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food wine travel

Stellenbosch South Africa The Andes Chile & Argentina Danube River Germany, Austria & Hungary Base Camp Greenland • Norfolk Island Australia Bordeaux & Burgundy France • Winnipeg Canada Philadelphia & Duck Key USA • Valle de Guadalupe Mexico • Taipei Taiwan An official publication of the International Food Wine and Travel Writers Association


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contents 5 From the Editor 6 Adventure Abounds at the Arctic’s Remote Base Camp Greenland

14 Sipping the Rustic Wines of the Baja’s Valle de Guadalupe

20 Epicurean Excursions on a Bordeaux River Cruise

26 A Journey Back in Time to Australia’s Norfolk Island

32 Savoring the Delicacies of Taipei’s Shilin Night Market

36 Exploring the Danube

cover Blue icebergs off Greenland © Bill Gent

Aboard a Luxury River Cruise

42 Pairing Food and Wine in South Africa’s Stellenbosch Region

46 The Spectacle of Burgundy: 16th Century Église Saint-Florentin

50 Discovering Philadelphia’s History through Flavors of the City

58 Viña Montes and Kaiken A Passion for Wine Spanning the Andes

64 Capital K Distillery From Grain to Bottle in Winnipeg

68 Last Shot Hawks Cay Resort, Duck Key, Florida

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contributors

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Mary Chong

Maurie O’Connor

Mary Chong is a travel writer, world cruiser, social media influencer, and founder of Calculated Traveller Magazine based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. @CalculateTravel

Maurie O’Connor loves jazz, oysters, books, films and craft beer in no particular order and is on a quest to visit as many jazz clubs and oyster festivals as he can while travelling the world in search of new adventures.

Jacqui Gibson

Diana Russler

Jacqui is a New Zealand-based freelancer and blog manager for FWT Magazine. She blogs for FWT at www.flightcentre.com and Flight Centre New Zealand. @Livininthestix

Diana, based in New York, is an adventurer, writer, and photographer who, together with her husband, Bill Gent, delight in sharing their discoveries. @allegria16

Kurt Jacobson

Christine Salins

Kurt is a freelance food and travel writer and semi-retired chef living in the Baltimore, Maryland area. @KurtTravels2

Christine is one of Australia’s most highly regarded food, wine and travel writers and together with Maurie O’Connor, manages www.foodwinetravel.com.au. @ChristineSalins

Tonya Jennings

Cori Solomon

Tonya is passionate about food, France and writing and is the owner of the successful Cooking on the Bay Cooking School in St Kilda, Victoria, Australia.

Cori is a freelance writer/photographer in Los Angeles and can often be found traveling with her dogs in tow, covering pet-friendly destinations. @CoriSolomon

Irene S. Levine

Mira Temkin

Irene is an award-winning journalist, author, and blogger who writes for some of the nation’s leading magazines, newspapers and websites. @irenelevine

With many years of travel writing under her bling-y belt, Mira Temkin has a passion for adventure and discovering new experiences. @miratemkin

Francesca Mazurkiewicz

Kaila Yu

Francesca is a Chicago-based travel blogger and working mom of two who aims to show that working parents can still enjoy what they fancy in life. @WorkMomTravels

Kaila Yu is the writer and founder of KailaYu.com and NylonPink.tv. and has been featured in Rolling Stone, FHM, MTV, Buzzfeed, The Huffington Post and more. @kailayu

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from the editor

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raveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” These are the words of Moroccan traveler, Ibn Battuta, who embodied true wanderlust centuries ago. In this issue, our writers cross that bridge into storytelling as they take us on their adventures around the world and recount the sights, sounds and tastes that left them speechless. Mira Temkin takes us onboard a luxury river cruise along the Danube, stopping periodically to explore castles, churches and small European villages, with a final stop in Budapest. Trading luxury for a rustic “cabin,” Diana Russler shares her taste for adventure in the remote, isolated wilderness of the Arctic. Husband and wife team, Maurie O’Connor and Christine Salins, take us to opposite sides of the earth for wine tasting. With Maurie, we savor food and wine pairings in South Africa’s premier wine region, Stellenbosch, while Christine introduces us to one of the world’s newest, but most rustic wine regions, Valle de Guadalupe in Mexico. For a change of pace, Francesca Mazurkiewicz gives us a quick tour of Manitoba’s first grain-to-bottle craft distillery. So many of our travel experiences take us back through history. We’ll land upon a stunning 16th Century church, Église SaintFlorentin, as we travel with Tonya Jennings on a French barge down the Canal de Bourgogne. Jacqui Gibson shares an up-close and personal story of Norfolk Island, as told by the descendant of one of the island’s earliest settlers. And no trip around the world would be complete without tasting some exotic foods. Kaily Yu lets us tag along on a culinary journey of Taipei’s Shilin Night Market. Bordeaux may be known for its unctuous wines, but Irene Levine exposes us to the gastronomical delights of the region. Truffles are one of the world’s most exotic foods, and Agnes Chung will show us the best way to find them in Italy. Kurt Jacobson takes us along on his food tour of historic Philadelphia. And finally, Cori Solomon introduces us to father and son winemakers in the Andes. I hope we inspire you to go in search of your own adventures and turn those speechless experiences into stories. Beth Graham Executive Editor @momuncorkedblog

fwt food wine travel

FWT Magazine: food wine travel Publisher • IFWTWA Publications Executive Editor • Beth Graham @MomUncorkedBlog Associate Editor • Mary Chong @CalculateTravel Assistant Editors • Irene S. Levine @irenelevine, Diana Russler @allegria16, Christine Salins @ChristineSalins, Melanie Votaw @TripOutonTravel Blog Director • Jacqui Gibson @Livininthestix Advertising Manager • Todd Montgomery @tvm43, Tess Lampert @TessRose211 Social Media Team • David Nershi @vino_sphere, Lorena Lopez @TravelSoulo, Kurt Jacobson @KurtTravels2, Rossana Wyatt @RossanaWyatt, Debra Schroeder @TravelWell4Less Wine Consultant • Hilarie Larson @NorthwindsWine Publications Adviser • Allen Cox Webmaster: Timothy Lack, Charlotte County Websites Publications Chair • John Lamkin Creative Director • Dan Kuehn Dan Frank Design

FWT Magazine: food wine travel is published by the International Food, Wine and Travel Writers Association. Our writers reside and travel all over the world and write in their native voice. Learn more at www. ifwtwa.org.

contact IFWTWA: admin@ifwtwa.org FWT Magazine: editor@FWTMagazine.com Advertising: ads@FWTMagazine.com Submission Guidelines

Beth serves as the Executive Editor for FWT Magazine which covers the food, wine and travel experiences of IFWTWA members.

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Adventure Abounds at the Arctic’s Remote Base Camp Greenland by Diana Russler Photography by Bill Gent


Approaching a massive iceberg


A pair of blue icebergs

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ith a loud crack and a rumble, the iceberg offshore splits in half, the sound exploding through the Arctic summer night. In the otherwise perfect silence, it reminds us how isolated we are at Natural Habitat Adventure’s remote Base Camp Greenland, a few miles south of the Arctic Circle. Three times the size of Texas, Greenland is enormous, divided in half by the two-mile thick, 2.5 million-year-old Greenland Ice

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Cap, which covers 80 percent of the island. The capital, Nuuk, and most of the population are located on the western side. We are based on the eastern side, virtually uninhabited except for a handful of small, subsistence-based Inuit communities, cut off from the rest of the world for eight months a year. The only way to reach this remote, isolated wilderness in the summer is by boat or helicopter.

The Journey The journey is arduous. Our 75-minute flight from Reykjavik, Iceland lands on a gravel runway at Kulusuk in Eastern Greenland. From here, a 10-minute helicopter ride over jagged peaks and vast fjords filled with icebergs takes us to Ammassalik Island and the picturesque town of Tasiilaq, with its brightly painted wooden houses hugging King Oscar’s Fjord. Base Camp is on the northern side of Ammassalik Island,


reachable only by a small red and white wooden boat, wending its way through fjords filled with ice beneath soaring 5,000-foot unnamed peaks. After a journey of about four hours, we reach a sheltered bay off Sermilik Fjord near the Inuit hamlet of Tinit (short for Tiniteqilaaq). Few places in the world are as remote and pristine as this. As our boat rounds a point, Eric, one of our two guides for

this expedition, calls us to the side. “If you look just beyond that blue iceberg over there, you can see Base Camp.” He is pointing to a rocky glacial valley surrounded on either side by mountains, still pockmarked with snow, even though it’s August. It’s several minutes before we’re able to pick out the tent cabins (affectionately known as “tabins”) that will be our home for the next several days.

