The New Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino Is Total Magic (Photo)

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By Cooking Panda

It’s here, ya’ll. It’s really, truly, finally here!

If you’ve been keeping up with online foodie news at all (or just happen to know a tween or two), you’ve probably heard that “unicorn”-themed foods and drinks have stolen the “rainbow”-themed crown and are now all the rage — which is probably why the mega-popular coffee chain Starbucks decided to cash in on the trend and debut its very own Unicorn Frappuccino.

Take a look at this beauty:

The blended beverage is only a limited time offering, and can be purchased at participating Starbucks stores in the U.S., Canada and Mexico from April 19 through April 23 (and that’s just while supplies last, folks). So if you don’t scamper down to your local Starbucks as soon as the doors open, you might not get to taste the splendor that is this magical drink.

So what does it taste like?

According to the press release, the Unicorn Frapp features a mixture of sweet pink powder blended into a creme Frappuccino with mango syrup as the base, which is then layered with a sour blue drizzle. The entire concoction is finished with vanilla whipped cream (yum!) and a sprinkle of sweet pink and sour blue powder topping.

The whole thing sounds like a legitimate fairytale for the taste buds, and wouldn’t look so bad on an Instagram feed, either.

What’s more, the Frappuccino comes with a spectacular feature sure to delight consumers: It actually changes colors!

“Like its mythical namesake, the Unicorn Frappuccino blended creme comes with a bit of magic, starting as a purple beverage with swirls of blue and a first taste that is sweet and fruity. But give it a stir and its color changes to pink, and the flavor evolves to tangy and tart. The more swirl, the more the beverage’s color and flavors transform.”

Personally, I can’t wait to see this thing in action. What do you think about the new drink?

Source: Starbucks / Photo Credit: Starbucks

Tags: coffee, food trend, Starbucks, unicorn, unicorn frappuccino
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Is Starbucks Releasing Unicorn Frappuccinos Soon (Photo)?

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By Cooking Panda

Are Unicorn-themed drinks and snacks the new Rainbow viral food trend?

The answer is … maybe! After a user on Reddit posted a photo of what they called a “Unicorn Frappuccino,” many on the internet are speculating that the food industry is about to really start pushing the whole unicorn thing, perhaps in a bid to appeal to a slightly younger, more malleable foodie crowd.

We’re talking tweens and the like.

One Reddit user speculates that the drink likely features a white mocha cream-based Frappuccino, with the addition of mango and a new, bright pink powder that Starbucks employees allegedly have received also in the mix. Next, all ingredients are blended, poured into a cup, topped with mango, then topped with whipped cream, and finally finished off with a sprinkle of “blue unicorn dust.”

By the way, I’m serious when I type that out. Another Redditor already took a photo (which has been removed, unfortunately) and that blue vial is actually labeled “Unicorn Dust” and purportedly tastes sour. 

If shipments are already coming in with all of this dust and all of this speculation, I’d say it’s highly likely that the new Unicorn Frappuccino is probably all slated to debut at participating Starbucks locations sometime before June 2017. If you ask me, 4/20 would probably be a good time for it to launch.

However, according to this Instagram account, the Frappuccinos really are all set to launch between April 19-April 23, and judging from this bird’s-eye view of the drinks, they are just as gorgeous and magical as they sound.

Forget tweens. This adult is definitely going to be first in line to get her hands on one of these blended drinks!

Source: Reddit (1) / Photo Credit: Reddit, Hiro Allen-Pope/Instagram

Tags: food trend, instagram, Starbucks, unicorn dust, unicorn frappuccino
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Dominique Ansel’s Tokyo Bakery Is Straight Magic (Video)

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By Cooking Panda

Have you heard of Dominique Ansel Bakery?

You probably have, especially if you’re somebody who keeps up with food trends and viral treats. The bakery is perhaps most famously known for its cronuts, but it is constantly pumping out an assortment of Instagram-ready treats and drool-worthy concoctions.

