Tag - vacation

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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Pipian Verde con Bistec en Relleno (Stuffed Beef Rolls) Recipe

Recipe courtesy of Señora Estela Salas Silva, of Casa Carmelita in Tlaxcala, Mexico.

In the last 25 years, Estela Salas Silva and her husband, Jon, have hosted and taught cooking classes to hundreds of culinary adventurers. To celebrate this exciting milestone, we’ve put together an anniversary package that includes favorite recipes–of guests and the hosts themselves–from the last 25 years. To give you a taste, here is a traditional Pueblan dish called Pipian Verde con Bistec en Relleno.

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 pounds thinly sliced beef
  • 6 pieces each raw bacon and ham, sliced into strips
  • 4 potatoes, cut french fry style
  • 2 dozen string beans, cut in half diagonally
  • 6 carrots, cut lengthwise french fry style
  • Pipian Verde Sauce (ingredients below)

PIPIAN VERDE SAUCE INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 bunch lettuce leaves
  • 2 sprigs parsley
  • 2 sprigs fresh (or 2 tablespoons dry) epazote
  • 2 small fresh serrano chilies  (stems removed)
  • 4 – 5 big tomatillos
  • 2-3 radish leaves
  • 5 sprigs of cilantro
  • 2 green onions
  • 1/4 onion
  • 1/4 cup green pumpkin seeds, roasted
  • 1/3 cup sesame seeds, roasted
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • 1/2  teaspoon cumin seed
  • 1 or 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup water

1. Lay beef flat and place strips of ham, bacon, potato and vegetables in the center.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Save any leftover stuffing ingredients and add to

sauce in step 9 below.

2. Roll tightly into cigar shapes and secure in the middle with a toothpick.

3. Fry sesame seeds in hot dry pan until lightly brown and begin to pop and remove.

4. Fry pumpkin seeds in hot dry pan until they begin to pop and remove.

5. Puree sesame and pumpkin seeds in blender with cumin, garlic and ½ cup water.

6. Heat olive oil, stirring, add blended ingredients from above, salt to taste and sauté for 5 minutes.

7. Puree the first nine ingredients with 1 cup water for 2 minutes. Stirring slowly in one direction

only, add to above seed puree (rapid stirring or back and forth will have a tendency to cause the

sauce to separate).

8. Add the chicken stock and stir again in one direction only for 5 minutes.

9. Place rolled meat into sauce with leftover stuffing from above (step 1) and simmer lively for

about ½ hour or until the vegetables inside are soft.

10. Enjoy!

**The sauce for this dish can be made ahead and frozen for up to 6 months.  To do this, prepare sauce as above adding a little more tomatillos but DO NOT add any chicken stock.  When you want to make dish, cook meat as above, defrost sauce, heat, add chicken stock, meat and cook for 20 minutes.

Ready to learn more of Chef Estela’s delicious culinary secrets? Click here to learn more about our Taste of Puebla 25th Anniversary Culinary Holiday. Availability is limited!

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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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Insider Tips to an Amazing Edible Adventure

Planning an edible adventure? We asked some of our most seasoned travelers for insider tips about how to best live in the moment and then bring that moment home…

1. Pack lightly! You can always buy cheap flips flops and shampoo when you get there. Leave room to bring home culinary souvenirs.

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2. Alert your travel companions of your daily activity plans. If you want to go biking on the Parenzana Trail in Croatia, or plop down in the blue caves in the Rio Secreto in the Yucatán, let them know beforehand so they can join… or at least know where you are.

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3. Pack snacks–if you’re hiking or exploring a new village, load up on local treats for the trip. That way, you can maximize your time without having to stop every two hours and pay for overpriced coffees and nibbles.

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4. Keep a diary. No doubt, your friends will forever ask you what you did and where you ate. Write it down. If not for yourself, for the sake of paying it forward to future travelers.

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5. Take pictures! So obvious, we know, but your family and friends on Facebook want to know about your big life. Side note, your diary will come in handy a year from now when you finally get to the business of making a photo book of your trip and can’t make heads or tales of your photos…stockvault-gold-hill1153106. Write. A letter or postcard from a journey is an unexpected and precious gift in today’s society. Spice up your friends’ and family’s junk mail piles with a thoughtful, handwritten post from your adventure. Bonus: it also engages you deeper with your travel experience.

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7. Eat everything! Be adventurous. As we’ve discovered in all our years providing culinary travel, food is a truly special way to experience a culture. You’ve come all this way… open your mind and your mouth to all the tastes and treasures your destination holds.puglia-market8. Forget what you learned as a kid and talk to strangers. One of the dreamiest aspects of travel is meeting people with experience and perspective completely different from yours. This kind of social adventure strengthens character and makes for a very rich and new travel experience.

2013-02-20 15.19.109. Do your homework. No one expects you to take a foreign language class in preparation for your trip but brushing up on some common phrases and customs will go a long way. Engage locals by asking thoughtful questions or testing your pronunciation… we guarantee the gesture will be appreciated.2013-12-28 13.38.3910. Just go! Are you reading this blog because you’re dreaming of a trip but don’t feel the time is right? Like most things in life, there will never be a perfect time to travel and waiting for the right time to present itself can become a futile effort. Travel, especially an Edible Destinations adventure, is educational, energizing and, above all, fun, which is something we all deserve.

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Click here to explore all the culinary adventures we offer and begin planning your Edible Destination!