Add a touch of Italian with some bocconcini.
- Bocconcini are a type of cheese – a fairly soft, mild-tasting Italian mozzarella with a little sweetness, made from curd.
- The term ‘bocconcini’ is from the Italian language and translates as ‘little mouthfuls’, while ‘bocconcino’ is the singular form of the word.
- Bocconcini were originally produced solely from water buffalo milk, however, in modern times cow’s milk is often added to the mix or used alone.
- The colour of bocconcini are white or creamy white, and they are small and roundish in shape, having a similar appearance to peeled hardboiled eggs.
- Bocconcini are made by stretching and kneading hot curd, which is then formed into small balls.
- Bocconcini are typically stored and sold commercially in either whey or water to help maintain freshness, and should not be stored for long periods, though their life can be extended to three weeks if the water is salted and changed regularly.
- Bocconcini are to some extent stretchy in consistency as well as somewhat springy to touch, and they easily take on other flavours.
- Italy’s city of Naples in Europe is believed to be the original home of bocconcini, in the 500s AD, before it began being produced elsewhere.
- Bocconcini are commonly eaten in salads, on crackers, and in pastas, frequently accompanied with olives and/or tomatoes, and they are also used as a melting cheese.
- Bocconcini are high in calcium, and are a good source of vitamin A and protein, and they have significant levels of cholesterol.
Svalbard Global Seed Vault is a backup for even a doomsday!
- The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is a facility that stores seed samples in a secure vault in a mountain not far from the town of Longyearbyen on Spitsbergen, a remote northern island of Europe’s Norway.
- The Svalbard Global Seed Vault was built as a backup for worldwide flora, particularly crops, in the case of a natural disaster, war, disease or other phenomena wiping out a certain seed or crop plant, or a whole seed bank.
- Three organisations manage the Svalbard Global Seed Vault – the Norwegian Government, the Global Crop Diversity Trust and NordGen (Nordic Genetic Resource Center).
- The construction of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault first commenced in mid 2006, a day commemorated by the Finnish, Danish, Swedish, Icelandic and Norwegian prime ministers laying down the first brick; and the building was complete and had its official opening on the 26th February 2008.
- The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is named after the archipelago ‘Svalbard’, of which the Spitsbergen island where the vault is located is a part, and the site was chosen for its natural preservation characteristics of sub-zero ground temperatures; a structurally stable environment; and significant height above sea level.
- At the entrance face and the roof of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, there is an illuminated artwork which includes reflective metals to aid visibility from a distance; and the vault covers an area of around 1,000 square metres (10,764 square feet) and sits at an elevation of 130 metres (427 feet).
- The Svalbard Global Seed Vault cost a total of US $9 million, which was financed solely by the Norwegian Government, and the building is said to be safe from nuclear bomb threats, earthquakes and other major catastrophes.
- Norway does not own the seed contents of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, as it works much like a bank safety deposit box, in that whoever deposits the seeds, owns the seeds.
- In 2015, there were around 5100 species over 860,000 samples, where a sample consists of around 500 individual seeds, in the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, and this figure grows each year, while the facility has the space to accommodate 4.5 million varieties or 2.5 billion seeds.
- The Svalbard Global Seed Vault was constructed under the initiative of American Carly Fowler, an agriculturalist, in conjunction with the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research.
These gooseberry facts certainly won’t lead you on a wild goose chase!
- Gooseberries are a type of edible fruit related to currants, and they are native to Africa, Europe, and North America.
- There are two main species of gooseberry that are grown – the European with the scientific name Ribes uva-crispa (sometimes called Ribes grossularia), and the American, that has the scientific name Ribes hirtellum, both of which are from the family Grossulariaceae, a family of flowering and edible currants.
- American gooseberries are generally smaller but less susceptible to fruit-damaging mildew than the European varieties, that are generally bigger and have more flavour, though the two species have been bred together to improve outcomes, and numerous varieties have been produced.
- Gooseberries typically grow on a thorny bush, that reaches approximately 1.5 metres (5 feet) in height.
- A gooseberry is often a green colour with light coloured stripes, but it can be red, yellow, purple, black and white, depending on the species and variety, and it usually contains many small edible seeds in the flesh of the fruit.
- Gooseberries are commonly eaten fresh; but they can also be cooked in pies, crumbles and other desserts; into a sauce; in jam; and used to flavour beverages.
- When picked fully ripe, gooseberries can be quite sweet, and when they are picked prematurely they are usually somewhat tart, however, they are often picked early for commercial purposes, as the unripe fruit has greater storage times, and sour fruit are commonly used in cooking.
- Gooseberries were of great popularity around the 1800s and early 1900s, especially in Britain, though in the United States of America, a fungal bacteria carried by the plant had begun infesting native pines, so many states initiated bans on the cultivation of the berry.
- A gooseberry is usually ovoid or spherical in shape, generally ranging from 1 to 2.5 centimetres (0.5 to 1 inch) or more in length or diameter.
- Gooseberries are very high in vitamin C, high in fibre and a good source of manganese, potassium and vitamin A.
Brandenburg Gate is a symbol and landmark of many things, as decided by history.
- Brandenburg Gate is a large gateway that consists of five openings, that spans across the entrance to a public square, that is now called the ‘Pariser Platz’, in Berlin, Germany not far from what once was the city palace.
