Red, Red Bread
By Alicia Roberts, The Satellite - November 2006
An everyday food staple is getting a facelift from an unlikely source - grape skins.
Mark Walpole is the innovator behind a new product called Vinifera For Life, a wine-based flour. He has incorporated grape skins as an ingredient in breads, creating a novel new product that's not only fun to look at and eat; it's good for you too.
"There are two parts to it here," says Walpole. "There's the romantic idea of having colourful and flavourful breads, and there's the functional foods side of helping to make lifestyle choices for health eating."
Walpole's curiosity began with the idea of the French paradox - the Europeans eat foods with higher fat quantities, don't exercise as much and yet still have good cardiovascular health. One leading explanation for this paradox is that Europeans drink more red wine than North Americans.
The red grape skins left after producing wine for consumption are a high source for resveratrol (a powerful antioxidant that can help in the fight against cardiovascular diseases), which may be why Europeans stay healthy.
The grape-skin-based product is high in resveratrol and is added to flour. Bakers can then use the flour in their recipes. Because different grape types are used for making various wines, the flavours of the powdery-flour additives also vary...creating many potential bread types.
"I don't want to be selling my bread to the world," says Walpole. "I want my ingredient to help influence how the world makes its bread, and so far it's been a very positive experience."
In the future, Walpole hopes to expand the use of the powder from bread to pasta, in countries all over the world.
Funding for this project was provided in part by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada through the Agricultural Adaptation Council's CanAdvance Program.