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”…


Driving and Dodging

Taste & Travel, Summer 2016

Follow me as I road-trip a gastronomic trail through Provence (in The Allure of Les Alpilles) and dodge motorbikes and flatbread-throwers on a high octane food tour in Lucknow, India (in Awadhi Adventures).

You can read both articles in the Summer Issue of Taste & Travel International – now on shelves at Chapters/Indigo stores across Canada and online at

“Big Stage” Vision at Calgary Food Tours

Karen Anderson of Calgary Food Tours
Calgary Food Tours’ Karen Anderson (Photo credit: loree photography)

Those of you who follow my wanderings may remember that the amazing culinary adventure I took to India last November was ably and attentively helmed by Karen Anderson, founder/owner/operator of Calgary Food Tours.

My own introduction to Calgary Food Tours came a couple of summers ago on a Craving Kensington walk that began in the city’s only Relais et Chateau-affiliated inn and culminated in a sampling of small batch 24-year-old single grain scotch whisky that retailed over $150. Clearly not the stuff of your run-of-the-mill tasting tour.  No surprise, then, that Calgary Food Tours, with its ever-evolving stable of carefully-curated food experiences in Calgary’s dynamic culinary neighbourhoods, is celebrating its 10th anniversary this month.

Calgary Food Tours logoAnd in the spirit of “go big or go home”, Anderson is marking her 10th year with a bold proposal to expand to Edmonton and Canmore in a newly-envisioned Alberta Food Tours company.  Partnering with ATB Financial’s Alberta BoostR platform, Anderson just launched a rewards-based crowdfunding effort this week – and her campaign’s early fundraising successes have already secured her a place at the Awakened Company live pitch competition on April 15.

You can check out Karen’s vision of a bigger stage for food travellers – and find links to her rewards campaign – on her Savour It All blog.  See her schedule of upcoming tours at

Text © 2016 Catherine Van Brunschot

A New Orleans History Nosh

French Quarter - Antoine'sShaking out our umbrellas, we follow the barkeep’s nod toward a cayenne-walled room, where a dozen damp tourists mill around a man in a red felt fedora.  A single long table set with white linen dominates the windowless space.  Among the framed black-and-white photos that line the walls, a small plaque tags this “The Mystery Room”.

And the mystery?  Why, it’s a former Prohibition-era speakeasy, says the behatted Naif Shahady.  Of course!  This is New Orleans – we’d expect no less…

READ MORE of my food tour column in the current issue of Taste & Travel International (