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October 9, 2019

Italy: Alba, the White Truffle Festival

Black truffles on a plate of pasta

In early November 2018 we arrived in Alba Italy at the time of the commune’s famous truffle market. As we learned immediately on arrival, the six weeklong International White Truffle Festival is very popular. Indeed on a long Italian holiday weekend the streets of Alba were packed. (more…)

July 19, 2019

Italy: Bologna

Filed under: Architecture, Europe, Food, Italy, Photography, Travel, Travel, Writing — Tags: , , , , , — anotherheader @ 12:54 pm

One of Bologna’s many temples of food

Bologna doesn’t make the best first impression. It’s a city that can look a little rough and feel a bit uncomfortable on arrival. But as you peel back the layers you realize that there’s a lot to understand and to love behind Bologna’s unpolished facades. It quickly becomes one of those places that once you leave you immediately want to return. That is the way Bologna was for us. (more…)

February 13, 2019

France: Cancale, Oysters and Tides

Filed under: Europe, Food, France, Photography, Travel, Travel, Writing — Tags: , , , , , , , — anotherheader @ 7:36 pm

Oysters being harvested in Cancale France.

Cancale is famous for its oysters. Indeed it’s a good bet that most of the many visitors to this commune of 5,300 people in northeastern Brittany have come primarily to consume shellfish. There may well be other good reasons to visit Cancale but they are easily lost to the attraction of the seafood. (more…)

February 11, 2019

France: Crêpes and Galettes in Brittany

Filed under: Europe, Food, France, Travel, Travel, Writing — Tags: , , , , , , , — anotherheader @ 8:11 pm

A crêpe with lemon, butter, and sugar

Crêpes, made with wheat flour and sugar, and their savory cousins Breton galettes, made with buckwheat flour, are commonly available throughout France. Galettes with a salade verte on the side and a bottle of cidre doux is often our go to meal when we want something comforting and easy in France. They are usually readily available and fast, at least on the French scale of quick meals. (more…)

February 5, 2019

France: Caramet-sur-Mer

A line of decaying fishing boats in Caramet-sur-Mer

Between overnight stops in the Brittany communes of Quimper and Roscoff we paused for a couple of hours in Caramet-sur-Mer. Camaret is a fishing port in the Finistère department of Brittany in western France. (more…)

January 31, 2019

France: Shellfish in Brittany

Filed under: Europe, France, Photography, Travel — Tags: , , , , , , , — anotherheader @ 5:45 pm

Moules-frites with mustard and creme

It didn’t take long after our arrival in Brittany before shellfish made up a big part of our diet. Brittany is famous for its fresh fish, particularly the shellfish. Indeed, the regions renowned bivalves were a big reason why in August of 2018 we headed to Brittany. (more…)

January 6, 2019

France: Tain-l’Hermitage, Valrhona’s Cité du Chocolat

Chocolate that looks almost too good to eat.

We visited in Tain-l’Hermitage, along the Rhône River, in May of 2018. The complex is essentially a discovery museum for the Valrhona chocolate brand. Displays describe the history of Valrhona and the steps in sourcing and producing the company’s chocolate. It is reasonably well done and undoubtedly a destination for chocoholics. (more…)

December 13, 2018

France: Butter, Le Bordier

Filed under: Europe, Food, France, Photography, Travel, Travel, Writing — Tags: , , , , , — anotherheader @ 11:05 pm

Fine French butter

French cheese gets the photo spreads but France’s butter deserves plaudits too. The average butter from a typical supermarché in France is better than what you can buy in the States. But what really stands out for us is some of the more difficult to find premium butters. (more…)

France: Époisses de Bourgogne

Melting at room temperature: Époisses de Bourgogne’s rind is often rinsed with Marc de Bourgogne.

Époisses de Bourgogne ranks as one of our favorite cheeses. It’s reach, creamy, and slightly salty with pungent complexity that varies as it ages. At its best I’m not sure that we’ve ever encountered a better soft cheese. (more…)

France: Cèpes

Filed under: Europe, France, Italy, Photography, Travel, Travel, Writing — Tags: , , , , , , — anotherheader @ 10:26 pm

Bountiful cèpes in the Chablis market in 2015: I have difficulty with the script in France, but these are possibly from the Morvan Forest nearby.

Our love affair with French cèpes confusingly began in Italy. In a restaurant in Matera Italy we were served a simple pasta dish that featured porcini mushrooms. Porcini were fresh in the markets at the time. Until this meal, we never much understood the hype about porcini. All the ones we have had in the States were better than average mushrooms but had no great strong distinguishing flavor. They were good and distinctive but not worthy of a full-blown fungi fetish.


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