What does a Berliner eat? We were about to find out!
What is a typical Canadian ingredient? This simple question, posed to me by a tour guide in Bern, Switzerland, caught me completely off guard. I absolutely choked and couldn’t think of a single response. We were walking around the city and the conversation had drifted to food (as it inevitably does with me). My guide enthused about her favorite Swiss ingredients but I couldn’t think of anything to say about my own.
About an hour later, I bluntly interrupted the conversation to triumphantly blurt out “maple syrup!” Yep, it took me all that time to think of the most obvious answer in the world. Clearly I needed to up my local food game and it took a tour in another German speaking city – this time, Berlin – to give me a blueprint into what recipes and ingredients can mean to a region.
Food journalist Dirk Engelhardt runs a food tour unlike any other that I’ve experienced. For one thing, it’s a "full belly" tour – there’s no sharing of samples or small plates here. We’re talking full bottles of beer, massive plates direct from the menu, and mighty servings of cake. It’s more of a neighborhood supper crawl, where each stop gives you another full course. But generous portion sizes aside, the real stars of the tour are the venues.
There's great fishing in Niagara Falls - but most people overlook it.
One of the most popular activities on a North American "bucket list" is to visit Niagara Falls, Canada, to explore the waterfalls and ride on a Hornblower Niagara Cruise. And no wonder! The falls really do live up to all the hype. But I'm going to be bold and suggest that there are other bodies of water around Niagara Canada that are equally worthy of exploration.
There's a reason why this part of Canada is referred to as the 8th Wonder of the World - there is so much to see and discover. And (no surprises here!) there's a reason why I'm so particularly fond of the Niagara River, Lake Erie, and Lake Ontario. It all starts with food!
The food in southern Ontario, and especially around the Niagara Region, is absolutely amazing. The micro climate of the region means milder winters and favorable conditions, the kind that coaxes finicky grapes and coddles delicate tomatoes. But while I love the fresh produce and local wine (and cheese..... and preserves.... and ciders.......) one of my absolute favourite things to eat in this region is the freshly caught fish.
In Stockholm's Archipelago, an RIB is the best way to travel.
My list of enemies may not be long, but it is firm. And boats have been at the top of that list for my entire life. I am a seasick, motion-sick mess at the mere thought of boats. I have thrown up in public. I have nearly thrown up on people. I have inadvertently taken too much anti-nausea medication and have fallen asleep on the floor of a whale watching vessel. I have taken too little medication too late on an overnight ferry and have cried myself to sleep.
I even felt queasy on the Amsterdam Houseboat Museum. A docked vessel in an inner city canal designed for human habitation. I take my ginger capsules with a hearty dose of shame.
Needless to say, had I really known what an RIB was and what it did, I never would have gone to the dock in Stockholm. I hate boats. I hate speed. Sometimes I even think I hate fun. I’m an absolute scaredy cat, the saddest wimpiest traveler to ever tentatively hit the road.
Who on earth would have thought I’d have one of the best experiences of my life?!
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