What to Eat in Mauritius

What to Eat in Mauritius

Before arriving in Mauritius, I really didn’t know much about the island, or it’s cuisine. I had made some assumptions (many of them wrong) but I was pleasantly surprised at the varied of foods to eat in Mauritius. Mauritius is a melting pot, with a unique combination of African, Indian, Chinese, French, and British influence. The Brits probably have the least direct influence on the cuisine, although tea is very popular. This melting pot influence means you can eat curry, dim sum, and a Chateaubriand all in one day. Or, some dishes combine the influence from these varied cuisines into one dish, a Creole inspired dish. We ate some of these dishes on a great Mauritian food tour, but others we were able to eat at our hotel, the Heritage Le Telfair, as well. It was a perfect mix of what to eat in Mauritius, from street food to luxury. Mauritian Curry Mauritian curry is just different enough from Indian curries to make it unique. Most common are fish curries, or chicken and prawn curries, spiced with cumin, coriander seeds, cardamom, ginger, and about a dozen other ingredients. The curries are sometimes spicy, but they seem to tone it down a bit for the tourists. I always asked for extra chilies and most times they provided me a unique chili paste. The Heritage Le Telfair made their chili paste in house, spiced with chilies, citrus, and vinegar. It was amazing, and white. I am used to seeing red or green chili paste. We learned to cook our own Mauritian Curry during a cooking class at the Heritage Le Telfair,...
8 Unforgettable Luxury Experiences in Costa Brava

8 Unforgettable Luxury Experiences in Costa Brava

Two years ago we happened upon Costa Brava, what we then termed the unknown culinary tourism corner of Europe. To be completely honest, we knew nothing about Costa Brava at the time. The only thing we knew was that the tourism board worked with bloggers, and for us, at that time, it was enough. Since then, we’ve spent enough time in Costa Brava that we decided to move to Girona! A lot of our decision was based on the food and wine, and some of the most unforgettable experiences in Costa Brava! What surprised me during this most recent visit was how many luxury experiences in Costa Brava there really are. I knew about the incredible gastronomy offerings, but we found so much more to experience during this last visit. Following the Michelin Star Trail One of the main reasons why we keep returning to Costa Brava is because of its food! Costa Brava is home to 14 Michelin Star restaurants. Now, this might not seem like a lot in comparison to Paris, New York, or Tokyo. But, when you consider the size of Costa Brava, and that it’s largest city is home to only about 100,000 people, it’s incredible. If you love food, and high gastronomy, then one of the most unforgettable experiences in Costa Brava is to follow the Michelin Star trail of restaurants that are sprinkled through the region. The Girona Teritori d’Estrelles, or Girona Land of Stars, is the perfect way to spend a holiday in Costa Brava. Eating. Is there any other way? Dining at El Celler Can Roca At least one of the...
How They Make Parma Ham in Emilia Romagna

How They Make Parma Ham in Emilia Romagna

When I started traveling to Italy, I always wondered how they actually make Parma Ham. When I walked around any small town in Italy I always saw large legs of ham hanging from the ceiling. More often than not, they were stamped with a crown shaped marking that bears a single word: “Parma.” But, how did they get there? What is Prosciutto di Parma Prosciutto di Parma, or more generally, Parma ham, has been around since Roman times. There are stories from 100 BC referencing the unique flavor of the air-dried pork from the area surrounding Parma. At the time, pork was dried to extend its life and prevent it from spoiling. A group of Parma ham producers created a Consortium, Consorzio del Prosciutto di Parma, in the 1970s, to control the quality of prosciutto. In 1996, the European Union gave the DOP designation on Prosciutto di Parma. Like all DOP and IGP products, the Consortium regulates the types of pigs that can be used, what the pigs are fed, and how the ham itself is produced. What Are The Ingredients in Parma Ham The Consortium likes to say there are only four ingredients in Parma ham: Italian pigs, salt, air, and time. In reality it’s really only two ingredients, although air and time are also key components. Parma ham is made by curing a leg of pork with nothing but sea salt. This increases the tenderness of the meat, and gives it a characteristic sweet flavor. The production process is overseen by a maestro salatore, or salt master, which has to be the coolest sounding title for a...
Unique Foods to Eat in Emilia Romagna

