Tag - Food

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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Epitourean’s Friday Five: Andalucia, Spain

It is Epitourean’s great pleasure to continue our Friday Five, a selection of the places, recipes and delicious local delights that are on our radar at the moment. This week’s Friday Five is all about Andalucia, Spain, which we believe is one of the premier culinary destinations in Europe, and where we offer some fabulous culinary packages to travelers who wish to explore this amazing foodie destination.

No trip to Spain is complete without a stopover in the romantic and architecturally stunning Spanish city of Seville. Be prepared to bear the arid heat of the city, the passions of its locals, and the amazing range of fabulous and savory tapas.

Hotel Hacienda la Herriza is our kind of place. Not only is it a beautiful eden, it is a place where you can splash around in the hotel’s gorgeous pool, or sip sherry in the evening while the sunset washes everything in mango light. It is a refuge from the chaos of daily life, and ideally located near many of the top attractions in Andalucia.

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Jerez de la Frontera Sherry Bodega is a once in a lifetime experience. Even if you’re not partial to this Spanish fortified wine, a visit to one of the most important sherry producers in Spain will offer you the opportunity to understand sherry drinking culture, its importance in Spain, and more than likely turn you into a sherry sipping convert.

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Granada is an autonomous city in the Andalucian region, and one of the most beautiful cities in all of Spain. Its churches, its small alleyways, its tapas, beer, sherry and most generally, the people, make a visit here one that no traveler will ever soon forget.

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So much depends on (good) Spanish Tortillas. Their very simplicity: eggs, potatoes, olive oil and onions, have always awarded these snacks high honors as Spain’s most iconic tapas. Essentially fancy omelettes made with Spanish love and ingredients, they will pour a little joy into your day.

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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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Discovering Historic Chelsea Market

Travellers to New York City typically carve out time to check out one of the world’s greatest food halls, Chelsea Market. Over six million visitors throng the market each year to shop for fresh produce and seafood, or nosh on everything from soups and BBQ to Thai noodles and sushi. The place is always teaming with people fuelling up on coffee and bagels in the mornings, and hoards of local office workers stream in throughout the day to pick up lunches and dinners. Chelsea Market is also home to broadcasting companies like the Food Network and Oxygen Network, who film from their studios here.

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What most people love about Chelsea Market is that it is now part of New York’s architectural heritage. Once the headquarters of NABISCO, the building is said to be the birth place of Oreo cookies, among other iconic American baked goods. The old brick industrial building that Chelsea Market occupies is part of the Gansevoort Market Historic District, once an important district for heavy industry and manufacturing in the city. Many of the industrial buildings in the neighborhood are gone or repurposed into high end shopping boutiques , bars and restaurants. Chelsea Market enjoys prime Manhattan real estate, sharing the neighbourhood with the High Line Park and cultural attractions like the new Whitney Museum of American Art. 

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Epitourean.com loves to celebrate New York City’s food culture and checkered history. As part of our latest promotion, A Big Bite of the Big Apple, we are thrilled to offer a Chelsea Market and Meatpacking District Foodie Tour showcasing some of New York’s best sights, shopping and tastes.

 