The Camp In keeping with Natural Habitat’s philosophy of protecting the environment, the eco-camp’s footprint is minimal. The camp is set up for two months in the summer to house about 15 guests and taken down at the end of the season. All garbage is taken out by boat. Only a storage shed remains onsite. The “tabins” are unexpectedly luxurious, more African safari camp than Arctic

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base camp. Each is named after a famous explorer. We are housed in “Drake,” after Sir Francis, the famous British seaman. Built of heavy-duty vinyl on raised platforms with a private porch overlooking the bay, they are cozy and warm against the Arctic chill. A kerosene heater at the back provides warmth. Down duvets cover the twin beds on either side. In the evening, the staff slips a hot water bottle between the sheets to ensure a toasty night. An array of amenities sits nearby, including a pair of Croc

Base Camp Greenland at sunset

rubber shoes for each guest to wear around camp instead of hiking boots. Biodegradable soap and shampoo are provided to minimize damage to the environment. Each tent is equipped with an en-suite bathroom containing a sink (cold water only) and a dry flush toilet. Hot showers are available in the nearby gendersegregated bathhouse tent. A large mess tent with a lounge provides the communal gathering place. This is where we meet, attend lectures and eat our meals prepared by the camp chef and his

assistant. Considering that we are “on the edge of the world,” the food is impressive and includes such local delicacies as freshly caught Arctic char. The first order of business after we have settled into our “tabin” is to collect our equipment. We’re issued Arctic survival suits, as well as life jackets and knee-high neoprene boots. Unexpectedly, mosquito nets are included to wear over our heads. The reason becomes very clear when squadrons of enormous predatory insects follow us


everywhere. They’re particularly fond of the mess tent where they attack ankles, even through layers of clothing. It’s a minor annoyance in an otherwise magical world. There are no man-made sounds. Instead, your ears quickly become attuned to new sounds – the crackle, snap, boom of icebergs breaking apart, echoing through the chilly air; the splashing of waves against the shore; and the raucous cry of guillemots and gulls. Otherwise, we are cocooned in profound silence. Interior of a tabin


Adventures in Greenland Here, we are in uncharted territory where even the most carefully planned excursions can have unexpected surprises. Our guides, Eric and Melissa, are professional to a fault, imposing strict discipline to ensure that we prepare for whatever we might encounter in this extreme environment – including the

Sea kayaking near Tinit

possibility of polar bears. Fortunately, everything goes smoothly. Using sea kayaks, we explore the bays around camp. Once we are comfortable with the equipment, a longer trip into the fjord provides close encounters with icebergs and even an inquisitive seal. Nearby, a pod of whales feeds peacefully in the bay, their spouts visible up to a mile away.

Using two inflatable Zodiac boats, we travel through Sermilik Fjord where Greenland’s most “active” glacier, the Helheim, fills the passage with icebergs, some as big as buildings. Our Inuit guide, Julius, shepherds us across the waterway, carefully threading a path between the behemoths of fantastical ice, where hidden dangers lurk under the


surface. The expression “tip of the iceberg” takes on a new meaning as the crystal clear waters reveal turquoise-blue mountains that disappear under the surface. Notwithstanding their beauty, icebergs (which come in a variety of shapes and colors) are completely unpredictable and must be kept at a distance to avoid the collapsing mountains of ice swamping the Zodiacs with tidal waves. It takes an experienced navigator to know where it’s safe to go. On one excursion, the thickness of the ice forces a change of plans. Julius cannot find a safe way through the icebergs to reach the opposite side of Sermilik Fjord, where we hope to explore the Johan Petersen Fjord at the edge of the Greenland Ice Cap. Instead, we land on a rocky beach beneath a soaring peak to hike up to a small waterfall surrounded by tiny, purple arctic flowers. The layers of rocks (about 1-2 million years old) look as if they have been squeezed and pushed by the cycle of freezing and thawing that takes place there. Other hikes take us to the remains of ancient Inuit hunting camps, the turf houses still largely intact even though they were abandoned years ago. We also visit Tinit. The village consists of a few wooden houses with racks outside to dry fish. Wooden sleds sit on the roof, kept there so that they aren’t buried when needed. The Inuit are very friendly, even inviting us in for coffee. Thanks to Julius, we learn about Inuit culture that still survives

by fishing and hunting, even as the people begin to adapt to contemporary 21st century life. They believe that within the next 10 years, the Inuit won’t be able to hunt anymore. “We hope that tourism will replace the income we make from hunting,” Julius says, “but at the same time, we must balance this against the beauty of our traditions so that our way of life is not destroyed.” The unknown factor is the impact that climate change and the rapidly melting Greenland Ice Cap will have on these fragile communities. Base Camp Greenland gives us a unique opportunity to experience a little-known part of the world and provides us with valuable insights into the lives of the Inuit. We’re forced to confront our own insignificance in the face of nature. We leave humbled by the experience, but with a much better understanding of the reality of life in the Arctic.

if you go • Natural Habitat Adventure is the only company that offers this unique travel opportunity. • Natural Habitat partners with the World Wildlife Fund, donating a portion of all profits to support conservation efforts worldwide.


Sipping the Rustic Wines of the Baja’s Valle de Guadalupe

Story and photography by Christine Salins

Adobe Guadalupe: a peaceful vineyard retreat

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ooking at the trailblazing winery that Alonso Granados runs in Mexico’s Valle de Guadalupe, it’s hard to believe that a decade ago he didn’t even know wine was made from grapes. The then student lawyer had returned home for a family dinner when a winemaker his father had hired brought out some wine he had produced off the family property. His father had bought the land with the intention of re-selling it, but Alonso soon had other ideas. “I was in my last year of law school and I came back with a very strange feeling that I wanted to leave my career and start winemaking. I Googled schools to study at. I finished my degree and booked my ticket and left for Spain to study winemaking. It was the best thing I ever did.” In August 2015, Alonso opened Decantos Vinícola, an imposing winery and tasting room that rises out of the parched landscape like a mirage on the


Woodfired local quail at Finca Altozano


Bodegas del Valle has 8,000 bottles of wine behind the bar.


horizon. In the Old World, it is often said that the more vines struggle the better the wine, and when you see how vines grow on some of the rocky slopes in Spain, you understand the truth in that. It also seems to ring true in the dry and barren Valle de Guadalupe region, north of the city of Ensenada in Baja California, the long peninsula extending down from San Diego. A 90-minute drive from the U.S. border, this is Mexico’s most up and coming wine region, a place where sophistication and innovation sit side by side with rustic authenticity. Many of the roads are still rutted and unpaved but they lead visitors to impressive cellar doors, elegant and comfortable accommodations, and world-class restaurants and bars. Some have likened it to the Napa Valley of 30 years ago but that would be doing both the Napa Valley and Valle de Guadalupe a disservice. It has a character and a charm all its own, a low-key feel that is assuredly Mexican but outwardlooking enough to take the best winemaking and other traditions from abroad and develop them into its own. Much of this story is told in the Museo de la Vid y el Vino (Museum of Vines and Wines), a great introduction to the region and worth seeing for its artefacts, artworks and splendid view, although unfortunately little of the signage is in English, so you might need a guide. Here you’ll learn how wine was introduced by missionaries in the 1700s, how Russian

immigrants planted vines in the early 1900s, and how the last few decades have seen a boom in the development of Valle de Guadalupe as a wine region, credited to three winemakers in particular: Santo Tomás, Cetto and Domecq. Two decades ago, you could count Baja’s wineries on both hands. Today, the Ruta del Vino (Wine Route) boasts more than 120 wineries, along with restaurants, art galleries, boutique hotels, ranches and resorts. The Mediterranean-like weather, coupled with unforgettable landscapes – especially around the coastline and mountain ranges – add to its appeal.

Distinct ‘Baja Med’ cuisine As well as wine to suit all tastes, olive oil, cheese, chocolates, locally roasted coffee, craft beer, and other gourmet offerings have put this region on the gastronomic map. The region boasts several restaurants on the list of Latin America’s 50 best, and a distinct local cuisine – referred to increasingly as Baja Med – is emerging. One of its best-known exponents is Javier Plascencia, who has restaurants in San Diego and Tijuana, as well as the hugely popular Finca Altozano in Valle de Guadalupe. This casual indooroutdoor eatery is right on trend in both concept and menu, from the cucumber and mint drinks in mason glasses, to the succulent lamb roasted on the restaurant’s wood-fired grill. From the deck there are panoramic views over the

vineyard, kitchen garden, a bakery where they do all their own bread, animal pens, a coffee spot serving locally roasted coffee, and a casual eating area with food truck. Equally on trend is the massive open-air wine bar, Bodegas del Valle, across the road from the Museum of Vines and Wines. It has 8,000 bottles of wine behind the bar and an amphitheatre catering to music lovers. Pioneer of Baja Med cuisine, Miguel Angel Guerrero, has four restaurants including La Esperanza with sweeping views of the Cetto vineyards. An avid hunter, fisherman and diver, he draws on Mexican, Mediterranean and Oriental influences to create dishes such as zucchini carpaccio with nine chilli sauce, and octopus cooked in black tea for tenderness. With a large Chinese community just south of the Valle, the area is reputed to have some of Mexico’s best Asian food. Miguel’s Spanish heritage introduced him to Mediterranean cuisines, and Baja’s Mediterranean-like weather allows him to grow olives, herbs, fruit and vegetables, all of which he integrates into his dishes. He hunts for rabbit, quail, and pheasant, making this a true paddock to plate experience. Another restaurant combining Mediterranean and Asian influences with Mexican flavours is Manzanilla, in Ensenada. Listed in the top 50 of restaurants in Mexico, it is run by chefs Benito Molina and Solange Muris, who regularly appear on Mexican TV. They are great advocates for local and organic and their six-course tasting menu is prepared with

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The kitchen at Adobe Guadalupe

flair and creativity. This is a classy restaurant, dark and moody with wingback chairs, red chandeliers and a huge old mahogany bar. A great place to stop for breakfast on the way to the wineries is Leonardo’s, on Highway 3 in San Antonio De Las Minas. It’s popular with locals for its egg and machaca (shredded meat) dishes and especially for its towering apple pie. Another popular local hangout is the rustic La Cocina de Doña Esthela. If you’re lucky, you’ll see Esthela baking empañadas in the adobe oven outside, and you’ll be able to feast on them straight from the oven. Although there is plenty of accommodation in Ensenada and

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elsewhere on the coast, the choice is more restricted within the Valle. We loved Hotel Boutique which with just 24 guest rooms is, well… boutique. It is simple but sweet with complimentary toiletries made from local grapes and olives. The restaurant here, Fuego, also has an up and coming Baja Med chef, Mario Peralta. One of the region’s loveliest guesthouses is Adobe Guadalupe, an elegant inn built by an American businessman and his Dutch wife, who came to the valley to make wine and raise Azteca horses. After the loss of her son and more recently her husband, Tru Miller, is still very much involved in running the property.

