Bold Magazine Summer 2014

Page 1








CAVIAR DREAMS The Best of the Good Life

SPAIN Eat Like a Local









® / TM Trademark(s) of Royal Bank of Canada. RBC and Royal Bank are registered trademarks of Royal Bank of Canada. ‡ All other trademarks are the property of their respective owner(s). ≈ Current as of April 1, 2014. Rewards points, for a maximum ticket price of $350. To receive the 15,000 bonus RBC Rewards points which will appear on your first statement, your application form must be received by November 30, 2014 and approved by us. this offer. Other conditions apply. For complete terms, conditions and restrictions that apply to the RBC Rewards program, visit: or call 1-800-769-2512.

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SECRET EUROPE Yes, it still exists.




DAVID ROCCO - THE REAL DEAL by Alexandria Maiato With a name now synonymous with “la dolce vita,” David Rocco has built a career capturing the sweet, simple Italian way of life and serving it on an ungarnished platter to millions of viewers with his internationally syndicated hit television series, David Rocco’s Dolce Vita.



INSIDER’S GUIDE TO LISBON, BRAVE OLD WORLD by Nelson Carvalheiro “Lisbon: the light, the life, the neighbourhoods, the people. The history, the river, the land, the sea. Here we live, here we grow. Here we inspire ourselves, here we walk. The cuisine is our Fado, our way of expression.” Chef José Avillez



APPETITE FOR CASTILLA Y LEÓN In search of age-old-culinary traditions, David Sendra Domènech travels to the heart of Spain’s food and wine region, where he discovers suckling pigs, charming paradores, wineries, and a plate after plate of prized jamón ibérico.



THE HEART OF OLD EUROPE Globe Trotter, Rose Doyle, travels through Prague, Vienna and Budapest, with many stops along the way for rich food and other worldly delicacies highlighting the architecture, design and eccentricities of these wildly different landscapes.

Project2_Layout 1 12/02/2014 14:25 Page 1

STYLE AND SUBSTANCE AT METROPOLITAN BY COMO, LONDON Overlooking Hyde Park, The Metropolitan, with its sleek, urban aesthetic sets an innovative benchmark. Ground-breaking Nobu restaurant features Japanese-Peruvian, Michelin-starred cuisine, while the recently renovated Met Bar is a cult classic. Experience the Metropolitan and experience London.







Nod Off Like Nobility and Indulge your fantasies of living like a royal Venetian style at Il Palazzo Bahuer Hotel, a refurbished 18th century palace with a stunning Gothic Façade.

When the night falls and Budapest’s parliament is illuminated, its soaring dome and neo-gothic towers take on a dazzling gold radiance that won’t soon fade from your mind’s eye.




This must-have travel gears will take you from the flight to fine dining in Style.





globe trotter

Sultry late summer days, soft breezes and warm nights mean a new set of fragrances to pair with adventures.

publisher’s note


However you choose to savour your caviar, we insist it’s best enjoyed plain, without adulteration or garnish, so the delicate grains can melt in your mouth.




Roger Gingerich, the Most influential man in fashion you will never meet.

bold digital And our top apps for smarter globe-trotting. by Suhana Solatro.

SHORT TRIPS TO THE U.S. WHY YOU NEED TRAVEL INSURANCE FOR THOSE WEEKEND VACATIONS Most people think about getting travel insurance for a vacation to Europe or the Caribbean; but when it comes to weekend trips to the United States, many people don’t even consider insurance. For travellers who need emergency medical assistance during their trip, this can be a costly oversight. In fact, a 14-day U.S. hospital stay for trauma associated with a motor vehicle accident could cost around US$363,000. “Whether you’re planning a weekend trip across the border to shop or attend a sports event, emergencies can happen — even on a short trip,” says Isabelle Forget, Head of travel, RBC Insurance. “The cost of medical services in the United States can be very high, and Canadian government health insurance plans typically only cover a small part of these costs.” “Purchasing comprehensive travel insurance, whether it’s through a premium credit card such as the RBC Infinite Avion card or a separate insurance package, will help give you the peace of mind you need while travelling,” explains Isabelle. RBC’s emergency medical insurance coverage comes with a variety of value added services, including: •

One of the largest and most experienced 24/7 global emergency travel assistance networks in the world; •

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Access to an emergency medical team of specially-trained, multilingual co-ordinators, doctors and nurses who are available to help clients who become injured or sick while travelling;

RBC Infinite Avion cardholders also have the ability to add-on to the trip cancellation and interruption insurance coverage included on their credit card which can also be purchased separately. Trip cancellation and interruption covers your non-refundable travel arrangements when you have to cancel your trip, come home early, or stay later at your destination. “As Canada’s largest travel insurance provider and a leading supplier of travel and emergency assistance, RBC Insurance is well equipped to assist travellers — no matter where they are,” adds Isabelle. For more information, visit

‰ / tm Trademark(s) of Royal Bank of Canada. Use under licence.


I’m in Venice for a travel event as I write this letter, having arrived here earlier today from a short gastronomic excursion in Riviera Nayarit. In addition to enjoying a delicious faraona al vino rosso con tartufi - guinea-hen with mushrooms - I went on a couple of interesting walks to get reacquainted with the city. On my first visit to Venice, I was fresh out of university, a backpacker moving from hostel to hostel. This time, however, I checked into the Il Palazzo Bauer Hotel, a refurbished 18th century palace with a stunning Gothic façade. As I glanced out the window onto the majestic Grand Canal, I could feel my pulse easing into the rhythms of La Dolce Vita.

This short Italian interlude got me

most importantly to give travel a new meaning.

thinking about how long a visit to an

W call it travelling with a purpose, which can We

interesting destination needs to be before it

lead to a personal journey, a transformation

can be called a “rediscovery”. It occurred to me

of some sort, whether radical or incremental

that while all of us at BOLD Magazine are in

leaving us with valuable life lessons. Such is

the business of inspiring people to travel to the

the case with our cover personality, Bold Icon

farthest reaches of the planet, sometimes we

David Rocco (“David Rocco, The Real Deal”

just need to come back to a place that left us

page 28 by Alexandria Maiato).

with indelible memories.

“Secret Europe: Y Yes, it stills exists”

On my itinerary for next month is a brief

stop in Estelí, Nicaragua, the country where

is the theme of this issue. Through the lens

I was born, and then a trip to one of the

of photographer Tishan Baldeo, contributor

most socially innovative cities in the world:

Rose Doyle, and our partner, Insight

Medellín, Colombia.

V Vacations, we’re treated to an intimate look

If you follow me on twitter, you may

at three different landscapes: Prague, Vienna

find a picture or two, but no more than that.

and Budapest (“The Heart of Old Europe”,

I have learned that although we can capture

page 50).

everything with our digital devices, sometimes

In search of age-old-culinary traditions,


contributor David Sendra Domènech travels

it’s necessary to turn them off and live in the moment.

to the heart of Spain’s food and wine region

“ “Appetite for Castilla y León” (page 42). Then there’s this issue’s Insiders Guide to “Lisbon: Brave Old World” (page 36) by Nelson


Marlon Moreno

Publisher + Founder

Carvalheiro, which presents a road map for an entertaining sojourn in Portugal’s capital.


The guiding principle of our publication

is to make travel accessible, irresistible, and

Unspoiled. Uncommon. Unforgettable. Nicaragua offers memorable experiences for every traveller: beaches on both the Pacific Coast and Caribbean Sea, eco-luxury resorts, fascinating colonial cities, volcanoes, islands, rain forests and much more. There are many adventures to be had in Nicaragua. With convenient flights from Canada on Avianca and Copa Airlines connecting to Managua, Nicaragua offers travellers a wide variety of unique and authentic travel experiences – creating an unforgettable getaway.

