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Archive for the ‘Food & Travels’ Category

The IFBC opened on Friday evening and ran through Sunday afternoon. On Saturday evening, we had a ‘Taste of Seattle’ fair  – a showcase of some of the best local gourmet products and food from some of the best restaurants in town. There was a lot going on. There was vegetarian and regular sushi, tuna poke, root beer floats, spiced and candied nuts, and sous vide steaks to name just a few nibbles on offer. All this was accompanied by wine from local wine merchants and even an eclectic fashion designer who fashioned costumes out of mussel shells and the backbones of deer. If  you’re curious at all, the complete list of vendors who were there, can be found on the Foodista website.

food fair ifbc

Local produce Seattle

Food Fair Seattle

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The elevator doors opened and there I was on the fourth floor of the Westin where all the action would take place. Just as I expected, there was a crowd of faces, all strangers – I did not know a single soul! Of course, I could have networked before the conference and exchanged tweets and made friends even before getting to Seattle but of course, I didn’t do that. I wanted to take a slow organic approach to it all (or at least that’s what I kept telling myself).

ifbc seattle goodies

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We spent the last weekend in Seattle – Peter explored the city while I was busy attending the International Food Bloggers Conference hosted at The Westin. This conference has been bringing together food bloggers from all corners of the country (and some corners of the world) every year since 2009. When we were still living in Europe, I was always envious of people who lived in the US and could easily travel to the conference location. So now that we live in California, this was my chance to experience first hand what a gathering of food bloggers is all about. Conference and air tickets and hotel reservations were all arranged well in advance. All I had to do was to remember the dates, pack my bags and make sure I was there, exciting!

Seattle Washington

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The last couple of months have flown away in a whirlwind of 9-5 days. Yes, that’s right, am back working a regular office job albeit a temporary one! Exciting as it has been to have a daily routine again, my love for cooking and experimenting in the kitchen have taken a backseat. The result? No new posts here for quite some time now!

As I work on remedying this, I thought I’d share moments from our recent weekend trip to Paso Robles (short for El Paso de Robles or ‘Pass of the Oaks’), a wine region not too far from where we are in the South Bay. A few weeks ago, we had a much needed public holiday on a Monday and decided to make the most of the long weekend. We packed our bags, got into our car and drove through the mad holiday weekend traffic to get to our destination – a lovely little cottage set in the vineyards at Berardo Winery. Run by a couple with Italian roots, that showed in the Italian grape varietals they grow, it was in the best spot possible. Our backyard opened out to the vineyard. The patio was just a few feet away from the vines themselves. We couldn’t have asked for a better view and a better deal!

paso robles trip

vineyard in paso

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Our month in Paris flew by. We explored the city in the best way possible – on foot. And although there were times when our feet would scream in protest, we kept strolling through quiet cobbled streets, busy tourist spots and crowded shopping areas discovering this great city.

As we recuperate from our stay in a big bustling city and unwind back in the French countryside while we contemplate our next steps, I thought I’d share a few impressions I gathered during our time in Paris. I did not carry the camera on me all the time, wanting to take in the sights and sounds without being distracted. However, whenever I could, I tried capturing images that I found interesting. Hope you enjoy them as much as we did experiencing them. Captions appear wherever an explanation seemed necessary.

eiffel paris

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We spent the last week in Italy. Driving through the still snow covered Alps we left a temperature of -2 in France and drove to Rome looking for some sunshine and with expectations of a good time. The journey included a 2-night stop at Corvara (a region near the tourist hotspot of Cinque Terre in Liguria) and this time, we were accompanied by our in-laws.

Peter’s mom and stepdad are absolute lovers of art and culture and Rome has been at the top of their must-visit destinations. They’ve always wanted to visit Rome together with Peter mainly because it would then not just be a family trip but one with a free tour guide in tow (Peter lived and worked as a tour guide in Rome a long many years ago). The foodie in me has always wanted to travel to Italy to enjoy authentic Italian food first hand. And thus, we made a lovely combination – me looking for great spots to have some good food, Miep and Rien (the parents) researching what sights they wanted to visit and Peter at the head, prioritising our choices and steering us clear of tourist traps of which there are many.

italian cuisine

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Although winter is here and thoughts are turning towards baking, roasting and the festive season, I had to share my experience making my very own grape jam for the first time ever!

This fall, we had a bounty of little purple grapes growing on thick vines climbing partly over the front wall of our little country home here in France. We knew they were ripe for the picking by the number of wasps, flies, bees, etc that were attracted to them. It would have been a shame to see them go to waste except for feeding these little insects of course so we decided we’d give making jam a try.

concord grape jam

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