The six guest rooms offer a peaceful retreat with a gorgeous courtyard, swimming pool and garden, the smell of rosemary lingering everywhere. The Adobe Guadalupe wines, available in California and Chicago, are named for the archangels, as director of operations Luis Garcia tells us “Tru is a lady who believes in signs.” While the Rosé, Uriel, is an easy quaffer, it is the red blends that reign: Gabriel, a Bordeauxstyle blend; Kerubiel, a Rhone Valley-style blend; Serafiel, a Cabernet/Syrah blend; and the pinnacle, Raphael, a Cabernet Sauvignon/Nebbiolo. In devising your own wine trail, take your pick from industrial-scale


producers, like L.A. Cetto, Santo Tomás, and Casa Pedro Domecq, to boutique wineries and experimental new producers. L.A. Cetto is responsible for 60% of Mexico’s production and exports to 35 countries. Renowned particularly for its Petit Syrah and Nebbiolo, we also enjoyed its Chardonnay, barrel-aged Sauvignon Blanc and stunning Moscato dessert wine, Passito. Finca La Carrodilla has pinned its success on being one of Valle de Guadalupe’s few certified organic vineyards. It’s amazing what the earth can provide when properly nurtured. A 1½ acre garden adjoining the vineyard bursts at the seams with carrots,

heirloom tomatoes, edible flowers, baby kale, melons, beetroot, peppers, basil, artichokes, lavender, strawberries, Chinese melons and other produce that supplies their restaurant and is traded with local businesses.

The ‘wild west of wine’ Jonathan Rivera guides visitors through the wines, including a wild fermented Chenin Blanc – “Chenin does very well in this region” – a funky Tempranillo and a medium-bodied red blend, Canto de Luna. “The valley is the wild west of wine right now,” he said. “Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo and Nebbiolo are the top three varieties planted here. We’re not covered by an AOC, DOC or appellations. We have the liberty of experimenting. We’re breaking the paradigm of ‘it grows together, it goes together’.” This same willingness to experiment led Alonso Granados to personally design the Decantos winery and everything in it. By using gravity to transfer wine from tank to barrel, he completely eliminates pumps, helping to maintain the integrity of the wine’s aroma, flavour, and colour. Like many of the new buildings springing up in the Valle, Decantos is as impressive to architecture lovers as it is to wine connoisseurs. The glass-walled pavilion

is modern and minimalist, with an interior balcony overlooking the winery’s inner workings. Decantos has around 40 acres, all of it planted to Carignan, but it buys or exchanges enough to make more than 30 varietals. Most wines in the Valle are blends but Alonso is on a mission to make a single varietal from every one of the region’s varieties, although his premium wine, 981, is a blend. Alonso ended up spending eight years working in La Rioja. “It was the best thing I ever did. I’m never going back to being a lawyer.” As for the wine that first captured his interest? “To tell you the truth, the wine was awful but it tasted fine because it was a family wine.”

if you go • Discover Baja • Hotel Boutique • Adobe Guadalupe Vineyards & Inn • Bajamar Oceanfront Golf Resort • Club Tengo Hambre and Turista Libre offer guided food and wine tours. • Uber Valle enables Uber users to hail a wine country chauffeur for a day. I visited Valle de Guadalupe on an IFWTWA trip hosted by the Secretaria de Turismo de Baja California.

Alonso Granados of innovative winery, Decantos

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Port of Arcachon

Epicurean Excursions on a Bordeaux River Cruise by Irene Levine Photography by Jerome Levine

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ordeaux — a name synonymous with fine wines — is a port city on the Garonne River in southwest France. Vineyards first planted here by Romans more than 2000 years ago “seeded” and shaped the city’s economic and cultural identity over centuries. Bordeaux’s location near the Gironde estuary (the largest estuary in Europe) proved ideal for the growth of the wine trade, offering easy access to the Atlantic Ocean. Due to its unique mix of history, geography and terroir, the surrounding region (also named Bordeaux) now houses more than 8,000 wine-producing chateaux that export some of the best French wines enjoyed throughout the world. These include Sauternes,

Vineyard in Bordeaux in Autumn

Médoc, Graves, Saint-Émilion, Pomerol and others. For more than 30 years, the international wine and spirits industry trade show, Vinexpo, has been held biennially in Bordeaux, drawing visitors from more than 150 countries. In 2016, the city opened a new immersive wine museum called Cité du Vin.

Bordeaux beyond the wine Our 8-day “Chateaux, Rivers and Wine” cruise with Viking River Cruises launched from a picturesque quay on the left bank of the Garonne, near the historic center of the city (designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007). Once referred to as France’s “Sleeping Beauty”, the city of Bordeaux has, with enlightened leadership, undergone a renaissance in recent years that earned it the


title of “European Best Destination 2015” in a competition among 20 major cities. In 2017, Bordeaux placed first on Lonely Planet’s list of top cities to visit. The rundown waterfront area was redeveloped to make it more appealing and pedestrian friendly. Facades of weathered limestone buildings that had blackened with age were cleaned to restore the original patina of their stone. New hotels and restaurants began opening. The now-lively city boasts more than 350 listed buildings of historical significance, ranking second to Paris. A high-speed TGV train service links Bordeaux to Paris. When we chose our Bordeaux river cruise itinerary, we of course

looked forward to being able to tour the city and taste the famous wines of the region in their own terroir. As expected, the wines were poured generously at both lunch and dinner on the ship. They were also featured at various port stops where we heard lectures, attended tastings, and spoke to vintners and wine merchants about the wines of Bordeaux. However, three extraordinary optional shore excursions not only introduced us to the wines of Bordeaux but also allowed us to “branch out” and explore other epicurean foods and spirits identified with the region, notably Perigord truffles, oysters and cognac.

One of the many wine shops in Saint-Emilion

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Searching for Perigord truffles Enamored with the taste of white truffles in Northern Italy, we were eager to learn about the black truffles (sometimes called “black diamonds”) grown in this area of France. Early one morning, a motor coach took a small group of us on a scenic highway drive and then on smaller roads within the densely forested Dordogne Valley. About two hours later, we reached La Truffière de Pechalifour, a small truffle farm nestled in a protected, picturebook hamlet of 17th and 18th century stone houses. Our Viking guide introduced us to Edouard Aynaud, a passionate, secondgeneration truffle farmer and his trained hunting dogs. Part agronomist, biologist, teacher, and marketer, Edouard (called a rabassier, French for truffle hunter) taught us about the interdependence of the trees, soil, fungi and water that allow black truffles to grow here. He explained that these hard-tocultivate, hard-to-find delicacies emerge beneath the roots of his oak and hazelnut trees. We watched one of Edouard’s border collies scratch and sniff the ground. If we had tails of our own, we would have wagged them when she located a truffle beside one of the trees. The master immediately rewarded his helper with a treat and took over the job lest the collie bruise her precious find. Then we were invited into his home where his wife, Carole, had prepared a mouth-watering multi-course lunch for our group, each dish served with black truffles. We had truffled toast;


Reconstructed Chateau Margaux, completed in 1812

Brouillade truffĂŠe, a delicious dish made with whisked eggs, black truffles, butter and rapeseed oil; pan-fried and truffled goose foie gras (another local specialty) and truffled pasta, along with vegetables, salad, cheese and dessert.

Visiting an oyster farm Half the fun of visiting an oyster farm on Arcachon Bay on a crisp, sunny day is getting there. We boarded the catamaran Kalume in the resort town of Arcachon,

immediately falling in love with the colorful gingerbread cottages, sandy beach, and twin piers jutting into the bay. Once onboard, we motored past scenic villages along the shores and learned that because of the tides, Arcachon Bay varies greatly in area (from 150km to 40km) depending on when you measure. We spotted Landes Forest, a pine forest of four million acres (half the size of the state of New Jersey) that was planted by man on a flatland where sheep

were once raised. It is now a protected, renewable resource and recreational paradise for cyclists, hikers and walkers. We also breezed past the peninsula of Cap Ferret and the Dune of Pilat, the largest sand dune in Europe. The French government introduced paid vacations in 1936 so these bayside towns (much like those in the Hamptons or Cape Cod in the States) are uber-popular vacation getaways. Although year-round sunshine attracts visitors and inspires artists across all four seasons, the

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Brouillade truffée, made with whisked eggs, black truffles, butter and rapeseed oil

populations of these small towns swell as much as tenfold in summer. A major portion of France’s oyster bounty has been harvested from these waters since the 1860s. It is estimated that the Arcachon Basin produces 8-10,000 tons of oysters a year. Traditionally served at Christmas and at New Year’s Eve meals—or more commonly, with a glass of white or rosé wine any other time of year – raw oysters topped with a squeeze of zesty lemon are an integral part of French culture. We visited an oyster shack called Chez Yannick, one of many

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only steps away from the oyster beds. Farmer Yannick told us how oysters release their eggs into the water each year in late July and attach themselves to artificial beds. The oysters evolve from birth and become edible over a period of 18 months to three years. We watched him shuck the oysters by hand (quite expertly), and we sampled them fresh on the half shell. Although I’m usually a fried-oyster person, these (served with crusty French bread and a glass of wine) were the best I had ever tasted. It turned out that this was just an aperitif! Before heading back

to our motor coach, we boarded the catamaran and headed off to Cap Ferret, where we enjoyed a relaxing seafood lunch at L’Escale. Here, at one of the oldest restaurants on the peninsula, we dined and sipped wines with locals on a terrace overlooking the Bay.

