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Marina Lovefoodish

Accomodation

Al Battistero d’oro – A very authentic and charming B&B located in the middle of the historical City of Parma

My personal highlight: A home full of history and positive energy decorated with attention and charm from Host Patrizia

Al Battistero D’oro is practically located in the old town of Parma. Only about 15 minutes by walk from the train station. The area is very quite and ideal to have a relaxing sleep.

Patrizia is the host and a charismatic and very hearty person taking care of every wish you have. The B&B is her private home and decorated with class and style reflecting the charisma and warm personality she has.

I enjoyed a delicious breakfast Patrizia prepared with fresh fruits, yoghurt, croissants and some Parmigiano cheese & aceto balsamico topping.

Accommodation

The B&B has 2 double rooms and 1 apartment. I slept in the room: LA STANZA DUCHESSA. The room offer Air conditioning, cable TV, WiFi, safe, mini fridge stocked daily with water, bathroom courtesy services, hairdryer, kettle with selection of herbal teas, tea and coffee.

REINA, LA SUITE is the the suite overlooking the old courtyard of the house allowing direct access to the dining and living room. If you are looking for a more large space opt for the “APPARTAMENTO CATTEDRALE.
The apartment in a seventeenth-century building just a few steps from the Cathedral of Parma. Consisting of a double bedroom, a living area, an equipped kitchen, a wardrobe in the dining room and a bathroom with a large shower. The most striking features are the tall windows and its beautiful vaulted ceiling.

Price vary from ca. 120 Euro/night for the double rooms and the flat. Get your offer directly here.

In the mood to discover more accommodations in the Lovefoodish guide ? Zurich, Hamburg or Munich ? Get them here.

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STORIESZurich Blogging

Discovering Food places in Zurich Part 1: Im Viadukt Markthalle

Zurich has a lot to offer in regard of food. It’s time to bring it all to light! Let’s start with the Zurich Food tour part 01.

The one and only indoor Markthalle in Zurich is hidden in Kreis 5

Markthalle is a foodie’s paradise in a modern indoor market hall. Discover local and international delicacies. Have lunch at the restaurant Markthalle or get takeaway food as Sushi, pasta or pies. Shop at the sea food market, the cheese market or at the butcher. It’s an all in one food place.

A bunch of food experts work here. They are happy to introduce you to their world of goods. The place is great after work for a glass and a snack. The ambience is very relaxed.

Who created the Viadukt?

The Viadukt belongs to a foundation called PWG. The PWG Foundation preserves and creates affordable residential and commercial spaces in the city of Zurich. It was formed because of a popular initiative. In 2004, the PWG Foundation added the arches to their portfolio of projects under the title “IM VIADUKT“. They developed the concept for commercial use in its endeavour to increase the quality of living in the district.

My favorite stars at Viadukt Markthalle

In the mood of fresh sushi for lunch?

Buy your lunch it at TOKYO TAPAS. I like their sushi and sashimi. They are prepared fresh and authentic Japanese style. The size of the dish you get is good value for money. Find other Japanese specialties as miso or udon soup.

Open Monday through Thursday 9am – 8pm
Friday and Saturday 8am – 8pm

Need a nice gift for a foodie or want to spoil yourself?

Stop at Berg und Tal. Berg und Tal means Mountain and Valley. That’s obviously where the most of their products come from. Every time I stop here I get involved in new tastes and flavors. Their shop is the food pearl of Zurich Kreis 5.

Andras Németh and his team are passionate foodies themselves. You feel their dedication when they invite you to taste some of their delights. You find a large number of national and international products. They are committed to the Slow Food philosophy and sustainable food supply.

The team at Berg und Tal knows their producers personally and can tell you lovely stories about every delicacy. Most of the goods are naturally produced, without artificial flavors and additives.
Berg und Tal organizes Events and tastings together with their suppliers. Who better could introduce you to the offer than a producer. Get more on their website or stop by at their shop.

www.berg-tal.ch

Some personal suggestions out of their product range

Mürbel Milk caramel

I found some hand made milk caramel toffees with a light whiskey flavour. They are called mürbel and are produced in Mattwil not fare from Zurich. There are differentflavors available as coffee, vanilla or Alpine Salt for example. Absolutely wonderful how creamy and pure the caramel tastes. I am a caramel lover, so I found a new brand for me. Get a pack at Berg und Tal or order them on www.muerbel.ch

Ginn and Ginnie Gin from Organic Distillery GmbH Germany/Bodensee

The oriental design of the label caught my attention. Beside that, the taste convinced of course. This Gin is a real precious elixir. Ask for a tasting  and you get one drop directly on your tongue! Can you imagine how much you focus on what your senses will experience having only one drop to your disposal? Unbelievable.
There are two Gins available, one is called Ginn the other for Woman Ginnie.
Ginnie is very soft on my tongue but still aromatic like a sensual bouquet of flowers. I tasted some Jasmine, cardamom and lavender. Their philosophy is simple. The Gin is seen as a precious essence and is enjoyed best pure without tonic water.