Discover your new Central American destination at



MARLON MORENO publisher + founder GUSTAVO REID evp, co-founder

ANTONIO PENDONES creative director, co-founder



From David Rocco, I learned that he’s as charming and down-to-earth as I imagined he would be! But more so, that being genuine and true to yourself will get you exactly where you need to be in your life. Next personality I’d love to Interview: Jeanne Beker. I grew up watching FashionTelevision and I admire her for how she’s evolved throughout her career and the fact that she’s taken on so many roles apart from being a television personality.



From Roger Gingerich, I learned the value of making connections with people wherever you go. Favourite #Wishtobehere moment: Looking out across the Swiss Alps from the top of Zermatt, Switzerland.

SUHANA SOLASTRO Writer and App Lover — Based in Toronto, Canada BOLD DIGITAL + MUST HAVE APPS Pg. 16

My favourite apps for travelling is Kayak and Google Maps. Where do you travel to disconnect from technology? Any places where the Wi-Fi is spotty is good enough reason for me to disconnect and enjoy my travels. Modern Technology when travelling is my cell phone and Canon G12.

NELSON CARVALHEIRO Writer — Based in Berlin, Germany Lisbon, BRAVE NEW WORLD Pg. 36

The Magic of Lisbon lies in its cinematographic light. The street grilled seafood, the young artists, the old town, the gardens, the fado singers… It seems as if you are living in an everlasting vintage film. In the News: After a six week food tour in Portugal, a new book project titled “The Portuguese Travel Cookbook” is on the works; showcasing the food, the people behind the local specialty restaurants and the destination, a truly photographic trip! Food you couldn’t live without? Portuguese Seafood Rice!

For Advertising, Promotion, Reprints and Sponsorships inquiries Phone: + 1 647 780 8082


Lea Int aro col


Rose Doyle, a writer and journalist based in Dublin, Ireland, is the author of many books, including nineteen novels. Others include Trade Names, a collection of her long-running series in The Irish Times, and Heroes of Jadotville, the Soldiers’ Story, an exposé of how Irish peacekeeping soldiers in the Congo of 1961 became pawns in an international affair for control of Katanga and its vast mineral wealth. She is at work on her twentieth novel.

Photo by Tishan Baldeo David Rocco wears Calvin Klein by Moores Jacket by ISAIA Shirt by Eton of Sweden



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From locating Wi-Fi signals to deciphering a foreign-language food menu, SUHANA SOLASTRO takes a look at the best apps that anticipate all your on-the-road needs.




Word Lens gives you the capability to

It’s great to take

Think of Kayak as



translate words instantly. All you have to

a break from the

your own personal

Getting lost in

Ever wonder where

do is focus your camera’s phone over the

Internet during

assistant. Book your

a new city is

the locals go for

menu or sign and Word Lens automatically

your travels, but

perfect flight, hotel

inevitable. You

dinner or where

translates it right before your eyes.

when faced with an

room and rental car

can break out that

their favourite

The best part? Internet connection is

emergency email or

without navigating

huge map from

bookstores are?

not required. The app can translate

that 1 a.m. longing

through tons of

your pocket or

Spotted by Locals

from Spanish, French, Italian, German,

for Facebook, a

websites. The app

ask a passerby for

locates the best

Portuguese and Russian into English and

strong Wi-Fi signal

also manages

directions but both

spots based on

vice versa. Runs on iOS and Android.

is a welcome luxury.

your itinerary and

are surefire ways to



Use Wi-Fi Finder

provides currency

broadcast yourself

from locally based

for directions to

conversion. Kayak

as a tourist, a poor

writers. The spots

the nearest free

is constantly adding

move when you’re

are often devoid of

or paid wireless

more features so

in shady places.

inflated prices or

connections around

who knows, maybe

Enter City Maps

the stifling crowds

you. Best of all, the

you never have

2Go. With just a

that are inevitable

offline mode means

to pick up your

touch of your finger,

at touristy sites.

you can download

pen and paper

you have access

Serving 56 cities in

maps before you

again. Runs on

to detailed offline

Europe and North

go, thereby dodging

iOS, Android and

maps, local tips

America, the app

massive data

Windows Phone.

from experts, and

is free to download

roaming charges.


millions of points

with city guides at

Runs on iOS and

of interest. The

$3.99 EACH. Runs

Android. FREE.

app runs on iOS

on iOS and Android.

($2.99) and Android ($2.29).


Indulge your fantasies of living like a royalVenetian-style at Il Palazzo Bauer Hotel, a refurbished 18th century palace with a stunning Gothic façade. A glance out the window reveals the majestic Grand Canal, while the Piazza San Marco – the heart and soul of Venice – lies just beyond. Il Palazzo will escort you back in time with its exquisite blend of contemporary comforts and old-styleVenetian luxury, including unique touches like Murano glass chandeliers. Owner Francesca Bortolotto Possati is the third generation of her family to operate the hotel. In 1997, she brought her modern interior design expertise to an ambitious renovation that combined perfectly restored antique artwork with the work of local artisans. The result? An authentically opulent slice of 18th century paradise. The hotel’s exceptional spa, as well as a host of culinary offerings, await you. Start your day in style with breakfast at the highest outdoor terrace inVenice, or watch the Grand Canal go by as you enjoy a gourmet dinner at De Pisis.




“When night falls and the parliament is illuminated, its soaring dome and neo-gothic towers take on a dazzling gold radiance that won’t soon fade from your mind’s eye.”



s darkness descends on Budapest, the city’s shimmering lights come alive, dancing across the Danube River. A cruise down the Danube is the perfect way to take in this gem of a city’s breathtaking architecture, including the stately 19th century parliament building.

Designed by Hungarian architect Imre Steindl, the structure was inspired in part by the Palace of Westminster and was inaugurated in 1896 to celebrate the country’s 1000th anniversary. With its 268-metre long façade, you won’t have eyes for anything else; an impressive 40 kg of gold and 500 000 precious stones went into the construction of its 691 rooms and 20 km of corridors. The building keeps watch over Budapest from a height of 96 metres - the tallest in the city, along with St. Stephen’s Basilica. When night falls and the parliament is illuminated, its soaring dome and neo-gothic towers take on a dazzling gold radiance that won’t soon fade from your mind’s eye. Another option for catching river views is the famous Chain Bridge over the Danube. Guarded by stone lions at either end, the suspension bridge was the first permanent link between Buda and Pest, the two sides of the city. Either way, after a night in Budapest, you won’t be able to help falling under the city’s spell.





This must-have gear will take you from the flight to fine dining in




Whether it’s a business trip or a spontaneous two-day getaway, it can be tough not to overpack for a weekend away. Fossil’s Estate Large Duffle ($438) and Flat Iron Duffle ($388) are the perfect size for a weekend road trip or carry-on flight, and feature soft-yet-sturdy leather construction and top handles.


Move over, argan oil

Everyone knows avocados are good for you. Now you can harness those antioxidants and healing powers and treat your hair and skin to a moisturizing massage, and we can’t get enough of it. LOVACADO oil contains natural steroids that help combat the effects of aging, plus a host of vitamins (A, B1, B2, B5, D, and E). All that in one multipurpose serum that’s perfect for fighting off in-flight dryness or treating yourself to a personal spa day. ($19.99 for 80mL)


Quality Time

Fossil’s classic Grant Chronograph has stood the test of time. This season, it’s getting a facelift with two new looks: one sporting a stainless steel band and a bold blue dial, and one with an elegant silver dial on a leather band. The black Machine Chrono makes a statement with its monochromatic ion-plated steel design, but won’t make you look like you’re trying too hard.


