Hotel Terraza Roses Costa Brava – The Bay of Roses Spain

Hotel Terraza Roses Costa Brava – The Bay of Roses Spain

The fall is my favorite time of year in the Costa Brava. The busy summer period is over and beach crowds disperse. This year we celebrated the arrival of the fall with a little staycation, just up the road from Girona, in the Bay of Roses Spain. We spent four nights at the lovely Hotel Terraza Roses Costa Brava and just fell in love. We are already planning our return to one of the best hotels in Roses Spain for next September. This is why. The Bay of Roses Spain With all of our travel around the Costa Brava over the years, we never really explored Roses. It just seemed to be the Miami Beach of the Costa Brava. When we drove by to visit nearby Cadaques, or when exploring the local wineries, I just assumed it was built up with big hotels. Once we spent a few nights in Roses, though, we completely changed our tune. The beach at the Bay of Roses is one of the best in the Costa Brava. The Costa Brava, or brave or wild coast, is often just that. Many of the beach areas are rocky outcrops, with stone or pebble beaches. These Costa Brava beaches are simply lovely. But, I’ve been known as the Goldilocks of the beaches. I like soft sand, with little rock or coral, and water I can easily swim in. The Roses Spain beaches are soft sand, wide, clean, everything I want from a Spanish beach experience. Even better, the water in the fall was surprisingly warm, and even more surprisingly, crystal clear with a sandy bottom. When Eric stood...
La Champagneria Barcelona – Cava at La Xampanyeria Barcelona

La Champagneria Barcelona – Cava at La Xampanyeria Barcelona

For someone who loves sparkling wine, just hearing about a bar called La Champagneria sent tingles down my spine. I am not one of those fancy people who only drink “Champagne.” I love all sparkling wine and am always looking for a good cava bar in Barcelona that doesn’t break the bank. That is exactly what La Champagneria Barcelona, or La Xampanyeria Barcelona, is. It might not be a Champagne Bar Barcelona in the traditional sense. But it’s a great bar for cava, and still fits the bill for one of the cheap bars in Barcelona, Spain. We’ve been visiting the Barcelona Champagneria for three or four years now. Although this is one Barcelona cava bar that has changed a bit over the last several years, La Champagneria Barcelona Barceloneta is still a great place to visit. This post will explain all of our tips on how to visit and get the most out of La ChampagneriaBarcelona Spain. La Champagneria Barceloneta, or in Catalan La Xampanyeria, or by their other name Can Paixano, is an institution of sorts.  When you research La Champagneria online, there seems to be a split personality of sorts. Is it a wine shop? Is it a cava bar? Is it old school and traditional, or a tourist stop?  The answer is yes. It is all of the above. Learn more about what to eat in Spain in our Spain Food Guide, which includes Barcelona restaurant recommendations What is Cava in Barcelona? Cava is a Catalan version of champagne, made in the traditional method, meaning the second fermentation takes place inside the bottle. That’s the technical stuff. I’ve been told that cava was...
Aceto Balsámico in Italy – Acetaia Pedroni di Modena & Osteria di Rubbiara

Aceto Balsámico in Italy – Acetaia Pedroni di Modena & Osteria di Rubbiara

Over our years traveling to Emilia Romagna, Italy, we’ve learned all about how they make Balsamico di Modena, the traditional balsamic vinegar of Modena. I now consider myself a bit of an expert on the process. One of our favorite places to visit also happens to be one of the most well-known producers of Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena DOP, Acetai Pedroni di Modena. In this post, I will talk about the history of Acetaia Pedroni Modena. I will also share how Aceto Balsamico tradizionale is made and what the difference is between Aceto Balsamico di Modena IGP and Aceto Balsamico Tradzionale di Modena DOP. Also, I will share what it’s like to eat as Osteria di Rubbiara, Pedroni’s historic restaurant in Nonantola. Learn more in our Emilia Romagna Food Guide – Every blog we’ve written about Emilia Romagna in one place What is Aceto Balsámico Di Modena The first step to understanding traditional balsamic, or Aceto di Modena, is to understand the production process. This is a very high level overview. There is a lot more detail in my book, The Food Traveler’s Guide to Emilia Romagna. In order to make traditional balsamic, grape juice is heated on a fire and cooked in open air for about 24 hours. About 100 kilograms of grapes are used to produce about 75 liters of liquid. After the heating process, only 35 liters remain. The reduced liquid is placed into a series of a minimum of five barrels, called a batteria. Over time the balsamico Modena is transferred from one barrel to another, from the largest to the smallest barrel. The increasingly smaller amounts are due...
10 Top Tips for Driving in Italy – Exploring Italy by Car

