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Theme: Culinary Holidays Travel Guides

We're a holiday rental company and passionate about off the beaten path travel. These are our insider tips for the destinations where we offer holiday accommodation. We hope you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoy writing it!!

London – Foodie Heaven

Travel Tips for Theme: Culinary Holidays
London – Foodie Heaven

When we go away there is always one thing on top of the agenda. Food. We love it - cooking it, eating it and even shopping for it. Running a business selling fresh truffles means that we've really got to know and love the foodie scene in London and finding people all over the world who love their foodie scenes as much as their house just gets my mouth watering. Whenever we have guests visiting London one of our pleasures is showing them the best food and drinks London has to offer... and hopefully finding some new gems myself! While the London Olympics are on, there's no doubt there will be plenty of poor food on offer, the trick will be knowing how and where to find the best stuff.I have several food and drink recommendation for anyone visiting London: 1) Borough Market - this foodies’ paradise next to London Bridge sells all sorts of delicious treats such as cheeses, olives, truffles, fresh fruits, meats and fish. There's also a huge variety of stalls selling ready-made goodies for your lunchtime treat. Best days to visit are Thursdays - Saturdays. 2) Spitalfields & Brick Lane - Spitalfields is a lovely Victorian Market next ...

Best Food Shopping in Barcelona by Darrah Lustig

Travel Tips for Theme: Culinary Holidays
Best Food Shopping in Barcelona by Darrah Lustig

Barcelona smells like salt. Perhaps it is due to the city’s close proximity to the ocean, but I believe it has more to do with the legs of meat, which decorate every street stall and market window. La Boqueria is no exception; in fact, La Boqueria may be the rule as far as marketplaces are concerned. In one of Europe’s oldest public marketplaces, food marries art at this one-of-kind Barcelona tourist attractions. Cleverly separated into departments, one still requires more than the requisite eyes and ears to digest this heady scene. I was first met by the fresh produce that winks and radiates and all but bats its eyelashes in Barcelona’s golden evening light. Shapely avocados packed like lightbulbs orbited sweet, syrupy melons the size of small planets while nearby a neon-pink fruit leaked its insides into a pan for collection. My musings on how to successfully smuggle fresh fruit onto an international flight were interrupted by my nose as I confronted the nuts and spices. Suddenly I was in the midst of a rich landscape of perfect pyramids of cinnamon and cardamom, tarragon and cayenne, which remained undisturbed despite La Boqueria's constant foot traffic. The sun-burned palette of brick red, earthy ...

Best Food Shopping in London by Kelly Gunnell

Travel Tips for Theme: Culinary Holidays
Best Food Shopping in London by Kelly Gunnell

There are hundreds of museums and thousands of restaurants in London. But to get a true taste of London, go to Borough Market. Touted as the largest food market in the world and present since the 13th century, it is a cacophony of sights and sounds that cannot be far off from medieval. The market is tucked away around the corner from London Bridge tube station and for all its rambling size, could be easily missed.Stepping into the market is an immediate assault on my senses. The crush of people, the shouted sales pitches, the offers of tasters and the maze of choice and colour all combine to leave me feeling simultaneously overwhelmed and delighted. In fact, it reminds me of being on a roller coaster but one made of moving, tugging, pulling people. Clutching my bag tightly, I let the human wave steer me to a store selling everything French. I’m intrigued by the cans of goose fat which jostle with bunches of lavender for attention. Next is the beer store with far-flung brews. Across the way I spy a butcher with everything from English pork pies to South African boerewors. In front looms three massive dishes, big enough ...