The gadget guard.

Rimowa’s trademark durability and groove design have been reincarnated in a sleek new business and accessories collection. European calfskin and an exceptional processing technique make these stylish leather pieces as silky smooth as they are tough. When the millionth airport employee asks to see your passport, flash it in style in Rimowa’s elegant passport holder ($125), available in either soft or hard leather. The iPad case ($350) has an interior open frame and allround zip, plus an ingenious sliding mechanism to adjust your screen angle.


The Jacqueline’s double-wrap leather strap elevates it from a mere timepiece to arm candy, the perfect match for an armful of bracelets. Delicate tort detailing sets off the Georgia’s shiny stainless steel and makes it fashionably up-to-the-minute. Not only does the rose gold Stella tell you what day of the week it is when you need it (and who hasn’t had one of those days?), its rosy brushed metal finish is the perfect counterpoint to its menswear-inspired design.




ynonymous with good taste and luxury, caviar has long been appreciated as one of the finer things in life. Royalty all over the

world, from Russian tsars to British monarchs, have enjoyed the delicacy for centuries.

Traditionally, only the roe of beluga, osetra and sevruga

sturgeon are classified as caviar. Beluga caviar, the rarest and most expensive, is prized for its large, delicate eggs, while osetra is known for its nutty flavour and sevruga for its small, black grains.

Although caviar processing involves curing the roe in salt, it should not have an overly salty (or fishy) flavour;

instead, it should taste of the ocean. The traditional Russian way of serving caviar is as a topping for blinis, a type of pancake, accompanied by a dollop of sour cream. Others recommend simple toast points or boiled potatoes.

We believe it’s best enjoyed plain, without adulteration or garnish, so the delicate grains can melt in your mouth.



SPLASH OF SUMMER Sultry summer days, soft breezes and warm nights mean a new set of fragrances to pair with summer adventures. Here are our top picks

Givenchy Gentlemen Only Intense Eau de Toilette 50ml $74 - 100ml $98

Mont Blanc Emblem Eau de Toilette 100ml $75.00 - 60ml $60.00 Eau de Toilette Fan di FENDI Pour Homme Assoluto 50 ml $74 - 100 ml $96 Prepare to be swept off your feet by this seductive Italian scent. Complex and assertive, it’s underscored by patchouli, vetiver, and sage.

An aromatic blend of cardamom, clary sage, grapefruit, violet and cinnamon leaves, tonka beans and precious woods. The bottle is a tribute to the brand’s namesake: the highest peak in Europe, complete with its six glaciers.

Burberry Brit Rhythm Eau de Toilette 90ml $90.00 - 50ml $72.00

Think Brits are stuffy? Think again. This electric scent, infused with cedarwood, patchouli, and basil verveina, channels the energy of a crowd rocking out at a live concert.

Givenchy Very Irrésistible L’Eau en Rose by Givenchy 50mL $80 - 75mL $72 Givenchy adds a note of rose to its classic Very Irrésistible scent. Ethereal, delicate and utterly feminine, L’Eau en Rose is just light enough for summer days. Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Limon Verde Eau de Toilette 75mL $67 You’ll want to bathe in this fresh, citrusy fragrance. Base notes of tonka bean round out its sparkling lemon-lime and caïpirinha heart.


Spicy and woody, with hints of leather, Gentlemen Only Intense strikes a perfect balance between bold and understated elegance

Jimmy Choo EXOTIC Eau de Toilette Limited Edition 2014 100ml $89.00

La Petite Robe Noire Eau de Parfum Couture 50mL $96 - 100mL $130 Raspberry, rose, and patchouli form the essence of this floral, woody fragrance. Just like the perfect little black dress, it’s elegant, sexy, and glamourous.

Jimmy Choo’s finest designed this bright, edgy scent to evoke the brand’s exotic materials, like their trademark python skin. Opening with pink grapefruit and black currant sorbet, it has a heart of passion flower and tiger orchid and base notes of raspberry and patchouli.

The Most Influential Man in Fashion You’ll Never Meet

Roger Gingerich words by Lauren Wildgoose Photographer Konstantine Protopapas Shot on location at the Thompson Hotel, Toronto

If he doesn’t know it, Roger Gingerich knows somebody who knows it. The “network whisperer” of Toronto’s fashion world has his finger on the industry’s racing pulse, making deals and connecting people in fashion. You won’t see him on the cover of a magazine, but that’s the way Gingerich likes it; his domain is behind the scenes. A self-described “value-add”, Gingerich wears many hats in the fashion industry. From brokering fashion deals and managing celebrity fashion brands to teaching at the Academy of Design and Technology and interviewing with CBC about the global supply chain in apparel, his almost infinitely varied roles make it clear that he knows the value of versatility. “I’ve been blessed with so many facets of the fashion industry,


not just one... Someone will hire me for here, knowing I have this massive contact base over here. If it’s something to do with fashion, I probably have my hand on it somewhere.” The road to his current success began, strangely enough, with the NHL. In high school, Gingerich worked as a patternmaker and sewer, repalming hockey gloves and repairing equipment for NHL and CFL teams. When the company he worked for went out of business, he took out a family loan for $1,100, bought an Adler sewing machine, and set out on his own in partnership with the Edmonton Eskimos. Gingerich worked closely with the Edmonton Oilers during the team’s golden age and handled equipment for some of hockey’s biggest names, Wayne Gretzky among them. Gingerich credits this experience with helping him understand

garment construction, as well as the importance of being aware of one’s own strengths and weaknesses. “It taught me many life lessons… I realized early on, I’m a dime a dozen, so I had to quickly turn that around and find my point of difference. I had to stand out somehow,” he says. After his start in sewing, Gingerich switched to apparel promotion at Stormtech in Vancouver. When he started, he was the company’s eighth employee. When he moved to Toronto six years later in 2001, the company had 65 employees and the sales had jumped from 5-million to 50-million. After that, it wasn’t long before Gingerich was doing business independently once again and moving toward the centre of Toronto’s fashion scene. His advice to anyone in the fashion industry: “Leave the ego at the door… [And] be willing to share.” For a man who’s all about connecting people and bringing them together, it only makes sense that sharing is something he values. Gingerich celebrates the collaborative nature of Toronto’s fashion industry, and notes that the city is unusual in this respect. His company, the Gingerich Group, is continually evolving to meet the ever-changing demands of Canada’s fashion marketplace. It’s now undergoing a gradual transformation from a sales and network agency to a fashion brokerage, taking on luxury clearance deals and promotion. Celebrity management is also a major focus these days; actors and other celebrities who want to make the most of their name are looking to Gingerich Group for licensing opportunities and fashion brand management. “[There are] people saying, ‘I miss the good old days’ - I disagree. I say the good old days are now, and they’re yet to come. Industries are constantly evolving, and those that see opportunities are going to be the leaders.” So what does Gingerich see ahead? “I see being a value-add being the next frontier,” he says, predicting that “niche, pigeonhole industries” are a thing of the past, especially in the lingering aftermath of the recession. For employees, he believes, the ability to bring a wide range of skills to the table will be increasingly important in our diversifying economy, and the same applies to companies: the greater variety they can offer, the better. Gingerich certainly follows his own advice in that respect; a one-word title doesn’t do his career justice. But although he’s not a designer, or any other standard fashion job, he brings a natural creativity to everything he does. Whether it’s drawing inspiration for his agency’s style guide layout from an unorthodox source, or hosting his bi-annual Fashion Schmooze to bring the fashion industry together, Gingerich deftly balances his proclivity for doing things his own way with ensuring accountability to his clients. “Trust me, I work more hours than a nine-to-five job, but [this job] gave me that flexibility to be in creative and go in the direction I wanted to go in,” he says. Gingerich sees inspiration everywhere, including on his travels to fashion hubs like Italy and Paris. He admires Italian fashion

