Food and Drink

What you need to know before traveling to Italy

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A country with an abundance of art, food, history and a fiery team in the 2012 Euro Cup, Italy is a travel destination that promises not to disappoint. Maximize your experience by planning ahead, learning some Italian food phrases and getting an Italian SIM card.

Buon Appetito

One of the many delicious Italian dishes can be found while feasting on a plate of antipasto. It is generally the first course of a meal consisting of cheese, vegetables and pickled meat. This is the best time to chat with friends over prosciutto (cured ham), marinated olives, and even figs on mozzarella. Finishing up the meal with an espresso or cappuccino is perfect preparation for a late-night snack of pistachio flavoured gelato.

Gelato (Italian ice cream) is a famous dessert not only recognized in Italy but also worldwide. In Italy, many people come on the streets late at night to have gelato with family and friends. Next time, why not try the pistachio flavour?

Affogato is an Italian beverage usually consisting of vanilla gelato topped with a shot of espresso. The ultimate two-in-one coffee and dessert!

Exploring the Past

When visiting Italy, make sure to add the lost city of Pompeii to your itinerary. Almost 2000 years after the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius, the city still acts as a reminder to the great forces nature holds over humans.

While the gondolas were traditionally used as a means of transportation, today it is a great way to explore the city and sometimes used for rowing races. For about 40 minutes, you will be serenaded while enjoying the view of the Grand Canal.

Other places that you cannot miss:

  • The Leaning Tower of Pisa (Took about 200 years to build).
  • The Coliseum of Rome (Built in 70 AD).
  • The Amalfi Coast (Beaches, mountains and fjords).
  • The fashion capital – Milan (Make sure to shop on Via Monte Napoleone – this street houses some of the top designers).


Other blogs that you may like:

Coffee souvenirs

Tea drinkers are starting to take over but even tea drinkers appreciate the smell of freshly ground coffee beans. A bag or tin of coffee is a suitable souvenir for friends, family and business acquaintances. It doesn’t take up much room in your luggage and is an excellent way to enjoy the unique flavors of many countries.

Whether you travel to popular coffee producing locations such as Costa Rica, Brazil, Columbia, Mexico, Kenya, India, Ethiopia or to popular coffee drinking nations like Italy or Turkey, coffee is an inexpensive and simple gift to bring home.

Some of my favourite coffee destinations include:

Brazil – I am pretty sure is the largest coffee producing nation in the world, producing 35% of the world’s coffee according to Coffee Terms. Brazil beans are used in many Espresso blends. There really isn’t a better souvenir from Brazil – unless you are into football.

Costa Rica – The time I spent in Costa Rica drinking Tarrazu coffee was hands down my most compelling coffee experience. So much so, Costa Rican coffee is always in my freezer and I frequently order it right from Café Britt for gifts.

Hawaii – The largest of the Hawaiian Islands produces an amazing coffee bean called Kona. In the grand scheme of things, it is a very small producer of the world’s coffee, but it is very exotic and sought after. A cop of 100% pure Kona coffee (only available in Hawaii) is absolutely wonderful, especially when it’s accompanied by chocolate covered macadamia nuts.

Tips for buying coffee

  • Buy it at a grocery store or local shop. You will save a bundle
  • Wrap it in a tight plastic bag before you pack or everything you own will smell like coffee
  • If you have to keep it for a while once you get home, store it in the freezer

Australian wines

Australian wines have become increasingly popular over the last 10 years. With over 2000 suppliers and 60 wine regions, it is Australia’s third largest export! Some of the notable regions include the Hunter Valley near Sydney, the Barossa Valley near Adelaide, and Yarra Valley near Melbourne. The major grape varieties in Australia are Shiraz (or Syrah), Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sermillion, Sauvignon Blanc and Reisling.

If you are traveling to Australia, there are many ways to enjoy their fine grapes from the table to the vineyard. Australia’s wine regions are increasingly catering to tourists and if a fabulous bottle of Shiraz isn’t enough to make you stay an extra day to visit one of the many wine regions, I don’t know what it is.
Read about some of the greatest wine regions in Australia and pick the one closest to where you are traveling.

Wine Tours/Regions in Australia:

Popular Australian wineries include:

NYC breakfast diner reviews

Traveling to New York City is always an investment whether it’s for business or pleasure but there is one thing worth every penny and that’s the food. I’m not talking about the likes of Le Cirque or Nobu, fine dining journeys for the palette; I’m talking about the joy of a classic NYC breakfast diner.

During the couple of years I lived in NYC, I stopped at a deli or diner for breakfast every morning. It was part of being a New Yorker. From freshly baked bagels smothered in cream cheese and lox to wonderfully greasy bacon, egg and cheese sandwiches, you never run out of options.

Here are a few of the best:

Katz’s Delicatessen
205 East Houston Street
Totally authentic and delicious – order in Yiddish if you want.
What to eat? Corn Beef Sandwich

Carnegie Deli
854 Seventh Avenue
I used to work very close to this place and while it’s a bit of a tourist trap, it’s still awesome.
What to eat? The Bacon Whopee!

Ess-a Bagel
359 1st Ave and 831 3rd Avenue
Popular with locals – fresh, fast and filling.
What to eat? Bagel with cream cheese and loads of lox

Here are some lists that have been put together by various resources: recommends
Diner City recommends
New York Mag recommends these bagel shops
New York Mag recommends these for brunch

Get spicy with your travels

We travel for many reasons but one thing we always do when we leave home is discover new things. Something we have all experienced especially when traveling overseas is foreign and unique foods. I’m a bit of a foodie so traveling to exotic places is a thrill for me and my palette. Others aren’t so adventurous and food is the most daunting part of traveling.

I have discovered that the most basic way to learn about foreign tastes is to introduce spices from around the world. Add paprika to discover Hungary; add Cumin or Coriander for a hint of India; try sesame oil to see China or Cilantro for Thailand. If you can moderately incorporate spices and flavors into your diet before traveling then you are less likely to reject foreign foods.

Some steps for preparing yourself for new tastes:

1. Learn about the dishes ahead of time. Know what you will typically be eating so you aren’t in shock when you are served a plate of raw beef.

2. Taste some of the foods you read about. If you have a restaurant in your town that serves that cuisine, check it out.
3. If not, do some research and find out what spices are used in the cooking. Buy the spice and try it out for yourself. Incorporate the flavors into your typical cooking so your palette is used to it. Green beans can go Indian. Steak – Mexican. Give your chicken a French flair. 4. If you are really feeling adventurous, go online to a recipe website such as Epicurious or Recipe Zaar and try one of the country’s traditional dishes.