July 24, 2017

Not to be Missed a Brisbane City Break for a Relaxing Stop-Over

“Give me Brisbane Any Day” After driving nearly 3000 km from Sydney to Adelaide, G&N were happy to hand over the rental car keys. Virgin Australia winged them from cool, rainy Adelaide to sunny and slightly humid Brisbane City. Nutmeg was in semi-tropical heaven. “Brissy” invited G&N to explore her neighbourhoods starting with Brisbane’s South Bank. On a sunny Saturday afternoon, this lively venue is where the playground collides with the bar scene. Restaurants compete for clientele on their umbrella sheltered patios and kids’ laughter, from the swimming area, slices through the odd break in the bar music. (more…)

 

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July 10, 2017

Liguria Italy off the Beaten Track on the Via Julia Augusta

The Italian region of Liguria borders France, Piedmont and Tuscany. The coastline is the same as that of the exclusive French Riviera and offers similar benefits; beautiful cliffs, beach areas, fishing seaports, a maritime economy and water-sporting activities. Liguria has been popular with tourists and locals for decades. Liguria is also one of the smallest of the Italian regions, it is densely populated and relatively prosperous economically. Genoa is the capital of Liguria, a large seaport with heavy cargo and cruise ship traffic – more details on Genoa can be found in a previous post.  The famous Cinque Terre is also a large attraction for the region. (more…)

 

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June 26, 2017

Visit Beaucaire for Visions of a Different Time in Provence

Beaucaire is a small Provencal town located on the banks of the Rhone river and the Rhone-Sète canal, the name means beautiful stone. There is evidence of a Gallo-Roman settlement in this hilly area as early as 11 B.C.. The ancient community gave way to a medieval town in 1067 and the establishment of a castle in 1180. (more…)

 

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June 12, 2017

Couscous a Traditional Moroccan Recipe

Ras El Hanout is a spice blend essential to Moroccan cooking and critical for a traditional couscous recipe. The name translated literally means ‘head of the shop’ for which actual mixtures vary, and in some cases, maybe closely guarded family secrets. A less direct translation is ‘best of the shop’ a savoury combination of as many as 60 spices, ground and mixed together. These are typically found in every ras el hanout; anise, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, mace, nutmeg, ginger, black and white peppers, and turmeric. (more…)

 

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May 29, 2017

Claufoutis aux Cerises Recipe for When Life Gives You a Bowl of Cherries

Spring starts early in the south of France. Nutmeg was shocked to learn that the cherries on the neighbours’ tree would be ready to eat by the middle of May!! Under perfect conditions, local BC cherries only start arriving in Calgary farmers markets in mid-July. Sure enough the white flowering trees quickly turned to producing the luscious red fruit, and all of a sudden the orchards were laden with produce. The problem with cherries is you can only eat so many before they start spoiling. The cherry is a stone fruit within the Prunus species, related to plums and apricots. As a fruit, the cherry has been consumed for millenniums, with references even in Roman times. There are numerous varieties of cherries globally. However, the most commonly known strains in North America are the wild cherry (or sweet cherry) and the sour cherry. The red pigment in cherries is called anthocyanin, and it has been shown to provide some pain relief and reduce inflammation. (more…)

 

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May 15, 2017

Discover Why a 2-Day Visit to Melbourne is not Long Enough for a Foodie

After a week of travel in a rental car, G&N were happy to park in Melbourne for a few days. Equipped with a friend’s suggestions of places to eat and drink (by district) G&N were ready to explore and eat. The problem? (more…)

 

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May 1, 2017

Australia Short Visit: How to Spend Three Days in Sydney

Finally, G&N landed “down-under” on a 30-day Australian “bucket list” trip –  it had been a 25-year discussion. Described by friends as “Vancouver without the mountains” and “Stockholm with more people,” Sydney is Sydney without any comparable. Not entirely sure what to expect of the five-million person (not including visitors) metropolis the twosome stumbled out of their Darling Harbour hotel to explore the highlights. Late morning, after the 20-hour transit including a 16-hour flight leg the only thing on Nutmeg’s mind was finding a strong flat white coffee (maybe two). (more…)

 

