A Greek volcanic disaster creates dry wines

Santo wines
Santo wines

The volcano that blew Santorini into history 3,500 years ago created a soil that produces the driest white wines and the finest dessert wine this chef has ever had moisten his palate.

Santorini TOMATO SAUCE WITH VINSANTO wine: Santo Winery
Santorini TOMATO SAUCE WITH VINSANTO wine: Santo Winery

 

Santo Wines – responsible for 17% of the agricultural land on the island – emphasized that its mission is “to preserve the cultivation of land and overcome the challenge of rapid touristic development that leads to the abandonment of land cultivation.”

 

 

The kouloura is the unique way of pruning the grape vines to keep the round shape of a basket-like circle.
The kouloura is the unique way of pruning the grape vines to keep the round shape of a basket-like circle.

DSC02308The volcanic cliffs maintain an ideal temperature for wine production making air conditioning unnecessary.

 

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Sustaining Greek agriculture: the mission of Santo Wines

 

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Paros Island: just a tease

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Paros Land Hotel

 

Chef Michael Margaris
Chef Michael Margaris

Spend time talking to the owners of the Paros Land Hotel and their promising young chef and you understand the resilience that has sustained Greece for millenniums.

 

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It’s a creative force responsible for this enterprise and it will propel Greece beyond a temporary financial crisis.

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Mrs. Tricha Stavroula, owner of Paros Land Hotel
Mrs. Tricha Stavroula, owner of Paros Land Hotel

Brothers, sisters, in-laws and grandchildren have all had a hand in the design, rebuilding and the myriad operational details required of a hotel. Their pride was palpable when they sat down each night at a long wooden table in the airy dining room for lengthy multi-course meals.

Please read the rest of the story…

Paros Land Hotel exemplifies the gift of Athena

 

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Summer Recipes: of figs and chutney

Summer:  a time for fresh fruit, vegetables and taking time off from the daily grind. Do something different. Revert to the past when we all made our own and didn’t just buy it ready to eat. Enjoy!

Mango chutney
Mango chutney

The interplay of sweet fruit, astringent vinegar, fresh ginger, savory onions, spices, a bit of hot pepper and rich brown sugar is not only appealing but a great way to use fresh produce as it comes into season.

Read my recipe with additional photos:

Don’t buy chutney, make it yourself

 

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 I like figs and chevre and caramelized onions. Of course who doesn’t like pizza? And summer time is California fig season in the USA. They’re low in calories, high in potassium, not too sweet and hold up nicely when gently cooked.

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By the early 20th century California fig production was second only to Turkey, Greece, Portugal and Spain.

Read my recipe with additional photos:

         Try a fig and chevre pizza this summer

 

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Greek Windmills: Sails in the Air

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DSC06044These iconic circular stone structures dot the land – both islands and mainland – and their images adorn countless postcards. Their stark beauty as ruins of a bygone agricultural age and the bird-like sails of restored mills stiff in the wind, evoke the same timelessness as the Acropolis of Athens or sacred Mt. Athos.

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DSC06034Wind permitting, a mill could grind up to 150 pounds of grain per hour. The mill men needed to develop skills to read the weather and gauge the strength of winds.

Alonissos

On the island of Sifnos, in the Cyclades group, Mr. Ionnis Trinas has constructed what very well may be the first fully functioning mill in over a century.

See more photos and read about the windmill at..

Savoring windmills in Greece

 

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Dionysus would enjoy Porto Carras Grand Resort

Greece: legendary hospitality

Villa Galini
Villa Galini

It’s a story worthy of Shakespeare’s Tempest – millionaires and a dark and stormy night… One can imagine the longing for peace and tranquility that celebrities seek.

Neos Marmaris
Neos Marmaris

Read the rest of my article on Examiner.com:

The vision of Giannis Carras for a grand Greek resort

Sacred Mt. Athos at dawn
Sacred Mt. Athos at dawn

Seven square miles of the Sithonia peninsula, five miles of pristine EU certified Blue Flag beaches… After all Greeks deified the very concept of hospitality. It’s unthinkable to change perfection.

Sithonia Hotel, Porto Carras Grand Resort
Sithonia Hotel, Porto Carras Grand Resort

Porto Carras Grand Resort shares wine, olives and home

Organic food…organic wine…pristine Aegean beaches…saltwater pools…spas… Want more information? Click the links above to read my Porto Carras articles.

