Spicy Tales from London’s Kew Gardens

Vanilla shouldn’t exist. Given its complicated sex life, it really isn’t able to reproduce on its own. And given how random the procedure is to artificially fertilize the species, man shouldn’t have been able to figure out how to help it grow in the quantities required for its current level of commercial use. I learned … Continue reading Spicy Tales from London’s Kew Gardens

The sweet story of Lake Garda’s lemons

Growing any crop is a huge gamble... growing lemons on the hillsides of the western shore of Lake Garda means facing almost impossible odds. First, the latitude -- lemons generally are grown between the 40th parallel north and the 40th parallel south, and Lake Garda is at 46 degrees of latitude, north of the equator. … Continue reading The sweet story of Lake Garda’s lemons

Sweet-Tart, I Love You

                   Did you know that Balsamic vinegar isn't really vinegar (which is fermented wine)? Neither did I, until the second stop on my Food Experiences day trip from Bologna (run by Times of Italy/Italian Days), when we went to Acetaia Villa San Donnino. They produce DOP designated … Continue reading Sweet-Tart, I Love You

All Pigs Aren’t Created Equal

Making the cured meat treat that is Prosciutto is a simple matter of pig, salt and time. That's pretty much it. And of course, there's also much more to it, especially for the resulting product to earn the Protected Designation of Original (DOP) label. As the third stop on my Food Experiences day trip from … Continue reading All Pigs Aren’t Created Equal

A “Slow” Day — Prosciutto, Parmesan and Passion

This tour is a perfect way to learn about food, family and passion for both. Aside from the early start time (just before 7 am!!), everything about the Food Experiences trip from Bologna, run by Times of Italy/Italian Days was perfect. We were a group of around 20 people, but transported in 4 different luxury … Continue reading A “Slow” Day — Prosciutto, Parmesan and Passion

The Making of a King

For those food geeks (like me), who want to know more about the "The King of Cheese," Parmigiano-Reggiano, and how it's made, here are the details that I learned at Nuova Coop Casearia Spilambertese, while on the Food Experiences tour from Times of Italy/Italian Days. Parmigiano-Reggiano actually has quite a history, being first mentioned in … Continue reading The Making of a King

Bruges must be chocolate heaven

On my first sight of Bruges, I thought, "Oh, this is cute". On my second look, all I could see was tourists, and I thought, "Oh, this doesn't look good." On my third look, walking around the streets, I thought, "By all that's unholy, I may just overdose on chocolate over the next three days!" … Continue reading Bruges must be chocolate heaven

In Flanders Fields – Visiting Sanctuary Wood

     This is a World War I site with original and partially restored trenches outside Ieper, Belgium (called "Wipers" by the British soldiers of the time). The woods gave temporary sanctuary from German guns (hence the name) during the various battles that raged through what is now peaceful Belgian countryside. One of the first … Continue reading In Flanders Fields – Visiting Sanctuary Wood