Blending Cognac Cognac, a type of brandy made by distilling wine, is another French product named after its place of birth. And like Champagne – which can only be produced in the Champagne


region of France and under exacting rules of the appellation – the same holds true for Cognac. This is the only place in the world where Cognac can be produced and called that. (Oddly, it was originally created to avoid a tax on wine.) Our bus trip to the riverside town of Cognac delivered us to the door of the House of Camus, the largest Cognac house that still remains family-owned and independent. In a stunningly contemporary, museum-like setting, we learned about the process of making Cognac, from harvesting to distillation to aging. Then we were led to a room with a long table. Each place setting had a flask, measuring cylinders, funnels and glasses – tools we would use to experiment and determine our individual tastes and preferences. With the humor and presence of a stage entertainer, Master Blender Frederic Dezauzier dispensed his expert knowledge and introduced us to the art of Cognac tasting.

Grilled octopus at L’Escale at Cap Ferret

Carole Aynaud’s pasta with black truffles

We sipped, sniffed and tasted Cognac with different food pairings before we were left to blend our own unique libations. We were able to bottle “personal blends” that were labeled with our names and sealed carefully in a wooden cask to survive the trip home. We also came away with a more refined taste for Cognac.

Lessons learned on a Bordeaux river cruise A Bordeaux river cruise will help food-lovers who aren’t oenophiles become more knowledgeable about the basics of the fine wines produced in this region. Our advice: When choosing shore excursions, which typically offer numerous outings to wineproducing chateaux, don’t forget to look beyond the wine.

if you go • Viking River Cruises • Bordeaux Tourism • Vinexpo • La Truffière de Pechalifour • The Arcachon Basin • House of Camus Our “Chateaux, Rivers and & Wine Cruise” was hosted by Viking River Cruises.


A Journey Back in Time to Australia’s Norfolk Island by Jacqui Gibson


Heritage foreshore, Norfolk Island, Australia


Norfolk Island’s Government House found in the island’s heritage area is an example of the still-remaining Georgian architecture.

M

arie Bailey never met the grandmother who finally made it ashore on Norfolk Island in 1856 after a gruelling month at sea. By the time Marie was born on 28 November 1926, by now a second generation Norfolk Islander, her gran had been dead four years. Yet it’s her grandmother’s impressive migration story – and the story of 193 people who travelled with her from Pitcairn Island to Norfolk – that Marie, now retired, spent a lifetime retelling as one of Norfolk’s earliest tour operators.

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Not only is it a family story dear to her heart, says Marie, during my three-day hosted tour of Norfolk, it’s also a story that gives outsiders a window into the latest chapter of Norfolk Island’s rich social history.

Pitcairn Islanders’ arrival The story begins at Kingston Pier, Norfolk Island, on 8 June 1856. One of four kids in the Christian family, Marie’s gran, is just four years old when she leaps ashore amid squalls of rain. The toddler’s come 6,000 kilometres from Pitcairn to Norfolk at the invitation of Britain’s Queen Victoria, who,

on hearing about the Pitcairners’ plight, gave the entire population the nod to relocate to Norfolk. She even sent a boat to fetch them. The islanders, all direct descendants of Bounty mutineers and their Tahitian wives, were growing in number and faced imminent starvation on their tiny, remote homeland. On Norfolk, promised the Queen, they’d receive livestock and supplies on arrival and be housed in Kingston’s abandoned convict settlement. It was a generous offer – yet one that most Pitcairners, including Marie’s forebears, took up with some reluctance. Leaving


© Norfolk Island Tourism

Pitcairn was a hard decision, even heartbreaking for some. But the entire community did leave. And, by doing so, carved out the so-called fourth key settlement period in Norfolk’s history.

From Pitcairners to Norfolk Islanders According to Janelle Blucher, acting director of Norfolk Island Museum, this settlement period started the moment Marie’s gran set foot on Kingston pier and extends through to today. Like Marie, nearly half of Norfolk Islanders (about 900 people) are direct descendants of those Pitcairn migrants. And most still speak the native Pitcairn

language, a combination of 18th century English and Tahitian. But Norfolk Island’s fascinating human history didn’t start there, says Janelle.

Early Polynesian settlement Excavations carried out between 1995 and 1999 throughout the Kingston area uncovered clear evidence of East Polynesian settlement dating back to the 13th and 14th centuries. Archaeologists found remnants of a hut, ovens, refuse pits and postholes, adding to much earlier discoveries of stone adzes and the remains of a canoe. They also unearthed evidence

of the early Polynesian rat, Rattus exulans, suggesting Norfolk was part of a Polynesian navigational route extending from Tahiti and the Cook Islands to New Zealand and the Kermadecs. When and why the community died out or moved on is unclear, says Janelle. But researchers believe the island probably lay unpopulated for several hundred years before human habitation took hold again in 1788.

Norfolk becomes a penal colony This time the 35 square kilometre island was taken into the new British colony of New South Wales, becoming one of its first

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convict settlements and only the second British settlement in the Southern Hemisphere. By 1814, however, this phase in Norfolk’s settlement history had ended. The risk of shipwreck was high. The country’s natural bounty, the Norfolk Island pine, once thought useful for ships’ masts was found wanting. Convicts and settlers alike were relocated to Australia. Homes, buildings and the gaol (jail) were raised to the ground. Norfolk was abandoned once more.

The island’s most brutal period In 1825 when the former penal colony sprang back into life under its most brutal command. This time, torture, beatings and uprisings leading to hangings were

reportedly common among the nearly 2,000 prisoners. Norfolk’s second convict settlement quickly became known as one of the harshest in the British Empire. “While this period was undoubtedly grim,” says Janelle, “It’s also given us the incredible heritage landscape and collection of Georgian buildings you see today – much of it built by the hands of convicts themselves.” “Dozens of buildings belong to this period,” she says, such as Government House (one of the earliest and most intact remaining buildings of its type in Australia), the New Military Barracks, nine military and officers’ houses, hospital ruins (built on the remains of the first settlement) and a cemetery considered outstanding for

its collection of centuries-old headstones set into a picturesque coastal landscape.

Norfolk’s heritage landscape gains UNESCO recognition In 2010, Norfolk Island’s heritage area was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List as one of Australia’s 11 outstanding convict sites. “This period also gave the Pitcairn Islanders much needed shelter on arrival,” says Janelle. The two-storey New Military Barracks, constructed between 1835 and 1837, is case in point. “Pitcairn families immediately moved in and set up a school on the second floor. Years later the ground floor became a courtroom. The new migrants also made use of

Norfolk Islanders in traditional dress on Bounty Day (their national day), Kingston heritage area

© Norfolk Island Tourism

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Kingston’s other buildings, existing roads, bridges, wharves, cleared arable land, provisions, tools – and livestock,” says Janelle. Some moved into the four-room houses on a street called Quality Row. Museum records show that’s exactly what happened to Marie’s grandmother after her family won a lottery granting them permission to live at No. 10. Originally built in 1844 for a Foreman of Works named Thomas Seller, No. 10 Quality Row was to be the Christian family home until the 1880s. Who knows where Marie’s gran and her family lived next? Marie’s not 100 percent sure. But eventually Marie’s gran, Emily Wellesley Christian, grew up and married a British blacksmith named George Bailey.

Together in 1877 they built a homestead in Norfolk’s main village area of Burnt Pine and raised a family. It’s in this home that Marie still lives today. She grew up there. She has run a highly successful tourism business from there. And it’s in her grandmother’s living room that she points to a painting of the HMAV Bounty. “It all comes back to that one big event – the mutiny on the Bounty. That’s how my descendants washed up on Pitcairn all those years ago. Eventually, it came time to move on and, with much thanks to Queen Victoria, that’s how my family washed up here on Norfolk.” Note, the writer would like to acknowledge the sad passing of Marie Bailey since this story was drafted and thank hosts Norfolk Island Tourism for organising time with Marie.

Norfolk’s Key Settlement Periods • 1300-1500 Polynesian settlement • 1788-1814 First colonial penal settlement • 1825-1855 Second colonial penal settlement • 1856- Pitcairn settlement

Take a Heritage Holiday Tourism is central to Norfolk Island’s economy – and there’s plenty on offer. You can take the Historic Convict Tour of Kingston by bus in the evening for a terrifying re-enactment of the penal colony.

There’s Fletcher’s Mutiny Cyclorama, a 360-degree artwork illustrating the story of Fletcher Christian and the communities of Pitcairn and Norfolk Islands (the brainchild of Marie Bailey – look for her grandmother’s name ‘Emily Wellesley Christian’ in the roll call). Take part in Bounty Day, a major anniversary event in June. You can even play a round of golf within the grounds of the historic Kingston and Arthur’s Vale Historic Area (KAVHA). The best idea, according to Janelle Blucher, acting director of Norfolk Island Museum, is to spend time in the main heritage area walking the grounds, taking in the sights and checking out the museums. “Buy a museum pass; they are valid for the entire duration of your holiday and provide entry into all four museums, access to the research centre and guided tours through the museums and collections. Interesting and great value!” she says.

if you go For information on what to do, what to eat and drink and for travel tips, check out http://fwtmagazine.com/norfolk-islandsouth-pacific-stop-off

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Savoring the Delicacies of Taipei’s Shilin Night Market Story and photography by Kaila Yu

