Goo Goo Ga Ga

With the advent of the digital era, many bemoaned the disappearance of books as physical objects and pointed to the dangers connected with such a possibility, for it might change the way we think.  So, these days, when a book becomes a literary case, that’s already cause for celebration. If that book is an art […]

Arabic Calligraphy – A Tangible Culture

Arabic is spoken by about half a billion people around the world and is the language of the Islamic religion – from Jakharta to Casablanca, the reading of the Qu’ran and prayers are in Arabic. Muslims revere the Qu’ran as the literal word of God as recited to the Prophet Muhammad, so the written book […]

May The Cork Be With You

Olive oil, wine, and cork.  Lots of cork.  I know of few places whose story can be so thoroughly woven together by and distilled down to such spare components. Portugal’s Alentejo region is these things and more. But trying to describe this region beyond these finite products is for me a futile exercise. As with […]

Peach Blossom Spring

  I like to dig, search, and poke around, and to stir up different ways to connect with a place. How to look at a city or a region with a different set of eyes, or better yet, with a different approach, like the way a pilot gauges the wind direction to land correctly on […]

A Babel in Landscapes

All languages are affected by the environment they are born from, they carry the landscape and temperature with them. Each particular language has variations, and through these variations a culture is expressed. We have all heard about instances of this, how there are multiple words for snow in northern climes, or how some places have […]

Punks & Pigs

With some of them there’s not much you can do: they’re stubborn, they squirm and squeal at every attempt to implement some discipline; sometimes you manage to reestablish a form of order, sometimes you fail. Some are just born wild and you know from the very beginning that they’re gonna have a life of their […]

Take Time for Barichara

As the world has been forced to slow down and the future still holds so much uncertainty, I find myself pouring over old photographs, dissecting memories of trips most dear to me, remembering places which I’m glad I’m took the time to visit. Prominent among them is Barichara in Colombia – a place I barely […]

A Second Harvest: Migrating Ingredients from the Americas

You are called papa not ‘patata’, you were not born Castillian: you are dark like our skin, we are Americans, potato, we are Indians. – Pablo Neruda, Ode to the Potato Similar to other fuels on a grand scale, the quest to harness sources of consumable energy has been the cause of migrations, the root of […]

Las Cholitas de Bolivia Versus The Salt Flats

I am not a person who wears a hat well. Top-hat or touk, I’ve never been able to quite pull it off. I envy those boys looking beatific in a beret, languidly posing in a Parisian cafe smoking Gauloises. I am not a milliner’s delight. When behatted, I tend to look a little like a […]

X Marks the Spot

In good news, the world of travel is moving towards a greener, cleaner way of sashaying across the globe.  Trufflepig is right in the scrum on these efforts. We are tickled pink that whatever momentum Al Gore attempted, Greta Thurnberg is striking into a butterfly effect. But this is not an article about environmentalism or […]

The Pig Side of the Moon

July 21, 1969. My parents were traveling to Spain on their honeymoon, racing their tiny, overpacked Fiat 500 convertible beyond the laws of physics. They pulled over at a cafe in Tossa de Mar, a Medieval town in Catalonia, hastily parking the car on the sidewalk. It was very early in the morning (or very […]

The Lore of Folk Music in Canada

“On most spare weekends for the past seven years, Mrs. Fowke has loaded a portable tape recorder and a bottle of whisky (an essential ice-breaker) into her battered Peugeot and driven through the farmlands of southern and central Ontario hunting for old singers and older songs. She’s found plenty. Since 1957 she’s taped about a […]

The New Colossus

I spent a lot of time in China in the early 2000’s, trying to make up for an overly euro-centric upbringing. I knew there was a world I’d overlooked, and hadn’t been taught about in school, a missing hemisphere. I’d read books like Ernst Gombrich’s History of Art which ignored the “East” side of the […]

The cultured pearl of Clayoquot Sound

Fans of fermentation know that, undisturbed and with the right food and environmental conditions, wild yeast will thrive and create magic. Through history one could say that humans have behaved in a similar fashion. Geomancers and lovers of ley lines can surmise why a particular time and place gives rise to cultural richness to rival […]

Taliban Cheese from Corsican Hill Country

When Conde Nast wanted to call Michael to congratulate him for making their global list of Travel Specialists (again), they found his telephone curiously out of range (again). And that’s because Michael’s a man who jumps at an opportunity, as his travels during this Covid year have shown us. While the rest of us responded […]

In the Name of Nebbiolo

Remember dinner parties? The ever-gracious host. The ebullient storyteller who commandeers the conversation. The witty chap in a blazer – a date on his arm and a quip on his lips. The elegant lady in a well-tailored dress which flatters but doesn’t reveal. Her kid sister with a contagious laugh and plummeting neckline. Sigh. It’s […]