If You Don’t Know Gin, You Don’t Know Bullocks

In the midst of lockdown in the summer of 2020 there wasn’t a whole lot of trip related email flying around, but one rather hot afternoon in July the following missive landed in my inbox which I found intriguing: “To find the Azores, look on Google Maps on Portugal, turn towards the Atlantic Ocean, and […]

Meet… Joe Scallop

After a steaming plate of fresh mussels has been set on the table to replace the mound of sautéed pimientos de Padrón (Padrón sweet green peppers) that we’ve just worked our way through, I reflect on how unanticipated moments like these make great travel. In front of me at the table is 2 Michelin-starred Galician […]

Pining for Peru

Bold statement coming in: I’m declaring 2023 the year for Peru and, heck, why not 2024, too! The short and the sweet of it is as follows: the shadow cast by the pandemic, coupled with political unrest earlier this year, has resulted in a slower return to travel than many other countries have experienced over […]

Take a Seat: Uruguay’s splendid table

Uruguay is of wood and marble, of grain and sheen; where rural charm sits at the table next to aristocracy and both happily have sand between their toes or dirt under the nail from the outdoor explorations of the day. Olive orchards, hillside wineries, cattle ranches and small fishing boats all populate this tiny pear-shaped […]

C is for Cocktail

I’m no expert. I don’t have bitters at home or dried fruits, nor proper stemware. Those who know me know that typically I drink straight from the can. But every once in a while I do like to treat myself to a cocktail. Something fancy. And a few weeks ago I was in Colombia for […]

A lo Cubano – Agua!

I’ve freshly returned from Havana where I spent time as an ordinary traveler. A trip on my own time, on my own dime, of my own curiosity. I boarded the plane wide-eyed, and with dance shoes and dusty Spanish in tow.  I’ve been fascinated by the dance/music of Rumba, Son, Salsa, Casino Rueda for some […]

Namibia in Pictures

Namibia delivers wide open spaces in a way that few other places on earth can. Dominated by a massive and ancient desert, the dominant image in people’s mind seems to be landscapes of unchanging and endless sand. While it’s true that there is a lot of sand (and I do mean a lot – I […]

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 […]

Happy Coincidences: A Winter Quince Tagine Recipe

If you got here by searching Google for “what the hell to do with a quince?”, you’re in luck.  As the winter solstice approaches and we settle in for several months of short, cold days and even colder, longer nights, thoughts turn to fires cackling away in chimneys, and slowly bubbling pots of stews and […]

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 […]