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 […]

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 […]

La Tournée des Grands Ducs

La Tournée des Grands Ducs (literally, The Tour of the Grand Dukes) is a common saying in France to refer to painting the town red, Dionysian style, or rather … Russian. The term has it roots in the habits of two Grand Dukes of Russia – Vladimir and Alexei –  the mischievous sons of Emperor […]

Cider: Asturias’ Stream of Consciousness

I’m at heart a wine nerd, but you don’t need to twist my arm to sample other brews and libations, particularly if partaking will gain me deeper insights to a place or a people.  When I travel, my first quest is always to find out what the locals drink and, at times, how they’re supposed […]

ISO Piccante

I laughed a little too hard recently when reading Anne Lamott’s words, “By the end I was deteriorating faster than I could lower my standards”. I cannot be the only human whose covid days, home-cooked meals and masked conversations have become excruciatingly banal.  We’re all yearning for discovery, spice and a rollicking time anywhere but […]

The Original Influencer

Twenty something, rebellious, and by all accounts, “randy”. A young English poet named George Gordon Byron (“Lord” to all but those who knew him well) swept through the small enclave of Sintra in 1809, penned a few lines of what would become Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, and sent letters home to friends declaring Sintra the most […]

How to paint in watercolor

Sidewalks and the paved parts of the urban landscape have a funny definition in some Asian cities.  On the Silk Road after midnight, the roads and sidewalks become the communal domicile, as beds are dragged out into the streets to enjoy the cool breeze of the desert nights. Hanoi and Bangkok are two cities so […]

An Expedition to the Stars

The story I have to tell begins in Portugal in 1881. A team of scientists from the Lisbon Geographic Society gather to undertake an expedition to the Serra da Estrela mountains some 300km away. The Serra, the highest point in continental Portugal (the peak at Torre clocks in just shy of 2,000 meters) acquired its main […]

Trufflepig Recipes: Congee

I have a list of three things which, perhaps due to a repressive part of my psyche or some masochistic Protestant lean, I have denied myself until I felt I could no longer continue without them; reading the entire Faulkner cannon, going on a surf/bike road trip through California, and learning how to make my […]

A Sebastian in Heaven, A Sebastian on Earth

Don’t worry.  I’ve not gone off the deep end (yet). The title is a rough translation of the hymn to San Sebastian, aka Donostia, aka one of the Coolest Coastal Towns in Spain.  It’s also much more readable than the original Basque: Sebastian bat badu zeruan, donosti bat bakarra munduan. But Basque aside, I’m not hot […]

A Weekend of Weihnacht

It is Friday morning in early December, and I’ve just arrived in Frankfurt, the bustling German metropolis often referred to as Mainhattan for its decidedly un-European plethora of skyscrapers nestled along the Main river. I have the joyous task of spending a long weekend introducing a good friend – and first time visitor to my home […]

In Naples, more is more

Naples doesn’t do subtle. Everything in the Southern Italian city is about abundance: if you’ve been there before, you’ll certainly know that food doesn’t come in small doses, nor with light preparations. And if Baroque is one of the arts that best encapsulates the city’s spirit, Naples has also made a name for itself for […]

Negroni: 100 years of spirit, and still going strong

Nowadays, Negroni is one of the most popular Italian aperitifs in the world, but its origin is steeped in legend. According to tradition, Count Camillo Negroni invented it in Florence in 1919, when he asked the bartender at his usual watering hole (Caffè Casoni in Via de’ Tornabuoni 83, now closed) to fortify his Americano […]

Coffee in Rome: the good, the bad, and the new

Luisa, the newest addition to Trufflepig’s planning team, begins her Sounder career, like her days, with a strong Roman coffee: The Bad The belief that coffee in Italy is something extraordinary is very deeply rooted in popular culture worldwide. But, truth be told, this is more myth than fact. Not all coffees are created equal, […]