In search of the ultimate travel coziness in Italy, we fell in love with Orvieto - oh, and Orvieto wine too!
Is there anything cozier than stumbling into a delightfully snug wine bar with a full roaring fire at the end of a long travel day? Perhaps the only thing better is when said wine bar also doubles as a spectacular restaurant - and is owned by one of the kindest families you've ever met. This very scenario was our introduction to Orvieto wine, food, and family - and it set a new bar for hospitality, not just for all other Italian towns but indeed everywhere we travel.
Here's what made Orvieto such a wonderfully cozy destination for us, including our beloved wine bar and our new favourite hotel, lovingly decorated by local artists.
Just outside Perth (Western Australia), we discovered a Fremantle coffee spot that is nearly impossible to find - unless you're in the know.
Want to know my formula for the perfect travel day? It's not first class tickets + champagne = luxury. It's more like tiny spot + jaunty bright colors = coffee heaven. While visiting the Perth (Western Australia) suburb of Fremantle, coffee heaven was in full force. We had the good fortune to visit the tiniest of all tiny cafes, featuring the jauntiest of all jaunty colors (bright orange!) and it was heavenly indeed.
My heart swooped the minute I walked through the door of the Leake St. Cafeteria - and so will yours! But first you have to find it. This is a blink-and-you'll-miss-it stop but read on and you'll see why I think a visit here is one of the best things to do in Fremantle.
In Perth, Ontario, restaurants don't just take the cake. They also make the pie!
The community of Perth, Ontario is just a short, one hour drive from my home in Ottawa but it's in a class all of its own when it comes to food. The handsome, historic town of 6,000 boasts a long list of restaurants, bakeries, pubs, and cafes tucked into the fetching limestone buildings of its downtown core. Always one to eagerly form neighborly bonds, I set out to Perth with two friends, a pair of stretchy pants, and a cooler in the trunk of the car to keep any perishable purchases preserved. While many foodie quests begin with savory appetizers and conclude with dessert, this trip would be happening in reverse. At the very top of my list was a visit to the Perth Pie Co's new headquarters, a delicious pilgrimage I'll be making again and again. If you're in search of Perth, Ontario, restaurants, I hope you'll follow in my footsteps for at least part of your quest, as my experience was absolutely delicious!
Join us as we eat our way through the Eternal City on the best food tour Rome has to offer - and learn some important lessons about Italian cuisine along the way.
We were granted media passes to LivItaly's Rome food tour at no cost and we thank them for their support. All research, writing, and opinions are our own. Note that some links in this post may be affiliate links, which means we are paid a small commission should you make a purchase.
Are you ready for a culinary lesson, straight from the best food tour Rome has to offer? Here goes! There are three important things you should know when it comes to buying olive oil. First, always knock a year off the suggested 'best before' date. Freshness really matters when it comes to olive oil. Next, you should store it far away from your stove. While it might be convenient to have it nearby while cooking, proximity to heat can affect the quality of the oil over time. Finally, know that you usually get what you pay for. It's impossible to get a high quality olive oil for $7 a liter. Single source, cold pressed, extra virgin olive oil, a foundation of Italian cooking, is well worth paying a premium for.
If you're suddenly craving a loaf of crusty bread and a saucer of pungent oil for dipping, you aren't alone. It's delicious! So would it surprise you to learn that I didn't once try olive oil during our LivItaly small group Rome food tour? Everything I learned about olive oil came from a conversation with our tour guide, Dario, over glasses of wine and a platter of local cured meat, cheese, bread, and honey.
I'm not exactly sure how we got on the topic of olive oil but once we started asking questions, we couldn't stop. And we soon learned that the mark of a great food tour is that you're so busy chatting you scarcely notice the food at all, no matter how delicious it is. Within minutes, we weren't studious culinary scholars. We were noshing with a new friend and it felt like old times.
Read on to learn more about the wine, food, and conversations that flowed!
Want to know where to eat in Maun, Botswana? The Wax Apple Cafe is the apple of my eye!
This post may contain affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase through said link we are paid a small commission.
In my early years of travel, I relied heavily on the advice and encouragement found in Lonely Planet's online "Thorn Tree", a messaging board for travelers to exchange information. Back in the olden days, each section of the forum had a clever, witty byline in its description. Case in point: For female travelers, there was a quip about covering everything from crampons to tampons. And in the section for Africa, they appealed to travelers "looking for a latte in Lesotho". This has always stood out in my memory, both in part because I so appreciated the alliteration and also because I was bemused. Who on earth would care about tracking down a latte when they were in a gorgeous African country?
Now I know, readers. NOW I KNOW.
I have become the very traveler I once eschewed, hysterically hunting for cappuccinos and vanilla lattes in the most implausible environments. And thus, when I had the chance to visit the Wax Apple Cafe in Maun, Botswana for an unexpected dose of espresso, I had a real moment of "latte in Lesotho" jubilation - albeit being just a little bit out of jurisdiction.
Most travelers focus on "the best". Here's why the SECOND best pad Thai in Bangkok will always be number one to me.