for their timeless pieces and appreciation for craftsmanship, particularly in an age where such things seem to often fall prey to efficiency. Paradoxically for someone who relishes growth and looks to the future as eagerly as he does, Gingerich prefers those kinds of classic pieces for his own wardrobe. And Paris? “It’s seamless,” he says. “Clothing, fashion - it just comes second nature to them.” Among Gingerich’s many behind-the-scenes responsibilities is sitting on the advisory council for the first-ever Toronto Men’s Fashion Week, which debuted in August. Toronto will be the eighth city in the world to host a dedicated men’s fashion week, and the event will draw industry moguls from around the world, including editors from Vogue Italia and GQ. Gingerich’s years of experience on the business end of fashion make him well-suited to advising at an event where, as he says, “it’s all about demographic profiling.” Always quick to deflect credit away from himself, Gingerich downplays his importance to the operation. “It’s sitting down and they bounce off ideas. A lot of the time they know what the right answer is, they just need to bounce it off of somebody and see the big picture… I love the role, and I’m flattered by it. Absolutely flattered.”

“I’ve been blessed with so many facets of the fashion industry, not just one…. Someone will hire me for here, knowing I have this massive contact base over here. If it’s something to do with fashion, I probably have my hand on it somewhere.” 25

DAVID ROCCO The Real Deal With a name now synonymous with “la dolce vita,” David Rocco has built a career capturing the sweet, simple Italian way of life and serving it on an ungarnished platter to millions of viewers with his internationally syndicated hit television series, David Rocco’s Dolce Vita. Words by Alexandria Maiato Photos by Tishan Baldeo


Art Direction Antonio Pendones Production Gustavo Reid Production Assistant Christyan Estrada Hair and Make up Zaida Olvera Stylist Stephanie Black Social Media Suhana Solastro Fashion Partners ISAIA Eton of Sweden Moores



n his series, Rocco chats with locals, shifting effortlessly from Italian to English, plays keep-up on the beach with friends, admires plum tomatoes at a local street market, and whips up a perfect sauce recipe in about five minutes flat. He admits that many are cliché takes on the Italian way of living, but maintains there’s always truth behind them. Despite the fact that his name is now part of a brand that brings to mind all the alluring aspects of the old country, David Rocco wasn’t always comfortable with growing up Italian in Canada.

David Rocco never anticipated he would wind up a chef, let alone a celebrity chef whose worldwide hit television programs are seen in more than 150 countries. With his charming personality and fresh-faced good looks, a teenaged Rocco naturally fell into the realm of acting and modelling, and found himself particularly drawn to film production and direction. His television debut did not find him donning an apron, but instead (much to his amusement) opposite Neve Campbell in a Tampax commercial. It wasn’t until he and his high school sweetheart – turned wife, Nina, began living on and off in Italy, that the two were inspired to document their travels on film. This was just the beginning of their journey into the newly emerging genre of food television. Grabbing a secluded table in the lounge at Yorkville’s ONE restaurant, I hardly notice that Rocco has breezed past the entrance and made his way over. I barely recognize him at first glance. He’s clad in denim from head to toe – a thin, faded denim button-down, with a pair of jeans in a slightly darker wash – a look that could easily become a complete disaster if not put together properly. But Rocco pulls the look off with ease – unsurprising, since he has been named one of “Canada’s Top Ten Style Makers” by Flare magazine. He concludes the ensemble with black sunglasses, a half-dozen beaded bracelets, and a pair of bright yellow Hogan sneakers. He’s buoyant but maintains a calm, unruffled demeanour, leaning back easily into his seat and removing his sunglasses. He’s just as charming and charismatic in front of me as he appears on his show – something he credits to his self-proclaimed “disarming smile.” He apologizes for his appearance, as if there’s anything to apologize for. He’s exhausted, he explains, after spending the past weekend visiting with family and celebrating Father’s Day with his children. But at the mention of his son, he perks right up. “My son is so funny. Dante’s the shit!” he exclaims, a mischievous grin forming on his face, likely recalling a particularly cheeky memory. Drawing comparisons between himself and his son, he explains that, like Dante (who arrived a few years after his twin sisters, Emma and Giorgia), Rocco was also the youngest of three children. “It’s funny because if we give him [Dante] a plate of pasta and it’s not full enough, he gets upset with us. And I remember I used to be like that - I wanted my plate filled to capacity, I


wanted seconds! Now I see my son and I kind of smile because he’s a big foodie, too.” Growing up in what Rocco describes as a typical, dysfunctional (but happy) Italian family, it’s not surprising that some of his fondest memories are centred around food. He smirks, noting this sounds slightly cliché, but it’s the truth. “I grew up in an Anglo-Saxon neighbourhood – Scarborough in the ‘70s. I felt like Mike Meyers in Wayne’s World. That was my world.” “Most people don’t expect to hear that about my childhood. I was always embarrassed to be the Italian on the street.” This seems like an unbelievable revelation when I think of all that Rocco embodies today. Embarrassed of being Italian? “Friends of mine had dogs and cats for pets, and I always wished to have one. My friend Mark, had a pet rabbit, and my family had rabbits too,” he explains. “Though, they weren’t our pets, they ended up on our dinner table.” “I remember having him [Mark] and his family over for dinner one night. They complimented my mother on how delicious the chicken tasted. And my mom goes, ‘Oh no, it’s rabbit!’ Here we are eating someone’s fucking pet for supper! Talk about a culture shock.” Though they certainly could never be described as underprivileged, Rocco often felt like he was labelled as the son of poor immigrants and it embarrassed him. Although the shadow of this stereotype was cast onto Rocco, the reality was quite the opposite. His parents were both successful hairdressers, allowing the family to travel often, visiting their hometown of Naples nearly every year. He played in sports leagues and even went to Disneyland. The feeling of inadequacy didn’t stem from a comparison of wealth, but a desire to assimilate into the “mungicake” culture. Furrowing his brow, he silently calls to mind dormant memories from his childhood, taking his time before sharing them aloud. “I’d have kids ask me, why do you have to make your own wine? Or why do you make your own tomato sauce?” he shares. “Can’t you afford to go to the grocery store and buy some? That was where lines were drawn. Of course we could afford to buy sauce or wine at the grocery store, but that wasn’t the point. And

I grew up in an Anglo-Saxon neighbourhood – Scarborough in the ‘70s. I felt like Mike Meyers in Wayne’s World. That was my world.” when you’re six [or] seven years old, that kind of stuff leaves an impression on you.” Growing up in a traditional Italian household instilled many values deep within himself, values that are still with him to this day and that he will instill in his own children. The most important one, in Rocco’s opinion, is the importance of food. Simply, it brings people together – family and friends, strangers, even – you get to know another person when you share a meal with them. For Italians, dinnertime is paramount. “Sunday lunch, having dinner as a family every night, was really sacred. There were no iPhones back then, but there was certainly the TV. And we weren’t allowed to have it on, there was

“Travelling changes people ... It reminds me that we all put our pants on the same way, no matter where in the world we’re from.”