Find more about them here or stop by at Berg und Tal and ask for a drop!

Fresh seafood at VOM FISCHER & SYNER FRU

“Fresh fish from friends,” is András Németh’s promise, he is the owner of Vom Fischer. He follows the subject of Slow Fish as at “Berg und Tal ” the Slow Food. This fish market is especially worth visiting on Thursday’s or Friday’s when the fresh fish arrives. The team always welcomes you with a smile and explains you all you want to know about their catch.
You get local and international fish from organic farms. The sea fish comes from sustainable catch from the North Sea and Baltic Sea. Their selection includes for example troutchar or monkfish. Bio Salmon from Ireland. Tasty, wild oysters from the Wattenmeer. For lunch you can enjoy a fresh and homemade fish soup or sea food tapas. I tried some marvelous tasty Kaisergranat Schwanz, a kind of langoustine. Mouthwatering with its buttery, juicy taste.

It’s oyster time!

I love the fact that the oyster they sell derive from the philosophy of «Goede vissers». A Dutch association of «good» fishermen, that treat the sea respectfully.

Oyster fans in the city know the hand-gathered wild Slow Food oysters from Barbara and Jan Geertsema-Rodenburg/Holland very well. These oysters get in contact with both, freshwater and the salty sea water, this makes them taste juicy and fresh.

Open Monday through Saturday 9 am – 8pm

www.vomfischer.ch

What about exploring British Cheese at THE BRITISH CHEESE CENTRE?

Stilton, Cheddar, Barkham Blue. These are only some of the variety of British cheeses that The British Cheese Centre presents at Markthalle. I had a big lack of knowledge on British Cheeses before I met Michael Jones, the owner of the shop. Michael imports only the best farmhouse cheeses. They are paired with excellent Schottisch craft beers from Brewdog. This combination is outstanding for your senses.

Cheddar is not equal Cheddar

First of all, Cheddar is a beautiful city in the south west of England. Its landscapes are known as one of the “Four wonders of England“! The Cheddar cheese tasted is the Godminster Organic Cheddar. It’s rich of flavors and made of best raw and bio milk.
Find 40 – 70 specialties, such as finest Stilton which has reached the perfect point of ripeness.
The products offered here are from small dairies in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Try a Champaign from England and let you introduce to these delights from Michael personally. He has a lot of nice stories to share!

Monday through Thursday 9am – 8pm
Friday and Saturday 8am – 8pm

www.britischcheese.ch

More shops at Markhalle

  • Casa Cavaliere Calleri – Home made Italian specialties for take away, party service
  • Delikatessen Metzgerei Wipkingen – a butcher offering a variety meats, local and non
  • Gusto – Comestible paradise: Italian specialities from the south of Italy as Sardegna, Calabria or Puglia, takeaway
  • Käsers Schloss – fresh vegetables, fruits and spirits from Switzerland
  • Kulinarische Köstlichkeiten – Spices and more. Curries, Fleur de Coco, pomegranate seeds, fresh home made Chutneys
  • Restaurant Markthalle – For a simple lunch or a nice dinner, some ingredients are from the Markhalle shops directly
  • St. Jakob Beck – Fresh bred, desserts and sandwiches to go
  • Südhang – Come in and find niche wines all to be discovered, here small winemaker are considered and included
  • The pie shop – Shepherdʼs Pie, Apple Pie, Gingerbread all home made for lunch or takeaway
  • Tritt Käse – Goat cheeses from the Loire, sheep cheeses from the Piemont and finest Swiss Cheeses from small dairies
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Zurich Blogging

Zurich Food Destination to discover! Food Zurich 2019 & Chefalps, the international Cooking Summit

My personal highlights: Joining food workshops where to explore origins of ingredients, combined with an experimental Indonesian dinner and a live presentation by one of my favorite Chefs: Josep Roca from Spain at Chefalps 2019.

A huge privilege for all food lovers in Zurich is the month of May, when the city enchants itself into a food adventure destination.

