This is where we talk about BookCulinaryVacations.com and culinary travel. We like to share recipes, culinary events, cooking schools, cooking trends, culinary destinations, and interesting articles from travelers and locals worldwide. The main language of the blog is English and we publish fresh articles every few days, so check back soon.
I’ll admit it: I’m a bit of a coffee fanatic. It’s the first thing I need when getting up in the morning and it’s also my go-to in the afternoon when I need a bit of a boost. But, it’s not just the caffeine content that I love. Talk to any barista that has dedicated years of their life to coffee, and you’ll start to understand how this humble bean can root itself in your memories, relationships and your creative pursuits. I say this not to pontificate, but to draw attention to the fact that coffee is much more than just a quick buzz.
My love for Greece dates back to my first years as a freelance writer and was a direct result of my years working in a travel agency. My job used to involve meeting and talking to service providers in Greece. It didn’t take very long for me to fall in love with the country and, once I set foot there myself, my love became even deeper.
Did you know that about 1.6 billion cups of coffee are consumed in the world every day?
Most of us ‘geek out’ on coffee daily but never realized the reasons behind it. People all over the world enjoy coffee, and for many, it is their ‘go-to’ drink. Sometimes, there’s simply nothing as amazing as enjoying cup coffee accompanied by good music, especially on a first date. That said, sipping coffee in a café or a restaurant is not the only way one can enjoy the full taste of this incredible drink.
The snow is melting, the flowers are starting to bloom, and the farmer markets are starting to burst with fresh produce. Spring is around the corner and the buzz of the new season gets all of us excited! For us, there’s simply not better way to kick off this delightful season than with a culinary vacation!
Confession time: I have never been a fan of breakfast. In the best case, “breakfast” to me meant a cup of black coffee before heading out to classes or, later, before I start to write. Sometimes, “breakfast” actually ended up being “lunch” because I would end up eating my first meal after the clock strikes noon. That’s basically how my eating habits have been since my University years.
Are you looking for awesome ideas to help you plan your next great adventure? In order to truly make the most of your travels, keep in mind that you can only grow and enrich your life by doing something you have yet to try. So instead of setting yourself up for yet another touristy sight-seeing trip, why not try something different for a change?
With so many things to do in a day, many of us are left with very little time to cook. So if you’re looking for quick and easy home cook meal ideas, on this post, Mamma Ornella of Villa La Rogaia is sharing an incredibly simple pork roast recipe that makes a delicious dinner to be enjoyed with family and friends.
While almonds have a high content of antioxidants and a lot of nutritional benefits, you might not want to supplement your diet or healthcare program with handful after handful of raw nuts. Fortunately, almonds are highly versatile. They can be used in a huge number of dishes, from western chickens to eastern style stir fries and curries.
In this digital era, posting and sharing photos of food on the web and/or social media platforms is considered the norm. Whether it is sharing their own food creations or dining out at a hip and happening restaurant, self-proclaimed food lovers always make the time to update and share their food posts to their friends, families and even strangers!
Another year has come and gone, leaving quite a lot of useful lessons for everyone. And we, at BookCulinaryVacations.com, learned – more than ever before – that it’s important to find joy in the simplest of things – especially when it comes to food. Whether it’s whipping out our favorite dishes, discovering a new recipe or exploring a charming farmers’ market, as food lovers, we adore it all.
“There is no love sincerer than the love of food.” – George Bernard Shaw
Good food creates memories, and makes the heart grow fonder. Food is an intimate affair and many couples make it a big part of their travels. Whether you plan to head to the beach together, explore a cultural destination, or plan a weekend getaway, finding a destination which offers excellent food choices and romantic things to do may be a bit challenging.
Affordable culinary destinations are an excellent choice for travelers that don’t really enjoy luxury travel. But, on the other hand, they want to get the most out of their vacation and experience interesting things to do while not burning holes in their pockets. Don’t think it’s possible? Think again!
Did you know that there are more than 200 million food blogs out there? And a lot of them are pretty amazing. If you haven’t figured out by now, we love to scour the world wide web to find food blogs that make us drool onto our keyboards (rhetorically AND literally). Afterall, somebody has to do the ‘grunt’ work, right?. Lucky for you, we decided to put our heads together to come up with a list of our top 50 favorite food blogs!
Gone are the days when travelers were looking only to tick off sights from a travel guide. Now it’s all about experiences, and in particular, culinary experiences.