no TV allowed in the kitchen. Food was first. We sat down, we ate, we talked about our days and finished everything on our plate.” Rocco considers food and cooking to be a powerful catalyst in introducing cultures to each other, ultimately creating tolerance and understanding. His love of people, connection, and the sweet life inspired him to fly a world away to film his next project: Dolce India. From the beaches of Chennai to the mountains of Jaipur, Rocco discovered the soul of India by exchanging recipes, stories and laughter with world-renowned chefs, Bollywood stars and - always the toughest critic in any culture grandmothers. He and his crew went into the experience living in each moment and making a heartfelt connection with everyone they met. Rocco looks genuinely enthusiastic when he expresses the love he has for his work. “For me, to be able to go to a city and work and come back home with memories and new friends - I’m like, the luckiest guy. To me, that’s my sweet dolce vita.” He explains that he and his team were careful not to glamourize the Slumdog Millionaire India, but to show how multi-faceted India has become. Already accustomed to the chaos and dysfunction of Naples, Rocco

experienced virtually no culture shock upon his arrival in a country with over a billion residents. “There are elements of India that I thought, ‘Wow, this could be Italy!’” he says, with a laugh. “It was about receiving and giving, as a culture. And by that, I mean receiving information, new techniques, sharing knowledge and recipes from the Indian culture. But also me giving as well, sharing my Italian-Canadian culture.” Each episode allows viewers to witness the cultural exchange of a lifetime with Rocco fusing ingredients and techniques from his beloved Italy with India’s spicy palette. In Jaipur, he attempted mutton bolognese. “We started with Indian-style minced mutton, cooked with garam masala and spices, then we added extra tomato sauce and served it over pasta,” he explains. “It was the best of both cultures.” For the nine weeks he was on location shooting Dolce India, Rocco struggled being away from his family. Skype everyday became a ritual, having dates with his wife and children while they lay down in their beds, exchanging stories about their


“For me, to be able to go to a city and work and come back home with memories and new friends - I’m like, the luckiest guy. To me, that’s my sweet dolce vita.”


days. Once filming wrapped up, they would be reunited again (with the exception of little Dante), with Rocco promising his daughters that they could attend the premier and walk the red carpet with him. “Being away [from my family] was really difficult, and I had to reconcile that guilt,” he explains. “But my wife and this is a tribute to her - was great about keeping in contact with me, whether it was with photos or Skype,” he shares. “So that was a challenge, and that was hard, but when I was able to bring them to India for three weeks and expose them to this whole world, I thought, ‘You know what, this is a trip of a lifetime that these guys are experiencing at the age of six.’ So it was all worth it.” Fascinated and attracted by the creative process and the control that directors have over their films, Rocco thrives overseeing his projects from inception to their end product. From developing each one of his television series’ to penning international best sellers and co-founding his production company, Rockhead Entertainment, Rocco has always had an

shared the same value proposition and similar views on food and wine. As he gears up to film a new season of Dolce Vita in Italy in 10 days’ time, Rocco reflects on the life-changing experiences he’s had while travelling abroad. They range from mildly extraordinary to almost unbelievable – witnessing o joga bonito firsthand in the crowded stadium stands in Rio de Janeiro, sharing a glass of whiskey with Osama Bin Laden’s doppelganger in Kashmere, eating a lamb’s eyeball with a group of Bedouins in Jordan, and spending the night with a tribe out in the Rajasthan dessert, helping their hunters sacrifice a goat. He notes that he’s been truly fortunate to be able to experience all of this with his work. “Travelling changes people,” he says, matter-of-factly. “I come back home and I don’t sweat the small stuff. It makes me appreciate my city. It reminds me that we all put our pants on the same way, no matter where in the world we’re from.” With that, the conversation shifts from where he’s been to where he finds himself now. His home in Toronto is finally finished construction, ironically enough in an area where he once

“To me, my kids are my greatest legacy, my greatest gift, my greatest production. Everything else is by the wayside… Suddenly, I’m not a television personality or celebrity chef or a businessman… I’m just dad, and I’m just a second-rate cook compared to mommy. And I wouldn’t change a thing.” entrepreneurial streak that he’s maintained alongside his love of cooking and travelling. His ambitions seem endless, but admits to thoughtfully taking his time with the prospect of opening up his own restaurant. He excitedly divulges that the next venture to expand his Dolce Vita brand is with the introduction of a line of wines (just three, for now) aptly named; David Rocco’s Dolce Vita: Prosecco, Chianti and Pinot Grigio at the LCBO this October. He cracks a smile from ear to ear at this revelation, rummaging through his pockets so he can show me photos of the packaging for the bottles on his iPhone. The labels are simple, clean and classic, in keeping with the familiar Dolce Vita font we’ve become so familiar with. “I am so proud of the wine. When the timing is right, things just take off,” he says. Again, assuming the role of director, Rocco chose the ideal veteran actor to star in his feature film. When it came to producing his wine, he wanted one of the best in the field to be his co-pilot in this unfamiliar territory. Rocco partnered with Franco Bernabei, a man whom many consider to be Italy’s foremost consulting enologist. Bernabei has quietly practiced his virtuoso brand of wine making artistry at Sartori di Verona, where his initiatives are now starting to be credited with generating unprecedented new levels of quality for this well-known wine producer. Along with Bernabei’s son, Marco, they collectively decided to make a wine that was suitable for everyday – “A great Chianti that you could just celebrate life with family and friends.” The experience was a positive one for Rocco, who felt the Bernebei’s

again finds himself and his family as “the lone Italians.” He can’t help but laugh as he comes to this realization – his life has come full circle. In many ways, unspoken traditions have remained unchanged in the Rocco household. Dinner is still sacred, there’s no TV in the kitchen, the morning ritual of grabbing an espresso at the local café remains intact. It’s how he feels about himself – what makes him different, what makes him an Italian-Canadian – that’s what’s evolved. Fully comfortable with who he is, nothing and no one can break him down. Fuelled by endless passion and a desire to establish meaningful, genuine connections with everyone he comes into contact with, David Rocco is a man who can accomplish anything he sets his sights on. Having achieved so much in his career, he pauses for a moment to mull over his most significant success to date. He looks down at his hands, and the response is candid and sincere – ultimately everything that Rocco encompasses underneath the ostentatious pomp of his television personality. “To me, my kids are my greatest legacy, my greatest gift, my greatest production. Everything else is by the wayside. Since I had them, I feel like I can do way more. They inspire me every day. I use that source of inspiration for work, but as soon as I come home, my role changes. Suddenly, I’m not a television personality or celebrity chef or a businessman… I’m just dad, and I’m just a second-rate cook compared to mommy. And I wouldn’t change a thing.”





Paris, London, Rome, eat your heart out! There’s a new sexy, trendy and vibrant destination in Europe (and it’s not Berlin, either). It’s Lisbon, the Ocean Capital of the western world! A city where the skyline waves like the ocean and you can eat a street-grilled sardine with the locals, drink a mini (a small bottle of ice cold beer) and hear Fado - the Portuguese version of the blues. Globe-trotter and Lisbon connoisseur Nelson Carvalheiro hits the city in the peak of summer.





isbon is divided into several small inner-city districts, each with its own unique quirks and charms. Wander through the atmospheric streets of Castelo, home to the fortress that dominates the skyline. In Baixa, at the heart of the city, explore museums and soak in the art and culture,

including the extraordinary Design and Fashion Museum (MUDE), shops and cafes. The area’s main thoroughfare, Rua Augusta, leads you right to the river and to the spectacular arch that frames the entrance to the city square, Terreiro do Paço. ALFAMA is quintessential Lisbon, a place full of fado houses and tascas (the equivalent of Italy’s trattoria). These are the places to drop in for a bifana (pork sandwich) and some red wine; simple, hearty fare that will keep you going while you explore the boutiques and antique stores. This area is also home to two of the city’s landmarks: the Patriarchal Cathedral of St. Mary Major, also known as Sé de Lisboa, and the Church of Santa Engrácia, also known as the National Pantheon.