No matter if haute cuisine or street food: from 16 to 26 May, Zurich once again the city transformed itself into a place full of culinary temptations. The program included more than 100 events covering aspects of Wining & Dining.

My food experiences included a spice mix workshop held by the Swiss company laromi, an experimental authentic Indonesian dinner that throw me back to this wonderful place on earth with spicy and strong flavors organized by the catering Sendokgarpu & the soydivision Berlin. The cherry on the top came with the international Cooking Summit Chefalps, that for the first time took place during Food Zurich this year.

How to choose out your personal food experiences

It’s kind of a difficult mission to pick the food experience of your choice. For myself I found it best to mix workshops, where to learn by hands-on how to prepare dishes. I added a dinner, where to lean back and relax . There are several price ranges for these events, some are even for free, others go from 25 CHF up to a fee of 150 CHF for example.

Laromi Salt workshop

A young team of entrepreneurs hast the goal to offer best salts, spice blends, teas and oils. All of them without any artificial additives. At the workshop we got presented the variety of herbs and salts that can be mixed together to a very own blend. I named my black Hawaiian salt HANI which means “happy” in Hawaiian language. Get more of this company here.

Taste of Indonesia: Pairing two senses: dinner & experimental music

I am grateful for that throw back to my favorite nation Indonesia thanks to Ayu Andrila Utami owner of the company SendokGarpu and Ariel Orah from SoyDivision. Ayu and Ariel are friends from their school time back in Jakarta. Ariel is a fantastic artist, he organizes series of pop up experiences, where innovative Indonesian food inspired suppers meet experimental music live performance. We enjoyed a very special 5 course menu prepared of mainly local ingredients by Indonesian cooks.

The menu started with a soup made of sheep and coconut milk and Indonesian spices. As a toping tender pieces of beef and a delicious potato ball. My absolute favorite dish you don’t easily get in Zurich came next: tempeh (typical Indonesian product made of a natural culturing and controlled fermentation process that binds soybeans into a form).

Further on the menu: braised eggplants perfectly spiced that came on rice. Sounds simple but absolutely tasty. The main course included chicken with basil, turmeric and holy spices from Sulawesi. Our dessert came accompanied by Ariels experimental performance: Sweet potato balls with palm sugar and a Fior di Latte ice cream. MAGIC!

Ending my Food Zurich Experience with a very personal highlight: a meet & greet with Chef Josep Roca from Spain

The terms that best describe what I experienced at this year’s Chef Alps Cooking Summit during FOOD ZURICH are: Elegance, mindpower, creativity and sustainability! The two top Chefs Heiko Antoniewicz and Adrien Hurnungee presented their research project “Cooking with ashes“. It includes innovative techniques and still undiscovered tastes such as brimstone chips! Did you know that ash draws water from the food and condenses the aroma, has an antimicrobial effect and generates nearly zero food waste? My absolute attraction on the stage: Chef Josep Roca (Sommelier and responsible for Food & Wine Pairing at El Celler de Can Roca). His calm and humble attitude captures the whole audience, this without any live cooking show. His personality and wealth of knowledge are inimitable. No wonder that the 3 Roca brothers (Joan , Chef de Cuisine and Jordi, Patissier) cook successfully since years and complement each other perfectly in all tasks. The concept presented, how a kitchen staff plays together harmoniously, professionally and successfully, is based on basic rules like tradition, freedom (mental) and creativity! Apart the excellence of knowledge on how to extract, process and integrate the aromas of a wine into a dish with complex processes of course. The personal short get together after his presentation was the absolute unique gift for me. This moments are memorable.

Another fascinating topic on the program was to  learning about the philosophy of a dessert fine-dining restaurant called Coda Berlin designed by Frank Rene. Umami appears in his dishes as an important ingredient, I love the approach that their desserts are not too sweet and above all healthy and light and not at all boring or flat in the taste! Matching drinks are also paired with the desserts. The spray scent with jasmine blossom, tonka bean and flavoured rum we got to try in the plenary was magic.Beside the Chefs on the stage there were speed dates with gastro experts and a bunch of Swiss & international products to taste in the breaks between the shows!A big thank you to Chefalps and the organisators for an excellent 2019 edition!

Who is Food Zurich?

The association has beeen found in 2016 from Zurich Tourismus together with gastro and hotelier people. Their aim is to spread the good food vibes in our city. They offer a stage for local gastronomic productions as well as a wide range of culinary delights. Focusing on the themes of Switzerland, innovations and sustainable projects, the festival invites to get to know the national cuisine. It further promotes modern food creations. Discover local producers opening their doors to the public and sharing all of their passion for food and production.