Unique Foods to Eat in Emilia Romagna

For many Americans who dream of traveling to Italy, images come to mind of Napoli style pizza, or large platters of pasta slathered in red tomato sauce. This is very common in the cuisine in the south of Italy, areas that include Sicily, Puglia, and of course, Naples. But, the food of the north is entirely unique. Emilia Romagna includes the cities of Bologna, Parma, and Modena. It is host to an entirely different style of Italian cuisine. The question is: what to eat in Emilia Romagna? Because there are some truly unique dishes to try! The Unique Pasta You Must Eat in Emilia Romagna Some of the more common pasta dishes you will eat in Emilia Romagna include tortellini, tagliatelle, and gnocchi. But, there is a pasta called passatelli, which is particular to Emilia Romagna. It’s virtually unheard of outside of Italy. A traditional pasta that is thicker than many others, it tastes a lot more dense. Passatelli is made with Parmigiano Reggiano, bread crumbs, egg, flour, and sometimes nutmeg. It’s most common to find passatelli served in a broth, which is the traditional preparation. However, passatelli is also served “dry,” without a broth, often mixed with fresh vegetables or meats. It is getting increasingly more difficult to find on menus in Emilia Romagna because it is so expensive to make. All of that Parmigiano Reggiano adds up. If you only eat one pasta in Emilia Romagna (although why would you want to do that?) passatelli is the one to try! The “Meat Breads” You Must Eat in Emilia Romagna Almost every restaurant, trattoria, or osteria in Emilia Romagna offers a...
How To Take The Tabasco Factory Tour

How To Take The Tabasco Factory Tour

After a week in New Orleans, we took the long way to Lafayette so that we could make one very important, and very tasty stop along the way. It’s no secret we like it hot, so a stop for the Tabasco Factory Tour seemed like a perfect stop while in Louisiana. The Self Guided Tabasco Factory Tour We arrived on Avery Island, the home of Tabasco. Avery Island is also home to the McIlhenny Company that has been producing Tabasco since just after the Civil War. The Tabasco Factory Tour starts in the Tabasco Museum, in the building that houses the ticket office. The museum focused on the history of Tabasco and the McIlhenny family. The tour continues through nine more phases, focusing predominantly on how Tabasco is made. The tour starts with a walk through a greenhouse that explains what kind of peppers are used to make the special sauce. Then, we learned about the barrels that are used in the aging process. This, to me, was very interesting. I didn’t know that they aged the pepper mash, or that the aging takes place in retired bourbon barrels. The blending floor includes dozens and dozens of vats where the peppers are mashed. The best thing? There is a little button to press that releases the smells from the blending floor. The smell alone was intoxicating. I could have stood there all day pressing that button. Then, we walked along the bottling floor, and through a separate section dedicated to advertising and marketing of Tabasco around the world. Although a relatively short tour, we learned a lot. Being that they offer a...
Dining at Locavore – Coming Home and Eating Local

Dining at Locavore – Coming Home and Eating Local

When we left Ubud 2 years ago, anyone who read the last of my Ubud blog posts would assume I would never return. In fact, when I left, I too assumed I would never return. But, when the chef at Locavore Bali invited us for lunch, I suddenly found an excuse to return to Ubud. I’m glad I did. Why We Returned to Ubud During our last week living in Bangkok, we attended an award ceremony for Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants, hosted by The World’s 50 Best. I’m still not entirely sure how we ended up on the invite list. I will assume it is because we met Joan Roca of El Celler de Can Roca, the 2015 best restaurant in the world. Or, that I am a budding culinary author with my recent publication of the Food Traveler’s Guide to Emilia Romagna, home to the 2016 best restaurant in the world. Sometimes, it’s just luck. We showed up at the W Hotel in Bangkok, where the top echelon of the Asian culinary world rubbed shoulders. We were fancy for one night. We tried to fit in. We drank Champagne. We sat in the large ball room and awaited the announcement of the top 50 restaurants in Asia. Only one of which we’ve actually eaten at. But, we met the chef during that visit, so I felt a little more fancy. At one point they announced the top restaurant in Indonesia, and without knowing anything more, one word crossed my lips: Locavore. In fact, Locavore also won the Highest Climber Award. Of the top 50 restaurants in Asia, Locavore rose from 49,...
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