January 30, 2012

Corsica ABCs For Foodies

Corsica ABCs For Foodies

The island of Corsica is odd shaped, think of a bunch of grapes with the stem at the top and you will not be too far off.  The stem of the cluster forms the wild and stunning Cap Corse. The island’s terrain is enormously varied from mountain peaks (120 summits over 2000 meters) and river gorges to sandy beaches and lush plains.  This varied topography is reflective of the balance of the grapes in the bunch. Ginger and Nutmeg were told by friends that Corsica is like a mini-France. They were right, the island offers the traveller a rich and tasty experience within the 1000km coastline. The Corsican population is fiercely proud of their locally produced food and beverage products. Ginger and Nutmeg did their best to sample a wide variety of the available goods during their trip. Nutmeg had a bit of fun with this post and hopes you will too. The following are the ABC’s of Corsican food for the hungry and parched traveller: Domaine Arena – one of the top-rated wines on the island.  Ginger and Nutmeg have tried the red and white varieties – both are excellent. This winemaker is located in the Patrimonio region.  They were one of the first vineyards to begin the process of replanting classic Corsican grapes such as Biancu Gentile.  The wine is made in an organic style, and it is delicious. (more…)

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January 23, 2012

Corisca A Long History

Corisca A Long History

It is impossible to do the history of Corsica justice in one short blog post.  The following is a brief summary and an opportunity to show off our photos.  For those history buffs out there, you can easily lose yourself for hours on the Wikipedia pages alone. A history of strong, dominant forces formed the island of Corsica, throughout its’ entire history. The landmass of Corsica was created by intense, volcanic activity.  Among other names for this beautiful island, one is “a mountain in the sea”.  Corsica is the most mountainous island in the Mediterranean, with well over 100 peaks higher than the 2000-meter level. The dramatic peaks, lush valleys and 1000 kilometres of coastline, have all played heavily, in the civilization of the island, as it exists today.  The Moor’s head is dominant on the Corsican flag and visible throughout the island on 1000s of items from beer labels to beach towels.  The exact origins of the symbol remain debated; however, it is a powerful, iconic reminder of the island’s history.  It is a chronicle over millenniums of habitation, growth, conflict and struggle for survival. (more…)

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January 16, 2012

Corsica The Beauty

Corsica The Beauty

Years ago, Nutmeg had a boss (a faithful blog reader) who suggested that it could be a career limiting move, to stay in Paris longer than the assignment required.  Nutmeg found this rather disappointing as she had a strong desire to explore Corsica, and felt that she deserved a holiday. The French, for good reason, call Corsica “l’Ile de Beauté” or Island of Beauty.  The island is stunning at every turn with sandy beaches, limestone cliffs, granite mountain peaks and lush agricultural areas.  Corsica offers something for every taste, from the “beach lizard” to the “adventure racer” and all the folks in between. Nutmeg would like to thank her former boss, if she had visited Corsica all those years ago two things probably would have happened: She would have fallen in love with the island Ginger may have had another name like Antonio (more…)

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January 9, 2012

Lost Dog Checklist

Lost Dog Checklist

I was in BIG trouble! The day after Christmas, I wandered away from my backyard in search of a few turkey dinner leftovers. Now really, who could blame any black Labrador for that? The happy news is I am back home safely, although Nutmeg is still a bit mad at me. I thought I should share our Lost Dog Checklist below (includes some web links) in case your dog or cat follows a similar trail. The list is not an official city list but we hope it helps others find their dogs and other lost animals. Do not panic – I actually do not know that I am lost. Although, I might be wondering where you are. Call ASAP – the City of Calgary Animal Services @ 311. They will ask you to file a report with all of the embarrassing details; breed, age, weight, colour, tattoo, microchip etc. Follow the checklist – on the Calgary Humane Society web site and register on their PetLynx site. You can do this anytime…before your pet is lost. Call the vets – in your area to let them know in case your animal is hurt or someone brings them in. Make lots of posters – the posters do not need to be professionally done, include all my information and how to get a hold of you. Print many copies and then give them to neighbours, put them in the dog parks, attach them to posts, trees and anything else where people might see them. Say Hi to your neighbours – let them know that your pet is missing. Place ads in the local papers/media – The Calgary Herald 403-235-0511, The Calgary Sun 403-250-4222 and Shaw TV 403-716-6010 offer free online ads for lost pets. Social Media – make use of Facebook, Twitter, SMS, blogs and any other sites to get the message out. Dog Walkers – these are the people who are out almost everyday walking the neighbourhood parks. Use Google for your local area to get a comprehensive list. Local Community Associations – your local community may have a website or email distribution list. Do not panic and don’t give up! Please note: this specific list is for Calgary. Your local area will have similar organizations and communication tools. Ginger and Nutmeg would like to say THANK YOU once again to all their family and friends, from near and far who offered their support through a few stressful days. And I would like to thank the nice family who took me in and fed me a few leftovers. Follow @twitter