- ‘Brandenburg Gate’ is known as ‘Brandenburger Tor’ in the German language and it was historically the beginning of the road from Berlin to Brandenburger.
- The Brandenburg Gate is one of the eighteen original gates of the ‘Berliner Zoll- und Akzisemauer’, or in English – ‘Berlin customs and excise wall’, which surrounded Berlin, and is the only gate still in place.
- The construction of the Brandenburg Gate was authorised by Prussian king, Friedrich Wilhelm II (Frederick William II), built from 1788 to 1791, replacing a simple pre-existing structure, and the new gate was to symbolise peace.
- Extensive damage was inflicted upon the Brandenburg Gate as a result of ammunition during World War II, and together in 1956 to 1957, East and West Berlin restored the gate.
- The Brandenburg Gate was effectively closed for almost 30 years, after the Berlin Wall that divided East Berlin and West Berlin, was completed in 1961, and it was re-opened in 1989 and later renovated from 2000 to 2002, with private funds.
- Originally vehicles travelled through the Brandenburg Gate; however, since 2002 the road has only been open to foot traffic, and as such has been paved with cobblestone.
- Brandenburg Gate reaches an approximate height of 26 metres (85 feet) and spreads 65.5 metres (215 feet) in width.
- A statue is located on the top of the Brandenburg Gate, known as the Berlin Quadriga, which depicts the goddess of peace or victory in a chariot drawn by four horses, which was placed there in 1793, and was once stolen by Napoléon Bonaparte.
- The Brandenburg Gate was designed by Prussian architect Carl Gotthard Langhans, in the Greek revival neoclassical style, and it is decorated with bas-relief, and has twelve columns.
Mont Saint-Michel would have been a terror of a fortress.
- Mont Saint-Michel is an islet that contains a monastery, a village, and a fortification, situated roughly 600 metres (0.4 miles) away from the coast of France’s Normandy, in Europe.
- Mont Saint-Michel sits at the mouth of the Couesnon River, and was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979, as well as the surrounding area, and due to its unique location and historical significance, it is visited by around 2.5 million people each year, making it the most popular tourist site in France outside of Paris.
- ‘Mont Saint-Michel’ is also known as ‘Mont St-Michel’, and ‘Le Mont St-Michel’ in French, and is translated into English as ‘Saint Michael’s Mount’; and the island is now mainly a tourist attraction and includes accommodation, restaurants, shops, and other facilities for visitors, though it still houses a community of nuns and monks.
- Originally, Mont Saint-Michel was the site of a Gallo-Roman settlement from 500s to 600s AD, and was called ‘Mont Tombe’ at the time, and in the 1840s and 1850s it was home to more than 1,000 people, while in 2015, its population was 50.
- Legend says that the first church of Mont Saint-Michel was built under the orders of the bishop Saint Aubert, early in the 8th century, but only after ignoring the instructions of Archangel Michael on a number of occasions, who is said to have commissioned the building, and subsequently had a hole burnt into his skull.
- Before modern times, Mont Saint-Michel was of strategic importance as it was only accessible at the quick-changing low tide, which meant that most attacking garrisons would drown or be forced to retreat.
- In later centuries, due to a number of reasons including the building up of a causeway, silt began to mound around Mont Saint-Michel; however in 2006 a project was initiated by the government to restore the site using a hydraulic dam, and ridding the area of unnatural impediments, to enable the tides to flush out the silt naturally.
- A bridge was completed in 2014, which connects the mainland to Mont Saint-Michel, and during a supertide in March 2015, the bridge became fully submerged.
- To reach the top of the abbey of Mont Saint-Michel, which was built and expanded upon from the 11th to the 16th centuries, one is required to ascend approximately 900 steps.
- The island of Mont Saint-Michel covers an area of approximately 5 hectares (12.6 acres), with a natural height of around 80 metres (262 feet).
Prskalo Waterfall is one powerful sprinkler.
- Prskalo Waterfall is a unique waterfall located in the Kučaj Mountains in the eastern area of Serbia, Europe, in the Nekudovo River Valley.
- The name ‘Prskalo’ in reference to the Prskalo Waterfall, can be translated as ‘splashed’ in the native language.
- Prskalo Waterfall is known for its towering tapered cliff-like shape, that drops water through a small channel.
- Prskalo Waterfall is quite isolated, accessible only by venturing through a rough deserted forest road.
- A small spring located upstream provides the water for Prskalo Waterfall, and despite the waterfall’s small size, the water that drops has a quite powerful force.
Disclaimer: image found online and assumed public domain
- The appearance of Prskalo Waterfall cliff is often compared to a large man-made artistic structure, due to its unusual narrow cliff form, with the waterfall situated centrally at the end.
- Prskalo Waterfall is located at an elevation of approximately 760 metres (2493 feet) and is approximately 17 kilometres (10.6 miles) from the closest sealed road.
- Layers of limestone rock, known as ‘tufa’, forms the majority of the natural structure that is Prskalo Waterfall.
- The height of the Prskalo Waterfall is between 12 and 15 metres (39 to 49 feet).
- In winter, Prskalo Waterfall freezes over, while in early spring and after rain there is much more water flowing in the fall, and in summer it generally has less water.