Hot-Star Fried Chicken

M

y first memory of Taipei as a young girl of 11 back in 1990, was of a noodle stall down the street from my Grandma’s apartment. I was just a kid, so I was cheap. I had a couple of coins in my pocket and was alone with my younger brother, so I had no parents or relatives to fund my meal. This wasn’t my first time visiting Taipei, but it was my first time venturing on the streets alone. I felt excited, empowered and, most of all, hungry. My plan was to wander up and down the winding alleys, exploring all that Taipei’s street food scene had to offer, but I was stopped cold by the gratifying smell of my favorite childhood noodle dish oamisoir, also known as oyster vermicelli. Twenty cents (USD) bought one steaming hot bowl of this briny, umami bomb. Oamisoir is a thick and deliciously unctuous dish featuring thin rice noodles, oysters and chopped intestines, if you are


lucky. These days, many authentic Taiwanese eateries in San Gabriel Valley, California offer oamisoir, but nothing has ever beat that 20-cent bowl from my childhood. On my most recent trip to Taipei, I was already planning my menu on my airplane ride, somewhere miles above the Pacific. After all, how often do I get to taste the food of my parents’ homeland? It had been five years since I had returned home. One might point out that there is plenty of Taiwanese food near where I live in Los Angeles. But I would Tanghulu at the Shilin Night Market counter that the boba shops don’t even get the boba right! The boba in the States is quite chewy, even at the top-rated teahouses, boba milk tea within what seemed while the boba you get in Taiwan like five minutes of stepping into is meltingly soft like the softest this food heaven. I was ready for mochi you’ve ever encountered. more. I had only spent mere pocket I was ready to stuff myself change at that point. My fingers with shaved ice, Din Tai Fung, glistened with oil, and the essence Taiwanese breakfast, bubble tea of popcorn chicken lingered in my and more. I wanted it all, and my mouth. I slurped down an oyster newly exchanged NT was burning omelet and chomped on tiny softa hole through my wallet. shell sea crabs. I was happy. We hit the streets of Shilin The Shilin Night Market is Night Market that first night in one of the most famous street food Taipei. Having just eaten airplane destinations in the world. It’s been and airport food for the last 20 covered on Anthony Bourdain’s hours, walking into the din and “The Layover” and features over aromas of the Shilin Night Market 500 vendors. It’s by far the largest was intoxicating. I was somehow night market in Taiwan, so you able to scarf down crispy, burning shouldn’t leave the country before hot stinky tofu, Hot-Star fried spending a night there. chicken the size of my head and a

Here are just a handful of the street foods that you must try when you visit Shilin Night Market.

Oyster Omelette Oyster omelette (ô-á-chian) is Taiwan’s traditional surf and turf dish and is a signature night market favorite. Eggs and potatoes are mixed and fried on a scorching hot pan, enveloping the delicate little oysters inside. The potato starch gives the whole dish a gooey chewiness that the Taiwanese love. It’s all topped off with a generous amount of screaming red, ketchupbased sauce.

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Oyster Omelette at the Shilin Night Market

Tanghulu Tanghulu is Taipei’s answer to candied apples. Why do we only candy apples here in the States? Taipei’s tanghulu candied strawberries are a much more delectable treat and are conveniently bite sized. The juiciness of the fresh strawberries is highlighted by the crunchy candy barrier that your teeth have to break through for the luscious reward. The strawberries are sold on bamboo skewers and are a portable treat as you explore the night market. Tanghulu actually originated in northern China and is a typical winter treat. I’m so glad it’s being served in Taiwan year round.

Little Sausage in Big Sausage

Small Sausage Wrapped in Big Sausage There are numerous types of sausages being sold at the night market, but my favorite is the small sausage wrapped in a big sausage. It looks similar to a hot dog and features a charred Taiwanese pork sausage wrapped in a glutinous, sticky rice sausage. You can top it with your own selection of condiments like wasabi, thick soy sauce or pickled bok choy to name a few. I just like it plain and hot off the grill. It’s perfect just as it is and doesn’t need any accompaniments.

Taiwanese Sizzling Steak On nearly every street corner of the Taiwanese night market, you’ll encounter a sizzling steak shop. Sizzling steak is served on a blistering hot, black cast iron skillet. The tender steak covers a bed of spaghetti noodles and is topped off with a fried egg. This is a meal you have to sit down for and is usually paired with a sweet corn soup, salad and a hot bun or piece of garlic bread. It’s quite an affordable meal and generous in size. Save this for your last eat at the night market, or you won’t have room for anything else.

Hot-Star Fried Chicken There’s always a line at Hot-Star Fried Chicken, but don’t worry because the line moves briskly. Hot-Star chicken is very similar in taste to Taiwanese popcorn chicken, except that its the size of your head. It’s Taiwan’s version of fried chicken, pounded, coated with flour and then dunked in hot oil. You can select your preferred spiciness level, and it will arrive in your hands fresh and piping hot.

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I’ve just covered a few of my favorite night market treats, but I could fill a book with every delectable treat there is to try. The night market is certainly a highlight of any trip to Taiwan, but delicious food is around every corner in Taiwan. It’s the ultimate foodie destination, so come prepared to eat.

if you go • Taiwan Tourism Board • Hot-Star Chicken • Shilin Night Market

Fried Mini Soft Shell Crabs


Exploring the Danube Aboard a Luxury River Cruise by Mira Temkin

Cruising down the Danube with Viking

©Viking River Cruises


Mira Temkin

Castles come into view as you cruise.

T

he Viking Tor swiftly glided through the river. It was smooth sailing down the Danube as my husband and I sat on our balcony, watching the everchanging vistas of castles, churches and small European villages pass by. Centuries of history now became part of my memory as I thought about the thousands of vessels that sailed the same routes.

Each day was a new adventure Our eight-day journey on The Danube Waltz started in Passau, Germany with stops in Linz, Melk, Durnstein and Vienna, Austria; Bratislava, Slovak Republic; and ended with three days in Budapest, Hungary. This is the beauty of river cruising – the opportunity to visit so many lovely cities, towns and countries but unpack only once. Viking created a masterful

experience – from the first-class surroundings to the exquisite dining to the port stops to the evening entertainment. The ship had only four decks with 190 passengers, creating a truly intimate setting. With open seating at every meal, guests had a chance to meet in a relaxed, casual atmosphere. Perhaps that’s why so many guests re-book for future cruises. Upon talking to others, I discovered many of

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Guests enjoy the Taste of Austria onboard Viking Tor.

them have sailed on several Viking cruises and felt the line offered an extraordinary experience and outstanding value.

Dining and entertainment The chef-inspired meals were a delectable combination of local cuisine paired with wines as well as more traditional culinary choices. Guests could dine in the main dining room or the Aquavit Terrace for lighter fare with great views. The highlight

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was the Taste of Austria menu that featured authentic Austrian cuisine from hot pretzels with dipping sauces to hearty stews and pastries, and of course, beer! Servers were dressed in leather breeches or lederhosen, while an accordion player and his band entertained with festive tunes. Every night, Viking offered another enrichment program, ranging from a lecture, live chamber music, opera, to folk dancing, to enhance guests’ cultural understanding of the ports.

Mira Temkin

Exciting ports with local guides Having cruised on ocean liners before, I had not come to expect complimentary excursions. But Viking includes a local excursion at almost every port, giving guests the opportunity to engage with a knowledgeable tour guide whose commentary enhanced our understanding of history and culture. Indeed, there was ample time to explore the cities on our own or choose from optional excursions like expansive city


highlights, home visits, winery tours and classical concerts.

Austria comes alive In Linz, we set off for an all-day excursion to the Bohemian town of Cesky Krumlov in the Czech Republic. We toured the castle, walked around the main square filled with Renaissance buildings and enjoyed a lunch of wild mushroom soup and goat

cheese salad. When we returned, we walked around Linz and discovered works of painter Gustav Klimt (most famous for The Kiss and The Woman in Gold) in every shop window and imprinted on every imaginable souvenir. With a stop at the 900-yearold Melk Abbey, we explored the famous site of this Benedictine Monastery, still in use today. I admired the frescoes, courtyards and medieval manuscripts and

yes, the 365 windows in this splendid treasure.

Vienna – the city of waltzes and Gustav Klimt The wide boulevards of the Ringstrasse beckoned with its grand, elegant architecture. Highlights of this imperial city included standing in awe of St. Stephan’s Cathedral, the Hofburg Palace, the Vienna State Opera and

The exquisite Melk Abbey is an included excursion aboard the Viking Tor

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Shoes along the Danube, a somber memorial

the Gustav Klimt Museum. Like the locals, we sat at an outdoor café, sipping coffee and savoring their famous Sacher torte. In the afternoon, an optional excursion awaited at the glorious Schonbrunn Palace, the summer home of Empress Maria Theresa in the late 18th century. When I commented that it resembled the Palace of Versailles, our guide replied that the French Versailles served as the model. That night, a fabulous presentation by Professor Alex Kugler on the history of the Habsburg Empire was especially meaningful.

Budapest – two cities of grandeur Sailing into Budapest at night with the Parliament, Castle and Chain Bridge lights all aglow was a sight I will never forget. Budapest is actually made up of two cities, divided by the Danube, Buda and Pest. The morning tour highlighted both sides of the city, including Heroes’ Square, the Castle and amazing thermal spas with people soaking in them or playing chess on large floating boards. In the afternoon, a walking tour of the Jewish Quarter took us to the magnificent 19th Dohany Street Synagogue, complete with the Raoul Wallenberg Garden and Tree of Life memorial to those lost in the Holocaust. The ship was also docked close to the “Shoes on the Danube.” This 2005 Holocaust memorial pays tribute to those who were shot on that site by the Arrow Cross and fell into the river. Today, the 60-pair of permanently bronzed 1940s-style

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Royal suite at the Hotel Kempinski Corvinus

shoes are covered with flowers and candles. All too soon, it was time to disembark. Loaded down with Gustav Klimt everything, fine chocolates and hand-made wooden puzzles from the Great Market Hall, we looked back on our Viking River Cruises experience with wonder. We had covered centuries of history, made new friends and tasted new delicacies. Viking created the perfect river cruise…we’ll be among those returning!

Hotel Kempinski Corvinus 5-star luxury in downtown Budapest We spent a few extra days in Budapest with the luxurious Hotel Kempinski as our home base. The hotel is conveniently

located next to Erzsébet Square, featuring the all-new Budapest Eye Ferris Wheel. From here, we were able to hop the bus, train or walk everywhere. The welcoming lobby is a great place for coffee and sweets, but the grand dame is ES Bisztro with its sumptuous breakfast buffet. For more upscale dining, enjoy the only NOBU restaurant in Central Europe, Chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa’s new-style Japanese cuisine.