BAIRRO ALTO (Upper District) is the heart and soul of Lisbon’s

nightlife. The streets in this quarter buzz from early afternoon to early morning. You can bar-hop from tiny bohemian holes-inthe-wall to more exclusive spots, or you can just stroll and people watch; since most of the establishments are tiny, the streets are always alive and full of local life. Its neighbour, fashionable CHIADO with its elegant storefronts, is home to some of the country’s best fashion and interior designers. You’ll also find traditional bespoke fashion houses like Luvaria Ulisses, where affluent Lisbonites have had their gloves made since 1925.

Most visitors head to BELÉM, drawn by its gardens, museums,

churches, and monuments. These include two UNESCO World Heritage







Hieronymites Monastery, and the Tower of Belém. It’s a lovely place to walk around, and if you’d rather spend time in the sunshine than in museums, there’s a beautiful riverside promenade wide enough to share with cyclists, joggers and strollers. Don’t forget to drop into Pastéis de Belém to experience possibly the best Portuguese custard tarts in the country.


SLEEP Boutique, boutique, boutique… Lisbon is a city of a million little details and your choice of hotel should uphold this spirit. Old palaces that once belonged to the families of rich traders have now been converted into stylish Portuguese heritage accommodations, where history and culture are part of the stay. Look for a place up on the hill with a river view balcony to

enjoy Lisbon’s scenery to the utmost.

PALACIO BELMONTE Built in 1449, the original palace near the Castelo had fallen into disrepair when French architect Frederic Coustols restored it as a boutique hotel. The feel is that of a private home, with a choice of 10 beautifully decorated suites. A pool, an organic garden and a serene atmosphere make Palácio Belmonte a hard place to leave.

BAIRRO ALTO HOTEL Chic and central, this 55-room hotel in an 18th-century building is a draw for creatives and celebrities. The terrace bar has a magnificent view over the city, perfect for a sundown cocktail before heading out for dinner.

ALTIS BELÉM HOTEL & SPA The Altis offers a wholly modern experience. Its suites face the water with views of the River Tagus and the Belém Tower. Minimalist in style, but utterly comfortable, this small hotel (there are 50 rooms) has some big features, including the spa, suites decorated with illustrated wall panels, the Bar 38°41’ cocktail lounge, and the Michelin-starred Feitoria restaurant, where chef José Cordeiro prepares his Portuguese-influenced haute cuisine.

THE INDEPENDENT HOSTEL & SUITES Winner of multiple awards,The Independente is all about comfort and relaxed vintage Lisbon with a contemporary twist. It’s set in a heritage 18th century building with four metres high ceilings, and its impressively décor has earned it the title of one of Europe’s top luxury hostels. Its dedicated bar and restaurant, the Decadent, serves a daily Portuguese comfort food menu with incredible value.


Lisbon’s food scene is definitely on the rise. It’s the only place where street food like grilled sardines and pork steaks rub shoulders with Michelin-starred establishments and new bite-size eateries, all focused on the depth and intricacy of Portuguese flavours.

EAT BELCANTO Without a doubt the finest restaurant in Lisbon, Belcanto serves elaborate contemporary Portuguese cuisine. You may want to save it for your last night in town; if there’s one lasting impression of Lisbon you’ll want, this is it. Dishes like the Jackson Pollock or Rebentação (Portuguese for ‘surf’) are examples of the genius of Chef Avillez, a young rising star on the Portuguese food scene fresh from his training with Chef Ferran Adrià at El Bulli.

PONTO FINAL The name does justice to the location of this restaurant, as it’s literally at the end of the river walk on the other side of the Tagus. Here, the food is all about the deep, traditional flavours of Portuguese home cooking. Some must-try dishes are the salt cod with chickpeas and the tomato rice with deep fried baby mackerel for a taste of the local fishermen’s favourite dish.


TIME OUT MERCADO DA RIBERIA A fixture in Lisbon’s pop culture and one of the capital’s largest open food markets, this iconic market has been recently refurbished to accommodate 30 Portuguese quick eats (Petiscos) stands. Traditional Portuguese dishes such as seafood rice, steak in a bun, salt cod with chickpeas, and piri piri prawns are served in bite-size or handheld portions, so finger licking is totally acceptable. Go during the weekend evenings to get the feel (and smell) of a Portuguese feast.

A BAIUCA (FADO) If you’re looking to experience authentic Lisbon, this is the place. This tiny, family-run restaurant (just seven tables) has been open for forty years and the décor has not changed in that time. The food is simple and unpretentious, with dishes like monkfish stew and chargrilled fish, but the real draw is the fado, Portugal’s traditional melancholic folk music.

DRINK Cocktails and twilight are the words of the moment in the Lisbon party scene, and the city’s rolling hills and 20km waterfront are dotted with beautiful outdoor bars to make the most of them. It is at these places where you see young, energetic, tanned and beautiful Lisbon locals sipping gin cocktails and toasting to yet another ruby red sunset. Could life be any more spectacular?

CINCO LOUNGE Widely acclaimed as Lisbon’s best cocktail bar, Cinco Lounge is on the forefront of the recent wave of mixology culture in Lisbon. Its dimly lit, strikingly coloured ambiance, constantly evolving cocktail menu, and contemporary urban music selection make it a must-try for cocktail aficionados.

PARK The best part about this place is the guy who made it his life’s goal to transform the top level of a parking garage into Lisbon’s best rooftop bar. Well, let me say that he did it! Simply called PARK, it styles itself as the first suspended garden of Lisbon, where the city’s young crowd comes for drinks.

PENSÃO AMOR A former cheap love lorn, where rooms were rented by the hour for brief lovers’ getaways, Pensão do Amor has been refurbished into Lisbon’s go-to burlesque cocktail bar. With frescos covering the ceilings, walls lined with mirrors and vintage posters of erotic shows, and a pole dancing room fitted in leopard print and gold, there is nowhere more eccentric to get the party started.

LUX FRAGIL Recognized for decades as the best Portuguese nightclub and still ranking today as one of Europe’s best, Lux is constantly changing. It offers a prime location over the water and décor featuring purple neon, white furniture, and vintage chandeliers. This is the place where the hip, gay and trendy society of Lisbon flocks to listen to the world’s top electronic music DJs.


Lisbon is best seen by walking its cobbled streets, so be sure to pack some comfortable shoes along with those Louboutins. Forget the tourist map and navigate the back streets of old town Lisbon with just a few landmarks that you can see over the city’s many belvederes. It’s very easy to get lost in them, but if you’ve got an adventurous spirit, it only adds to the mystique of the old town. FEIRA DA LADRA The open-air market, called Feira da Ladra (Flea Market), takes place around the Church of São Vicente de Fora. Here you can find everything that’s characteristic of the Portuguese culture in vintage personal items. From hand-made artisan goods, CD’s, books, clothes, stamps, coins, military objects, antiques and furniture is all on display here, so the occasional bargain is still possible although many of the stores now seem to cater exclusively to the tourists. Perfect for a souvenir! WHERE Campo de Santa Clara, Alfama HOW Tram 28 WHEN 6am to 5pm, Tuesdays and Saturdays

Very few sunrises can match the one over Alfama seen from the top terrace of Suite Bartolomeu de Gusmão at Palacio Belmonte. Once a mosque where morning prayers were announced during the Moorish occupation of Lisbon, from here you can see the sun rising over the water, right next to the Alfama TRAM 28 Lisbon’s cute-as-a-button tram operate daily. Tram 28 goes right through the city. Hop on and hop off whenever you spot something of interest; another one will be along in 10 minutes. ALFAMA Alfama (alhama means springs or bath, a reference to the hot springs found in the area) is Lisbon’s most emblematic quarter and one of the most rewarding for walkers and photographers thanks to its medieval alleys and outstanding views.