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Brunch GuideGuides Zurich & around

Brunch @ Cinchona Bar – 25hours Hotel Zurich

My personal highlight: Brunch à la carte with probably the best Shakshuka in Zurich!

The easy way to brunch: at the bar or on a cozy sofa in a living room ambience

Welcome to the Cinchona Bar located in the 25hours Hotel at Langstrasse / Europaallee. The place is famous for their High Balls in town and the extraordinary lively ambience.
I discovered their brunch menu that fits perfect if you are not in the mood of a large buffet but more into plates to share with your friends.

Need help in choosing out of the menu?

Get a great choice of healthy food as a crunchy Granola bowl with creamy greek yoghurt and fresh fruits or delicious pancakes, vegetarian or classical American ones with bacon and maple syrup.
My heart goes boom for the Shakshuka. The tomato sauce is spiced just perfect and the eggs amazingly creamy inside. The way I absolutely love them. Als recommend: The grilled Pastrami Sandwich! The mustard is the perfect match to the beef, sour dough bread, egg and spinach.
Read their complete menu here!

What about a breakfast juice at the bar? Choose the Fortified MARY Vodka infused with spices and portwine, lime, tomato juice!

Prices vary from 9 CHF for the Granola bowl, 12 CHF for the American pancakes, 13 CHF for the Shakshuka to 19 CHF for the grilled Pastrami sandwich.

Address: 25hours Hotel, Langstrasse 150, 8004 Zürich

Opening hours: Breakfast is served from Monday to Friday, 0800 am to 1030 am, Saturday & Sunday 0900 am to 0200 pm.

Take a look at my review of their hotel, if you plan to stay for a night there!

https://www.25hours-hotels.com/en/restaurants-bars/zurich/cinchona-bar

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STORIES

Culinary trip to Parma – Where to go and what to experience in 3 days

My personal highlight: Discovering an enchanting pearl full of culture & extraordinary delicacies only a few hours by train from Zurich!

How much do you know about this Italian Culture & Gastronomy City located 5h by train from Zurich?

Parma has been shaped along the centuries by great painters as Correggio & Antelami. In the national gallery of Pilotta you can find some works by Da Vinci, Barbieri, Allegri, van Dyck, and many others from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. The unique piece from Leonardo da Vinci called ‘La Scapigliata’ from 1508 all made in oil on a wood panel captured my heart immediately.
For Opera lovers it’s absolutely recommended to visit Teatro Regio. It’s one of the most renowned and high-quality opera houses in Italy. It has been associated with many great composers, such as Giuseppe Verdi and Gioachino Rossini. This venue continues to serve the great Italian musical tradition, staging four operas every season and hosting a yearly Verdi Festival in October!
Another landmark of Parma is their Teatro Farnese. The theatre is one of the most renowned example of a wooden theatre that stands today. Created in the 1600’s, at the time it was also the largest theatre in the world and could hold a crowd of 3’000 people. It’s absolutely recommended to go there fro a throwback in time!

During the Middle Ages, Parma was ruled by the Franks and was part of the Holy Roman Empire. During the 1800’s, the city was annexed by France under the rule of Napoleon, and then finally became a part of the Kingdom of Italy in 1860.

Guess why Parma has been nominated a City of Gastronomy?

On December 11th, 2015 Parma was officially invited to take part in the UNESCO Creative Cities Network, becoming the first Italian Creative City of Gastronomy (The network includes more than 70 cities in 32 countries). Parma is a true Foodvalley, A. because of their king of Cheese called Parmigiano Reggiano that has its origins here and B. because of the world famous Parma ham. More than that, Parma is home to the top school of Italian cooking called Alma!

Foodie hint: You recognize the original Parma by it’s 5 pointed crown branded onto it’s skin.

Emilia-Romagna is the European region with the highest number of PDO and PGI products, and it is described by Forbes “Italy’s greatest gastronomic treasure.

Ever heard about the delicacy Culatello di Zibello?

