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 […]

Get Back – 15 ways my heart aches for Andalucia

Something’s afoot in Andalucía, Spain’s deep south.  First it started with the discovery of an Almohad-era Muslim Hammam in one of Sevilla’s most iconic tapas bars.  Then, just last week in the nearby town of Utrera, reports came in that archeologists had unearthed one of the largest and best preserved medieval Jewish synagogues in the […]

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 […]

Cosmic Venice

Swish, swoosh — the oar smoothly fends the water. Quite the statement, the Venetian way of rowing: proudly standing up, and facing forward, eyes into the future.  Swish swoosh, the roar rhythmically breaks the green surface of the lagoon. The pungent smell of salt and shallow marshes. An island here, another there, and more as […]

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 […]

Swinos in Lockdown: Cocktail Recipes from the Pigs

Holidays are lurking and with it, more Coronavirus cases and renewed lockdowns. It’s all been enough for anyone to reach for the bottle. As we hunker down for the winter, we asked around our planning team to see who’s got the bartending chops in the Trufflepig farm.  Below are some road-tested recipes that came back […]

Londontown in Lockdown

One of the main pleasures in my life is jumping on my bike (she’s called “Joyce”) and exploring my beloved London. I am lucky enough to pretend that part of this is for work: I am seeking out cool stuff for our clients to see when they come to the Big Smoke. It’s true that […]

HASHTAG CHEFCHAOUEN, #NOFILTER

You may know Chefchaouen already, but under a different name: Xauen or Chaouen among others. Or perhaps you’ve seen any one of the millions of photos of it on Instagram, “The Blue City” or “The Blue Pearl” being some of the confoundingly inaccurate nicknames for Chefchaouen that I suppose sounded good to some PR folks […]

Italy’s Boundless Zest for Citrus

Italy’s food culture is a constellation of countless regional specialties, so place-peculiar that dishes can vary significantly in the span of just a few hundred meters. Such is the case of some mountain valleys, for instance, where the natural landscape has helped keep the local from spreading further. But one aspect that unites all these […]

Sisters of Fate – A Fado Playlist

As I’ve been writing this post, Portugal has been commemorating a special anniversary: the 100th anniversary of Amália Rodrigues. Her name may not mean much outside Portuguese-speaking circles, but here she is revered as the “Queen of Fado”, and her birthday is an appropriate time for me to confess: I am a die-hard fan of this music. […]

Forbidden Love, Portuguese Style

When I travel to places I don’t know, I like finding the threads that bind destinations together. This exercise in dot-connecting led me recently to follow the trail of one of Portugal’s most popular, and bizarre legends. Alcobaça, about an hour or so north of Lisbon, is a quiet town with an outsized history and […]

Olhão’s Metaphysical Graffiti

The end of dictatorship in Portugal in the 1970s, and the ushering in of new found freedoms and economic opportunities, brought with it a sad legacy: a serious drug addiction problem that coincided with an emerging AIDS epidemic. The combination devastated families across Portugal’s social classes. The Algarve, synonymous today with Portugal’s prime beach destination, […]