We were granted media passes to the The Market Experience's Thai Cooking With A Twist class at no cost and we thank them for their support. All research, writing, and opinions are our own. Note that some links in this post may be affiliate links, which means we are paid a small commission should you make a purchase.
Every traveler dreams of superlatives - and I'm no exception. I've been to Death Valley National Park, the hottest place on earth, as well as Perth, Australia, the most isolated city in the world. I've also made it to Bagan, Myanmar, home to the largest concentration of religious structures in the world - and even to Nackawic, New Brunswick, site of the world's largest axe! After all, who doesn't love seeing the biggest, largest, highest, and best when they travel?
Therefore, you might be a bit surprised when I tell you that I fell in love with the SECOND best pad Thai in Bangkok - and I couldn't be happier that I did.
What exactly makes the pad Thai created by The Market Experience very nearly the finest in all of Bangkok, save but one? We'll get to that shortly! First, you need to build up to the moment, which is exactly what we did when we had the privilege of joining The Market Experience's Thai Cooking With A Twist cooking class and market tour.
As long time readers know, Ryan and I adore cooking classes and market tours. And it's not just because we're obsessed with great food! Nothing can compete with the delectable combination of culture and community, along with the chance to chat with locals, see their work- and even say hello to their cats! With Chef Kwang and company owner Simon encouraging us, we had the most immersive and delicious experience imaginable - and it was one that included the city's second-best pad Thai! Suffice it to say, there's nothing like it in all of Bangkok.
To begin, take a step into the Yodipman Flower Market with us.
Readers always ask us "Which country has the best food?" and "Where's the best place you've ever eaten?" Here are the most delicious and undeniably amazing meals we've had around the world.
Our meal at Black Tartan was sponsored by Ontario's Highlands Tourism Organization and we thank them for their support.
Some links within this blog post are affiliate links, which means we are paid a small commission should you make a purchase .
Do you remember the time we feasted on desserts across Budapest, including some showstopping plates at a Michelin star'd restaurant? Or that time when we had an incredible meal at a near empty Parisian restaurant after a late night river cruise? We sure do! We love eating our away around the world and our list of good meals, restaurants, and experiences is endlessly long.
But what about GREAT meals and restaurants? No, not just great. How about the absolute best? People ask us all the time about the best meal we've ever had or the best restaurant we've ever visited and we always struggle to answer. I've realized it's not just that food enjoyment is subjective. For us, it's also about having our expectations surpassed, about being overjoyed to discover that a meal we anticipated would be merely satisfactory is actually sensational. Sometimes it's been an order from room service that blew us away so much that we are STILL talking about how perfectly creamy the sauce was. Other times, it's an unassuming country bistro, the last place we expected to find a cheese lover's heaven. In every case, the food isn't just good - it's surprisingly, unexpectedly fantastic.
After much debate, we've finally narrowed down our list of the best meals we've had around the world, using the criteria above. None of those incredible restaurants in Budapest or Paris made the list. They were wonderful - but we expected them to be wonderful. An element of joyous astonishment just wasn't there. We also eliminated any experiences that we enjoyed solo - this list is all about the places that Ryan and I have enjoyed together and have the same reaction to. Looking back on all our delicious destinations has been a fun trip down memory lane, but also a sad one. Should we go back? Would things be just as great a second time round or are our expectations now skewed? It's a good reminder to always savor the moment as much as the food!
Where can you find poutine AND fine wine? On a Quebec City food tour, of course! We're reviewing two of the most popular options - as well as giving you the inside scoop on our favourite Quebec City bed and breakfast.
When you think of Quebecois food, does your mind wander to old fashioned fare with a heavy emphasis on maple syrup and local delicacies? Or maybe you're craving less wholesome treats like a heaping plate of poutine? Perhaps your tastes are a bit more refined, with a eye towards wine and French joie de vivre? If you're like me and want a little bit of everything, your best bet is a Quebec City food tour so that no category is left out. Happily, when I was in Quebec City for the Women in Travel Summit, I participated in not one but two fantastic foodie experiences. Read on to hear about each tour, including what I loved, what I felt could have been improved, and my favourite stop on each. Plus there's a bonus review of my favourite Quebec City bed and breakfast which I know you'll like as much as I do!
Bon Appetit! Cooking classes around the world offer great meals and great memories. Here's what we look for to make sure we get great value as well.
We were sticky, sweaty, and we smelled distinctly of onions. Our feet were coated in a layer of fine dust and we had mysterious red splotches all over our shirts. We needed showers, we needed rest, and -truth be told - we probably needed to drink something other than wine. But we had the best morning imaginable!
We weren't participating in some kind of strange obstacle course or adventure excursion. No, Ryan and I were fresh from spending the morning at an incredible cooking class in Prague. The onion odor and red stains were the result of carefully (... or not so carefully....) stirring the base for a goulash and the dusty feet were courtesy of a market tour. And the wine, well...All in a day's work!
Cooking classes around the world are our new favourite travel activity and we're not alone. Classes for non-chefs and travelers are popping up everywhere. We've never had a class we didn't absolutely love nor a meal that didn't leave us groaning with happy, overfull bellies. To ensure that your experience is just as great as ours, here's what you should look for in an overseas cooking class.
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