Dining at Spinoza Café The Spinoza Café had come highly recommended and provided an exquisite meal of roasted goose breast with potato dumplings and a traditional Jewish Flodni with plum sauce for dessert. Awesome!

© Hotel Kempinski Corvinus

The Budapest Card Get this card in hand to save money. The Budapest Card offers free transportation on buses and trains as well as entry to six top museums, Buda Castle, guided tours, plus discounts. Available at the airport and hotels.

if you go • Vikingrivercruises.com (Voted 2017 Best River Cruise by USA Today) • Hotel Kempinski for reservations and hotel packages • Budapest Cards The author would like to thank Viking River Cruises for hosting this trip.

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Pairing Food and Wine in South Africa’s Stellenbosch Region by Maurie O’Connor

Turkish Delight tasting at Lourensford Winery

Maurie O’Connor


Maurie O’Connor

Cupcake tasting at Delheim Estate

F

rom the majesty of Table Mountain and the magic of Cape Town Harbour, it’s only about 50 kilometres to South Africa’s premier wine region, Stellenbosch. With more than 150 wineries and estates, first-class accommodation and wines at very reasonable prices, the region offers great value for the visitor. Stellenbosch is in a valley with a variety of soil types and a Mediterranean-like climate of hot dry summers and cool wet

winters. The main wine varieties are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc and the unique South African Pinotage. Stellenbosch is where Pinotage, a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault, originated. Bordeaux-style blends are also very popular in South Africa and account for a significant proportion of wine production in the region. We visited three of the region’s iconic estates for what could only be described as some very lekker wine matchings. In case you’re

wondering, lekker is a Dutch and Afrikaans word that means good, pleasant or nice. It can also mean ‘slightly intoxicated’ which was very appropriate in this case. You walk into Delheim through blooming gardens and leafy trellises, and on a sunny day with a view down the valley, there’s no better place for lunch or its unique wine pairing with cupcakes. Delheim says it’s a process of ‘spreading the love’ to pair four of its classic wines with some carefully crafted cupcakes. I know cupcakes have been a food

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fashion for some time, but I’ve never really been a fan. I must say, though, that a nice wine does wonders for the cupcake. The pairings include a pomegranate cupcake, matched with Pinotage Rosé; a Rooibos cupcake infused with lemon and topped with a cream cheese and honey icing, paired with Chenin Blanc Wild Ferment; a pumpkin

and vanilla cupcake infused with star anise, cinnamon and nutmeg, and topped with diced pickled pumpkin, paired with Delheim Pinotage; and a traditional African makataan (wild melon) cupcake, topped with makataan syrup icing, paired with Gewürztraminer. I decided that I could get to like cupcakes and marvelled at the fact that Pinotage actually

Delheim Estate in South Africa’s beautiful Stellenbosch region

goes very nicely with pumpkin cupcake. A unique experience and very lekker. South Africa’s first female winemaker, Elizabeth Catherine English, established Lanzerac in 1914 on land that had grown grapes since the 17th century. Lanzerac was the first vineyard to sell Pinotage commercially in 1961. Chocolate and wine may be


a common pairing but Lanzerac has taken great care to match its wines with some beautifully produced chocolates. All chocolates are made by Marionette’s, a chocolate maker in Knysna, especially to go with Lanzerac wines, and with each vintage they look at the pairing to see if it still matches. The 2016 Lanzerac Sauvignon Blanc is a tropical fruity wine with

Maurie O’Connor

almond and peach flavours and gets a special lift paired with white chocolate. The 2015 Chardonnay is a light golden colour and coming out of nine months in the barrel, it pairs smoothly with a lemongrass/ lemon verbena flavoured chocolate. We also tried a 2014 Merlot 2014, 12 months on French oak with dark cherry and cigar flavours, paired beautifully with a 60% dark chocolate. The standout pairing at Lanzerac was its 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon matched with a Cape Malay spice flavoured chocolate, combining cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg. This was absolutely lekker. You may not be able to go back to Constantinople, but the best thing is that Turkish Delight is now available all over the world, and Lourensford Winery in Stellenbosch is using it to offer one of the most unusual and ‘wow’ pairings I’ve ever tried. The Turkish Delight is produced nearby with flavours to complement some of Lourensford’s best wines. Its MCC (Methode Cap Classique) is made by the same method as Methode Champenoise. This Brut style is in the bottle for 58 months and made from 80% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Noir. This MCC has green apple and nutty undertones, which when paired with an almond Turkish Delight nicely picks up the nuttiness of the Turkish Delight. Lourensford’s Rosé MCC is 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir and having spent 36 months in the bottle, it has distinct strawberry and rose flavours. It was beautifully paired with a Rose Turkish Delight.

Lourensford has three wine ranges: River Garden (entry level); Estate Range; and a Limited Release Range, which is only produced in exceptional years. 2014 was one of those years and its Limited Release 2014 Chardonnay is a standout. Having spent eight months in 80% new oak, it was a sensational match with Orange Turkish Delight. The most unusual pairing was with Lourensford’s Honey Liqueur. The bottle had been frozen, a technique that balances the sweetness of the liqueur, which is not fermented but is made from honey, spring water and added alcohol bringing it up to 24%. Lourensford produces its own honey and pairs this liqueur expertly with Ginger Turkish Delight. Stellenbosch is a beautiful region with some excellent wines, attractive cellar doors and very good cafés and restaurants. However, if you are looking for something different there can be nothing more lekker than these fascinating wine pairings.

if you go • Wine Route • Stellenbosch Experience

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The Spectacle of Burgundy’s 16th Century Église Saint-Florentin Story and photography by Tonya Jennings

L’Église Saint Florentin towers over the town.

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n the 2016 French barging season, Michael and I barged on our Betty B from Auxerre into Migennes and along the Canal de Bourgogne, accompanied by our barge partners, John and Margaret. This canal is a beautiful stretch of waterway with some lovely, historic and fascinating

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towns. You might remember that there were floods in northern France in May 2016, so our barging proved to be challenging, dealing with canal and river closures, as well as éclusier (lock keeper) strikes! Along the route, I fell in love with one town, Saint Florentin and its fabulous Église Saint Florentin.

We visited it twice, and the second time was just as special as the first. The township of Saint Florentin overlooks the junction of the Canal de Bourgogne and the Armançon river. From some distance away as you barge toward it, you can see a huge church on top of a hill, as is the norm in France.


We moored on the right bank opposite the marina since the marina mooring was in disrepair. The large, imposing church, which we assumed was a cathedral, towered above us. At night, it’s floodlit and looks glorious bathed in lights. It rained during the night again, and another grey day

dawned. After breakfast, we set off to walk into the Centre Ville of Saint Florentin to find the Sunday market. On the way, the rain started again, lessening the joy of our walk up the hill. We popped into the Office de Tourisme to inquire about the church and were told we needed to collect the key from the office

prior to our visit. We walked past the two antique shops called brocantes and took a look inside, as I’m always on the lookout for antique French asparagus plates. But no luck. It was then on to shop at the marché couvert, a covered market, which we found next to the elaborate, ubiquitous war memorial with its flags and flowers

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saluting the war dead from WWI and WWII. It’s always sad to see how many young French lives were lost in these tragic wars. The covered market was a large hall, but the day we visited, there were only a few stall holders. This was possibly owing to the bad weather, but also possibly due to our late arrival around 11:00 a.m. One stall was devoted to the local cheese, Soumaintrain, made by the cheese-maker at the Ferme Leclere. She told us that this cheese is made in the Yonne Region, called Le Soumaintrain terroir d’Armançe, after the local river. I was told the Ferme Leclere farm has been making cheese from their Montbéliarde cows since 1984, and the cheese is with the affineur (cheese maker) for maturing for 21 months. It’s a pale yellow to orange color, has a strong smell and soft, fine, creamy texture. It tastes of hazelnuts, champignons and the undergrowth. We were thrilled to find this artisanal cheese and buy it for our guests arriving in a week’s time. Since 2008, this farm has also made Le Chaource AOP, another great local cheese and a favorite of ours. At another stall, the white asparagus looked lovely, so we bought some for dinner. We added some bright red strawberries to the collection, along with a freshly roasted chicken from the rotisserie man, which completed our lunch with the fresh baguettes. Michael and John were on bikes, so they headed back to the barge, while Margaret and I stayed on to explore the town under our umbrellas. We stopped by the Office de Tourisme again to get the

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Église Saint Florentin’s beautiful statuary and glorious vaulted ceilings

large key to the church and made our way up the hill. For me, our visit to the Église Saint Florentin was a true highlight of the trip. It looked huge from a distance and was also dramatically imposing up close. Sitting on top of the hill, it dominates the heart of the town, and the century-old gargoyles look down fiercely from high above you. Although called a “parish” church, its dimensions are so large and impressive it made me wonder if it could have been an unfinished cathedral. As I discovered, it actually was never completed, as the nave was never built. Inside this gorgeous old church is a 17th century organ, beautiful statuary, glorious vaulted ceilings and the most spectacular, breathtakingly beautiful stained glass windows. These totally captivated me. Sadly, my photos do not do them justice. These 16th century stained glass windows were made by makers from the famous French “School of Troyes.” There are 16

in total, and they’re among few remaining sets in existence. Each window tells a story. One is the story of Florentin, a noble knight, who was martyred in the 5th century by a leader of vandals. In 833 AD, his relics were brought to the town by two countesses, and from that time on, the town has been known as Saint Florentin. To add to my excitement, there were scallop shells decorating the entrance to the church. Scallop shells on a cathedral, church or abbey indicate a pilgrims’ shrine and part of the pilgrims’ Camino de Santiago de Compostella. Is it possible that this church was part of the pilgrims’ Camino? I wanted to think so. It was a lovely experience to visit this town and its wondrous “local parish church” full of so much history; I was thoroughly enchanted. Some days later, on our return to Migennes, we had guests on board, so I insisted we go back to Saint Florentin in time to


collect the key from the Office de Tourisme for another visit to the church. We lingered as long as possible to take in the pleasure and joy of the moment. For the first time in my life, I decided to buy a candle. We found some matches and lit it. We then said a little prayer for the Betty B, for her to be safe and well with good mechanics and for all who barge on her to be safe, happy and healthy. It was a beautiful, thin, tapered candle, and we hoped our prayers were heard. The candles were either one Euro for the small size or two Euros for the large.

