Category - Destinations

These are posts about a specific destination.

Iceland In Between … Meals That Is!

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ROAD TRIP ICELAND

Many travelers to Iceland end up spending a good amount of time traveling overland either in a rental car or tour bus. It’s a vast country with wide open vistas where buildings, homes and villages are few and far between. For someone accustomed to city living, it might feel as if there is nothing to eat in such a seemingly rural and sparsely populated country, but actually there are a number of fun stops along the way for in between snacks.

A very small portion of Iceland is arable – mostly the southern lowland areas where mountains and glaciers give way to lush pastures, and it is common to see sheep, Icelandic horses and dairy cows grazing. One of Iceland’s best treats is anything made with the rich milk and cream of the Icelandic grass-fed cow. It is in Iceland that you will find some of the best butter, cheese, ice cream and their famous yogurt, Skyr. So, let’s think cheese as we begin our snacking!

GRAB A PICNIC

If you are a planning a day or a week on the road in Iceland your first stop should be either at a Bonus or Kronan Supermarket. Here you can explore national foods and stock up on picnic items like spelt bread or crackers from the bakery, cookies, fresh greens from one of Iceland’s vegetable producing greenhouses and some of their fabulous cheese. You would also be wise to grab a bottle or two of the very creative fruit and veggie blends offered by Floridana. These juices are not raw or fresh pressed, but while traveling they are certainly convenient, delicious and refreshing.

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BREAKFAST TO GO

If you start your day in Reykjavik and head out for a tour of the Golden Circle, make sure to stop at the family run Molsfellsbaer Bakery for coffee and the Icelandic lemon poppyseed roll, or one of their spelt bread rolls formed by hands carrying on bread-baking traditions hundreds of years old. Of course, if you have a newborn in tow, they are famous for cakes referred to as “Cristening Pillows.” 

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ICE CREAM ANYONE?

Once you have some snack provisions, head out on the Golden Circle traveling Hwy 36 where you will find the sites of Thingvellir National Park and Oxararfoss Falls. After hiking around these amazing natural wonders, you will find yourself heading towards Geysir and Gullfoss Falls, but you will want to stop first at Efstidalur Ice cream Farm.

At Efstidalur you can either take in a full lunch or watch the Icelandic cows through observation windows in the barn while enjoying a rich and delicious ice cream cone. These cows give a milk that is much higher in fat – 3.9% compared to 3.25% – likely because Icelandic bovine have been isolated for over 1100 years, they are grass-fed, and their winter diets are supplemented with fish meal giving a unique richness to the ice cream. Don’t miss it!

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VISIT THE TOMATO GREENHOUSE

Make sure that when you arrive at Geysir and Gallfoss you move around a lot – walk, hike, do some jumping jacks or burpies, because the next snack stop is just down the road (Hwy 35) at Fridheimar Farm. Here you can get up close and personal with one of Iceland’s famous geothermal greenhouses. This one grows a large percentage of Iceland’s tomato crop which they serve up in all-you-can-eat tomato soup with bread. It’s fascinating to watch thick tomato vines climb to the roof while you dine in the warm light of a beautiful glass building. If you are looking for gifts to take home, Fridheimar Farm has a “Little Tomato Shop” where they sell a variety of tomato jams, jellies and sauces.

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The best secret of Iceland is that some of its tastiest snacks and meals come from the N1 gas stations! You can find a variety of sandwiches, pizza and an order of large fries that will put the idea of “Supersize Me” to shame. These giant square boats of fries could feed a family of ten, so don’t make the mistake of ordering two for your group of four or you’ll be donating one box to the backpackers at the table next to you!

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If you’re tired of traveling and need a full rest stop, there are a few little towns where you can snack on a pizza and Icelandic beer. Two worth mentioning are Halldorskafi Restaurant in Vik and for a more casual stop after touring the Lake Myvatn area, Daddi’s Pizza. Both offer a variety of pizzas with creative toppings, but if you continue to crave more of that delicious Icelandic cheese, go for simple. Halldorskafi offers their Icelandic cheese pizza with three different varieties of cheese served with a little currant jelly on top, and Daddi’s names its cheese pizza after the neighboring volcano, Krafla, and covers it with lava-like cheese chunks including parmesan, blue, cream cheese and a spicy pepperjack. Served alongside an Icelandic Microbrew from Einstock or Borg Brugghus, you will be a very happy snacker!

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Iceland may well become the next great “Road Trip” destination with food and snacks that will make even the most discerning traveler happy!

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The best beach vacation you’ve never heard of…

As the days get longer and the sun slowly starts to appear, visions of summer start dancing in our heads. Beaches. Cookouts. Drinks!

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Many summer vacation daydreams conjure up images of Hawaii or some other tropical beach locale. And that’s great. But what about… Puglia?