Porto Carras Grand Resort
Porto Carras Grand Resort

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In the Age of Puddings: Historic English and America Cookery

In the Tudor kitchen at Hampton Court Palace, London, UK
In the Tudor kitchen at Hampton Court Palace, London, UK

Robert Fitch answered my question, “porridge was the staff of life” for the common person until the 18th century. No wonder working the palace was a coveted job – even for a spit turner.

The Hampton Court Palace kitchen cooked two meals for approximately 600 people daily consuming in one 16th century year 1,240 oxen, 8,200 sheep, 2,330 deer, 760 calves, 1,870 pigs and 53 wild boar.

When porridge was the staff of life: cookery at Hampton Court Palace

A pudding steaming in the hearth at the Thomas Massey House (c.1696) Broomall, PA
A pudding steaming in the hearth at the Thomas Massey House (c.1696) Broomall, PA

Puddings were a major component of the English and American table during these centuries and often served as the foundation of a one dish meal in this age of cooking on an open wood fired hearth.

Clarissa Dillon on the great age of English puddings

Clarissa Dillon, one of the foremost authorities on 16th-18th century English and colonial American cooking, tackles the often confusing interpretations of our shared culinary past.

Dr. Clarissa Dillon
Dr. Clarissa Dillon

I believe both Fergus and Clarissa would agree that a 17th/18th century middle class diet was healthy only if the diner was physically very active, but it’s tasty. London’s Chef Fergus Henderson and Philadelphia’s Dr. Clarissa Dillon have never met yet share a no-nonsense and unsentimental approach towards the diet of their 17th and 18th century Anglo ancestors.

Eighteenth century appetizers from two culinary historians

Marrow bones at St. John Bar & Restaurant, London, UK
Marrow bones at St. John Bar & Restaurant, London, UK

When St. John Bar & Restaurant at 26 St. John Street, London, was a smokehouse in the 18th century, located a couple blocks from the centuries old Smithfield Market, Hampton Court Palace had a chocolate kitchen catering exclusively to the large royal household.

Chocolate was a London fad when oysters were fast food

King's dining room, 18th century, Hampton Court Palace, London, UK
King’s dining room, 18th century, Hampton Court Palace, London, UK

 

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St. John Bar & Restaurant, London, UK
St. John Bar & Restaurant, London, UK
Beach in Ouranoupolis, Athos, Greece

Driving Halkidiki

harbor, Neos Marmaras, Sithonia, Greece
harbor, Neos Marmaras, Sithonia, Greece

Sitting at a beach side café in Possidi on the Halkidiki peninsula of Kassandra, this North American was struck by an unfamiliar scene. People were reading.

Driving Kassandra unplugged and tuned into Greece

Nea Fokea:14th Century Byzantine tower and church
Nea Fokea:14th Century Byzantine tower and church

Fingers of land jutting into the Aegean, Kassandra, Sithonia and sacred Athos have, like all of Macedonia, been at the center of turbulent times since the 4th century B.C.E. In the 21st century the only turbulence seemed to be the long lines of cars every summer weekend that bring holiday seekers from Thessaloniki and Eastern Europe.

water sports in Sithonia
water sports in Sithonia

Family owned since it opened in 1989, the rooms surround an opulent pool that is the focal point of the Flegra Palace Hotel including the Soleil Bar with its dramatic glass floor jutting over the water.

Soleil Bar at the Flegra Palace Hotel
Soleil Bar at the Flegra Palace Hotel

Flegra Palace Hotel plans new venture in Pefkohori, Greece

Fortunately mere mortals can dine at Ambrosia, the open-air dining room at the Flegra Palace Hotel in the Halkidiki seaside resort town of Pefkohori, Greece.

Ambrosia, Flegra Palace Hotel
Ambrosia, Flegra Palace Hotel

Chef Aphrodite Balanou makes Ambrosia in Pefkohori, Greece

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Beach in Ouranoupolis, Athos, Greece
Beach in Ouranoupolis, Athos, Greece

Dim sum and cigars: a New York experience

dim sum at 88 Palace
dim sum at 88 Palace
88 Palace
88 Palace

At a recent press lunch for journalists of the International Food, Wine & Travel Writers Association and New Jersey Press Association, Yang Chao Lu, owner of 88 Palace,  presented a veritable banquet of dim sum dishes over several hours.