Although my candle was small, I left two Euros. We returned the key and popped into the boulangerie (bakery) to buy some gâteaux (cake) for dessert and a couple of baguettes for breakfast the next day. Then, at the Êpicerie (grocery store), we bought some fruit for breakfast and tomatoes for lunch. Walking down the main street, which we didn’t do the last time due to the rain, we realized just how pretty Saint Florentin is with the houses made in a Burgundian style of wooden beams and colored walls, similar to those

Local cheese, Soumaintrain, made by cheese-maker Ferme Leclere

in Strasbourg. We passed by the circular tower that used to form part of the town wall and had been an essential part of the security of the town. Then, we headed back to the barge for dinner preparation, showers and our Champagne aperitif. Dinner was slow braised pork with prune and apple sauce, ratatouille and creamy mashed potatoes. What a great life it is barging on the canals in France.


Discovering Philadelphia’s History through Flavors Story and photography by Kurt Jacobson


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hiladelphia is one of the most historic cities in America. Most first time visitors go to the usual sites like Independence Hall and stand in line for half an hour or more to see the Liberty Bell, before walking through Independence Park and Reading Terminal Market. Maybe they visit Valley Forge National Park. However, a walking tour is one of the best ways to experience this city. I had been there five times previously, visiting the regular attractions and walking the city. This time, I wanted to go deep into Philly’s history and find some new food hot spots.

Home base My base at the Windsor Suites Hotel put me right near Philadelphia’s epicenter and its major sites – City Hall, Drexel College’s Academy of Natural Sciences, The Franklin Institute, The Barnes Foundation, Chestnut Street, Market Street and more attractions. However, the plan to get to know Philly better was to pass on these usual attractions and head into the neighborhoods. When William Penn laid out the city plan for Philadelphia, he was one of the first to use the grid pattern now common in North America. The grid design makes Philly easy to walk and find addresses. My wife joined me the next day, and we took the City Food Tours “Flavors of Philly” option. This 2-1/2 hour tour took us in and around Philly’s core. Our plan was to try the famous tomato pie, soft pretzels, cheesesteak, cookies,

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and donuts before ending up at Reading Terminal Market. We met our guide Judy, a fourth generation Philly native, and lined up for the briefing along with 11 other ready and hungry souls. Our first stop was Joe’s Pizza for tomato pie, which is somewhat like pizza, except this pie has no cheese; it’s just dough and sauce. The owner – Zio Toto – had left Sicily after an earthquake destroyed his farm where he grew San Marzano tomatoes. Zio packed up his family and moved to the U.S. instead of rebuilding in the shadow of the destructive Mt. Etna and the earthquakes it spawns. Joe’s Pizza is where we found Mr. Toto’s son, Ernesto, carrying on the tradition. Even though he is around 90 years old, he still comes in every day and makes this delicious red sauce from San Marzano tomatoes. Our group went upstairs to hear the story of the disputed origins of the tomato pie. Some say Trenton, New Jersey or Utica, New York are the home of the saucy red pie. Who cares? I just wanted to taste this regional treat and hear the story. Upstairs we saw a gorgeous wall-to-wall mural of the owner’s home in Sicily showing the fertile green landscape and the menacing volcano that ushered his family to Pennsylvania. Our pie arrived and we devoured it. All agreed it was a great tasting, low-calorie version of pizza. On our way downstairs, I noticed Mr. Toto and asked if I could take his photo before leaving. I told him how good the

pie was, even though he doesn’t speak much English, and thanked him. We then sped off to join the group on the way to the Philly Pretzel Factory. Here we learned that Pennsylvania makes 80 percent of the pretzels in the U.S. We were given a hot pretzel each and led to the mustard station. There was


View from Windsor Suites Hotel

regular “ballpark” mustard, spicy brown, and very hot mustard to paint on our pretzels. I passed on the boring ballpark mustard and tried the very hot variety plus a bit of the spicy brown just for good measure. While the pretzels were tasty, I thought they needed a beer to make the most of the experience.

Into the bank Our next stop was for gawking, not eating, as we were allowed inside Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse. Built in 1922 as the First Pennsylvania Bank, the building features soaring columns, a stunning ceiling, a 34-foot tall wine tower complete with spiral staircase and

a dining room downstairs in a massive bank vault. Because we were on the food tour, we were given a grand tour of Del Frisco’s an hour before it opened to the public. Judy pointed out the bank vault’s special wine cellar and said, “See that case of Screaming Eagle wine? That is the wine

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Ernesto Toto of Joe’s Pizza

the Philadelphia Eagles tell new recruits they need to buy for the table at the team’s dinner. Each player gets a glass of the special wine. They don’t tell the new recruits the price tag is $5,500 per bottle!” Del Frisco’s is an expensive place to eat but we found out about “happy” hour on Sunday from 5-11 p.m. when food and drink prices are a bargain. In terms of regional food, Philadelphia is probably most famous for the cheesesteak. Our tour included this meaty, hot

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sandwich at Pandora’s Lunchbox on 1221 Walnut Street. Judy said, “This is where the locals go for a cheesesteak sandwich, not Pat’s King of Steaks or Geno’s Steaks.” Being a professional cook, I have made and eaten my fair share of Philly cheesesteak sandwiches. The cheesesteak at Pandora’s was excellent. The meat was cooked and seasoned just right, and the bun was a chewy, slightly crusty vehicle for launching the sub into my mouth. It was a full-sized cheesesteak, and few us were able to finish the beefy treat.

Learning on the way Between each stop, we learned tidbits about Philadelphia including how the murals throughout the city are the result of a successful anti-graffiti law. We learned how the mid-town village area used to be unsafe until the owner of Jamonera bought up five properties in the neighborhood with a vision of turning it around. We also learned that Insomnia Cookies was started by a college student at the University of Pennsylvania.


Philly cheese steak at Pandora’s

Joe’s Pizza

As we gazed upon the magnificent center piece of downtown Philadelphia, City Hall, we learned it took thirty years to build, with construction finished in 1901, and was almost torn town in the 1950s. This historic building might have been demolished and hauled off. What saved it was that the expense of tearing it down and removing it proved too great. This bought City Hall more time until clearer thinking saved and restored it. We also learned about the 37-foot tall statue of William Penn (Billy) at the top of the building


and the “gentlemen’s agreement” that no building should be taller than Billy. When the skyscraper One Liberty Place exceeded the height of Billy’s head in 1987, a drought of championships for local sports teams had lasted for twenty-one years. When a small statue of Billy was put atop the soaring Comcast Center in 2007, the Philadelphia Phillies magically won the 2008 World Series 24 months later! Apparently, Billy approved of being on top of his beloved city again. The last stop on our foodie tour took us to the Reading Terminal Market for sweet treats. Fourth Street Cookies and Beiler’s would be our final stops. Judy told us about the waiting line for Beiler’s Donuts, but seeing was believing. The line stretched for over 60 feet and threatened to nearly wrap around to where the front of the line and back of the line would meet! These hand-rolled donuts looked and tasted good, but I couldn’t understand the crazy long line to get them. On Sunday, my wife and I finished up our visit with brunch at Talula’s Garden in Washington Square. Talula’s Garden is one of the finest garden-themed restaurants anywhere. The farmto-table fare is great and the vibe is chill. It was a perfect ending to eating up the best of Philly. As we drove historic Front Street towards I-95 for the trip home, we both agreed this had been the best trip to Philadelphia yet. A walking tour, whether food-based or historical, puts you deeper into the city. This made

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Fourth Street cookies

for a richer enjoyment of the City of Brotherly Love. If you take the Flavors of Philly Tour, you’ll learn about this great city and might even go home with a bag of donuts and cookies too.

if you go • City Food Tours • Windsor Suites Hotel Thanks to Visit Philadelphia for hosting me and showing the best of the city.


Montes Apalta Estate

ViĂąa Montes and Kaiken

A Passion for Wine Spanning the Andes by Cori Solomon

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© Montes

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hey say “like father like son” but in the case of the Montes, they stand for different sides of the Andes. Aurelio Montes, Sr. represents Chile and Viña Montes. Aurelio Montes, Jr. exemplifies Argentina and Kaiken. Although they are different countries and wineries, they have a lot in common, especially their passion for wine.

An exuberant passion for both wine and winemaking are two important components for producing an outstanding wine. This is true for both Aurelio Sr. and Aurelio Jr. I met Aurelio Montes, Jr., winemaker for Kaiken, a few years ago. When you’re in his company, his enthusiasm for his craft is quite apparent. You immediately sense his fervor for wine, the terroir and the entire

winemaking process. This is also true of his father, which I sensed at a father-son tasting recently. For Aurelio Jr., his love of wine started at a young age. His father made sure of this by dragging his son around the world with him as he was expanding his winery’s reach. Aurelio Jr. also worked in the vineyards starting at a young age. At the time, Aurelio Montes, Sr. discovered the viticulture and

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terroir of the region east of the Andes – Mendoza, Argentina. As a result, he was moved to expand his winemaking prowess. He achieved this by having a hand in creating wines in a country very close to his native Chile, yet very different in the styles of winemaking. Hence, Kaiken was established in 2002. Kaiken’s name represents the wild geese, caiquenes, that cross the Andes between Chile and Argentina during migration season. The name of the winery not only symbolizes this wild goose but also the Montes team that crossed the Andes to create the marvelous wines that embody the Kaiken label. The Caiquen is also a very social bird and thereby suggests

the social aspects that bring people together over a bottle of wine and food. It also represents the social responsibilities the winemakers feel they have in both Chile and Argentina.