This hidden Italian gem is actually the ideal place for a beach vacation and, when you travel with Edible Destinations, you find yourself on the culinary vacation of a lifetime, surrounded by the Southern Italian sun, sand and sea. Read on to see what we’re talking about.

The Beach

A beach is a strict requirement for a proper beach vacation and boy does Puglia deliver. Framed by the Adriatic Sea to the east and the Ionian Sea to the west, Puglia is located at the southern heel of the boot. The water here is known as some of the bluest and clearest in the world, a sight for the sorest eyes. To take full advantage of this beach bounty, enjoy unlimited access to an exclusive beach club as part of your Edible Destinations culinary trip.

Ancient Caves

Some people need a little more than just lying in the sun, and active exploration is an exciting way to enhance a beach vacation. In Puglia, you have unique opportunity to explore wondrous caves, many of which are thousands of years old, on both the Adriatic and Ionian Seas. Take guided boat tours to these natural marvels and elevate your experience with a cave swim!

Cuisine

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Beach vacation or no, this is Italy. Here, food is an expression of love there is great flavor to be found all through the country. Cucina Pugliese, the Puglia region’s cuisine, is defined by simple enhancements to the fresh ingredients found in the fertile land and bountiful sea. You’ll learn all about Cucina Pugliese through hands-on cooking classes and authentic meals enjoyed with a glass of wine and new friends.

There is certainly much more to discover, appreciate and enjoy about a summertime Puglia culinary vacation by the beach. We could go on forever about the people, the gorgeously restored accommodations and the exciting cultural offerings like the traditional Pizzica dance or the beautiful Basilica di Santa Croce. But, rather than take our word for it, we suggest you make your summer daydreams a reality and book this trip of a lifetime…

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Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with Puff Pastry Potato Pie!

March 17th is upon us again, and you know what that means. Green everything and a built-in excuse to drinks lots of beer…

Here at Edible Destinations, we like to keep things focused on culture and cuisine, and St. Patrick’s Day serves as a reminder of Ireland’s delightful epicurean offerings. Culinary travelers quickly learn to leave their notions of corned beef and cabbage behind, enjoying fresh seafood, rustic sausage and delectable baked treats.

An essential part of any trip to Ireland, culinary tours and cooking classes give visitors from around the globe the opportunity to explore the techniques and tastes that make Irish cuisine special. Many traditional Irish dishes date back to the Middle Ages and have changed little in the years since, while younger chefs have embraced the heritage of their food and often work with familiar recipes, creating them in new ways.

When it comes to food and drink, the Emerald Isle truly is a hidden gastronomic gem. To celebrate Ireland and St. Patrick’s Day, try the recipe below from one of our Irish Edible Destinations chefs. Sláinte!

PUFF PASTRY POTATO PIE

Recipe courtesy of Kevin Dundon, Dunbrody Country House Hotel

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 potatoes very thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoon chopped flat leaf parsley
  • salt and black pepper
  • 1 cup pouring (light) cream
  • flour, for dusting
  • 14 ounces ready-made puff pastry
  • egg wash, made with 1 egg yolk beaten
  • with 1 tablespoon milk

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375º
  2. Put the potatoes, garlic, parsley and some salt and pepper into a saucepan and pour in the cream. Cook over a moderate heat for about 10 minutes until the potato has softened slightly.
  3. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the pastry and cut out a circle about 8cm (3 inches) wider than the top of your pie dish using a sharp knife, lightly score the pastry in a lattice pattern, ensuring you don’t cut right through it.
  4. Pour the potato mixture into your pie dish. Brush the egg wash over the top and around the edges of the dish, then cover with the pastry. Press to secure it, then brush with more egg wash.
  5. Bake for about 15 minutes until the pastry is light and golden.

Want to learn more about Irish food and cooking? Take an Irish culinary vacation with Edible Destinations! 

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Five amazing things you’ll experience on a Costa Rican culinary vacation

When planning a culinary vacation, Costa Rica may not be the first place that comes to mind. However, this lush, tropical gem is a feast for all the senses, offering culinary travelers a wide variety of tastes and adventures. Read on to learn about some of the exciting, tasty and beautiful things you’ll experience on a vacation with Edible Destinations.

5. A whimsical–and active–volcano

One stop on your Costa Rican culinary adventure vacation is Volcán Irazú, an active volcano near San Jose. Its slopes are home to potato, onion, cabbage and dairy farms and its camera-ready summit will delight your eyes with dazzling, rain-fed mineral pools.

4. A coffee farm that is so much more

 

Visit Finca Cristina, a small, organic coffee farm dedicated not only to delicious, shade grown coffee, but also conservation and sustainability. Unlike traditional coffee farms, Finca Cristina plants and grows coffee in harmony with the natural ecosystem, providing a home for myriad species of birds, butterflies, amphibians, orchids and other flora and fauna. The result is great coffee with a clean conscience; taste with abandon!

