While the name of the estate or domaine was previously thought to be the best way to sell a wine, experts say that some French producers are beginning to make the grape “the most prominent feature on the label.” [National Post]

• While the number of people known to be suffering from celiac disease (an autoimmune disorder characterized by a severe reaction to wheat gluten) has quadrupled in recent years, the number of “gluten-sensitive” individuals is also skyrocketing. Some tout a gluten-free diet as a fast track to better health, and food producers from Whole Foods to Betty Crocker are jumping on the bandwagon. Too bad gluten-free is frequently synonymous with taste-free. [Maclean’s]