In a survey by BookCulinaryVacations.com, where more than 300 travelers were asked about their travel habits in the summer of 2016 and 15% of respondents said their next vacation would most likely be a culinary focused experience!
Italy is heaven for foodies. However, it is also easy to fall into a tourist restaurant in places like Rome, Florence, or Venice and have a meal that might have been better at an American-Italian restaurant.
If you’re looking to experience authentic traditional food and drink in Italy, there are both well-known and off-the-beaten-path destinations to add to your itinerary.
If there's one thing to be learned from a lifetime spent traveling and enjoying good food from all cultures and countries, it's that foods cooked on a stick hold universal appeal no matter where you roam. There's hardly an inhabited place to be found on this planet that doesn't count some sort of skewered delight among the hallmarks of its cuisine. Aside from the fact that bite-sized food just tastes better, expediency and convenience are usually the main draws with edibles of this nature. They can be eaten quickly, don't require table setting or flatware in order to enjoy them, and are so easy to transport that one can even eat while walking!
Let’s face it, we’re all busy. It appears that being busy is the ‘plague’ of the 21st century. So, it’s no wonder that many of us are constantly looking for ways to speed up various tasks – including cooking. But alas, speeding up the cooking process in the kitchen isn’t always an easy task. That said, just because you can’t really cut down vegetable cooking times, or decrease the time it takes to bake a pie doesn’t mean that you can’t become more efficient in the kitchen!
Claire and Rosemary of Authentic Food Quest have a mission that we at BookCulinaryVacations.com can’t help but believe in. Through their globetrotting adventures, they’ve set their eyes on transforming travelers’ experience through the discovery and knowledge of authentic foods. These lovely ladies have lived in Chicago, Paris and Los Angeles and have visited a total of 27 countries and 29 states in the U.S thus far. These days, they’re living it up as digital nomads discovering authentic food all around South America and South Asia and sharing plenty of delectable discoveries with their readers along the way.
One of the most beautiful and culturally rich European countries,Greece has always charmed us. The birthplace of democracy, the capital of Athens is a mix of old and new, with a heavy sprinkle of Greek hospitality. Pristine beaches, rugged mountains, monasteries which seem to float in the sky, and mouth-watering dishes, all come together to create the Greece we love to explore.
Ask travelers what their ideal holiday looks like and you get an array of answers. Some may enjoy the day at a beach on a tropical island, others may love to explore bustling cities, or cycle through incredible scenery. Romantics may want to ride horses on a deserted beach and foodies love going on a street four tour.
If you’re a wine and travel enthusiast, chances are, you’ve already made your way to France, Spain and/or Italy on a wine-themed holiday. If you be looking for a new destination that offers excellent wine, why not consider Bulgaria? Here are 7 great reasons that ought to convince you!
Cooking is an activity that is often viewed as fun and relaxing so it’s no surprise that many food lovers around the globe consider it as one of their favorite hobbies! That said, others may prefer to cook for a variety of reasons such as: to maintain a healthier lifestyle, to lose some weight, or to save money by preparing their own fresh meals at home instead of dining out.
Admittedly, we at BookCulinaryVacations.com would salivate over the mere thought of Thai food! We adore the myriad of exciting flavors harmonized within each Thai dish. Afterall, who could ever say “no” to the experience of having sweet, salty, spicy, and sour flavors all on a single plate?
For many food lovers, Anthony Bourdain may just have one of the coolest jobs ever. He gets to explore different countries, learn about their culture, meet interesting people, and constantly enjoy tons of scrumptious food. Though we’re more than envious, it’s fair to say that Bourdain deserves to have his awesome job. He appears to have his very own ‘super power’ that help us comprehend why food is one of the most important elements in creating a true human connection.
The wonders of Italy are no secret to the world: mouthwatering food, astonishing art, avant-garde fashion, selected wines, and spectacular landscapes… the list seems to be endless! But you may not know what the Italians truly have to say about their beautiful country and its gastronomic treasures. The foodie team of BookCulinaryVacations.com chatted with Casa Laura, a culinary travel organizer based in the Amalfi Coast about the highlights of a culinary experience in Italy. Get ready to discover the local perspective of an authentically stunning destination!
As an enthusiastic vegan and traveler, Maricel Lukkanit, from Vegan Crush, created an extraordinary event where scrumptious food, good company, and comfortable ambiance come together in one memorable dinner. At the Supper Club events, the menu is never the same, but you can expect a tasty surprise on every dinner. Even vegan versions of international dishes that would conventionally include meat as part of the ingredients.
