A Catalan Porro – How To Drink Wine in Costa Brava

A Catalan Porro – How To Drink Wine in Costa Brava

It’s no secret that Amber and I enjoy our wine, beer, cocktails, and well, basically any hot or cold beverage. A proper pint of Guinness on a wet day in Ireland, the sweet chicory deliciousness of a Vietnamese cafe sua da (black coffee with condensed milk and ice), or an aromatic gin tonic. These past five years exploring the world for food and drink have lead to some tasty drinkable discoveries. Then, we discovered the porro. Now that Girona, Spain, is home, we finally have the opportunity to dive deeper into our favorite beverage of them all: wine. A stone’s throw to the north of Girona, the Emporda wine region has a long history dating back to the 5th Century BC and the Phoenicians. Influenced by the Greeks and the Romans, today the region produces some of the best wines you’ve never heard of. Of course, it’s possible to drink Emporda wine and simply pour it into a glass. Or, it’s possible to be a bit more adventurous and use my new favorite drinking vessel: the porro. What is a Porro Picture a glass bottle, bulbous on the bottom, and narrowing at the top, with a small spout sticking out from one side, which contains an entire 750ml bottle of red wine. Instead of pouring the wine into a glass, the wine is drank directly from the porro itself. But, it’s not like just drinking straight from a wine bottle. There is an art to it. It’s necessary to pour the wine from the porro directly into the mouth. The goal is to lift the bottle higher and higher and farther and farther from the...
Wine Tourism in Bordeaux

Wine Tourism in Bordeaux

Our experience traveling to Bordeaux was far from planned out ahead of time. Instead, we made our way to this world renowned French wine region to house sit, or more accurately, dog sit, for a friend. We had no idea what opportunities existed for wine tourism in Bordeaux, and we were indeed surprised. When accepting the invitation to take care of Emma for almost two weeks, we sort of assumed we could get some work done, explore a new city, drink Bordeaux wine, and eat cheese. After all, wine and French cheese, how could we go wrong? Without a car, and with needing to be there to take care of Emma each morning and each evening, I figured we wouldn’t really get to explore the region of Bordeaux, or to learn much about their famous wines. What is Bordeaux Bordeaux is on the west coast of France, and has one of the longest, and most prestigious of wine histories. The region surrounded the city of Bordeaux, and includes over 50 wine appellations, or wine regions, surrounding the city. It’s the largest wine producing area of France. And, other than Champagne, Bordeaux probably gives off an impression of wealth, of luxury, and perhaps in pretentiousness. I consider myself pretty knowledgeable about wines, particular Spanish wines, Italian wines, and even Portuguese wines. But, I am a mere novice when it comes to any French wine, outside of Champagne. This is what I learned, at a very high level, about Bordeaux wines. Most wine produced in Bordeaux is red wine, which is also called Claret in Britain. It’s always made with a blend...
The Food Traveler’s Guide to Emilia Romagna

The Food Traveler’s Guide to Emilia Romagna

It’s finally here! After hinting for the last several months, and after a full year of hard work, my first culinary travel guide is here! Introducing The Food Traveler’s Guide to Emilia Romagna: How to taste the history and tradition of Italy . . It’s no secret that Eric and I love Italy, and about three years ago, we discovered Emilia Romagna. Since that time, we have made five visits to the region, that encompasses Bologna, Modena, Parma, and more. Why do we love this region so much? Emilia Romagna is home to some of the best food, and food products, in the world. It is home to Parmigiano Reggiano, Prosciutto di Parma, traditional balsamic vinegar, and more. It is the home to Slow Food and Fast Cars. It is home to amazing wines, including world famous Lambrusco, and some Italy’s secret wines, including Negretto and Albana. It almost kills me when people tell me they are traveling to Italy and limiting their trip to Rome or Venice. There is so much more to see of the country than the primary tourist spots. I do understand the draw to those cities. I understand wanting to see the Coliseum, or the Bridge of Signs. But, after Rome and Venice, where should you travel to in order to experience the REAL Italy? Where should you travel to in order to eat the best food in Italy? The obvious answer is: Emilia Romagna! And, my new The Food Traveler’s Guide to Emilia Romagna can help you plan the perfect trip through the breadbasket of Italy. In a full 250 pages of culinary...
Ever Dream of South Africa? Win a Braai Trip!

