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A Gastronomical Adventure

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Rosie | 12:22 UK time, Monday, 5 March 2012


Thanks for all your creative responses to last week's homework. The letters to the mouse really made me laugh! When we write an informal letter/email in English, we can start with:

Hi, Hello, Hey, Hiya!

Instead of writing the formal expression 'I look forward to...' we can write 'I can't wait to...': I can't wait to see you this weekend!

At the end of a formal letter we use expressions such as Kind regards or Yours sincerely. When we write to people we know well we can write: Speak soon, See you soon, See you later, Have a lovely day/evening/weekend. When we write to close friends or family we can end a letter/email with 'Lots of love'.


Krisztina, I'm sorry to hear you have mice too! You write: I think it is not too easy to find an 'animal-friendly' solution to this problem. In English, instead of putting the negative particle after the verb 'be' (it is not too easy), it usually goes with the first verb, in this case 'think': I don't think it's easy to find... So remember that when stating an opinion, the verb that expresses the opinion is negative.

Noel, it's interesting to define ethics. You write that 'people have strong arguments to belief in this way.' Remember that the verb is 'believe' and the noun is 'belief'. So here it should be 'people have strong arguments to believe in this way.' = They have strong beliefs.

Rajeeb, in your fun letter to the mouse, you wrote: So, why to wait, get in and have all the fun. Two small mistakes: it should be 'why wait' without 'to'. After 'why / why not' the preposition is not needed: Why not study some English today? And it should be 'have fun' or 'have lots of fun'.


Do you like to experience new things and try new foods? Last week a colleague at BBC Learning English brought in some coffee for us to try.

You might be thinking that drinking coffee is not exactly a new and uncommon experience. This, however, is no ordinary coffee. It comes from the droppings of animals called civets - animals that look like a cross between a cat and a ferret. So the coffee beans have been eaten and digested by these animals, then processed and sold for a lot of money: it's considered to be one of the most exclusive coffees in the world and can cost up to $800 per kilo! My initial reaction was that this must be some kind of joke: surely people don't pay that much money for coffee, especially not if it comes from faeces? Yuck! But I was intrigued to taste it to find out what all the fuss was about. At first I'm not convinced, can you tell by the expression on my face?

Not too sure about this...

Yummy! I'm a little surprised to discover that it tastes great. Apparently this is because the very best and juiciest coffee beans are chosen by the civets and then fermented in their stomach by special enzymes... giving the coffee a unique, soft, chocolaty, delicious flavour. I might not pay $800 for a kilo, but I'm glad I tried it!

What's the most unusual food or drink you've tasted? Are you adventurous when it comes to gastronomy?


To describe sensations we use the verbs: taste, feel, smell, look, sound. Here are some examples:

This coffee tastes great: I wouldn't have guessed it's been digested by a civet!

You look great today: I love your hairstyle.

It sounds like they're having fun, I can hear them laughing from here!

Now complete the following with the correct tense of these 'sense' verbs:

1) It _______ warm today. The sun is shining.
2) He _________ tired today. He probably went to bed late!
3) I tried to sing in the choir but I _________ terrible.
4) It _______ like burnt toast in here!
5) The coffee _________ a bit like chocolate.


gastronomical - related to eating good food
droppings / faeces - the waste of animals
a cross - a mixture
yuck! - an expression to show disgust
intrigued - curious
fermented - the sugar in a foodstuff changed due to a chemical process
what all the fuss is about - why it is so famous or why people talk about it
yummy! - an expression to show something tastes great


  • Comment number 1.

    Hiya everybody !!!
    I like tasting any kind of food or drinks no matter how bizarre them to look.
    I have eaten grasshoppers, ant´s eggs, nopal´s worms, maguey´s worms.
    You should taste them, They are mouth-watering! indeed.

    These are my answers;
    1 feels.
    2 looks.
    3 sounded
    4 smells
    5 tastes
    Sorry about my bad English.

  • Comment number 2.

    I love to taste all varieties of foods from different regions in the world. Each countries and regions have their own way of preparing and eating habits and i love to try out all these. Though i can say i am not an adventurous when it comes to gastronomy. Am not an eccentric to try all the living organism in this universe.

    1. feels
    2. look
    3. sounded
    4. smells
    5. tastes

  • Comment number 3.

    I think about mices had entered my cottage this winter, and it's difficult I'd taste that coffe from civet without a drink. Later I'd regret of lossing the opportunity.

  • Comment number 4.

    Hi Ms. Rosie,

    It's nice to see you again. Thank you for correcting my English. I appreciate it. I wish to know if the coffee really worth $800/ kilo? I am afraid of taking gastronomical adventures, you never know, anytime it may end up in a disaster. In China & Japan, they eat snake and octopus, but I can't even digest the thought of eating them. So, I am very naive in gastronomical matters, but I won't mind to give a try to something that I find less awkward. I never ate crab before, so recently I thought of giving it a try. I went to a sea-food restaurant and ordered some crabs. I won't say the taste was brilliant, but it was good enough to give a try.
    Regarding the answers to your homework, I agree with Tenocht, his/her answer seems appropriate to me.

    Thank you once again.

  • Comment number 5.

