Recently in Food & Travel Category

 

Time Honoured Flavours

By Ms.Gourmet on November 28, 2010 9:30 PM
Neatly tucked behind the market in Victoria is the centrally located little green grocer called It-Tokk. The name is derived from the Maltese word tokk, which means central or meeting place, thus the store was originally named It-Tokk after the Pjazza t-Tokk.

For both locals and frequent visitors alike, It-Tokk is synonymous with Independence Square, which up until recently was called Pjazza t-Tokk. This popular store, that I love to frequent when in Gozo, has been situated in Independence Square for more than fifty years.

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Late for Work

By Ms.Gourmet on December 11, 2009 5:38 PM
I do not consider myself to be a religious person, although I do have this thing for religious icons. My latest acquisition involves old, disused holy water fonts and vintage Mary statues and miraculous medals. I have no idea why, but it just 'is' at the moment.

Hence, when I was in Rome last year feasting on great food, ancient art and religious icons galore I found that I was suddenly surrounded, as it were by nuns in full habit. It seemed that everywhere I turned there standing before me was a nun. I spotted nuns shopping at Campo dei Fiori, standing outside Zara and chatting on their mobile phones.

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The one above taken on the Rome Metro is a current favourite of mine.

 

Solace in a Cup

By Ms.Gourmet on December 9, 2009 9:09 PM
In Melbourne we're really spoilt for choice when it comes to coffee as we have a plethora of café's that serve outstanding coffee, consequently I have very high caffeine standards. Hence when I'm abroad and in pursuit of my daily hit, I find that my frustration in trying to find a semi decent espresso is often interpreted by those around me as - 'whingeing princess'.

One year, out of sheer desperation I packed the Bialetti and 250g of ground Genovese coffee, so to ensure caffeine consistency whilst on holiday. This year I thought I'd throw caution to the wind so I left my Bialetti and the Genovese coffee at home.

Stupid move!

Within a couple of days of being in Malta I found myself desperately reaching out to the locals on twitter for some caffeine assistance. Thankfully Mona, Andrew and Andrea came to the rescue with the unanimous suggestion that I should pay a visit to Piadina Caffe in Valletta. Whilst being grateful for the 'local knowledge' it didn't solve my caffeine crisis whilst on the island of Gozo, although I did find momentary bliss here. Yet, what it did do was urge me to board the next ferry to Malta in search of this famous café in Santa Lucia Street in Valletta.

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Three Coins in the Fountain

By Ms.Gourmet on December 3, 2009 9:14 PM
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Last year I went to Rome seeking hope, happiness and answers

And like the proverbial tourist I threw three coins in the fountain

One coin for each child of mine

and a coin for me...

Three coins in the fountain,

which coins will the fountain bless?

 

'Where would we be without salt?' - James Beard

By Ms.Gourmet on December 2, 2009 8:22 AM
If I manage to drag myself out of bed early enough when on holiday in Gozo, I love to walk from Marsalforn to Qbajjar all the way around to Xwieni Bay. There's just something magical about being up just after dawn, before the hustle and bustle of daily life begins to intrude upon the previous nights silence.

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I love watching the faithful fishermen set out to sea from Marsalforn Bay in their brightly painted fishing boats. Every Maltese luzzu, which is said to be of Sicilian origin, proudly bears the eye of Osiris on her bow, a symbol that dates back to the time of the Phoenicians. These unique and sturdy boats have been carrying men out to the ever-present Mediterranean Sea, which has 'throughout the ages, made men excellent mariners' as this 'ubiquitous sea has always attracted men to fish'.

 

Beautiful Barcelona!

By Ms.Gourmet on November 23, 2009 10:29 PM
Earlier on in the year when we were planning our trip to Europe we found it incredibly difficult to decide were to go to after Malta. The two real contenders were always Barcelona and Umbria. Hence, the pull towards Umbria was huge, as Deb from Italian Food Forever had invited us to come stay with her and her husband at their glorious farmhouse in Umbria.

Have you not seen their amazing farmhouse? Go take a look and then you can appreciate the dilemma we found ourselves in trying to decide.