LX FACTORY Brought to you by the upcoming generation of Lisbon artists, the LX Factory is a refurbished factory plant featuring ateliers, bookshops, restaurants, bars, design, concept and furniture stores. It’s a prime location to get your hands on hip, contemporary products. The inspirational graffiti sets the tone of one of Lisbon’s most progressive locations. LX Factory is located in the Alcântara district, both a residential and industrial area halfway between downtown and the monuments of Belém.



Appetite for Castilla y León In search of age-old-culinary traditions, David Sendra Domènech travels to the heart of Spain’s food and wine region, where he discovers suckling pigs, charming paradores, wineries, and a plate after plate of prized jamón ibérico. Photos by Marco Santini




s I watch two plates set down in front of me, my

lemon, boiled egg and chorizo. The Old City of Salamanca

heart starts to race. The first bears two toasts

was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1988 for its

drizzled with olive oil and topped with tomato,

traditional Spanish baroque-style square, Plaza Mayor, as well

and the second is heaped with razor-thin, expertly

as the Casa de la Conchas, built in the late 15th century Gothic

sliced shards of the ruby red wonder that is jamón ibérico de

style with a façade encrusted with over 350 scallop shells. A visit

bellota, arguably one of the world’s greatest delicacies. I top one

to Salamanca’s university in the old town wouldn’t be complete

of the toasts with a slice of jamón, close my eyes and savour the

without finding the Salamanca Lucky Frog perched on a skull

moment. The scent, the delicately marbled fat and the deep,

on the university’s façade; it’s an intricate plateresque design

nutty flavour make the ham a genuine natural delicacy prized in

carved from stone.

Spain and around the world.

Next on the culinary roster is Segovia, where we’ll find three

Spanish cured ham comes in two forms: jamón serrano, or

must-see attractions. First up is the town’s Roman aqueduct,

“mountain ham”, and jamón ibérico, or Iberian ham. The curing

declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO; next is the Alcázar

process for the latter can last from 14 to 36 months, making it all

of Segovia, a stone fortification rising out of a rocky crag above

the more sought after. When paired with a red wine from Ribera

two converging rivers; and last but not least, Mesón Cándido,

de Duero, the combination electrifies all fives senses and it feeds

the most famous place to eat roast suckling pig in downtown

your soul.

Segovia. Located in an old-style Castillian house near the

Spain produces an astonishing 40 million hams a year,

aqueduct, the restaurant is a maze of small dining rooms

including excellent varieties of the famous jamón serrano made

decorated with a hodgepodge of memorabilia amid the dark

from the dry-cured legs of the white pig. But we now find

wood beams. Ask for a table near the windows, where you’ll be

ourselves in Guijuelo, Salamanca, in the dusty region known as

able to catch glimpses of the aqueduct outside.

the Dehesa, where 60% of Spanish jamón ibérico is produced and strictly regulated. It’s here that the black Iberian pigs thrive, snuffling on the dusty ground for sweet acorns fallen from encina oaks. The acorns are rich in oleic acid, and give the pigs’ meat an exceptional, olive-like flavour that earned the pigs the nickname “olives on legs”.

After a 50km journey, we arrive at Salamanca City, world

famous not only for its culture and student atmosphere, but also for its distinctive gastronomy. Among the region’s most popular dishes are chanfaina - rice with bell pepper and pork - and “los limones”, a strongly flavoured salad that includes orange,


Wine Tourism A 60 km drive from Segovia brings us to Avila, another UNESCO World Heritage Site. Completed between the 11th and 14th centuries, the imposing Walls of Avila are the town’s most exceptional monument. They’re a handy stop for travellers en route to Ribera del Duero, heaven on earth for wine enthusiasts History books claim that wine has been produced in the region for thousands of years, but viticulture as we know it probably arrived there with Benedictine monks from Cluny in the twelfth century. To enforce regulatory standards and ensure the highest quality, all wine produced there must bear the official seal of the Ribera del Duero Denominación de Origen (DO).

Among the region’s many options for wine tourism is Abadía

Retuerta. The estate’s rich history and unique terroir makes for the perfect backdrop for a skillfully guided wine tasting. The wines are clean, expressive, and honest. Two standout selections are Pago Negralada, made from the rare Tempranillo grape and aged 24 months in French oak barrels, and Selección Especial, a winning wine produced from a selection of the best grapes from Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot.

Reluctantly, we bid farewell to Avila and continue on to

Quintanilla de Onésimo, a tiny town home to the Arzuaga Navarro Winery with an adjoining hotel, restaurant and spa. One of the best restaurants in the Duero river valley, it offers innovative cuisine made with local ingredients, as well as the chance to taste their award winning wines. Next, we stopped at Valbuena Abbey, a former Cistercian monastery founded in 1143,


en route to our final wine tasting in Valladol-id with Señorita Malauva.

It’s my last 24 hours in this gastronomic excursion and

finally we arrived to Burgos. The city is famous for its queso de Burgos, a soft, creamy white cheese, and the morcilla, a pig’s blood sausage spiked with onions, herbs, and rices. We devour suckling lamb baked in a wood-fired oven and pickled trout and cod stew. I drink a glass of the famous Portia Prima - that’s an unabashed toast to this region - as Burgos doesn’t slack in the wine department either. The Burgos Portia winery, housed in a building designed by Norman Foster, offers the internationally acclaimed Portia Prima and the iconic Triennia, a 5000-bottle limited edition made with Tinta Fina del País grapes.

All my trips to this region end the same way a great meal

would, with dash of sweetness as I have my second glass of vino and indulge in a divine dessert called yemas, made with egg yolks and sugar - a healthy prescription for the soul.





Globe Trotter, Rose Doyle travels through Prague, Vienna and Budapest, with many stops along the way for rich food, and otherworldly delicacies - highlighting the architecture, design and eccentricities of these wildly different landscapes.

words by Rose Doyle | photography by Tishan Baldeo



hectic, six-day, springtime trip through Eastern Europe in the company of more than 30 travel writers was always going to be a gamble. The stakes were high but the weather and Insight V Vacations were on our side and the week proved a tantalizing joy and eye-opening revelation. The fun began in Prague, a mellow city of sandstone buildings, cathedrals, palaces, punchy graffiti and wide bridges. W choose, the first night in Prague, to drink in the 14th c We monastic St Norbert’s, to eat in Hell/Peklo - a restaurant in the old wine cellars beneath the monastery. High above the city, close to Prague Castle, it was a good spot to meet the city, a great place to end an evening. The river Vltava, 430km long, punctuates Prague and the Charles Bridge, spanning the Vltava since 1402, proved an ideal place to take the city’s measure next morning. To one side, as you cross, there are the soaring spires and turrets of Prague Castle complex with the Lesser Town (Little Quarter) in a red-topped huddle underneath. On the other there is the butter-coloured grandeur of the Old Town and New Town. It’s a great perspective. Prague is a friendly, generous place, a city made for walking and very at ease with the grandeur that is a legacy of some 400 years of Austrian Hapsburg rule. The 18-acre castle complex, for centuries the seat of Kings of Bohemia, has been battered by wars, politics and fires and today, perfectly restored, is where the President of the Czech Republic has his offices. You could spend a week there: it’s all wonderfully exhausting. Everyday life in Prague revolves around the Old Town Square where wooden apostles in the Astronomical clock give hourly reminders of the passage of time. Nearby Wenceslaus Sq. is not, by the way, a square. Most Czechs have never heard of the St Wenceslaus carol either. From there we went south through the Czech Republic to medieval, dreamily remote Cesky Krumlov. The road to Cesky Krumlov travels through a landscape of neat, functional villages and castle turrets above treetops. Cesky Krumlov itself is locked in time, cut off by the 30 years war, its Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque houses all preserved and lit by gas lamps. Some 14,000 citizens live there, their homes laid out around a giant castle dating from 1240. Meandering along a couple of bends in the Vlatava river, the village has narrow, hilly streets, dark taverns, galleries of Czech Culture, Photography and Ceramic Art and a Torture Museum in 15th. C cellars below the Town Hall. This last is something to ponder as you sip the town’s Eggenberg beer in the square above. A Baroque theatre in a castle courtyard has a stage, pit, curtains, theatre machinery, costume and props and is so moodily mesmerizing that time and the world step away. Performances still happen there and a demonstration by our guide of the wind, rain and thunder machinery put latter-day special effects into context. And so to Vienna, through the valley of the Danube, stopping only to visit the Domane Wachau winery and the craggy village of Durnstein where, in 1192, Richard I, England’s Lionheart, was held captive by Duke Leopold V of Austria in the castle above the town. An early evening sun was warming Vienna’s splendour when we got there, ours for a day and night. The Vienna State Opera house is magnificent to look at,


