These 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.
Wind 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
With a city as cosmopolitan as London, there could only be more articles appearing shortly on Travel with Pen and Palate.
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.
Founded in 315 B.C.E. by King Cassander of Macedon, he wisely named the city after his wife, Thessalonike, sister to Alexander the Great. Thessaloniki, as a major port city with nearly 2,500 years of history has been at the crossroads of empires starting with Alexander the Great, followed by Rome, Byzantium and the Ottomans.
For a city bulging with a young educated population – 15% are university students.
Located at the intersection of the fabled spice route between Asia and Europe has had a profound effect on both the culture and cuisine of Thessaloniki. And its young population has made it a city of cafes.
Fava beans with squid and raisins is a favorite among Oval cafe patrons and reflects a reality that the ingredients for Greek cuisine remain easily sourced from their home provinces. Follow my step-by-step recipe with photos and recreate this delicious dish.
“In Greece, food is an excuse to meet friends,” says Nikita Patiniotis
With half the national population, Athens is Greek cuisine in microcosm. Nikita weaves his Athens market tour through the narrow streets of Monastiraki to taste Greece, and during several hours Context Travel’s Beyond Feta Athens food tour introduces travelers to many future new friends.
We’ll wander through bustling Athinas Street into the vast Varvakios Agora and understand why Greece is still the ancient center of the culinary world. Context Travel’s Beyond Feta walking tour illuminates a civilization. Come walk with me.
The pleasant evening temperature, the lack of car horns and loud music coupled with the sounds of conversation and relaxed dining, Greek national pastimes, create a culture in contrast to the 21st century’s frenetic pace.
This is not tradition triumphing over the modern era; it is the modern era.
In the land of Bruegel, chocolate and mussels, the lush green land of Flanders is punctuated by towns of extraordinary beauty. Medieval castles, Renaissance houses, canals and cafes are in view with every convoluted turn in the ancient streets. Yet in Brussels, larger than life cartoon wall art decorates, and compliments, its historic core.
In four days, VisitFlanders introduced me to three cities rich in layers of culture, four restaurants bursting with layers of flavor as well as beer and chocolate as it ought to be enjoyed. Articles, as they appear, will be added to this post, so please check back often.
Flanders, today, is at the vanguard of a new wave in international gastronomy that’s pairing the freshest of locally sourced ingredients with 21st century culinary techniques.
The mild climate may have favored Flanders own agricultural abundance, but access to the world through trade constantly brought new products, such as the potato and chocolate, fueling today’s Michelin starred restaurants, creating chocolate beer and celebrity chocolatiers, although Dominique Personne is considered the bad boy of Brugge – watch the You Tube video in my latest article.
Ghent’s de Vitrine is Kobe Desramaults little city bistro. Yet the secret these young chefs are revealing is simple, fresh regional ingredients treated with respect and given pride of place. “I think about the vegetable,” Speybreck says, “not what meat or fish it goes with. What can I do with a nice cauliflower. Each ingredient has its own place.”
Amidst the frenzy of summer in London, it’s comforting to know that scotch eggs and marmalade with gold leaf can still be part of your customized picnic basket from Fortnum & Mason. In three hours, Context Travel’s Janine Catalano narrates a three century evolution in British gastronomy with “a walk through central London from less than a common perspective.”
Chef Fergus Henderson’s 1999 book, “Nose to Tail Eating: A Kind of British Cooking,” caused a sensation when published. It placed Chef Henderson and St. John’s at the forefront of an omnivore movement, in direct opposition to modern meat consumption, in which the whole animal is eaten – trotters, tripe, kidneys, heart, sweetbreads …
It would be easy to walk right past The Little French Restaurant on London’s narrow Hogarth Street. The diminutive road, opposite Earls Court underground station, is lined with at least a half dozen small cafes, shops and quaint flower bedecked townhouses. Yet a passerby would be hard pressed to dine in a more charming French bistro.
Not only is London’s population a polyglot of the former empire, but Britons have embraced an unprecedented broadening of their culinary palate. As Greek As It Gets, a restaurant in fashionable Earls Court, says it all in words and in the authenticity of its menu offerings.