Shine On
  • ’Tis the season to impress dinner guests. 

    And while the winter holidays are the perfect time to throw a formal dinner party, for those of us who’ve never set a formal table, the task can seem pretty daunting.

    A formal setting can intimidate guests, too: “Which glass is mine?” “Is that your bread knife or mine?”

    Shine On asked Toronto-based etiquette writer and advisor Karen Cleveland for some help in navigating formal table settings. 

    Shine On: What makes a table setting a “formal” one?

    Cleveland: A “formal” table setting is really subjective, but a good gauge is that it is set for multiple courses.

    In mid-to-late nineteenth century, we started dining a la Russe, meaning that each type of food was served in its own course, and the table wasn’t reset between all of them. All the forks showed up on the table at once, and it was up to the hostess or butler to know which order the meal was coming out in so that the cutlery could be arranged accordingly. That began our (relatively modern)

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  • How does Starbucks create a new beverage?

    The latest holiday drink offering from Starbucks – the Chestnut Praline Latte – was recently released, and made a big buzz for being the first new holiday beverage they’ve released in five years.

    We were so taken with the new drink that we had to find out what goes into the making of one, so we spoke to Amy Dilger, a trained pastry chef who’s worked for the company for the last 15 years. She currently works in their beverage research and development lab and gave us the exclusive details on how the drink came to be.

    A Chestnut Praline Latte ready to be enjoyed. (Starbucks)A Chestnut Praline Latte ready to be enjoyed. (Starbucks)

    Yahoo Canada Shine: How does the team come up with ideas for new beverages or flavour combos?

    AD: Before we even start a project, we explore. We scan the world, the market place, speak with culinary and design friends, talk to our partners (employees), store managers and customers. As an R&D team, we scour the globe for ingredients, inspiration and trends and then we bring them back to the lab and see how they can work with our espresso.  

    It all starts with two shots of espresso. (Starbucks)It all starts with two shots of espresso. (Starbucks)

    YCS:  What does the process look

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  • It’s finally citrus season again. To celebrate, Sunkist has released a series of helpful citrus-hack videos: creative, time-saving ways to peel and prepare citrus fruits. 

    Watch them all above. 

    Those cute grapefruit bowls would be perfect for a holiday brunch.

    Sunkist advertising and public relations manager Joan Wickham also shared her top citrus tips with Shine On readers. 

    How to buy citrus:

    “Unlike some fruit, like stone fruit or bananas, for example, oranges are actually what’s called a non-climacteric fruit, which means they don’t ripen after they’ve been harvested. So our growers actually handpick every piece of fruit to make sure it’s ripe,” Wickham tells us. 

    “But in terms of what you should look for at the store, you should look for fruit that’s firm and heavy for its size and also with a bright, colourful skin. You want to avoid fruit that’s bruised or wrinkled or looks kind of discoloured. Because that will indicate that it might be old or it maybe hasn’t been stored

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