    Hello Rosie,

    It is very kind of you to correct my mistakes I made. Thank you and keep on doing it at any time if necessary.

    It might have been an exciting experience to taste a coffee from a 'special' origin.

    I am a moderate adventuorus tempered person with a healthy interesting for everything which is new for me. I love the seafoods as the French make and this affection is really curious in my country where there is no sea.

    Although the bizarre foods are much more interesting but as I experience in our present world finding healthy, non gene-manipulated and non-contaminated foods in the shops is one of the hardest things.
    Being as a practising pediatrician I can tell you that our youngsters are affected by the unhealthy diet and in many cases their physical and mental health are being damaged.

    I can't wait to read your next blog.

    Have a nice day for everyone.

    Krisztina from Hungary

  • Comment number 6.

    Hello Rosie

    1) It _feels______ warm today. The sun is shining.
    2) He __looks_______ tired today. He probably went to bed late!
    3) I tried to sing in the choir but I ___sounded______ terrible.
    4) It _smells______ like burnt toast in here!
    5) The coffee ___tastes______ a bit like chocolate.

  • Comment number 7.

    Hello once again,
    I reread your article and got desire to express my opinion for a such unusual sort of coffee. I am great lover of smelly and delicious coffee, unfortunately I never taste this kind of coffee, but as you say I will not refuse to taste it some day. However It sounds really ridiculous and causes some disgusting feelings to this great drink. I am ready to take a hazard on it. When I saw the report about it, I thought, It will be perfect to have such civets, actually their droppings are enormously expansive and precious than gold, why not to have them at home :-))))))))

    Thank you for a such funny theme.

  • Comment number 8.


    I hope you don't mind I post my poor english in here. It would be more nice if you have read a lot kinds of English Level Learners, especially a lower one as mine. For your topic I don't have much experience about it, all I have tasted are just a simply normal ones not so special. But it sounds to me big difficulty to taste something, especially if we know that it a kind of dropping from some animal. After I have checked out the production process inside digestive systems of a civet, I found out there are a lot of steps and very clean. That's why this kind of coffee is so expensive, I will have to taste it some day. I have done your homework as below:-


    Looking forward to hear from you,


  • Comment number 9.

    hello everyone
    i would like to say thank you for this topic , i don't have any problem whith foods i try all kinds of them and i like to discover a new tastes specially the different foods of the others countries but the strange foods i'm afraid at the start but i try i'm adventurous !!! and i like this .

  • Comment number 10.

    Hi Rosie!
    I really like your Blog, it´s very funny!
    Did you catch the little mice at last?

    Here it´s my homework:

    See you soon!
    Ariadna, from Argentina.

  • Comment number 11.

    Hi Rosie!!! Sorry but I'm Italian and I love eating only healthy food which pasta, fish and florence meat..

    1. feels
    2. look
    3. sounded
    4. smells
    5. tastes

    see you later

  • Comment number 12.

    Hello, Rosie =)
    I am Sumin from South Korea. I have been studying english from BBC Learning English, and I could learn a lot from this website.
    Acutally, I've never visited teacher's blog. But today, I visit your blog by chance and found your blog is very interesting and helpful for improving my english. Thank you !!!!

    And when it comes to gastronomical adventure, I am quite brave.(Can I put 'brave' to describe 'I like to eat something new and I am not afraid of taste of it.') For exapmle, I tasted a fried scorpion in China.(some people might think it's disgusting but it actually tasted good.!) And I also tasted a similar kind of coffee you mentioned above in Vietnam. It was droppings from squirrel and it was good but as you said, it was expensive. ^*^ !

    Oh, I finished ur homework when I read your posting.

    Have a nice day. =)

  • Comment number 13.

    Here are some corrections....

    Tenocht, you are very adventurous with food! You wrote: 'I like tasting any kind of food or drinks no matter how bizarre them to look.' This should be 'no matter how bizarre they look.' This is because 'they' is the subject of the sentence: 'them' would be used as the object: 'I ate them.'

    Gem, you write 'Each countries and regions'… remember that after 'each' the noun is singular, so this should be 'Each country and region'.

    Krisztina, you wrote 'Being as a practising pediatrician I can tell you…' In English we'd usually write: 'As a practising …' You don't need 'Being' here.

    Drsofiko, you tell us you would be willing to try the coffee: 'I am ready to take a hazard on it.' In English a more natural phrase here would be: 'I'm ready to try it / I'm ready to give it a go.'

    Jow, you write: 'It would be more nice…' In English when a noun has only one syllable, like 'nice', we add –er at the end to make it an adjective. So instead of writing 'more nice' it would be 'nicer'. Big = bigger, great = greater… but beautiful, which has more than one syllable = 'more beautiful'.

    Sumin – Yes, you can use 'brave' in this context. Fried scorpion? Wow!

    Ariadna… yes, I did catch the mouse this morning!

  • Comment number 14.

    I forgot to say well done for the correct answers to the homework:


    Hope to hear from you soon!


  • Comment number 15.

    Hello Rosie, 
    Most wired food I have tasted was rambutan. This fruit looks
     like meat of kalmar and have a sweet taste. It's sounds not very pleasant, isn't it?
    1. Feels
    2. Looks
    3. Sound
    4. Smells
    5. Tastes


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