The chain has opened up its second Tokyo location inside a mega-store called Mitsukoshi Ginza. And while it is obviously offering up many of the same items that made the outposts in New York and Japan super popular, it is also going to offer some new delectable specials exclusive to Ginza.

For instance, check this out:

What you just saw is a Zero Gravity Chiffon Cake — a cake that the chain wrote is so light that it actually has the ability to go airborne with the help of a helium-filled balloon.

Not tempted by that? What about these?

These adorable little puppies are actually Roasted Tomato Hot Dog Buns. Made with a soft bread (you can tell just by looking at the photo) and stuffed with roasted tomatoes, onions, some mustard and, of course, a hot dog, these pups are also exclusive to Ginza.

As always, Dominique Ansel is delivering on both taste and innovation, and it’s safe to bet that in the weeks to come, even more new twists on old classics will probably be revealed!

Source: Dominique Ansel Bakery/Instagram (2) / Photo Credit: Dominique Ansel Bakery/Instagram

Tags: dominique ansel bakery, food trend, roasted tomato hot dog bun, tokyo bakery, zero gravity chiffon cake
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This Magical Snow Lemonade Is Truly Sensational (Video)

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By Cooking Panda

For those of us stuck in the Northeast right now, Storm Stella is making everything cold and icy sound pretty awful — everything except for this new treat.

Of course, the treat in question is offered in California, at a restaurant called Cafe Maji, and it is coming hard after all previous viral food trends to reign supreme as the coolest (literally) of them all.

Cafe Maji has created something called Snow Lemonade. Essentially, its a lemonade drink topped with a huge tuft of candy floss (yum) that melts back into your drink magically just like snow when you pour liquid on top of it.

Seriously. You just pour some tea on top and watch the candy combine and deflate into your lemonade, thus sweetening the final beverage.

I know it sounds kind of silly, but the effect is actually really cool and is sure to impress all of your online foodie Instagram friends.

Cotton candy lemonade ????

A post shared by ?Honey Kitten? (@_lexieloks) on

Additionally, some of the drinks use butterfly pea flower extract. What this does is make the drinks actually change color as the tea is added and the candy floss melts.

Snow Lemonade looks like it belongs in Hogwarts!

Earl gray lemonade ?? ??

A post shared by Jazmin H. (@jammin_swirls) on

Metro also reports that Cafe Maji is going a step beyond their already fabulous creation, and is offering patrons a similarly sensational product: the Snow Affogato.

It’s a vanilla ice cream dish that is topped with — you guessed it — candy floss. Just pour some coffee on top and watch the snow melt into a cozy, cool and lush dessert.

What do you think? Do you want to give these ultra swanky products a try?

Source: Metro / Photo Credit: Sandy L/Instagram

Tags: cafe maji, food trend, melting beverage, snow affogato, snow lemonade
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The Japanese Rain Drop Cake Just Got Catified

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By Cooking Panda

Does it get any more adorable than this?

Foodies will remember the Japanese water rain drop cake that had so many people ooh-ing and ahh-ing over on social media — it looked like a cross between a silicone breast implant and an impossibly gorgeous edible delight.

Trust a real artist to transform an already incredible concept into something adorable and kitten-like; however, Rocket News 24 reports that Kinseiken’s mizu Shingen mochi has been transformed from its original version into a kitten by Twitter user Mithiruka.

Check it out (below):

According to Rocket News 24, Mithiruka used a recipe for the water cake that was posted on a Japanese cooking site called Cookpad; however, they used a silicone mold that they purchased from a MUJI store in order to make sure the cake took on this whimsical form.

We just think it is so inventive and cute!

Do you think you’d prefer to eat this cake in its original form, or in its feline form?

Sources: Rocket News 24 / Photo Credit: Mithiruka/Twitter

Tags: cat cake, food trend, japanese water cake, rain drop cake, viral food
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The Latest Food Trend? Chocolate Cake For Breakfast

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By Cooking Panda

Like you really need an excuse to eat cake for breakfast.