even more magnificently opulent inside. Our group’s own, very special Viennese musical experience was a private performance in the Palais Auersperg where the resident orchestra treated us to a private a concert of Mozart and Strauss. The Auersperg is where Mozart, aged six, leapt into the lap of the Empress Maria Theresia, where the Emperor Franz Josef danced with his wife Sisi and where part of The Third Man was filmed. We headed, in the cool of the next morning, for The Schönbrunn Palace and Gardens. A world Cultural Heritage it’s just outside the city; get there early if you dislike long lines. Home to centuries of Hapsburgs, as splendid now as it ever was, the residential and ceremonial rooms are made imperially splendid with Bohemian crystal chandeliers, garlanded gilding, marquetry floors and history, of course, flaunting itself marquetr everywhere. The gardens are surprisingly soothing despite their ever vast scale. Back in town, in a vague attempt to put Vienna into context, I risked a lone visit to the Imperial Crypt (Kaisergruft) beneath the Kapuzinerkirche (Capuchin Church), principal burial place of the Hapsburg Dynasty since 1633. Context is, indeed, everything, and the macabre, ghoulish and pathetically sad burial chambers certainly gave perspective to the lives and power of German and Austrian aristocracy. Our next stop is elegant Budapest, a city accessible in a way Vienna’s grandeur makes impossible. The streets invite, strudel houses and street markets are irresistible. The Danube divides the city: Buda, Castle Hill and the recently restored Hanging Gardens are on one side, Pest, with its wide avenues and narrow streets, museums and galleries, on the other. Budapest introduced the group to guide Erika Felies. Eloquent and passionate, she laid her city before us and we followed, heard how the neo-Renaissance Opera House survived both world wars and has a performance almost every sur night, what composers have bequeathed what to the city, how important music education is in Hungary, most especially in Budapest. Heroes’ Square, with its statue complex, breathed history. Tree lined Androssy it was full of hand-holding lovers, the T Art Nouveau style zoo showing off its mosque-like Elephant House. We crossed the Elisabeth Bridge to Buda, on the west side of the Danube and where Sandor Palace, the Hungarian Presidential palace, overlooks the city. Back in Pest we watched a strudel-making demonstration in The Strudel House, admired St Stephen’s Basilica and, in the evening, dined on the Danube while cruising past more European history.







PRAGUE PEKLO/HELL, with its vaulted walls of stone and brick, is atmospheric. Large menu with such as goulash, leg of wild boar with bacon and good salad selection. I liked the Prague ham with horseradish W Wasabi cream and Dijon mustard. Prices mid-range, wines from France, Italy, South America and Moravia. Strahovske nadvori 1, 11800 Prague. or +420 220 516 652

PRAGUE For really good sandwiches, salads and desserts try the welcoming Egon Schiele Café. Cosily decadent, it has armchairs and sofas, large vases of fresh flowers and Schiele on the walls. Owner Ivana Hajkova says running it is “an act of love”. Phone 420 734 256 278




WHERE TO EAT VIENNA There are no end of fancy restaurants to choose from in Vienna, no end of good food either, from Viennese Schnitzel to Sacher cake, liver dumpling soup to “Kaiserschmarren”. For somewhere local and relaxed try Glacis Beisl. (A “Beisl” is a typical Viennese restaurant, rustic in style with lots of wood and Austrian dishes.) The menu has a mix of classic local cuisine and traditional recipes, served with beer or wine. Near the Museum Quarter, prices are very reasonable. Museumsquartier, Zugang Breite Gasse 4, Museumsplatz 1, 1070 Vienna. +43-1-526 56 60 E-Mail:


BUDAPEST Grundel is the place to be seen dining in Budapest. In the City Park, next to the Zoo, Museum of Fine Arts, Millennium monument and Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the walls are hung with the work of Hungarian painters, food is served on Zsolnay china and there is a resident orchestra. Opened by Karoly Gundel in 1894, the menu is packed with Hungarian specialities, including desserts like the Gundel Pancake and Somlo Sponge Cake. It will cost you, but you will have been well served and extremely well fed. H-1146 Gundel Karoly ut 4, Budapest. Phone: 361 889 8150 www.gundel.h

BUDAPEST More modest but offering strudel to die for is The Strudel House. In an historic building (1812) in the heart of Budapest, you can eat a full meal there too; Hungarian dishes as well as wine and the local spirit, Palinka. This last can be as high as 85 proof so take care. Prices are reasonable and handmade strudel, their speciality, worth trying. Oktober 6 str. 22 Budapest 1051 Phone 361 428 0134








BUDAPEST The Sofitel Budapest Chain Bridge brings an energetic humanity to the business of being a chain hotel. The location helps, right beside the Danube’s Chain Bridge, the city’s first permanent stone bridge since 1849. Most rooms have views, many across the river to the Royal Palace. Museums, theatres, shopping and markets are all close. There is an indoor pool, fitness centre, casino, Paris-Budapest Café and a ballroom. Rose Doyle was part of a familiarization tour hosted by Insight Vacations. The six-day Bohemian Rhapsody tour was a shortened version of the company’s longer, 10-day Easy Pace Budapest, Vienna & Prague escorted tour.

CESKY KRUMLOV We stayed in Renaissance splendour in the five star Hotel Ruze (The Rose). Built as a Jesuit Monastery and University in the 16th c Hotel Ruze has been preserved and refurbished in Renaissance style with shining dark wood, nooks, drapes and crannies. Bedrooms have beamed ceilings, even toilets are discreetly wood surrounded. The breakfast will set you up for the day and the location, close to the town’s Namesti Svornosti square, is ideal. Horni 154 Cesky Krumlov e-mail: +420 233 920 118




VIENNA The Hilton Vienna lived up to expectations. It has all the comforts required, a location in the centre of the city that makes getting around a breeze. Next to the Stadpark for a morning or evening walk. S’PARKS restaurant serves Austrian and European à la carte specials. Gym, sauna, steam bath and relaxation area. Am Stadtpark 1, A - 1030 Vienna, Austria TEL: 43-1-717000 FAX: 43-1-7130691

PRAGUE The Art Nouveau Palace Hotel in Prague has a genuinely helpful staff. Located at the junction of old and new towns, where the likes of Rainer Maria Rilke and Franz Kafka used hang out, it was reopened after restoration in 1989 and has hosted such as Jackie Kennedy, Milos Forman, Louis Armstrong, Bob Dylan and Cher. Bedrooms are brightly coloured, hung with drapery and have high ceilings. Wenceslas Square, the Old T Town Square, shopping and the State Opera are a short walk away. There is a Fitness and Wellness Centre and three dining options – Gourmet Club, Café Palace and L’Epoque Restaurant.







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