10 Top Tips for Driving in Italy – Exploring Italy by Car

For many travelers to Italy, driving in Italy can be both a blessing and a curse. Exploring Italy by car is one of the best ways to see the countryside. Driving in Europe, though, and in Italy in particular, can be a challenge. This post includes our top driving tips for travelers to Italy. We also answer some frequently asked questions and Italy driving rules and provide advice on driving through Italy in a rental car. Our Italy Driving Experience One of the things I love about traveling through Europe is traveling by train. It has been our main way of traveling Europe during most of our visits. One thing we learned from all of our experience touring Emilia Romagna, Italy, is that many of our trips involved exploring the Italian countryside. Some of our trips we never step foot on a train. As much as sometimes I miss the idea of training through Europe, it’s often fun driving Italy and exploring the smaller towns, villages, and wineries. At least it was fun to drive in Italy once we got the hang of things. The first hour was a little hellish. We tried to use the GPS on my iPhone, which stopped working pretty quickly without a local sim card. We got onto the Autostrada, or highway, and could not figure out how to get off. Eric drove in the wrong direction for a good thirty minutes, had to get off, pay a toll, just to get back on and drive in the right direction. Needless to say, we did not research driving tips for Italy before getting in that car. Eric was excited about driving...
Traditional Irish Brown Bread Recipe – How to Make Irish Brown Bread

Traditional Irish Brown Bread Recipe – How to Make Irish Brown Bread

We’ve been traveling to Ireland since 1999. In that time I’ve eaten a lot of Irish brown bread and Irish soda bread. Eric’s uncle in Limerick was once a bread man, so over the years, we’ve eaten great Irish bread. When visiting the Dingle Cookery School we finally learned how to make Irish brown bread. Here, we share our traditional brown bread recipe. It’s not as difficult as one might think. If I can do it, so can you! What is Traditional Irish Brown Bread? There are two primary types of Irish bread that people are familiar with: Irish soda bread and Irish brown bread. Traditional Irish brown bread is the darker, more dense sister of the of soda bread. They are both what are considered “quick breads.” One of the benefits of Irish brown bread is that it doesn’t require yeast. That means there is no need to wait for it to rise. You can mix the Irish brown bread dough, and put it in the oven. Irish brown bread is heavy and dense, more so than Irish soda bread. Irish soda bread is a white bread. Both taste great with warm Irish butter. They are both staples of the Irish diet, even today. To me, the best Irish brown bread is served as a thick slice, still slightly warm, with Irish butter on the side. Even better? It is served alongside a perfect cup of Irish seafood chowder, which allows me to dunk the crust into the chowder. How to Make Irish Brown Bread The reason why I chose to share the Irish brown bread recipe is, in part, because...
What is Formaggio di Fossa? Learning About Cave Cheese in Italy

What is Formaggio di Fossa? Learning About Cave Cheese in Italy

Fans of cheese generally travel to Emilia Romagna, Italy, to taste the King of Cheese. They may hope to learn about Parmigiano Reggiano and assume they will taste ricotta, and probably other types of Italian cheese. Only true cheese aficionados travel to Emilia Romagna to learn about formaggio di fossa, or cave cheese. How many people have even heard of cave cheese or could answer the question: “What is cave aged cheese?” What is Cave Aged Cheese?  At its most simple, this is cheese aged in a cave. There is more to it than that, though. Certainly, folks in Emilia Romagna, Italy, know formaggio di fossa, and maybe Italians, in general, know about cave cheese. But, this is a foodie find. Something only hard core Italian food lovers will know about or search for. Because of its rarity, I knew that tracking down cave cheese in Emilia Romagna was a must do. This experience was like something you’d see Anthony Bourdain talk about, or even better, Andrew Zimmern because as far as cheese goes, this is certainly a Bizarre Food.  There are several towns in Romagna that are known for cheese stored in caves. There are also other places known for cave aged cheese, including French cave cheese. Here we will focus on learning about the history of cave aged cheese in Italy and how to taste it. Visiting Fossa Pellegrini After a long morning tasting Italian wines with Helena from Yummy Italy, we started making our way to the village of Sogliano, high in the hills of Romagna. We were southeast of Bologna, and northeast of Florence, almost to Rimini and...