It is the precious piece made from the large muscle mass in the rear leg of the pig. Creating it means destroying the possibility of making a prosciutto!
Its tremendous aging time, the fact that it’s the best part of the leg, and the expertise required to make it one of the most expensive salumi in Italy, particularly if it adheres to the DOP regulations to be a Zibello culatello.
The best way to experience the history & an exclusive tasting of the Culatello is to visit the Culatello Museum. The Museum is located in the court where the historical & gastronomic hideaway Antica Corte Pallavicina Relais has its domicile. The old fortified castle built by the Pallavicino family in 1320, is a place where love for good food and local products has always been a distinctive mark.
I suggest booking a night at their fantastic hotel for ca. 220 Euro/night.

Enjoy a typical dinner at their 1 Michelin Star Restaurant and go for a walk around the castle admiring the Po river and an impressive nature.

The ambience at the restaurant is special. The glass front gives a super special light and atmosphere and embraces the natural beauty of the Po river. The restaurant received the Michelin Guide Star since 2011 and represents the best of the refined Bassa Parmense. Chef Massimo and Luciano Spigaroli use most of the raw materials produced directly in the ancient court of Pallavicina according to traditions of the surrounded lands.

My personal highlight was the walk in their cellar looking at hundreds of Culatello di Zibello beautifully hanging down the ceiling. At the restaurant I enjoyed the podium of Culatello from the “White Pig” aged over 18, 27  and over 37 months. The truffled Guinea Fowl cooked with Culatello in the Po river’s clay served with vegetables from the garden was of an outstanding tender and aromatic taste!

Book a tasty bus tour to experience the traditional production of Parmigiano Reggiano DOP and Parma ham or get a customized tour!

The best way to dive into the heritage of Parma’s artisan food is to book a tasty tour. Our press trip organized by Comune di Parma and OMNIA Relations took place with the company Maestro Travel Experience. The tour takes 4 hours and brings you by bus to all production sites. The Cheese factory we visited is a small family business consisting of exactly 3 employees! It’s a unique experience to see with how much care and ability the 50 kilo heavy loafs of Parmigiano are processed all by hand! Learn how this cheese, devoid of any chemical additive, can be aged for years to improve its quality. You will recognize the various aging stages thanks to the tasting led by an expert.
On our second stop we visited a parma ham producer. The family-run factory presented all the steps from the meat processing to the flavors of the curing rooms. I am very happy to have learnt all facts to recognize an original Parma ham. Every tour is of course accompanied by a delicious tasting! The tours are the best stops to buy your souvenir for home. A big thank you to Elisa that explained to us so many details and included plenty of tasting occasion on the trip!

Another must do on your program: Visit ALMA the International School of Italian Cuisine where best Italian Chefs graduate from and book one of their Masterclasses!

Welcome to the world’s leading international training centre for Italian Cuisine, founded by the Italian Master Chef Gualtiero Marchesi. Walking around in the beautiful Palazzo Ducale of Colorno makes you feel in heaven. Surrounded by an intense variety of smells that constantly stimulate my senses I feel that here is where the magic happens! We had the chance to visit a class in the first year of education learning cutting techniques, an other class was creating beautiful chocolate sculptures made all by hand!

ALMA covers an area of 5’000 square metres. The classrooms are fully equipped for training professionals.

ALMA educates chefs and pastry chefs, bakery chefs, assistants for restaurant, bar managers and food & beverage managers coming from all around the world. Annually 1100 students graduate at ALMA. This is probably the best investment ever for a future as well as an extraordinary training experience.

Their events and some of the classes are open to everyone. I absolutely recommend to book one and experience this unique surrounding live! Get more about the available events here.

How to get to Parma

From Zurich it’s easy to take the train to Milan. SBB offers a good time table with attractive prices. From Milan you can choose the Frecciabianca Train that takes you to Parma in only 1 hour. For the future new direct connections to Bologna are planned. I like to express a big thank you to SBB & Trenitalia for the excellent and smooth ride to Parma.

Where to sleep in Parma

I spent a night at a very authentic and charming B&B located in the middle of the city close to the “duomo” called Al Battistero D’oro. Patrizia is the host and a charismatic and very hearty person taking care of every wish you have. The B&B is her private home and decorated carefully with class and style reflecting the charisma and warm personality she has. The place is peaceful and quit and located in the historical city centre.
Get in contact to ask your quote. Price vary from ca. 100 Euro/night. Find more accommodation suggestions here.

Events to mark in your agenda this September:
Settembre Gastronomico Traiettorie
Cena dei Mille
Giardini Gourmet

A special thank you goes to the city of Parma and our press trip organisator OMNIA Relations/Ilaria Tortora as well as all involved person that made our trip the perfect gastronomic holiday.