After a long and stressful week, nothing spells out relaxation like a fine glass of wine. As the say “wine a bit and you’ll feel better” – indulging in a couple of glasses of wine at a lounge or at the comfort of your living room is one thing, but to enjoy them where they are made is an experience that will spark your senses to life!
It’s no secret that fruits and vegetables are good for our health, but knowing the exact benefits of each food we consume enables us to be more aware of how we are nourishing our body (even our brain) and giving it what it needs. As hard as it is to believe, it is possible to take care of your health and well-being while enjoying delicious foods that you can easily find anywhere around the globe.
If you’re planning to go on a holiday in Europe, we highly suggest for you to consider heading to these two European hidden gems: Slovenia and Croatia! These two wonderful destinations are famous for their breathtaking landscapes, fine wines and delicious world-class cuisines. The great news is you can enjoy them all in just 11 days!
In order to lead a healthy lifestyle, it is crucial for us to eat right. When it comes to a healthy meal, the key to getting it right is all about balance. In other words, we should be consuming a large variety of foods with the right proportions for each meal as different foods provide different types of key nutrients that are required for your body.
At first glance, Easter may appears to be a holiday exclusively to be celebrated by Christians, but similar to Christmas, it can be a holiday that everyone - regardless of beliefs - can embrace and partake in. Easter festivities present a great opportunity for your family and friends to gather, enjoy each other’s company and indulge in plenty of delicious food!
Two years ago I had a very rude awakening. The first time I measured my glucose levels, I found out I was pre-diabetic. I was age 45, had been a nutritionist for 5 years and was eating what I thought was the healthiest diet on the planet: all organic, local, home cooked and Paleo foods. But something was not right. I was gaining weight. I was always hungry. I also had joint and lower back pain.
Renowned for their fine wines, vibrant culture and delicious cuisines, it would be easy for one to fall head over heels for the beautiful country that is France. Though most would already be familiar with its major cities and provinces such as Paris, Burgundy, and Provence, many of us may not have heard of the more subtle yet equally as wonderful regions like Loire Valley (located in Central France).
There’s no better way to experience a city’s beating heart than by visiting the local markets. Wherever I travel to, whether it be Croatia, Turkey or Vietnam, I always make sure that a visit to a local market is a feature of my stay. The markets are always a hive of activity and I love watching the locals bargaining, sampling and socialising in their communities. I’ve just returned from five days in London and managed to experience three iconic London markets during my time there; ones that any traveller to London shouldn’t miss.
If you too are a big fan of “MasterChef”, one of the most popular cooking shows on television, chances are you’d remember its first and only blind contestant, the formidable Ms. Christine Ha. You may also recall that this lovely Vietnamese American chef, had defied all odds when she was named the reigning champion of season 3.
With Cupid’s favorite day fast approaching, you probably end up finding yourselves buying the usual flower bouquet or a heart-shaped box of chocolates for your loved ones. Don’t get us wrong, though we agree that it’s the thought that counts most, perhaps this time around, we can be a little less predictable and give our loved ones a gift that is a bit more unique.
Several years ago, I quit my job, sold everything I owned and since then, traveled around the world to over 70 countries and territories. I have flown hundreds of thousands of miles and slept in all sorts of places. The experience has turned my life upside down and made me who I am today.
With the brand new year, we are given another opportunity to turn over a new leaf. It’s a fresh and clean slate for us to kick our bad habits to the curb and replace them with habits that will take us closer to the best and happiest version of ourselves. For many, this most likely includes shedding excess weight, becoming healthier and getting in a fitter shape.
As big time foodies, my hubby & I love to try different vegetarian cuisines. With that passion, I loved and enjoyed cooking. The main reason for starting my food blog is to primarily keep a record of all sorts of the recipes that I’ve tried. Instead of writing everything that I have learnt down in a notebook, the perks of publishing it on the internet would help not only me, but to others who are looking for new and interesting recipes.
It’s finally that special time of the year again; the familiar Christmas tunes and holiday jingles playing on your favorite radio stations, and for the much of western hemisphere, gone are the warmth of the sun as the chilly breeze starts to kick in. With the increasingly dreary and cold weather, it becomes harder to resist the temptation of staying at home - only to come out of “hiding” when the season ends.
It's no secret to food lovers that Japan is home to a vast array of wonderful cuisine. Not everyone knows, however, that some of the best eating can be found not in glittering rooftop lounges, but in the labyrinthine subterranean department store levels that house the food halls known as depachika. While many exist throughout Japan, here are seven located in Tokyo that simply must be experienced on your next visit.