Ever Dream of South Africa? Win a Braai Trip!

Recently, Excelsior Wine in South Africa asked if we could spread the word about their latest contest, where our readers and followers can win a dream trip to South Africa. Let me tell you how. But first, this was an interesting time for Excelsior Wine to come to us asking about promoting a contest for a wine and BBQ trip to South Africa. Our South Africa Plans for 2017 As we are in the final weeks of our #USChowDown, we are already planning for our 2017 travels. Although we have spent a lot of time this year returning to places we love, we are hoping to get to a few new destinations, and in particular new countries, in 2017. We placed South Africa on the top of that list. Why? Wine. Pure and simple, we want to explore the wine tourism offerings in South Africa. And, what goes well with wine? Current BBQ and Wine Explorations During our current #USChowDown, we’ve been exploring Southern BBQ. From The Shed BBQ in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, to a weekend of BBQ love in Memphis, we’ve been enjoying loads of different types of tasty BBQ. And, although many people think that BBQ goes perfect with beer, we’ve been experimenting with BBQ and wine. During the #USChowDown, we were pairing refreshing sparkling red Lambrusco with home made BBQ, seasoned with Mama Honey’s Hiney Rub in Macon, Georgia. We’ve been eating and drinking well, so I am sold on the concept of BBQ and wine. When I heard about the concept of drinking South African wine, while enjoying South Africa’s version of BBQ, though, I was intrigued. I was...
A French River Cruise – Food and Wine on the Rhone

A French River Cruise – Food and Wine on the Rhone

For me to even consider stepping foot on a cruise ship, of any kind, I would have to be certain the food and wine would meet my standards. After all, one of the main reasons why we leave our tropical lifestyle in Bangkok, to fly half way across the world to Europe, is to eat great food and drink wine. Luckily, our French river cruise was all about the food and wine. Our French River Cruise Route This particular itinerary was aboard Viking River Cruises’ Lyon and Provence Tour. We started in Avignon, known as the City of Popes, as it was home to seven popes in the 1300’s. The main part of Avignon is encircled by high Medieval walls. Our first stop was Arles, then off to Viviers, Tournon, and Vienne, before ending in Lyon. In addition to our scheduled ports, there were excursions offered to Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Beaujolais, and Mâcon, all well known wine regions. Frankly, these are a bunch of French towns and villages that I had never heard of before, and most likely would not have visited on my own. This is one of the benefits of taking a French river cruise. Normally, we would have just hit the main cities, and gloss over the rest.  We passed on many of the walking tours offered during our French River Cruise, as we prefer to do our own thing. We joined the group walking tour, though, in Viviers, a small pedestrian friendly village. I certainly learned a lot more than I would have otherwise. The town itself is one of the best preserved medieval towns. Tiny alleyways, beautifully...
Czech Wine? Yes, That’s a Thing

Czech Wine? Yes, That’s a Thing

Everyone knows that the Czech Republic is known for beer. But, after touring some lesser known European wine regions, it seemed fitting to explore a Czech wine region, and to see what it is all about. Introduction to Czech Wine Before we started researching the wine regions in the Czech Republic, I don’t think I had ever tasted Czech wine before. I’ve had Turkish and Hungarian wines, but never Czech wine. This is surprising because Czech wine has a long history, dating from the Roman times. But, much of the wine production ceased during Communism. It’s only been the last two decades that the wine industry has had a bit of a renaissance. For all of these reasons, this wine research project seemed intriguing. Czech Wine and the Wine Regions – Moravia Wine is grown in both Bohemia (where Prague is located) and Moravia (where Brno is located). We were out to explore Moravia, basing ourselves in both Brno and Mikulov. Although Czech beer is common in Bohemia, and part of the daily ritual, in Moravia, it’s all about wine. It’s more common to drink wine, even though it is more expensive than Czech beer. It’s just part of the culture of Moravia. For example, while in Mikulov, we were staying at Hotel Galant, a conference hotel that also has a vinoteka, or wine bar, on site. The people of Mikulov were surprised when Hotel Galant opened their own brewery as well. It’s just not within the culture of Moravians to drink beer. Walking around the town, it was much easier to find a vinoteka than a pub. The opposite is...
Our New Food Traveler's Guide to Emilia Romagna is available on Amazon now!