Showing posts from 2020

Switzerland's Fete Des Vignerons

                                               Once every generation, the centuries-old viticultural festival, Fete des Vignerons, unfolds in Vevey, Switzerland. Watching this spectacle of music, dancing, wine and fanciful costumes, felt like I had been transported to something out of a Dr. Seuss story. With a law that prohibits the fest from taking place more than five times in a century, I felt incredibly lucky to witness this celebration of Swiss wine traditions dating back to the 17th century.  Some of the fetes 5,500 performers in costumes strolled the narrow streets of Vevey after a show that featured fairies, bees, royal courts, playing cards and 17th-century wine growers. The performance was in French but the drama transcended language barriers. It's a difficult experience to describe but if I had to sum it up, I would explain it as the magic of Cirque Du Soleil combined with the pageantry of the Olympics, topped with the history of folk celebrations.  Take a peek at my v

Guadeloupe's Ultimate Street Food

The island of Guadeloupe  offers so much more than a pretty landscape. This French Caribbean beauty is drenched in culture, history and it's no surprise, food. I was familiar with the artful blend of African, French and Indian cuisine from visiting neighboring Martinique but I had never heard of Guadeloupe's famous bokit, until I stepped foot in the island's main city of Pointe-a-Pitre. On every other corner and on food trucks, I glimpsed signs for bokits and long lines of locals eagerly awaiting the chance to bite into the delicacy. So what is a bokit? It's also called a creole burger and it's two pieces of fried dough or johnnycakes, stuffed with everything from lamb, chicken, conch, shrimp and everything in between, plus cheese, salad and sauces. It's basically a portable meal and it generally lasts me two days. It is absolutely essential to try a bokit whenever you visit Gwada. I wrote an in-depth exploration of my discovery of bokits for my new column

Scenes From Spain's Ribera Del Duero Wine Region

Wine may be the highlight of Spain's Ribera Del Duero wine region but this cultural landmark, which stretches through four provinces, offers many stunning vistas besides vineyards and sloping hills. The Castle of Curiel De Duero  perched on the hilltop pictured above was one of the first sites that caught my eye. The ancient fortress overlooks the area's vineyards and wineries and reminds visitors of the area's impressive history that dates back to the 11th century. This charming spot is part of the terrace for Molino de Palacios restaurant in Penafiel, which was converted from a 16th-century flour mill. The spectacle of the Duero River  flowing through the town of Castronuno immediately grabbed my attention. This is the river that fortifies the region's vineyards and it's one of the longest rivers of the Iberian Peninsula. This monument to the local cantareras,  the women who traditionally carried jugs of water from the river to the towns, was m

Copper Containers and COVID-19

I ordered a copper water bottle from  Copper H20  two years ago. Besides being pretty, the bottle makes tap water alkaline, which neutralizes acidity in the body and boosts immunity. I've also followed the Indian wellness system of Ayurveda  for years and know the benefits of copper on overall health.   So I was happy to sip from my copper bottle during yoga class and during hot days at the beach. Fast forward to 2020 and the horrors of COVID-19 .  I hadn't even used my copper bottle because I grab it when I travel or go to yoga class and that is not happening now. So when Jessica from Copper H20 contacted me about reviewing the bottle, I laughed. She didn't realize that I already owned a copper bottle and I had overlooked the benefits of using it during the Coronavirus pandemic.  There have been a lot of studies about the antiviral properties of copper and how it can help combat coronavirus.   Copper was shown to kill 90% of bacteria after repeated exposur

Black Lives Are Not A Passing Trend

Some people think of this time as a major inconvenience. The protests, the petitions, the painful hashtags.  I see the averted eyes when marches stream through neighborhoods filled with comfort and gentrification. I notice the glazed expressions when accounts of microaggressions and blatant racism are detailed. I recognize the lip service for humane treatment, fair opportunities and cultural awareness. But I have not seen any real action. There have been lots of posting, friending and sharing of outrage on social media. I am sure it helps some people feel better. But I don't feel better. This is not a passing phase for Black people. We are fighting for our lives. Lives that have never been valued in this country and still aren't. It appears that a lot of people are just waiting for all of this to magically go away. It is not going away, we are just getting started. So if you're waiting for things to go back to the way they were, you are in for major disappointments. We

Organic Wine Tasting in Spain's Ribera Wine Region

Surrounded by a pine forest and the Duero River, Finca Villacreces winery offers a bucolic vision of traditional Spanish winemaking. Founded in the 13th century by Franciscan monks, I explored the estates 171 acres of vineyards that supply Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grapes.  As the region’s biggest organic winery, Villacreces doesn’t use sulfates and it employs butterflies, ladybugs and birds to eat insects instead of insecticides. The grapes are harvested by hand to preserve the quality. Strolling and biking through the sandy and rocky terrain, I learned about the fermentation process that produces the wineries signature Pruno wine, a  deep burgundy, fruity wine created with Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes.  I sipped Pruno at the elegant picnic that was laid out for a scenic wine tasting among the twisting vines. Gourmet cheeses, charcuterie and regional dishes blended with the wines to create savory flavors. A visit to the Villacreces