With Halloween came and gone, the holiday season is now officially in high gear and here at BookCulinaryVacations.com, we are simply riddled with excitement.
Next up, it’s time to celebrate [American] Thanksgiving, a holiday which traditionally represents a significant meaning in giving thanks for the year’s blessings. It’s a cherished day where those who celebrate it would gather with their family and friends to express their gratitude with a joyful heart, and of course, with an abundance of scrumptious food!
Though many people still perceive veganism as a type of diet, those who had chosen to become a vegan insist that it is far beyond that – it is a way of life. The reasons for people to adopt the vegan lifestyle greatly vary – from an effort to improve their health and wellness, to contributing to the end of exploitation of animals, to helping to protect the environment and many more.
One of the things I love about the Caribbean is enjoying the exotic authentic flavors of the local street food vendors. And Barbados is queen of the crop when its comes to authentic local street food or as we say in the Caribbean "food made pon de road side". These foods are made by local cooks all over the islands who sell their scrumptious delights on the local beaches, street corners, rum shops, and farmers markets.
I had a rather clumsy entrance into the world of gluten-free diets. For a while, it would be apt to say I full on rebelled against it. You see, I found out that gluten was the enemy right after I discovered my true calling in life. As luck would have it, I had landed my dream career in a charming little cake boutique as head pastry chef, and all of a sudden, my life started to fall apart.
Unless you have been living under a rock, chances are, you’ve heard of Bali, one of the world’s most renowned and popular tropical destinations. To quote the Lonely Planet, the preferred go-to-guide for travelers around the globe: “The mere mention of Bali evokes thoughts of a paradise. It's more than a place; it's a mood, an aspiration, a tropical state of mind”.
The Vegan way of life has surged in popularity in the past few years thanks to A list celebrities - the likes of Brad Pitt, Ellen de Generes, and Anne Hathaway, as well as respected public figures such as Bill Clinton, who have been very much vocal about their commitment to a lifestyle of zero consumption of animal products.
It is not every day that you get the opportunity to win a week long cooking holiday in Umbria, Italy while enjoying the beautiful nature that this scenic region has to offer. Fortunately for me, a couple months ago BookCulinaryVacations.com and Podere le Olle joined forces with IENS to hold a giveaway that enabled me to do just that!
In today’s digital age, it comes to no surprise that posting food photos across social media platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google + and even Pinterest has become an all out trend. Many food lovers around the world seek to share their gastronomic experiences to their family and friends. Whether they are cooking, eating, or dining at a newly opened or popular restaurant, they want to savor the experience and tell share their experience to their network, with emphasis on “you should try it out too!”.
Cave Dining is all the rage these days, however any initial search for global locales to channel your inner Flintstone is likely to turn up the same handful of restaurants. Because there’s a big, juicy world out there just begging to be tasted, let’s dig a bit deeper, shall we? The following establishments may not be as ubiquitous as a select few have become, but the restaurants listed here offer up ambiance and menu selections that seem destined to change that soon enough.
Renowned for its rich flavors, colors and ample use of spices, Indian cuisine can now be easily found and enjoyed without having to travel all the way to its origin country. Indian dishes such as kebabs, chicken tikka masala, biryani, curries, masala dosa and the humble naan bread, for example, are now so immensely popular that for many foodies, they’re no longer percieved as foreign.
The world loves Italian food. With Italian restaurants easily found all over the globe, it's safe to say that Italian is among the most widely eaten cuisines on the planet, and experts say it’s also one of the healthiest! Yet when we think of popular dishes such as pizza and pasta served at restaurants outside Italy, they are often loaded with rich toppings, dripping with heavy sauces, and packed with calories and carbohydrates that it hardly seems like a healthy option! It really got us thinking that perhaps what we recognize as “Italian food” overseas isn’t real Italian food after all?
As you probably already gathered, the BookCulinaryVacations.com’s team is a tad obsessed with all things food related, this certainly also rings true when it comes to words of wisdom! In fact, we've scoured all over the web for quotes that resonated with our proud foodie souls - we even created some of our own! Now that we've rounded up quite the collection of "Food for thoughts" over on our Pinterest board, we would love to share it with you.
Started in 2001 by writer, Marty Martindale, as “Food Site of the Day”, Foodsite Magazine aims to share its comprehensive food knowledge to the cooking challenged. Unlike many of today's food blogs and websites which often focus upon gourmet cooking and "making fine cooks finer", Marty and her site opt to empower those who feel less than confident of their skills in the kitchen by providing useful food related information including nutrition, cooking methods, serving ideas, and even links to other food sites that offer delicious recipes for readers to give a go.