Best Food Shopping in Provence by Sheena Lambert

Travel Tips for Provence Food Shopping, Theme: Culinary Holidays
Best Food Shopping in Provence by Sheena Lambert

It’s a good thing that the first stalls of the market are full of crockery and Provencal fabrics – it’s easier to hold onto your money knowing that if you buy the blood-red earthenware dish now, you will have to carry its weight for the next hour or so. By the time you pass the hat stall and the street corner flooded with woven baskets of every hue, you will be ready for some refreshment. Take cover from the heat of the sun under the yellow canopy of the bar, and line your stomach with an espresso and a pain-au-chocolat from the patisserie across the street – the one hidden behind the stall of paintings displayed on wooden easels. It’s best not to go further on an empty stomach, for as your nose will have betrayed to you by now, a feast of local delights awaits. It would be wise to go immediately to the rotisserie trailer, where you must put your name to a poulet blanche for dinner. It will be ready for you on your return journey. The bread stall next, where the most rustic pain is arranged alongside the most delicate pastry – line your basket with ...

Cooking Like a Local: Risi e Bisi in Venice

Travel Tips for Theme: Culinary Holidays
Cooking Like a Local: Risi e Bisi in Venice

Although you won’t often see it on many restaurant menus in Venice, Risi e Bisi (literally rice and peas) is one of the city’s classic dishes, often cooked at home and traditionally eaten on feast days. You don’t need to be celebrating to try this incredibly easy, deliciously simple version of risotto, just a supply of fresh, spring peas in their pod. (Pick them up in season as Venice’s Rialto market). If you can't find fresh peas, this recipe works equally as well with asparagus tips or courgettes and good quality, pre-made stock (the kind you buy in tetrabricks) is fine. All you want to know about Venice's Rialto Market! This recipe is for two people: Half-litre of vegetable or chicken stock 1 medium onion-chopped 100 grams pancetta - chopped (optional) 1 ½ kilos of peas in their pod 2 cups of Arborio rice Plenty of Parmesan cheese (freshly grated) Olive oil and butter Shell the peas. Add to pods to the stock and heat to just below boiling point. In a separate, heavy-based saucepan, sauté the onion in equal parts of olive oil and butter. Add the pancetta and stir for another minute or two. Add the rice and coat the grains in the mixture, stirring constantly until they ...

Cooking Like a Local: Crab Louis Salad

Travel Tips for Theme: Culinary Holidays
Cooking Like a Local: Crab Louis Salad

Seafood lovers are spoilt for choice in San Francisco, and the city’s ubiquitous salad is Crab Louis Salad, a dish that is documented in a 1910 cookbook written by the head chef of San Francisco’s St. Francis Hotel. Traditionally, the giant, West Coast Dungeress Crab should be used, though really any fresh crabmeat will do (just please don’t succumb to crab sticks!). You can buy them pre-cooked and shelled at the city’s Ferry Building Market, and even cheat a little bit more by buying a good quality, thousand island dressing rather than making your own. All you want to know about Ferry Building Marketplace! Ingredients (for four people): 1 ½ pounds of crabmeat 1 shredded iceberg lettuce 2 hard-boiled eggs Lemon slices to garnish Handful of capers Four medium tomatoes (cut into wedges) Dressing: 1 cup mayonnaise ¼ cup finely chopped scallions ¼ cup ketchup (or chilli sauce if you prefer a kick!) 2 tablespoons finely chopped green olives 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce 1 teaspoon bottled ...

Cooking like a local: Fish Pie in London

Travel Tips for Theme: Culinary Holidays
Cooking like a local: Fish Pie in London

There’s little doubt that the United Kingdom now one of the richest, most diverse dining scenes in the world, with Indian, Spanish, Japanese and Italian dishes now more as common place than fish n’ chips. But that’s not to say that classic British creations have been tossed out with the dishwater. In fact restaurants like St. John in Spitalfields have played a major part in reviving them. (St John bar and restaurant). Whilst here, why not try this very simple recipe for a classic British fish pie. Try not to succumb to buying frozen fish from the supermarket, rather the fresh variety that, if staying in the West End, you could pick up from the Berwick Street market. British Fish Pie (Serves 4) 400 grams salmon fillets 400 grams white fish fillets 200 grams cooked prawns 1 chopped brown onion 1 bay leaf 3 cups milk 100 grams butter ¼ cup plain flour ½ cup thin cream 1 tbs chopped dill 1 tbs chopped chives 4 medium potatoes, peeled, boiled and chopped Preheat oven to 180 °C, then simmer the fish in a large frying pan for 5 minutes with the bay leaf, onion and two cups of milk. Once cool break fish into large chunks and set aside. Keep the milk mixture. Strain this ...

