Profiles of Kerala

Photo credit: S. Dunk

The screen door creaks a quiet complaint as I ease it shut and slide into a rattan chair.  Beneath the low-thatched eaves of my cottage, I ponder the trees emerging from the morning mist and warm my hands gratefully on my coffee glass.  According to the card on my nightstand, the brew is podi kappi, “the traditional black coffee of the local people in the High Range area”.  I only know it is hot and dark and redolent with cardamom, cumin, and fenugreek.  As caffeine and sun make inroads on my hazy dawn, a soft hoot emerges from the canopy: an unseen langur monkey alerts his family to my presence.

Read the full story here and in the Spring Issue of Taste & Travel International magazine.

 

Advertisements

Snapshots of Croatia

Dubrovnik at nightStunning Dubrovnik – with its old city walls jutting into the Adriatic Sea and its evocative Game of Thrones settings – is Croatia’s brightest calling card for good reason. Our early morning walk atop its ramparts brings heart-stirring angles across the red-tiled roofs. A gondola ride up Mt. Srd provides even more great photos – plus an opportunity to peruse the passionate exhibit “Dubrovnik During the Homeland War” housed in the Napoleonic fortress.

But it’s the evenings, when the cruise-ship day-trippers have disappeared and the sun shines rosy on the tiled streets, that the Old Town is most magical…

 

Come along for the ride as I collect “Snapshots of Croatia” from tip to tip of the country’s Adriatic coast – then check out Calgary’s best sources for Croatian food and libations.  You’ll find it all in the current issue of Calgary’s City Palate.

Passion for Perigord

Chefs Fudge and Meret depart Château Montastru
Photo credit – Steve Dunk

It’s 9:30 am and I’m elbow-deep in foie gras in a château in southwest France.  Not literally to the elbows, mind you, but I’m as up-close-and-personal as I’m likely to get, thrilled and terrified in equal measure as I tease vascular tissue free from the prized duck liver.  Despite the cooling armour of the castle’s thick walls, the foie gras seems to be melting under my fingers and I’m beginning to sweat.  My mentor, Chef Thierry Meret, reassures me with his usual bonhomie – and a shot of plum brandy.

Read the full story in the Winter 2018 Issue of Taste & Travel International magazine.

Following Vernon’s Culinary Trail

Paddling with ELEMENTS Adventure Company
Photo credit: ELEMENTS Adventure Company

When I came in search of food experiences in British Columbia’s North Okanagan Valley, I didn’t expect to find myself HERE.

Pine forests tumble down the Monashee mountains and cottonwoods throw shadows over the canoe, as I float with seven other paddlers down the Shuswap River.  Other shadows flit below the water:  Chinook and Sockeye salmon returning to their birthplace to spawn.  A Bald eagle whistles from a tall snag, but before I can locate his partner, my guide, Charles Ruechel, sounds his call to stroke hard on my side of the canoe.  By the time we clear the “sweeper” – a tree laid low over the water – we’ve left the eagle behind.  No matter.  Minutes later, another eagle splits the October sky.

Read the full story in the Summer Issue of Taste & Travel International magazine.

Awadhi Adventures

Chowk at night, Lucknow
Photo credit: C. Van Brunschot

“Do you always do this tour at night?” I shout.

My voice is lost in the din as a motorbike threads the gap between my guide, Cyrus, and me, and I’m forced to repeat the question when I catch up to him in an alcove minutes later.

“Yes, usually at night,” he smiles.  “So that visitors are able to get the full atmosphere.”  I take in the crush of shoppers and diners, awash in the fluorescent light and savoury aromas spilling from the open shop fronts into the ancient lane. And I have to concede:  Cyrus has got the “atmosphere” part nailed…

Read more of my column from the last issue of Taste & Travel International HERE (page 78) and  HERE (page 79).

The Allure of Les Alpilles

View from Chateau des Baux
Photo credit: C. Van Brunschot

“It’s a virus,”  says Jean-Benoît Hugues, as we gaze over the olive trees twinkling silver in the breeze beneath a hot September sky.  “It gets in your skin.  And it pulls you back”…

READ MORE

Uncommon Medley

Waterfall Joy, Brownsberg Nature ParkSURINAME.

It’s a name that draws a blank from even the most well-travelled.  Call it the former Dutch Guiana, and some can place it in the western hemisphere:  a wedge pencilled off the northern reaches of the Amazon rainforest; a mangrove-armoured coastline, barely accessible but for the rivers that pierce their way to the Atlantic.  It’s a country in South America, but not of it – peopled originally by the Caribs and Arawaks, mostly bypassed by the Spanish, and thus sharing little, culturally, with the majority of the continent.  Instead, the vagaries of history brought Dutch plantation owners and West African slaves to its shores; after abolition, workers from India, China, and Java.  Centuries of mingling and mixing have created a true cultural pastiche – and a unique cuisine to match…

Harvesting cassava, SurinameREAD MORE of my article in the Winter 2016 issue of Taste & Travel International magazine – on shelves now at Chapters/Indigo stores across Canada and online at zinio.com.

Subscriptions at http://www.TasteAndTravelMagazine.com.