Let's face it, it's highly unlikely that Father's day will be as hyped up as Mother's day is ever going to be. In our opinion, it's definitely one of the most understated holidays of the year. Whether we are talking about our own dad or the father to your children, remember that he's a dad 365 days out of the year and only gets this one special holiday to truly "rule" the house. These special men in our lives deserves to be pampered so this year, let's make sure that Father's day doesn't slip under the radar and make sure we have a perfect father’s day gift on hand.
If you’ve been considering of making the shift from eating out and purchasing fast or processed food to preparing more of your own meals, you are in luck! The team at BookCulinaryVacations.com is an avid fan of cooking. Here, we would like to share 5 great reasons as to why we think you should be taking the leap of cooking more at home.
THE HAGUE, The Netherlands - Travellers today demand more. They want more than the usual run of the mill sightseeing tours and heritage walks. They want to be involved not only with the location, but also with the people who built it, to experience the culture through the eyes of the locals. What better way to be immersed in a foreign culture than to learn the secrets of its cuisine and taste the food that the locals pride themselves for.
Before the turkey, poultry was imported in Greece. Each region of Greece had its own food for Christmas time. Some dishes with pork, and others with duck, goose, wild boar, or rooster. In the Cretan Christmas table, pork was mainly used and this was due to the Choirosfagia (sacrificial pork). The butchering of faltered pig, brought up with particular care from households of Cretan and Greek rural areas, was certainly the most generalized custom in Greek cooking, with roots from the antiquity.
By Gin - My sister and I were looking for a special vacation for my 60th birthday. I found BookCulinaryVacations.com and the first cooking vacation I looked at was Ann's Point Inn. We had the best time and the food was spectacular! The whole culinary experience was beyond my greatest expectations.
Our food and wine tour in Crete was amazing and George was the most generous host and excellent cook. At least ten different plates served at breakfast, totally over the top lunches, and we cooked dinner every night with George, except for the cave dinner. We were treated to an ancient shepherds’ mystical cave dinner serving ancient Minoan foods. This has to be the most amazing food experience ever, certainly up there with anything we've experienced.
Cretan cuisine is one of the most tastiest and healthiest cuisines in the world. From historical evidence and mythology, we learn about Cretans’ nutritional preferences throughout the centuries as well as their fondness for basic products. Cretan food is said to be the ideal diet which ensures good health and long life. Research shows that people who eat according to Crete’s traditional ways, have less chance of suffering from heart disease, and are generally healthier even than people living in the neighboring Mediterranean countries.
Our Italian cooking holiday at Podere le Olle in Umbria was fabulous. The venue is stunning and the couple who run it are really wonderful, genuine and welcoming. We enjoyed good food and wine, good company and great scenery. It gets a gold star from both me and my husband. We would go back in the blink of an eye. We could not have made it more perfect a holiday if we had designed it in detail ourselves!
Gozo is truly a gem in the treasure trove of the Mediterranean. I've lived here all my life, although Maltese, I do consider myself to be a true Gozitan and having traveled in the name of food for many years I know and understand the importance of finding the indigenous dishes and food of the area you're visiting. When you live and eat like a local you fall in love with the place you visit and the whole experience moves up a level.
In March 2012, we went to Taveuni island in Fiji for a family vacation. As soon as we landed, our driver, Babu, greeted us by name, loaded our bags, and whisked us around the corner to Taveuni Palms. When we arrived, the staff was singing, clapping, and smiling. Kelly was there to meet us and gave us a giant hug. A lovely refreshing coconut drink was placed in our hands and flowers were hung around our necks. It was such a lovely warm welcome. Kelly walked us to our villa where chilled champagne and gorgeous flowers awaited.
When I think of Wildwood Valley in Yallingup, the first thing that springs to mind is the gorgeous views across the valley, and all the way to one of my favourite beaches, Smiths Beach. The Honeybee Cottage, the accommodation we had booked for the weekend, is self-contained and there really is not anything you could want for. I love a place that displays personal touches like flowers placed in the room from the garden and fresh milk in the fridge, it is like coming home. I have stayed at Wildwood many times before but really wanted to try one of their weekend cooking class and I was happy my partner Rob was keen to try it out.