Gail Gerson-Whitte & 88 Palace manager Shi Fan Lu
Gail Gerson-Whitte & 88 Palace manager Shi Fan Lu

But 88 Palace is more than a restaurant. It’s a microcosm of any Chinatown street, fun to explore and taste.  Read more at…

88 Palace serves palatial dim sum

inside The Ride
inside The Ride
The Ride
The Ride

Sitting stadium style looking out an entire glass walled side and half the ceiling of the specially outfitted bus, The Ride talks, in a deep resonating voice, not just to its customers but to people on the street as well.

The Ride, Chrysler Building ornament
The Ride, Chrysler Building ornament

The Ride deftly weaves Manhattan to give the audience a sense of the city’s energy and comedy.  Read more at…

Celebrating Manhattan on The Ride

Mike's Deli, David Greco
Mike’s Deli, David Greco
dried tomatoes at Arthur Avenue Market
dried tomatoes at Arthur Avenue Market

“I’m the mozzarella man,” says David Greco,  and there’s a cigar man, cannoli women,  a microbrewer and six other purveyors at the venerable Arthur Avenue Market in the Bronx.

Mario's owner chef Joseph Migliuccis
Mario’s owner chef Joseph Migliuccis

New York still has neighborhoods such as Belmont in the Bronx and streets like Arthur Avenue that are pockets of an almost forgotten urban reality.  Read more at…

The mozzarella man is in the Bronx

…and while you’re at it, have a cigar.

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looking over Thames River & the river walk from Hotel Rafayel, Battersea towards Chelsea.

Hotel Rafayel: new London on the Thames

Banyan on the Thames restaurant, Hotel Rafayel, London
Banyan on the Thames restaurant, Hotel Rafayel, London

The Hotel Rafayel is part of the remarkable 21st century transformation of the Docklands, the East End and South London from post industrial wasteland into the vibrant, upscale, multi-ethnic residential and commercial city London’s east side of the Thames  has become.

Lobby of the Rafayel on the Left Bank, Falcon Wharf, London, UK
Lobby of the Rafayel on the Left Bank, Falcon Wharf, London, UK

Hotel Rafayel on the Left Bank has garnered praise for its attention to environmental details. From components for the actual building’s construction to its water catchment system, its eco-conscisousness only adds to its 21st century 5-Star charm.

The Hotel Rafayel on the Left Bank: sustainable luxury on the Thames

Banyan on the Thames restaurant, Hotel Rafayel, London, UK
Banyan on the Thames restaurant, Hotel Rafayel, London, UK

Rapid urban change has remodeled the river scape along the Thames recreating the bustle of a modern port of international commerce. Except now the product is more than likely to be transported by computer or jet than freighter.

The ArcelorMittal Orbit, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Olympic Park, London, UK (scheduled to open 04/2014 )
The ArcelorMittal Orbit, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Olympic Park, London, UK (scheduled to open 04/2014 )

With a city as cosmopolitan as London, there could only be more articles appearing shortly on Travel with Pen and Palate.

London from the observation deck of the ArcelorMittal Orbit, London, UK
London from the observation deck of the ArcelorMittal Orbit, London, UK

The Tate Modern Gallery is housed in a converted art deco power plant within walking distance along the Thames River walk  just up from the Globe Theater. The clean lines of the sprawling space gives justice to both the subjects and size of many great and imaginative works.  A voiceless short documentary from the Tate is an urban ballet.

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Freak Alley, Boise, Idaho

Boise, Idaho, Top Ten

Most state capitals were chosen for political reasons, frequently condemning them to regions of inconsequential and dubious economic value other than politics.
The candy bra at The Chocolate Bar, 805 W. Bannock, Boise, ID
The candy bra at The Chocolate Bar, 805 W. Bannock, Boise, ID
But in Boise, Idaho, an entrepreneurial spirit is resulting in unique pockets of cultural activity.

Boise, Idaho, is not your average state capital

 

Freak Alley
Freak Alley

Brewers Nuts at City Peanut Shop
Brewers Nuts at City Peanut Shop

cafes in downtown
cafes in downtown

Lava Lake Lamb
Lava Lake Lamb

Bedroom in the rooming house: Basque Cultural Center
Bedroom in the rooming house: Basque Cultural Center
Come visit my Boise top ten.

Boise, Idaho, is not your average state capital

The 25-mile Greenbelt along the Boise River in the Idaho capital is a haven for recreation, sustainable river ecology and a pollution free bike and pedestrian path connecting downtown with Boise State University as well as numerous hotels and cafes. This video highlights a spillway popular with surfers and kayakers. Video credit: Marc d’Entremont (travel with pen and palate)

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The Egyptian Theater
The Egyptian Theater

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