A Passion for Wine Through Sustainability The Aurelios are very civic minded and the community plays an important role in both wineries. Sustainability is important in every aspect of the vineyard. For Viña Montes and Kaiken, this means protecting the environment and biodiversity, as well as attention to operations management and social responsibility. In other words, it is the mission of both wineries to

Aurelio Montes Jr. and Aurelio Montes Sr.

“respect the environment, embrace sustainable practices, work in harmony with the local community and create value for both the shareholders and employees.” At Viña Montes, the Angels program speaks out in the wines, winery community, and the local surroundings. Aurelio Sr. does this through a learning project he finances that includes complimentary health and life insurance for his employees and their families. As he puts it, “Happy people means happy wines.” The angel is their symbol and also the guardian of the Viña Montes winery. Some of his wines are dedicated to this program, including the Purple Angel and Sparkling Angel. Another unique aspect of Viña Montes is music. You can always hear it resounding in the barrel room and the vineyards. Often, Gregorian chants echo throughout the winery. Perhaps to further the importance of a sustainable approach to winemaking, Aurelio Sr. hired a Feng Shui architect to design and construct the winery building in 1990 and ensure that its environment is attuned to the wines. Even the water flows through the winery in a certain way.

A Passion for Wine Through Biodynamics At Kaiken, the philosophy is different from most wineries in Argentina because its vineyard viticulture is biodynamic. Kaiken also utilizes organic principles and sustainable practices. As

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© Kaiken

Cori Solomon


Kaiken Vistalba Vineyard with geese


Montes Sparkling Angel

Aurelio describes it, “We are coming back to our roots. It is the way my grandparents worked in the vineyard.” The winery’s philosophy and use of biodynamics are to give to the soil. At the same time, Kaiken is receiving the bounties its grapes have to offer. They are establishing natural ecosystems. In addition to the grapes, Kaiken grows their fruits and vegetables and raises chickens, sheep, geese and horses, which are all part of the program. Aurelio has found that since introducing sustainability practices, the vineyard has become healthier, and the quality of the grapes is better. Not only are the people who work at Kaiken happy, they’re excited about the work

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Cori Solomon

Montes Purple Angel

they are doing to make this winery a sustainable community. The Caiquen also symbolizes Aurelio Jr.’s cosmopolitan interpretations of his wines. He loves cooking and combining various spices to enhance the cuisine. His concept for producing quality wines follows this same pattern – blending different areas and flavors together from good grapes, thereby creating unique, wonderful wines.

Highlights of the Wine Tasting A tasting in Los Angeles at District by Hannah An brought this father and son team together to showcase both the wineries and their passion for wines. It was an opportunity to compare Chilean

Cori Solomon

wine to Argentinean wine and see the differences between the countries via terroir and climate. The Sparkling Angel, a blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, was the perfect aperitif with its soft, well-balanced, citrusy demeanor. Montes Alpha Chardonnay appeared to be more rounded and buttery, while the Kaiken Ultra Chardonnay was more acidic and crisp.

Chilean and Argentine Red Wines The Cabernet Sauvignon from Montes Alpha was fuller bodied and rich, whereas the Kaiken Argentinean counterpart Ultra was fresher and softer in the tannins. Comparing Malbecs, the Montes Alpha from Chile was


leaner, rounder and fruitier, while the Kaiken Ultra was more restrained, yet vibrant and spicier. The Montes Alpha M is the winery’s tribute to Bordeaux’s left bank. It’s big, well-balanced, and earthy. Kaiken pays tribute to Argentinean Malbec with Mai. The word Mai means “first,” and it represents Kaiken’s first iconic wine. The grapes come from a 125-year-old vineyard in Vistabla. The grapes are hand selected berry by berry, and the wine is silky and velvety with ripe fruits. Mai is the ultimate statement of what Kaiken and Argentinean wines are about. For Viña Montes, the wine that is classified above all others is the Taita Cabernet Sauvignon. Taita means “father” or “grandfather” and represents the wisdom one gains over the years. In this case, it signifies the best of his Chilean wine. It also symbolizes the wisdom that

Kaiken Agrelo Vineyard

Aurelio Sr. has given to his son, Aurelio Jr. It’s this knowledge that intensifies their relationship. The contrasts might seem like the relationship is one of father versus son, Chile versus Argentina, rather than like father like son. After meeting the two, it’s quite obvious this is not the case. The love and passion that the two Aurelios have for each other and for wine make them a team. Their wines show their quest to make the very best of what Chile and Argentina have to offer.

if you go • In Santa Cruz, Chile, visit Viña Montes. • In Mendoza, Argentina, visit Kaiken. Montes Taita

Cori Solomon

The writer was hosted at a wine tasting for Montes and Kaiken.

© Kaiken


Capital K Distillery

From Grain to Bottle in Winnipeg by Francesca Mazurkiewicz

Capital K Distillery tasting room

Š Capital K Distillery


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apital K Distillery in Winnipeg is Manitoba’s first grain-tobottle craft distillery. Founded and owned by Jason Kang, Capital K is also Manitoba’s first family-owned and operated micro distillery. With such distinction comes tremendous pressure for Kang to deliver exceptional products – but deliver he does. Capital K Distillery has a short but interesting history. It started in 2015 when Kang secured a space in a Winnipeg industrial park. He began distilling the following year, with his Tall Grass Vodka hitting the shelves in fall of 2016 and Tall Grass Gin in January 2017. Kang single-handedly manages all stages of production, from the sourcing of only local grains and fruits, to bottling, corking, and applying Tall Grass labels by hand. Capital K Distillery truly is a hands-on, one-man operation. Judging by Kang’s dedication to the craft and his attention to detail, one might assume he has been involved in distilling for quite some time. Wrong. His previous careers include commercial diver, convenience store clerk, and engineering student, among others. His background in homebrewing is what started him on the road to distilling, and eventually to opening up Capital K. That road hasn’t been easy, though. When it comes to beer and liquor, Manitoba is the most controlled province in Canada (even more so than any U.S. state). In January 2016, the government of Manitoba

Jason Kang explaining the importance of quality grains for his Tall Grass beverages.

introduced Supporting Manitoba Craft Brewing Strategy, a $5 million economic incentive loan program intended to develop and stimulate the production of craft beer and spirits in the province. Kang had been relying on the $250,000 low-interest loan to get Capital K up and running. But in December of 2016, the newly elected Progressive Conservative government reviewed, and then eventually canceled, the Supporting Manitoba Craft Brewing Strategy. It left Kang, and many other Manitoba craft brewers and distillers, mired in uncertainty. While such a setback may have caused others to call it quits, Kang pressed on. His perseverance has paid off and the proof is in the pudding – or, in this case, the bottles. As of press time, Capital K Distillery is producing its two flagship spirits,

Francesca Mazurkiewicz

Tall Grass Vodka and Tall Grass Gin. Both are made of 100% non-GMO, Manitoba grains, and Kang feels strongly about extracting and finding all the necessary flavor from only the grains. While there are plans to begin making diffused vodkas using only natural ingredients, Kang vows to not create any type of “flavored” vodka that would require added sugars or artificial ingredients. Tall Grass Vodka is luxuriously smooth with a flavor profile similar to whiskey but without the barrel flavor. This is a direct result of the 95% wheat and 5% rye recipe being filtered through a 20-plate still, thereby purifying the spirit 20 times, which is far beyond the industry standard. In addition to the increased purification, the custom distilling process moves much more slowly. According to

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Francesca Mazurkiewicz

Fermenting tanks at Capital K Distillery

Kang, the slower process stretches the liquid, which allows him to extract the methanol, or “bad alcohol”, as he describes it. The finished product is 40% alcohol and, due to the low methanol levels, Kang claims it does not result in hangovers. How’s that for a selling point? Tall Grass Gin is produced using the same custom-engineered purification process and 20-plate distilling column as the vodka. In fact, the gin is made from the vodka. After the spirit has been

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diluted to 50%, Kang adds a proprietary 10-ingredient botanical component. It soaks for 24 hours, is distilled one last time, diluted to 45% alcohol, and then bottled by hand. The finished product is wonderfully soft and aromatic. With hints of the requisite juniper, along with other flavors like orange peel and cardamom, the exquisite quality of Tall Grass Gin makes it appealing to casual gin cocktail enthusiasts as well as gin aficionados.

if you go • Capital K Distillery welcomes tours and tastings at any time, though advance reservations for groups of six or more are recommended. The unassuming space, in an industrial area of Winnipeg, could be easily missed and it is not at all representative of the bold and extraordinary products crafted within. Be sure to take part in a distillery tour by Kang himself and witness his genuine passion for his craft.


Last Shot Mary Chong

The man-made saltwater lagoon at Hawks Cay Resort, Duck Key, Florida is fed by the ocean — where the water rises and recedes with the tide. It’s the perfect change of scenery for spending the day away from the pool.

fwt food wine travel

Profile for FWT Magazine

FWT Magazine: food wine travel - Summer 2017  

In this issue, our writers cross that bridge into storytelling as they take us on their adventures around the world and recount the sights,...

FWT Magazine: food wine travel - Summer 2017  

In this issue, our writers cross that bridge into storytelling as they take us on their adventures around the world and recount the sights,...

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