3. A Caribbean cooking class

One of the best ways to understand a culture is through its food and, really, a culinary vacation wouldn’t be complete without a regional cooking class. Expand your epicurean horizons with a hands-on Caribbean cooking class, led by a local expert. Pay attention in class, though, as this meal serves as your dinner!

2. Chocolate, glorious chocolate

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Get an in-depth look at chocolate through the lens of the Bribri, an indigenous people of Costa Rica. This immersive experience will show you how Cacao is planted, harvested and turned into the tempting treat we all know and love. Purchase a bar of chocolate or another handmade craft to bring home and share your experience.

1. Adventure!

Along with all the culinary fare, enjoy a Costa Rican adrenaline rush in the form of zip lining, river rafting, waterfall hiking and more! The country’s landscape is rife with opportunities for you to get out and get moving, and we were sure to include these in your culinary vacation, ensuring a well-rounded, complete Costa Rican experience.

What are you waiting for? Get out there!

Customer Reviews

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The whole experience at Hacienda Petac was totally satisfying. I recommend it highly. It’s an absolutely gorgeous place. The villa itself has been restored impeccably, the rooms are elegant and luxurious, and the grounds are spectacular. Filled with lush tropical foliage. The cooking classes were fun, the food was good, the service impeccable.

I was there for a week long “culinary adventure” put together by Epitourean.com. These adventures are perfect for a woman traveling alone. Everyone is very friendly and helpful, you make lots of new friends and never feel left out or awkward because you’re not traveling with a partner.

All in all, a great experience, and I intend to do more of these. – Mickey

Abruzzo Amore 

My daugabruzzo2hter and I took the Abruzzo area tour a few weeks ago and I must say, this was one of the best vacations I have ever been on!

We met some wonderful people, the tours were fantastic, the chef was great. From the Bell factory to the wine tasting at the winery, to the wonderful cheese factory…..I cannot say how much this all was enjoyed.

Never lacked for fantastic food, wine or friendships, I am ready to take another Epitourean trip!!!! – Barb

 

Santa Fe Raves

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Just wanted to let you know that Stephanie and I has a FANTASTIC time in Santa Fe! We were given a huge condo at Ft. Marcy with our own bedrooms and baths. Such a nice surprise and bonus!

The Foodie Tour was awesome and much more than we expected! Delicious foods and a fun friendly guide!!!

Our dinner was FABULOUS!!!! Wow! We enjoyed the beautiful ambience, excellent service and of course, the gourmet food!

We can’t rave enough about our Epitourean experience. Thank you! – Diann & Stephanie

Epitourean’s Friday Five: Santa Fe, New Mexico

It’s once again time for a look at the top five things we love about a city on our radar. This week we travel to Santa Fe, New Mexico, home to great eats, stunning natural beauty and world class art.

1. At the top of our list are the luxurious Fort Marcy Condo Suites. Spacious and well-appointed, with an authentic southwest vibe, our Santa Fe travelers will rest their heads here in comfort and style.

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2. San Miguel Chapel, which is the oldest church in the United States. Not only can you visit the chapel to take in the history and learn more about the Tlaxcalan Indians who constructed it, San Miguel Chapel also provides Mass in Latin and English.

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3.  The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, which is the only museum in the US dedicated solely to a female artist, houses over 3,000 pieces of mixed media art. Visitors can enjoy O’Keeffe’s cityscapes from New York along with gorgeous New Mexican landscapes, and other brilliant pieces of work focused on the natural world.

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4.  History buffs will enjoy the Santa Fe Palace of Governors, part of a the larger New Mexico History Museum, where one can learn all about Santa Fe, New Mexico and the greater southwest area.

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5.  Taking in all that culture will make you thirsty! Popular and centrally located in downtown Santa Fe, Coyote Cafe & Rooftop Cantina is the perfect place to cap off a day of exploration. Hit the rooftop bar for refreshing drinks and inventive takes on Southwest cuisine.

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Have we whetted your appetite for a trip to Santa Fe? Click here to learn more and book our Southwestern Foodie Fiesta culinary getaway, 50% off for a limited time!

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Postcard From: Yucatán, Mexico

Read all about Mary’s culinary journey through Yucatán, Mexico:

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“Today is sadly my last day at the amazing Hacienda Petac in Mexico’s breathtaking Yucatan. It has been such an extraordinary experience! We helped to prepare delicious meals. Of course all of the produce and ingredients were so fresh and amazing, and we teamed up with the hotel chefs and staff to cook up a storm. Everything is so colorful and pretty. We’ve also been visiting many of Mexico’s stunning sights. One of the highlights was Merida’s market, which was lively and bustling and we also saw some of of the area’s Mayan archeological ruins. Rope hammocks are strung everywhere at the Hacienda Petac, which we took advantage of when we went to simply chill out and nap. We are also making good use of the hotel’s open air spa, which looks out over lush green gardens and is such a beautiful experience to be a part of while you’re having a massage. Tonight we bid farewell with the music of the Trova Trio on the hotel’s terrace under the stars. We’ve gotten to know that, here in paradise, romance is everywhere and we will certainly return.” 