Postcard from Florence

The Good Life: Florence

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Epitourean’s intrepid traveler, Robert Everson, shares his experience in Italy’s renaissance capital, Florence. In Florence, we stayed at the SoprArno Suites. It’s a beautiful, upscale bed and breakfast in a charming neighborhood, and an easy walk to anywhere you want to go. The rooms are gorgeous and the staff is so friendly. Our tour guides Claire, Silvia, and Todd were all so knowledgeable, and they shared their amazing personal insights of beautiful Florence. We took Epitourean’s “Gourmet Walking Tour of Florence” where we had spectacular culinary experiences. It was a day of fun and learning, and the food, wine, cheese, and olive oil were all spectacular! What a perfect way to see the city! Our guide, Claire, brought us to the most amazing places where we had the best food and wine. We also toured the Uffizi Gallery and the Galleria dell’ Accademia where we saw breathtaking art, including Michelangelo’s David. We had four hours to tour the museums, which was the perfect amount of time. Our tour guide, Silvia, was a wealth of information. She pointed out the museums’ highlights, and was able to move us right up to the front of each line. We wouldn’t have done it any other way! We also went to Chianti for a day trip to tour the Vecchie Terre di Montefili vineyard. Our guide, Todd, was amazingly knowledgeable about the Tuscan region and was an expert in Italian wines. The winery is gorgeous, and we had the entire place to ourselves for a private tour and tasting.  We learned so much about Italian wines. Since our visit here, we’ve become huge fans, and now ship Italian wines to our home in the US! Leaving Florence, we took the train to Naples. It was a beautiful and relaxing train ride. Drivers from the Positano Car Service, whom are complete lifesavers, greeted us at Naples train station. They took us around Positano, which is absolutely dreamy, and having a driver was much easier than having to navigate the region’s windy and dangerous roads! 

24 Hours in Pula

Walking through the historic center of Istria’s capital, Pula, is like leafing through a  ledger of the region’s layered and complicated history. This beautiful Adriatic city on the southern most tip of Istria is well know for its large port, its mild climate and its long standing traditions of fishing, shipbuilding, and winemaking, just to name a few. But perhaps the most fascinating aspect of Pula is that, over the centuries, this bustling port city has been coveted my one tribe or another, and mostly empires of extreme power and might. And nowhere is this more evident than in the architectural footprints that each civilization left on their way out.

Even though Pula’s history dates back over 3000 years, the Romans left an indelible mark on the city. Their domination of Pula changed the city forever; its urban planning, from roads to sanitary and public services, were left vastly improved. And though the Roman empire eventually fell, you can still see what it left behind:  ancient forums, Roman columns, a temple to the Emperor Augusts, and a breathtaking colosseum near the edge of the city’s port. These are just a few of the colossal architectonic reminders that great powers have passed through here. Later empires left equally amazing urban relics.

Anyone travelling by foot through Pula’s center will immediately notice that the Venetians, the Austro-Hungarians; and fascist and communist regimes were also here. Instances of these are found in brick and stone throughout Pula’s main square, Piazza Foro. Here you find examples of ancient Roman temples and stonework; heavy Austro- Hungarian buildings; rationalist architecture, and blocky Venetian brick work buildings. These are all clumped together in a pastiche of public building that tells the story of how Pula was and continues to be amazingly cosmopolitan. Literary luminaries like Dante Alighieri and James Joyce passed time in Pula, and during a casual stroll though town you will see placards and statues that mark where they and other artists once lived.

Beyond architectural wonders and a fascinating history, Pula has a trove of rollicking bars and innovative chefs. Their menus are inspired by their back yard larder: fresh fish and shellfish, Istrian wines, truffles and local cheeses and herbal breads. Epitourean has spent years exploring Istria, and more closely Pula, to create historical, adventure and gastronomic tours and unforgettable experiences for their clients.

Epitourean’s Edible Destinations

Welcome to Epitourean’s new blog! As we grow and have more exciting offerings for our travellers, we wanted to create a space where we can share news about some of our latest culinary destinations. We also want our friends and clients to hear about updates on where we travel and whats in store. Epitourean receives such positive feedback from people we have sent to places like the Almalfi Coast or to the south of France, and we want to share the stories of their memorable experiences, as well as relate travel and food news that we are following.  In the simplest terms, we are creating a useful public platform that celebrates the art of food and travel.

Those who are new to Epitourean’s Edible Destinations; we are a niche travel company offering lovers of food and travel with outstanding cooking vacations, gourmet tours and culinary getaways. A lot of our return clients like the fact that we have flexible packages, such as mini 2-4 days getaways, longer excursions up to 10 days, and even tours that we tailor for solo travellers to amazing gastronomically rich sites all over the world. Thanks for tuning in and please follow us on twitter @Epitourean and Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/EdibleDestinations for our latest news and travel deals.  -www.epitourean.com