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January 1, 2012

Happy New Year 2012

Happy New Year 2012

Ginger and Nutmeg would like to wish all their fans a very Happy New Year.  We sure hope that you do not wake up on the first day of 2012, feeling sleepy or worse. They would like to share some projections for the year ahead: Queen Elizabeth will celebrate a big ANNIVERSARY (60 years) The US federal election will be a big BORE The French national election will have no DSK The 100th Anniversary of the Calgary Stampede will be a big PARTY The summer Olympics in London will be a big TRAFFIC JAM There will be lots of focus on the Mayan Calendar big DATE (12/21/12) AND The French will continue to make really good bread. Happy 2012!

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December 23, 2011

Warm Seasons Greetings

Warm Seasons Greetings

Ginger and Nutmeg spent 13 months in France, a journey that would have been impossible without the help of friends and family. They would like to pass on best wishes for a delightful holiday season to all their friends, new and old. The English and French love to debate many things, including the origin of the popular Christmas carol, “The Twelve Days of Christmas”.  Ginger and Nutmeg do not have the answer but thought it would be a fun way to show off some photos of their time in France. Wishing everyone a safe and fun-filled holiday season. Watch for more posts in 2012! (more…)

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December 19, 2011

Cycling L’Île de Porquerolles

Cycling L’Île de Porquerolles

Ginger and Nutmeg were invited to join some friends for a day of “easy” cycling on L’Île de Porquerolles. This is the biggest of three small islands that make up the Îles d’Hyères or Les Îles d’Or (Golden Islands), located just off the coast from Hyères.  This is the rougher, wilder, “native” side of the Cote D’Azur.  The ferry leaves from a couple locations; you can check the schedule on the official site. Scheduled departure for the ferry was 10:30am, a bit of extra traffic congestion through Toulon, and a slight wrong turn made for a VERY tight connection.  G&N were absolutely the last to board the boat, but they made it! This late February day was certainly not one for bathing suits or t-shirts, fleece and puffy jackets were in order. The temperature hovered around ten degrees Celsius, with gusting winds and a constant threat of rain. Nutmeg is absolutely not a boat person, so the short choppy crossing from the mainland was just the right length of time (approximately 20 minutes). (more…)

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December 12, 2011

Randonee in Provence Hiking in France

Randonee in Provence Hiking in France

In France and much of Europe, hiking or randonée is a significant part of the culture. There are walking trails for all levels that crisscross the continent.  The longer trails form part of the GR system or Grande Randonée, there are over 60,000km of trails in France alone. Here is a great resource guide book. Ginger and Nutmeg love hiking, but they never expected to start the season in January, when they were introduced to the International Hiking Group of Provence. G&N made it to as many of the scheduled Tuesday hikes as they could fit in to their busy European exploration agenda. Each hike was unique, the scenery beautiful and weather at times unpredictable. All of the hikes offered opportunities for some laughs along the way. Some of the favorites are highlighted below: (more…)

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December 5, 2011

Calgary White Hat Welcome Home

Calgary White Hat Welcome Home

Ginger, Nutmeg, and Jade recently arrived back in Calgary after their “Year in Provence”. Ginger insisted that he had to return to North America for several commitments. Although, he did admit that returning in the month of November was dubious. The two ladies agreed to come back reluctantly, but only after Ginger promised that they would return to France next summer. Nutmeg was thrilled that there was no snow on the ground for their arrival. Jade was happy to get out of her travel kennel. She was not too fussed about where she was, as long as the food kept coming at regular intervals. Ginger was probably the most excited as the NHL hockey season was underway and his regular “old boys” league were still playing on a weekly basis. (more…)

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November 28, 2011

To Market To Market With An Expert in Provence

To Market To Market With An Expert in Provence

The small city of Martigues is located at the point where the waters of the Mediterranean Sea and the Etang de Berre meet. Sometimes referred to as the Provençale Venice, Martigues is attractive. There is a series of small canals, tiny pedestrian-only streets and attractive cafes. Thursday is market day in Martigues, and that is where Ginger and Nutmeg met up with Ghyslaine and her husband Jacques. Aside from being a lovely couple, they run a successful company focused on top quality cooking classes. Appropriately named, La Cuisine Mèditerranéenne de Ghylaine, is focused on traditional cooking and techniques from the region. (more…)

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