Cooking Like a Local: Spaghetti alla Carbonara in Rome

Travel Tips for Theme: Culinary Holidays
Cooking Like a Local: Spaghetti alla Carbonara in Rome

One of the most universal - yet misconstrued - pasta dishes is Spaghetti alla carbonara. It appears on restaurant menus from Melbourne to Montreal, yet very few make it in the classic Roman way. The origins of the dish also vary, though one of the most common theories is that it was developed in Rome after WW2 as allied troops supplied the local population two American staples: eggs and bacon. The recipe was first published in Elizabeth David’s 1954 classic ‘Italian Food’ and became rapidly popular for its simplicity and versatility (the dish is suitable for brunch, lunch and dinner). But like Chinese whispers, the original message became confused and it grew common for cream, parsley and even cheddar cheese to be added. For an authentic Roman Spaghetti alla carbonara, try this recipe (Serves two): Buy (in Campo di Fiori market for example): 225 grams of pancetta, bacon or guanciale (pig’s cheek) 450 grams dried spaghetti 4 eggs 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano Then: Cook spaghetti until it’s al dente (keep the water). Lightly fry the meat until fat is dispersed over the fan and it’s turning crispy. Add the pasta to the pan and toss around, adding a little pasta water as necessary. Add grated cheese and egg ...

Cooking Like a Local: Pa amb tomàquet in Barcelona

Travel Tips for Theme: Culinary Holidays
Cooking Like a Local: Pa amb tomàquet in Barcelona

You’ll see it everywhere in Barcelona, from workers munching on brick-sized bocatas (sandwiches) in the street to the baskets of stuff placed in front of you almost as soon as you sit down at a restaurant table. Pa amb tomàquet is the national dish in Catalunya - the meat to their potatoes if you like - and no other dish brings a tear to a Catalan’s eye quite like a humble piece of bread smeared in tomato pulp and then drizzled with olive oil. Pa amb tomàquet is generally topped with cheese or charcuterie (at this point it is re-named a torrada). Do try something local, such as botifarra blanca, a tripe and port sausage, fuet, a think whip of sweet salami-type sausage or the wonderful or Iberian ham. As for cheese, dryer, firmer varieties seem to work best (they soak up the olive oil) such as an aged manchego. Even salted anchovies (the best ones come from L’Escala on the Costa Brava) are delicious. Whatever you choose, pa amb tomàquet should really be made with the best local ingredients; take a slice of rustic-style bread and toast it. Whilst still warm, rub a peeled clove of on one side. ...

New London Dining

Travel Tips for Theme: Culinary Holidays
New London Dining

What’s happened to fish and chips? They come wrapped in tempura batter with coriander and tomato coulis on the side, that’s what. The sparky, cockney-accented celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has laid to rest the notion that British food is pure stodge. Sure, you’ll still find sausages and mash in the country pubs, but London’s dining scene is hotter than a tamale. London’s multicultural mix has bestowed a cornucopia of flavours. Indians and Pakistanis have brought fragrant and spicy curries, Australians and New Zealanders Asian-tinged dishes from the Pacific Rim and every High Street has at least one sushi bar. That’s not to say British cuisine, in the strictest, pre-war sense of the term, is without its followers. Here are just a few of London’s most talked-about restaurants you’ll need to book ahead for. St. John (www.stjohnrestaurant.com) has revived the tradition of offal-based dishes and classic British dishes. Vegetarians beware, you will probably leave hungry from a restaurant whose menu includes Crispy Pig’s Cheek with Dandelion and Pheasant and Trotter Pie. To be fair, St.Johns Wine Bar in Spitalfields is heavier in the veg dishes -– and lighter on the wallet too. Gordon Ramsay (www.gordonramsay.com), that’s he of the hit TV series ...

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