In the mood of other travel stories and food trips ? What about a wine tour in Piedmont? Find all you need to organize it here in my Piedmont blog story.

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AfricaSTORIESTravel

Your Tanzania Holiday: Observe the big 5 on an epic safari & sail on the crystal-clear Zanzibar Sea with a traditional wooden Catamaran

Which arguments are relevant to you when deciding where to plan your epic holiday? Is it the time frame you have, the budget or the level of adventure or relax you are seeking? My itinerary for Tanzania covers a combination of these requirements. The essence for me is to move smooth and with a certain flexibility, without being too much fixed on a travel schedule. This is why I often book flights, 1-2 accommodations and in this case the safari in advance. I love the idea to stay longer in a place when I like it a lot or move on when this is not the case.

Most of the accommodation can easily be booked through booking.com or airbnb, once there. If I have a must-see hotel or restaurant on my bucket list, I take care of this reservation in advance. In this case it was the Zanzibar Coffeehouse in Stone town! Are you a coffee lover as I am? Plan extra time to visit one of their coffee farms! Get more on that here. The farm is located at the foot of the Mbeya range in Southern Tanzania.

How to get to North Tanzania

Tanzania is easily reached via frequent air connections to Dar es Salaam, Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar airports.Get a direct flight from Zurich to Dar es Salaam (I bought a SWISS early bird for ca. 700 CHF) From Dar es Salaam you can fly either to Arusha (what I did) or to Kilimanjaro Airport. Find direct flights from Dar es Salaam to Arusha and from Arusha to Zanzibar for example with assalaamair. Absolutely recommend the airline.

How many days should I go on a safari?

The safari I choose took 5 days. 4 days are absolutely fine, too. Why not going for a personalized safari where you can choose by yourself, how many days to stay in a park?
This why I recommend organizing it directly through a safari specialist. There are several tour operators that include different parks to visit. If you love hiking, don’t miss Kilimanjaro!

Choose an overnight in a tent in camps for the maximum adventure. Feel the animal life at night to truly connect to the wild life. Believe me, the experience of hearing a buffalo eating grass just right behind your tent is priceless! The equipment is great and you get spoiled with delicious fresh prepared food.

In my opinion Tarangire, Serengeti and Ngorongoro national parks are the must see for your Tanzania Safari. The nature and wild life that you encounter here is unique since you get very close to the animal and you can feel the way they live very intense.

The budget for a group 5-day trip could cost around 1000 USD (tent overnight and entrance to the mentioned parks, food included). You can individualize your safari, too.
Get in contact with the local Ranger & Guide Deo from Sirini Safaris. His knowledge about the animal’s life is extraordinary. Having an experienced guide as Deo makes you feel safe every second. On top of that he drives you at the right time at the most exciting wild life situation you can catch! I appreciated very much having Deo as our ranger.

The safari takes place in a powerful and spacious 4×4 safari car with 7 passenger seats. We were a group of 6 which was the perfect size.

Did you know that a ranger has to drive at least 1.5 year as a co-driver through the parks before getting the official permit to be a Safari ranger? Furthermore, all rangers interact through the whole safari by walkie talkie to always be prepared where the next wild life situation is taking place!

The sunrise in the Serengeti park was one of the most beautiful ever seen. Get the feeling of these experience in my videos and pictures!

Discovering Zanzibar in 10 days – Start in Stone Town

Start your Zanzibar holiday in Stone Town, the capital of Zanzibar. Get there from Dar es Salaam by ferry (costs ca. 35 USD) or by plane.
Stone town has its own charm, it’s a place where to feel the first Zanzibar vibes and get in touch with their cultural & food traditions. I recommend staying 2 days before heading north to the beaches. Stone Town is confusing at daytime, it’s easy to get lost. At night time, it’s even worse because many of the shops used as landmarks may have packed everything away. I would not recommend walking around alone.

Things to do in Stone Town

  • Discover the Forodhani Gardens Food Market in the late afternoon and eat your snack right at the waterfront while admiring the sunset. Try the Zanzibar Pizza from Mister Mango! The dough is made of water and flour and comes filled with either salty or sweet ingredients. My suggestion: avocado, tomato & cheese!
  • Go for typical lunch or dinner at the place called Emerson Spice. Get a la carte Swahili BBQ. This very special atmospheric 19th-century house, built in Swahili-Arabian style, once belonged to the last Swahili ruler of Zanzibar and has been carefully restored
  • Darjani Bazaar is the main bazaar in Stone Town. It’s an interesting place to go for a quick walk and buy spices, coffee and tea at very good prices. Don’t be scared of the smells there.
  • Get lost in the narrow streets and stroll for souvenirs! Be ready to negotiate for your shopping’s. Find some unique handmade crafts or dresses created from local artists.
  • Stop by for a selfie at Freddy Mercury’s House. Did you know he grew up in Zanzibar?
  • Take a Spice Tour. Stone town is the perfect place to start the half day spice tour. Get more from your local hotel or find more about it here.
  • Sip on a delicious ginger, cinnamon, star anise, cloves and chili Tea or a spiced coffee at Stone Town Café