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April 17, 2017

Why you Need Patience at the Sous Préfecture in Provence

Nutmeg is self-admittedly not a patient person. She develops a plan, does not appreciate too much external input, and certainly is not thrilled when there is a proposed change. Living in France, with life at a slower pace, has helped with her natural inclination somewhat. Although, Ginger is certain that she may never be fully cured of her affliction. Here, are some verbal “pictures” of life in slow motion: Walks with a 12 year old yellow lab Sunday morning coffee service at the village café Opening hours/days for the local boulangerie and boucherie Watching a dog sleep in the sun WiFi access in a thunderstorm A swimming pool warmed only by the sun Waiting for your tax refund This post is about the ultimate lesson in patience, a heavy dose of bureaucracy, mountains of paperwork and long queues. Welcome to the world of the sous-préfectures (home of French Administration)! Nutmeg has had the pleasure of visiting a couple of these offices while in Provence, the location in Aix-en-Provence and equally attractive Arles office. (more…)

 

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April 3, 2017

Isle sur la Sorgue a touch of Venice in Provence

Most people (read tourists) go to l’Isle sur la Sorgue for one of two reasons: The Sunday market – one of the largest in the region The 300+ antique stores and dealers Very few would go because they were expecting Venice in Provence. (more…)

 

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March 20, 2017

Distilling Wild Spirits in Canmore

It is not every day that a new vodka hits the liquor store shelves, and certainly not one that is fabricated using only (100%) ingredients from Alberta. The bad news is Ginger and Nutmeg missed the grand opening party. The good news the Wild Life Distillery is nearby, in Canmore. The distillery’s founders Matt Widmer and Keith Robinson are both Bow Valley locals. Widmer grew-up in Banff and Robinson in Canmore, their connection, like many residents, was snow and sport related – in this case, cross-country skiing events. It might seem strange for graduates of Kinesiology (Widmer) and Business Administration and Marketing (Robinson) to join forces, but they both appear to be driven by entrepreneurial forces. In the summer of 2014, they shook hands on the slightly crazy idea of opening a distillery in Canmore, and the Wild Life Distillery began to take shape. Nutmeg asked how the concept came together. According to Widmer, “I have had an interest in distilled spirits since 2010. While living in Tofino, I would chat with a friend (MBA graduate) on a weekly basis about business ideas and options for future entrepreneurial goals. Distilleries were just starting to be a thing on Vancouver Island around then, and it sparked my interest. Why were there no small distilleries in Alberta? I travelled to Chicago in 2011 to take a spirits course and learn about the industry. Then after some investigation with the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC), I discovered that there were extremely high production minimums to grant access to a class-E manufacturing license. So basically, you had to produce 250,000 litres of absolute alcohol to get a license, which clearly prohibited any small distillery from considering starting up. It was then in the summer of 2014 that the AGLC changed the licensing structure, and dropped this huge minimum to zero.” This was the game-changer that they needed. “The distilling industry is full of big bucks and big dreams. Keith and I had to find ways to achieve the big dreams without spending too many $$. “ And, sure enough starting a new venture is not easy… Probably the most difficult part of opening this business was getting permission from the municipality to renovate and acquire our building permit. This involved months of planning, navigating the building and fire codes, and countless meetings with the town to finally arrive at a mutually acceptable solution. Only then, could the space be renovated to suit the production requirements. Determining and finalising equipment needs took months of research and hours of commissioning once it was all installed. The Wild Life Distillery facility is now fully operational and open to the public Wednesday through Saturday from 12 to 8 pm. Drop by for a tour (at 3 pm), enjoy a cocktail or buy a bottle of local vodka to take home. Can you tell our readers about the Wild Life Vodka? We use all Alberta ingredients for our vodka. The grains are raw hard, red wheat and malted barley. We mill, mash, ferment, distill, bottle and label every drop of every bottle on site. It is 100% locally produced, and we are proud to be able to do so here in Canmore. From ‘grain to bottle’ the process is around two (2) weeks. We use Canmore ground water for blending, and the resulting spirit is clean, smooth and authentically Albertan. Where can readers find your Wild Life Vodka locally? In Canmore: Stores: Liquor Depot Canmore, Cellar Door, Rusty’s Liquor and Unwined at 3 Sisters Restaurants: Where the Buffalo Roam, The Drake Pub, Hogshead Pub, and The Hive Gallery In Banff: Stores: Liquor Depot Banff, Side-Street Liquor, Town House Liquor, Tunnel Mt. Liquor Restaurants: Ticino Swiss-Italian Restaurant, Melissa’s Restaurant, The Bison Restaurant, Park Distillery, The Block Bar/Restaurant and The Banff Park Lodge What is Next up on your list of spirits to be produced? Gin. We should be ready with gin within several weeks, and then from there, we will likely do a flavoured vodka for summer. Contact details: Wild Life Distillery 160 -105 Bow Meadows Crescent Canmore, AB T1W2W8 Tel: 403-678-2800

 

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