March 17, 2014

Top 10 List for a Road trip

Top 10 List for a Road trip

Ginger and Nutmeg have done many road trips over the years. There is something exciting about planning any trip, the thrill of discovering a new destination or reaching a well-known endpoint. Packing for a car journey is much less hassle than air travel – no weight restrictions, no security lines, baggage limits are somewhat relaxed and there is no requirement to “undress” your laptop. (more…)

Recipes & Travel:
, ,

 
June 27, 2011

A Taste of Bologna Italy

A Taste of Bologna Italy

Warning! This post has nothing to do with the horrible sandwich meat. Nutmeg LOVES the Italian language.  After fighting rush-hour congestion, some GPS misinformation, tiny crowded streets and a retail strip thronged with groups strolling on a Saturday evening – There is something immediately soothing to hear “buonasera signora“! Allora that is how the visit to Bologna began.  Arrival on a Saturday, at the height of late-day shopping and the start of the “apero” (cocktail) time, was an adventure.  However, once settled in the very centrally located Hotel Metropolitan, a city map in hand and some restaurants suggestions, Ginger and Nutmeg ventured out into the crowded streets.  Bologna is located in Northern Italy, it is the capital of the Emilia-Romagna region. Bologna was called Felsina in the time of the Etuscans and later renamed Bononia under the Romans. Bologna is home to the oldest university in the world, which dates back to the 1088. Today Bologna continues to have a strong student population.  It is also known as a gastronomic capital in Italy. (more…)

Recipes & Travel:
, ,

 
February 21, 2011

European Ski Tour Exposed

European Ski Tour Exposed

Thus far, the 2011 ski-season has not been stellar in most of Europe.  The majority of resort areas are suffering from lack of new snowfall and warm temperatures (“une tempête de soleil“).  The net result, is crowded slopes and neige-dure (a nice way of saying hard-packed, icy conditions).  Ginger and Nutmeg have been doing some skiing in the past few weeks, and they thought you would want their feedback on the resorts. Here are a few highlights and overviews from the European ski tour: Ischgl, Austria: The tiny village of Yscla, was once a remote farming village, it has been converted into a mega-resort with; 238 km of ski trails, 41 cable cars and other lifts and 32 grooming machines. The owners have spent 200 million Euros upgrading the facilities on the hill in the last 10 years, and it shows. The lifts are new, the lodges are well appointed, and in some cases very modern in design. The combined resort of Ischgl-Samnaun (Swiss side) is one of the largest in Europe, if you believe their web site.  Ischgl has clearly been developed to meet a tourist need, with lots of variety in accommodation. There is a permanent population of about 1500, although it is hard to envision where they actually live, in the sea of hotels.  This resort has a reputation as a party spot and according to Ginger it does live up to that grade.  Here a a couple photos of Ischgl by day and night… (more…)