Yet, long before my friendship with Deb there was my love and intrigue for beautiful Barcelona. That's not to say I don't value and cherish our friendship Deb, but in terms of 'bucket lists' Barcelona, Gaudi, Picasso and the Mercat de la Boqueria have been high up on my list for well over two decades. So after much debating and to-ing and fro-ing we decided that Spain it would be!

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Pinotxo Bar

By Ms.Gourmet on November 12, 2009 8:51 PM

The Pinotxo bar is probably one of the best tapas bars in Barcelona. It's located to the right of the main entrance of the Mercat de la Boqueria. The ever-jovial Juanito runs the front of house, so to speak while his nephew Albert cooks up a storm in the narrow kitchen behind the bar.

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If you get there early enough and are fortunate  to nab yourself a prized stool order a cortado and a xuxo de crema and spare a thought for me - sigh!

 

Walking back in time

By Ms.Gourmet on November 11, 2009 10:56 PM
Walking into Gesther restaurant in Xaghra is like walking into your favourite aunt's kitchen - it's familiar, welcoming and honest. Hence, if you're looking for an authentic local meal in Gozo then Gesther is the place to go. The two sisters who serve traditional Gozitan dishes such as bragioli, aljotta and fenek run this tiny, retro kitchenette.

I first experienced Gesther in the late 70's as a seven-year-old girl and I'm proud to say that nothing has changed. The food, atmosphere and service are just as I remembered, both warm and inviting. The décor is quite basic in a retro kind of way, but don't let that put you off as you will be missing out on some of the most authentic, home styled cooking the island of Gozo has to offer.

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Sorrento

By Ms.Gourmet on November 8, 2009 11:40 AM
Summer is almost here, I can feel it, we all can.

So yesterday we decided to jump in the car and drive down to Sorrento for the day.

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If you want to see more photos  then please click here.

 

A Space for Catalonian Gastronomy

By Ms.Gourmet on November 5, 2009 7:49 AM
La Llavor dels Origens offers four gastronomic spaces in the heart of Barcelona and their aim is to take their patrons on a 'culinary and cultural journey through the different parts of Catalonia, without leaving the city'. Hence, their concept is simple - to provide a 'restaurant-bar, take-away food, shop and bakery where one can find authentic products used in Catalonia cooking'.

The restaurant spaces offer a dining area where you can taste traditional dishes from all over Catalonia and learn about the history of their origins through an extensive menu-magazine with descriptions and pictures of all their dishes, wines and desserts. The menu-magazine is printed in Castilian, Catalan, French and English and the staff at Origens are more than happy to give you a copy to take home to read at your leisure.

As well as the restaurant, Origens also provide their patrons with a speciality food store where you can readily buy all the products on offer in their restaurants and other wonderful artisan products from Catalonia. In doing so, Origens aspire to evoke the 'tradition of the old cellars, so alive historically in villages and neighbourhoods in our towns, where at affordable prices, and at ease you can buy, eat and get to know our tradition'.

Well one tradition I was determined to experience was Crema Catalana. And, at the risk of sounding like a broken record - this particular Crema Catalana has got to be the best one I have ever had! You're absolutely free to disagree with me on this one, and as a result we will probably have to part our different ways, but I'm standing my ground here - this Crema Catalana was exceptional!

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Cours Saleya Market in Nice

By Ms.Gourmet on October 29, 2009 12:35 PM

We were only in Nice for a couple of nights yet I had several things on my 'to- do-eat' list. High on the list was the Cours Saleya Market in the heart of Old Town. Hence, this popular meeting place and open-air market sells fresh flowers, outstanding produce, artisan products and live poultry sourced directly from neighboring farms.

I'm sure there were lots of lovely fresh flowers at this world famous market, but I was there for different reasons. I was on a mission for the perfect croissant to go with my café au lait. You'll be pleased to know that not only did I find the perfect croissant, but I also managed to find an abundance of cheese, freshly baked bread, locally cured olives, forest mushrooms, fruit confits and marzipan and a whole host of other utterly divine edible treats.

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