The presumably super fashionable and cultured experts over at Sterling-Rice Group predict that dessert for breakfast — yes, like cake — is going to become a thing, according to Food Business News.

The reason why? Besides the fact that, simply, it’s delicious, a couple of new studies back it up. One, a Tel Aviv University study determined that eating dessert with breakfast encourages weight loss.

The other study, from Syracuse University, found that dark chocolate has a ton of benefits on cognitive function. The researchers say the sweet helps with things like abstract reasoning, memory and focus, which can be pretty hard to come by in the mornings, as we have found through non-scientific anecdotal research.

“The thought was eating chocolate prepares you more for your workday, so what better day part to incorporate dark chocolate into your meal than breakfast?” said Liz Moskow, culinary director at Sterling-Rice Group.

Honestly, even if there was no research to support it, we could still go for a big slice of German chocolate pretty much every morning.

“Combining those two studies and the likeability of having dessert for breakfast, we predict that breakfast might start seeing brunch amuse-bouche chocolate cakes or brunch and breakfast restaurants incorporating a robust dessert menu,” Moskow added.

A breakfast high in carbs and protein and including sweets could help keep us full throughout the day and keep our sweet tooth cravings at bay, said researcher Dr. Daniela Jakubowicz of Tel Aviv University, according to LiveScience.

Still, as with any good ideas, there are some haters.

“I would never, in a million years, recommend cookies or cake for breakfast,” said nutrition writer and registered dietitian Katherine Tallmadge, whom we won’t be inviting to brunch any time soon (sorry Katherine).

But as long as you account for your calories like the study did (the morning sweets eaters consumed the same amount of calories as the control group), there’s a chance it could help you out, as long as you eat enough food throughout the day to keep you full.

“The last thing you want to do is get to an evening meal, and be starving,” said nutrition consultant and spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Heather Mangieri. “That’s the time that so many people overeat.”

Don’t wait for that cake.

Sources: Food Business News, LiveScience / Photo credit: Eliseo Silla Jr./Instagram

Tags: cake for breakfast, chocolate cake breakfast, food trend, health benefits chocolate, nutrition breakfast
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Ramen Ice Cream Is Real, And It Is Absolutely Gorgeous

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By Cooking Panda

I don’t know what it is about ramen that inspires so much culinary creativity, but I hope it doesn’t stop anytime soon.

While most of us are still reeling over the wild creation that is the ramen burger, the folks over at The Dessert Kitchen in New York have created ice cream ramen — and it actually looks delicious.

Per Metro, the dessert contains neither ice cream nor ramen; rather, the dessert is made with crushed ice mixed with condensed milk, which gives it a sort of ice cream-like consistency, and then jelly noodles, which look enough like ramen noodles (albeit neon blue ones) that the name gets a pass.

New dinner(dessert) spot tonight??? pc:@feedyourgirlfriend #spoonfeed #spoonbaruch

A photo posted by Spoon University at Baruch (@spoon_baruch) on

Additionally, ice cream ramen features mochi, balled melon, cubed mango and white peach syrup.

Does that make it healthy? No? Who cares when it’s this pretty to look at.

Source: Metro / Photo credits: queenkwon/Instagram, Angeliki Jackson/Today

Tags: food trend, ice cream, New York City, ramen
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Bad News, Coconut Lovers: The Caribbean Is Running Out Of Your Favorite Fruit

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By Cooking Panda

We all know the old saying: If you love something, let it go. And in this case, we’re looking at you, coconut-enthusiasts, because all your Vita Coco chugging and coconut-oil cooking habits have depleted the Caribbean of its coconut supply.

Per Bloomberg, the region’s experts actually flat out warned Americans that because of storms, droughts and more, entire farms have been wiped out. Because growers have not invested in new trees or fertilizers to counteract these losses, Caribbean plantations have shrunk about 17 percent since 1994, according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization.

