Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Catania's Fish and Vegetable Market - you don't want to miss this.

The whole town is decrepit. There is a semblance that it used to be a thriving town once. Many churches, many many churches. Then typically Italianesque buildings. If they were in good conditions, one would have thought you were walking in Milan.

What it lacks in up keeping and sophistication, Catania makes up for in abundance of seafood, sunbathed vegetables and good cooking. I don't know, maybe the mafia bosses like good cooking.

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The main square seems to be the only place where the buildings are kept in descent shape. Luckily for the tourists, this is where you find a sprawling market.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Divino Mare in divina Syracusa

As someone said, no one goes to Syracuse. You go to Ortigia - the tip of Syracuse. And there, one could spend weeks, just lounging in bars, taking the sun as late as November, and stroll through tiny streets. 
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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Filet of Donkey - the tastiest, most tender meat at Mè Cumpari Turiddu in Catania

It seems everyone you talk to or every website you surf through tells you Antica Marina is the best restaurant in Catania - the locals' choice. Maybe. But Catania is known for food in Sicilia, and I was happy to have decided to cancel my reservation at Antica Marina at the last minute and took my chance on Mè Cumpari Turiddu.

The service does not at all exude the friendly Sicilian warmth one expects, but I followed the brusque waiter's recommendation and lo and behold, I at the best piece of meat I ever had in my entire life.

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It's filet of donkey. It was as tender as fresh fois gras, and tastier than any cow, pork or poultry.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Variations on Cannoli Siciliana: chez Me Cumpari Turiddu in Catania and Duomo in Ragusa

Prevalent throughout Sicily is the famous dolce - cannoli. 

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The secret to a good cannoli is, like any cream filled pastries, to keep the pastry unfilled until right before eating. In Sicily, they take the time to do this even at a simple cafe-bar.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Why do Chinese restaurateurs copy neighboring Asian cuisines?

Paris has suffered through a couple decades of horrifying Chinese sushi. Fortunately, there have been enough Japanese chefs who have set up shops offering authentic cuisine, that the French people are finally beginning to understand the difference between the "real" and the run-down version. It's been an up heal battle like the establishment below:

Obviously designed by someone who doesn't know the Japanese language, this sign board says スン ハウス (sun house) instead of スシ (sushi house) ハウス.
But Japanese cuisine isn't the only victim.

Monday, September 22, 2014

4810® mont Blanc praline in Chamonix

If you are in Chamonix, why not pick up some of these pralines made in a shape of mont Blanc at Petit Gourmet. 

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They are called 4810® in reference to the height of the famed mont Blanc. Its shape was designed by a sculptor Patrick Böhm.

168 rue du Dr Paccard
Chamonix Centre
74400 Chamonix-Mont-Blanc
04 5053 0159

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Bouquetin horn sausages at Chamonix

Bouquetin or ibex is a symbol of the Alps. A local regional gourmet shop in Chamonix sells sausages in the shape of bouquetin horns.

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A 15 minute ride from Chamonix will take you to a nature park where you can observe these goats quite up close. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Musée Rabelais with exhibition on Gargantua and Pantagruel

10 minute drive from Chinon, there stands where François Rabelais, a 16th century author of Gargantua and Pantagruel lived. 

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The name Gargantua conjures an image of a giant insatiably fed day and night, and the character is inextricably tied to the history of French gastronomy.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

After the Dent d'Oche hike: Les beignets de pomme de terre chez La Fétiuère

After a beautiful and exhausting day of hike down Dent d'Oche, with very rocky paths, you are glad to see your car, and you are even gladder to see the restaurant-bar La Fétiuère in front of your car with a sunny terrace waiting to serve you a cold beer.

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You earned it. Dive into the famous local dish: les beignets de pomme de terre (potato fritters) with salad,

Monday, September 8, 2014

Gourmet meals at Refuge de Dent d'Oche

The Dent d'Oche (2,221 m (7,287 ft) high) trail is the most popular in the Thonon-les-Bains region of Haute Savoie - for a good reason.

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It's a 3 hour hike to the refuge, and there is no way of arriving there with a vehicle. Limited access weeds out tourist hikers. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Perche, perche, perche - it's the specialty of practically all the restaurants along Geneva Lake

All around the Geneva Lake, also known as Lake Lehman, the specialty of the restaurants is: filet of Perche.

Perche is one of the three representative fish that come from this large lake, along with Fera and Omble Chevalier. (I find the first two to be quite bland.)

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Shopping recommendations for meringues served with Gruyère double cream

Following my previous blog on meringues with Gruyère double cream, here are some supplementary shopping tips:

1. When selecting meringues, do NOT buy shiny ones. They tend to be harder. This brand below crumbles even before you put them in your mouth.

2. Most important is the selection of the cream. I once bought another brand sold at the famous Globus in Geneva. A BIG disappointment. The taste is ok, but the texture …

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Lakeside restaurants along Lake Geneva are open.

Hurray, spring is finally here. All the lakeside restaurants along Lake Geneva in Haute Savoie that have been closed since October are now open. A great way to celebrate the end of ski season that was way too short this year. All the snow went to New York and Tokyo, but not in the Alps.

Friday, March 21, 2014

The photo shoot at Chocolatree

It's photo shoot time for Christmas catalog at Chocolatree where I work. They're doing 12 hours a day this week, so I went for a little visit yesterday. I walked into Frederic, a patissier grinding the edges of tart bottoms to make sure they are picture perfect.

Chocolatree photo shoot

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Nanashi - a faux japonais restaurant in Paris

Being a bit of a tourist in the 6th arrondissement around noon, I happily came across a sign that read: Nanashi - terrace - chirashi. I responded, "Oh joy, I'll get to eat Japanese food in the sun."


What I didn't know was this was one of these faux-Japonais restaurants, not because some Chinese family's making salmon rolls, but