Galenus, the Roman inventor of pharmacology, knew it already: in the 2nd century AD he wrote that Sabina olive oil was the best in the ancient world. Not much has changed today. The green, rolling hills of Sabina are dotted with olive groves and still produce very special extra virgin olive, which is light but full of flavour at the same time. Sabina is a beautiful region of central Italy, very close to Rome yet completely unspoilt, which produces great cheeses, cured meats, organic fruit and vegetables, excellent wine, and even ancient varieties of wheat and lentils.
We love to receive your culinary holiday pictures. Our guest authors have sent many pictures to us, some of them were used for the articles but some of them did not make the cut. We would like to show some of those unpublished photos here. These pictures were sent by Stella, Fran, and Maria while they were enjoying a culinary holiday in Fiji, Chile, and Bangkok respectively. Enjoy!
I was planning to go to Bangkok for the first time to visit a good friend of mine and at the same time take advantage of learning authentic Thai cooking. I was eager to know how to prepare authentic Thai cuisine and the different herbs and spices that they use. The ingredients for the chillies in Thai recipes is available in supermarkets, but for me, it is much more fun if you're going to do it yourself! I can just imagine my students taking turns in pounding and grinding all those chilli peppers and tasting it if it is hot enough. I browsed the internet for a good cooking school in Bangkok and saw Bangkok Thai Cooking Academy website. I emailed its owner, Mr. Ronald Estrada and asked him if he can reserve a slot for me on the Thursday and Friday classes. Mr. Estrada was gracious enough to accommodate my requests and looked forward to seeing me in class.
On Sunday, my family, which included my husband and me, along with his brother and his wife, arrived at the Casa Gregorio in Castro dei Volsci, Italy, along with ten other Americans, to learn to become Italian cooks in five days. Casa Gregorio is a restored villa in a beautiful walled town on top of a hill midway between Rome and Naples; the house has been made into a comfortable and cozy hotel that was perfect for our four husband and wife combinations, one mother-daughter set, one pair of women traveling together, and two women traveling solo. We ranged in age from mid-twenties to seventies, united in the desire to cook like native Italians.
Walking into the kitchen at Casa Carmelita, one is instantly drawn to the imposing cursive inscription on the wall: “Acercate al amor y a la cocina con desenfreno imprudente,” which translates to: “Approach love and cooking with reckless abandon.” While the Dalai Lama should be given credit for the original quotation, it seems Estella and Jon, the proprietors of the Mexican Home Cooking School, have found a way to embody those sentiments at their tranquil Bed and Breakfast in Tlaxcala, a state in Central Mexico.
I booked this break with my stepson in order to learn more about Italian cooking. Ever since I retired fourteen years ago, I have developed an interest in cooking and I am continuing to improve my skills. I enjoy a variety of tastes namely Indian, Thai, Chinese, and Moroccan. But Italian has been a favourite of mine for many years. I wanted to improve from our ‘Britalian’ way of cooking and get down to the authentic Italian way! Convivio Rome gave me that experience.
The Groupon/Social Living offer arrived in my mailbox in June, just the day after I had given up on trying to plan a trip to Sicily. Well! My traveling companion speaks Spanish and is a very good cook. Would she be equally agreeable going to La Villa Bonita instead? Yes, she would. We made our reservations for October and booked our flights. Five months later, we boarded our flights on to our culinary destination! Robb, Chef Ana’s husband, met us at the airport in Mexico City with the couple’s youngest son. The drive along the tollway was swift and beautiful, and we soon arrived in the small town of Tepotztlan. Its narrow cobblestone streets and colorful buildings were charming but not surprising, as both Shirley and I have lived previously in various parts of Mexico.
I went to India from June to October 2012 for a volunteering project. My final week in India was spent in the Kerala midlands, quite off the tourist trail, at a place called The Pimenta. I planned the time here with the intention of learning how to cook delicious vegetarian Keralan food, which I definitely feel like I did, though having not been back in my own kitchen yet I haven’t tested out whether any of my new skills have been retained. It was a busy week, with mornings out exploring the local area, visiting food markets and buying ingredients, and afternoons cooking up a feast for the evening meal.
Mapuyampay is the creation of Belgium-born chef Ruth Van Waerebeek and her Chilean husband Vincente Escobar. They bought the land fifteen years ago and laid every stone and planted every rose bush themselves. Labor of love doesn’t begin to describe Mapuyampay. As vineyards grew up around them, Mapuyampay developed into an oasis of calm and relaxation. A secret garden with dangling vines and fragrant flowers, plush pillows and French doors that lead out onto an expansive lawn, a brook that really does babble and arching footbridges.