Beaches to see & places to stay in Zanzibar – Start north in Kendwa or Nungwi and move south by taxi

Start your beach holiday in the north in the place called Kendwa. Here you find kilometer long sandy beaches that are not affected so much by the tides. Kendwa & Nungwi are well known for its luxury resort, so don’t be surprised to see lots of couples. There are backpacker hotels, too, that work if you are looking for fun & parties. The Kendwa Rock may be a popular one. Don’t miss the full moon parties at Kendwa Rock taking place Saturday’s! Since I was traveling solo I found it bit difficult here to find a good value for money hotel, not too much in the backpacker crowd & not to luxurious. Kendwa is close to Nungwi, which has a number of bars and restaurants. I stayed 2 nights in Nungwi and headed directly on to Matemwe.

Activities in Kendwa & Nungwi

  • Enjoy a sunset on a comfortable hammock on the front of the bar at Sunset Kendwa (also known as the Sundet Bungalows Hotel) at Kendwa Beach
  • Diving or snorkeling! The Scuba Do Zanzibar is a PADI accredited 5-Star Gold-Palm Dive Centre and recognised as one of the most professional, eco-friendly diving, snorkelling and Water Sports centres in Zanzibar.
  • Book a tour with the operator Safariblue. Spend a day out on a traditional wooden boat (dhow) including snorkeling and a delicious Swahili seafood barbecue made fresh on an island.

I stayed 2 nights in Nungwi and headed directly on to Matemwe. Here you are not surrounded by any pushy beach boys that try to sell you souvenirs or excursions as back in Nungwi. I enjoyed very much staying at Sevi Boutique hotel that offers spacious and comfy villas and excellent local and international food. Get more on my experience on my travel guide here.

Activities in Matemwe

Go for scuba diving (the best times for visibility tend to be between June to October in the north and November to March in the south). The Mnemba Atoll is probably the most famous dive spot in Zanzibar. This is easy to reach from Sevi Boutique Hotel. Get in contact with your hotel manager to make a reservation, snorkeling will cost you 45 USD for a half day.

Moving South! Paje – chill vibes southeast of the Island

A place southeast of the island I absolutely recommend is Paje. It is well known among kite surfers. I went for a yoga class located in the Paje by night Hotel. Very much recommend the Hotel Waterfront. Paje has a good choice of hotels offering value for money stays. As a solo traveller getting in contact with other travelers works very easy due to the chilled vibes and different communal spaces in Paje. In the evenings, there are several parties and events going on, if you are in the mood of some action! The colors of the sea seen here are imaginably clear. The beaches seemed endless to me! The Maasai beach boys down here, appeared less pushy to me. I had the chance to get a lovely exchange of personal life stories with some of them. It makes you better understand their background and culture.

Activities in Paje

  • I loved the choice of coffee shops, restaurants and bars in Paje! They are all located along the beach, so go for a walk and try them all!
  • Sail the typical Zanzibar Catamaran and enjoy the wind blowing in your face
  • Kite surfing is a must if this is your sport!
  • Walk along the beach to Jambiani (about 30 min from Paje). There is a beach restaurant on a Pier belonging to the Spice Island Hotel. Get lost in their hammock overlooking paradise clear blue waters. This is your spot to get drink and make a unique photo of your Zanzibar trip!

Don’t expect to see any sunset in Paje, the suns goes down on the other side of the island. You can take a taxi or dala dala (public bus) to Machamvi Beach. About 20 min. card drive. about traveling Zanzibar

Practical Tips for your travel in Tanzania

In general I can say, that traveling solo in Tanzania is safe, I never felt in danger. Of course be careful and avoid to walk alone by night in dark/ remote places. Golden rule! When interacting with the Maasai boys insist on your price since they will always try to get a benefit.

Absolutely recommend to book some transfers in advance when you move from one place to the other at your hotel for example. Arriving at the ferry station can get very annoying having lots of taxi drivers hunting for a potential passenger.