-Mary from Colombus, Ohio

Jealous of Mary? Check out this 2 for 1 deal on our Culinary Adventure through the Heart of the Yucatán!

Wanderlust: A Culinary Tour of Abruzzo

The second thing travellers realize about Italy’s stunning Abruzzo region are its clutch of fabulous pastas, wines and cheeses. The region is one of Epitourean.com‘s favourites, and where we offer fabulous culinary excursions. For beginners to Abruzzo, we’ve curated a few of our favourite local specialities to eat and drink.

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Maccheroni alla Chitarra

Abruzzo Recipe: Maccheroni alla Chitarra

Pasta ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/2 cups semolina flour, plus extra as needed
  • 2 large eggs

Sauce ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 24 basil leaves, thinly sliced
  • 1 fresh chili pepper, minced, or 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 1/2 pound fresh grape or cherry tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Cooking and serving:

  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano (optional)

This recipe is straight forward and classic. Start by making your sauce. Bring your sauce ingredients to a simmer and turn down the heat when the vegetables and tomatoes are soft.

Prepare your pasta.

After cutting your pasta to your liking, add it to boiling and salted water. Boil until the pasta is al dente. Reserve some of the pasta water and add it to the sauce. Return the sauce to a mid-low heat and add the pasta. Stir for a further five minutes. Serve with freshly grated pecorino cheese.

 

Abruzzo Wines

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Montepulciano d’Abruzzo

This small region of Italy packs a big punch when it comes to making top notch wines. Here are some of our favorites:

Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo: We can’t go without mentioning the region’s important reds. This one is deliciously intense and dry, fruity and deep burgundy in color.

Montepulciano d’Abruzzo: The region’s most popular and important red wine. The grapes carry notes of plum, the finish is dry and velvety, and the wine pairs so well with cheeses and meats.

Trebbiano d’Abruzzo: This is a more dry and delicate tipple, also well paired with cheeses, and made from Bombino Bianco grapes.

Abruzzo Cheeses

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Scamorza Cheeses

Scamorza is a similar to mozzarella, a type of cow’s milk curd cheese that is buttery in flavour and best eaten as soon as it’s made and very tasty when grilled.

One of the best sheep’s milk ricottas made in the region is called Cacioricotta Abruzzo.  It has wonderful flavour notes of coffee and lemon zest. You would usually eat this cheese on special holidays.

Another amazing local cheese is Caciotta d’Abruzzo, a cow’s or sheep’s milk cheese that on occasion is made with chile peppers.

Pecorino d’Abruzzo is a typical sheep’s milk cheese that can be quite overwhelmingly pungent if it’s aged beyond two or three years. It is best when served with a dry and fruity red wine.

 

 

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Epitourean’s Friday Five: Yucatán Peninsula

Epitourean’s weekly Friday Five turns its attention on all things Yucatán, a vibrant culinary region on Mexico’s beautiful Caribbean coast. Our first pick is the Hacienda Petec, a stunning Spanish colonial compound where we are thrilled to bring our travelers. The Hacienda, which is close to the the Yucatán capital of Mérida, is engulfed in lush, tropical trees and flowers, and offers amazing cooking classes and spa treatments.

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Mérida

Mérida‘s immense historical center is a veritable melting pot of Spanish, Mexican and regional Caribbean influences. This is evident in its varied architectural styles, and of course, its fabulous cuisine. The main produce market in the city is the place to discover the large variety of Yucatecan cuisine, also influenced by Middle Eastern, European and Caribbean culinary cultures to names a few.

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Rio Secreto

Epitourean loves the Rio Secreto for its amazing natural beauty, and because its an easy and fun day adventure to do with groups or solo. One of the world’s environmental wonders, you could spend the entire day here plashing around in the warm, blue water and taking in the cave’s awesome stalactites and stalagmites.

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Costamaya Beach

Xcalak is considered one of the last sections of beachfront Yucatán that is unspoiled by aggressive development. The white sand beaches are quiet, and the seas are as clear and blue and clean as anywhere in the Caribbean. Xcalak is also a popular spot for adventure sports, like snorkelling , scuba diving and fly fishing.

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Chichén Itzá

Over 1.2 million travellers from all over the world come to Mexico to visit the magnificent Mayan pyramids and ruins of Chichén Itzá. It’s one of the Yucatán region’s treasures, and best seen in the early morning or closer to closing time at sunset when the heat and sunshine are more bearable.

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Intrigued? Experience these wonders with someone you love using our TWO for ONE Yucatán promotion.