“It’s fair to say that at this pace, the Caribbean is running out of coconuts,” Compton Paul, coordinator of a regional coconut initiative at the Trinidad-based Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute, told Bloomberg.

In addition to the above hurtles (and menacing threats like Lethal Yellowing disease), the demand for coconuts is also astronomically high; Starbucks can’t even keep it in stock as a milk alternative, and with the artist Rihanna touting coconut water as her sports drink of choice, it truly is the new “It” fruit. The problem is that coconuts aren’t being farmed correctly anymore, even though the industry is slated to surpass $4 billion by 2019, according to Grub Street.

Dioni Siri, who owns his own trees and also buys from farmers in Nagua on the Dominican Republic’s north coast, suggests that coconuts are getting picked too early, and aren’t up to scratch.

“It’s not good enough,” Siri told Bloomberg. “Our biggest problem is that the farmers aren’t growing enough quality coconuts.”

Adds Vilma Da Silva, a farmer who started focusing on coconuts-for-water exports after the industry became lucrative: “We want to get into more international markets and export more but there aren’t enough farms to buy from.”

Melvin Bautista, who owns Coco Express del Caribe, one of the leading domestic coconut-water brands in the Dominican Republic says, however, there is only one solution to the problem.

“Start planting more coconuts,” he tells Bloomberg.

Fans of the fruit stateside, you better hope his advice is heeded — and soon!

Sources: Bloomberg, Grub Street / Photo credit: Coconut Board

Tags: caribbean, coconuts, food trend, shortage
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There’s A Scientific Reason Behind The Internet’s Rainbow Food Obsession

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By Cooking Panda

It has been evident for some time now: The rainbow has made a comeback in the food community.

It all started in Brooklyn with the now ubiquitous rainbow-bagel; later, Hong Kong gave us its best psychedelic grilled cheese; next, a barista in Las Vegas introduced his multi-hued morning brews to Instagram — clearly, the demand for colorful consumables is at an all-time high.

But why?

As explained by the Washington Post, the rainbow phenomenon is all the more perplexing because today’s shoppers claim to be more invested than ever in seeking out whole, natural foods.

A 2015 study by Consumer Reports shows that approximately 62 percent of shoppers seek out foods labeled “natural.” Additionally, 48 percent marked that they thought it was “very important” to avoid artificial ingredients — that’s 17-percentage points higher than the 2014 folks. These statistics seem to suggest that for many shoppers, natural foods are in, and artificially flavored and colored products are on their way out. So why does every new polychromatic food item end up going viral on the web?

Science Says: It all has to do with how our brains relate to color.

According to a 2015 study in the journal Flavour, people are apt to associate particular colors with different tastes. For example, a significant amount of the people surveyed associated reds, pinks and oranges with sweet tastes, but documented greens and yellows as having more sour tastes. 

Therefore, it’s possible that people are gravitating toward rainbow cuisine for the same reason people choose the everything bagel — for the potential flavor-bomb.

“More often than not, we taste what we see,” Charles Spence, a professor of experimental psychology at Oxford, told Gizmodo over e-mail.

Another theory has to do with good ol’ enchantment. As Eater reports, a 2014 scientific review in Appetite demonstrated that colorful foods stave off boredom — the more color you see on your plate, the more you are encouraged to continue chowing down. This suggests that for some people, consuming colorful foods provides a dose of entertainment, much like watching a good episode of television: it’s just more fun to slurp down a multicolored shot of caffeine in the morning than a typical cup of brown.

In any case, enjoy the mass availability of rainbow edibles while you still can. In the end, it is just another food fad — albeit a very pretty one.

Sources: Washington PostConsumer ReportsFlavor Journal, GizmodoEaterAppetite via NIH.gov / Photo credits: Foodista, Eva Chen/Facebook via Eater, Instagram/ibrewcoffee, Instagram/hkfoodiexblogger, Andrew Kelsalldes

Tags: food trend, rainbow food, science, Viral
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