Recipes & Travel:
, , , , ,

 
May 22, 2010

UNESCO Sites and Fancy Dining in Helsinki

UNESCO Sites and Fancy Dining in Helsinki

Hot Sauce a Chili were recently in Estonia (Officially the Republic of Estonia).  Estonia is divided into 15 counties and operates as a democratic parliamentary republic, if you are interested to find out more check out the Wikipedia related information.  With a population of only 1.34 million, Estonia is one of the least-populous members of the European Union.  The country is blessed with a temperate season climate.  Estonia’s language is very close to Finnish. The capital and largest city is Tallinn, with a beautifully preserved old city.  One of UNESCOs World Heritage Sites, is Bergen’s Old Quay.  From Hot Sauce directly, “I have never seen so many church spires!” Nutmeg was curious, what exactly is UNESCO and how many sites are there?  UNESCO is the acronym for United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.  This is a web site that you could spend days reviewing.  There are currently 890 Properties world wide (689 Cultural, 176 Natural and 25 mixed).  Canada boasts an impressive 15 sites and Alberta has 5 of those.  The process to have a site nominated is not surprisingly very lengthy, there are 10 base criteria and 53 page document describing the process for submission of nominations.  Clearly this is the purview of career diplomats.  There is a very cool interactive map (for big and little kids) that can be found on the UNESCO web site.   Try it out, you can “travel” around the globe and learn all about the very interesting sites. So here is the concern,  Nutmeg thinks that Hot Sauce and Chili are traveling a bit blind.  They are fully equipped with GPS, iPhones, laptops and iPads, yet they seem never to have heard of Zagat or Michelin food rating guides.  One afternoon in Helsinki, they stumble across a restaurant called Ravintola Nokka, here is the story from Chili: “We park and walk there to find one of those places that Saffron surely has in her book, and if she does not, she will the next time she visits Helsinki.  First, even though there is but one other patron in the place, the maitre’d is only too delighted to provide us with a table and, shortly, a chef and two sous-chefs appear in the ultra modern kitchen which is glass enclosed from the seating area.  We are provided with menus and starched napkins the size of small blankets.  It turns out that we have arrived at The Place that specializes in the best of Finn cuisine.  Only deals with farmers that live up to it’s norm of organic and ecologic standards, which Nutmeg would think of highly, and gives them a royal stamp of approval.  Anyway, in for a penny in for a pound, we decide to order the five course special menu de degustation.  Hot Sauce has nettle soup, I have something strange that I thought was going to be prawns but looked like a tiny bit of mush with a tiny bit of arugula on top.  Lamb for the main course was fine, but Hot Sauce, having asked for hers to be cooked medium well, resulted in both dishes being pretty much dry.  Then, this was followed by a cheese course and a dessert combination.  The good thing was that I ordered some Chardonnay and a glass of Torres’s ‘Celeste’, both quite outstanding.  The whole thing cost more than our stay at the hotel but, as they say, it was an experience and we laughed a lot.” So the morale of the story no matter where your travels take you, make sure to check the following: Are there UNESCO World Heritage sites nearby? Are there restaurants that are listed on Zagat or Michelin? Buyer beware… Happy travels! [tfb username=’GingerandNutmeg’ count=’true’ lang=’en’ theme=’light’]

Recipes & Travel:
, , ,

 
May 2, 2010

European Road Trip 2010

European Road Trip 2010

Nutmeg’s parents (Hot Sauce and Chili) love to travel.  Last year, they put a mere 6000 nautical miles on their boat doing the Great Loop Miss Bim’s Adventures.  This year they have decide to take on Europe in 7 weeks and do a driving road trip.  They start the adventure in Gothenburg (Sweden), at the Volvo factory, with a tour and a new car.  They will have a GPS and are fully equipped with the latest technology to get from point to point.  However, Nutmeg is concerned they may not have done all their research, on the food and drink options that await them in the next few weeks.  So, the following is an overview of the trip and Nutmeg’s food guide to help them narrow down the endless possibilities: City Country Food Possibilities Copenhagen Denmark Frikadeller (meatballs), with cabbage and beets Kristiansand Norway Smoked Salmon, Gravlax, Open faced sandwiches, Meats served with juniper berries and lingonberry jam.  One interesting  thing is that Norway is the world’s leading coffee consumer. Stavanger Burgen Oslo Stockholm Sweden Smilar to Norwary but add pickled herring, Swedish meatballs and akevitt (deadly white liquor) Helsinki Finland Cabbage rolls, game, hernekeitto (pea soup) and Karelian pies Estonia Riga Latvia Dinner with cold borscht, pot cooked cabbage, a cotlette, a gherkin, sour milk (kefir) and some kvass (beer). Warsaw Poland Pierogis, sauerkraut, kielbasa, cabbage rolls, bigos (meat stews), rye bread and lots of great deserts. Dresden Prague Cesky Krumlov Budapest Hungary Hot Fish Soup (Halaszle), Goulash (meat soup), Nokedli (small dumplings), stuffed peppers, salami.  This is a place that Paprika is used liberally.  A classic desert is Dobos torta (sponge cake layered with chocolate paste and glazed with caramel and nuts). Salzburg Austria Wiener Schnitzel and boiled beef.  Sacher Torte, Linzer Torte and Apple strudel.  Check Nutmeg’s blog on Vienna food scene. Kitzbuhel Oberammergau Germany Sausage, sauerkraut, potato dumplings, pretzels and beer. Fribourg Switzerland Cheese fondue, raclette and mediocre wine Grindelwald Chamonix France Truffle is cooking! London England Fish and chips, beer, ploughman’s lunch, beer, Cornish pasties, beer…. Enjoy!  We look forward to some guest blog reviews from Hot Sauce and Chili. [tfb username=’GingerandNutmeg’ count=’true’ lang=’en’ theme=’light’]

Recipes & Travel:
, , , ,