Looking for a stay in Dar es Salaam before heading back home? Book your night at Slipaway, this place is known among expats and is peaceful to spent the last day at the pool and do some last souvenir shoppings before heading home. Ask your hotel for a city tour if you have still time left.

Visa: Some countries are exempt from visas, but for most people they cost $50 for a single entry – unfortunately, if you’re American your visa is $100. Work/volunteer visas are $200.

Money: The official currency is Tanzanian Shillings (TSH). Many hotels and tourist activities accept dollars and cards. I recommend to pay in shilling, since this is often cheaper. Be aware that there are not many ATM’s on the island, make sure you get enough cash in Stone Town when you arrive.

On some parts of Tanzania & mostly everywhere in Zanzibar people are mostly conservative, be respectful and make sure for example with dressing or taking photos (maybe ask for permission before) to not offend anyone or accidentally get yourself into trouble.

During Ramadan, it’s better to respect their traditions: No drinking, eating or smoking in the streets (or singing), no public displays of affection.

You will notice a lot of poverty in Zanzibar. Most of the local people live in the villages constructed around the hotel resorts. As a tourist you will always stand out and a lot of people will assume you have money and they’ll want your business. Be patient and respectful, I made the experience, that somehow they appreciate very much a discussion. Make them understand your intensions. I know, it’s not always easy, because they have one goal in their mind, and this is selling. But somehow it’s a good way to practice saying no!

“No thanks” in Swahili is “Hapana asante!”

Lot of people on Zanzibar say they’re a“Tour Guide”. They approach you with this to sell you a tour and often it’s a trap. If you want a good guide with great knowledge, ask your hotel or get in contact with pal Farid who is the best tour guide in Stone Town.

My very personal Tanzania experience

Traveling Zanzibar made me notice a lot of discrepancies between poor and rich. The island is full of luxury resorts with high walls dividing them from the villages where the local people live. Most people are poor and live in very simple habitats. But they recognize tourism is a way out of poverty, and so tourism is welcome. People give their best to let you remeber Zanzibar a place of joy and peace.

This is why I understand, that all of these business man have one principal goal when approaching. I had situations in my mind where I felt guilty, because all of that was new to me. Tough I am not rich! It was the first time traveling in a 3rd world country. But what I realized too, is that people here are happy and smile a lot more than many people back home. Thank you Zanzibar for your good vibes. Hakuna matata! All will be good.

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Africa

Sevi Boutique Hotel Zanzibar

My personal highlight:
A peaceful hideaway where to slurp an exotic fresh juice and spent hours observing the crystal clear Zanzibar sea

Welcome to Sevi Boutique Hotel ! This little pearl is located in the village of Matemwe on the north-eastern coast of Unguja, the main island of the Zanzibar Archipelago, between Mwangaseni and Kigomani.

A day at Sevi Boutique Hotel starts with a hearty welcome of the staff and a delicious breakfast! Home made bread, croissants and jams combined with fresh juices to boost your energy. All of this served on a spacious terrace overlooking the sea. The African dream !

After breakfast there is the choice to either relax at the pools. One is the infinity pool overlooking the sea, the other is embedded in a beautiful garden. For those who choose a Spa day, choose out of their massages and get a swim at the pool in the SPA area after your treatment!
My mornings often started with a walk along the white sandy beaches admiring the incredible wide tides! The scenery is amazing and nature full of surprises.

What I loved best at this place is its tranquility. Traveling from the northern part of Zanzibar that is more busy and crowded with tourists and all inclusive resorts, this spot is unattractive for beach boys. All hotels here are relatively far apart.
Sometimes in the evening you see local boys and kids playing football, I enjoyed this bit of action in the hood!

My personal suggestions: As almost everywhere on the islands, the beach is dependent on the tides. At low tide, the sea can get beyond the coral barrier. An accommodation with pool is therefore recommended.

Accommodation

Find 14 different villas or Bungalows in the traditional Bandas style. The rooms are very spacious and decorated with natural materials. Little details as a hammock in the garden or private little pool make your stay extra special. I loved to do my morning yoga in 2nd floor of my Bandas and get a bath in my cozy private pool! All rooms are surrounded by a well maintained garden, this offers good privacy between every bungalow. Of course there is a mosquito net around your the kingsize bed and AC.

As honeymoon travelers or family holiday with kids opt for the Villa. It offers a seafront and all comfort you need on 250 sqm on two floors. The view out of the balcony on the second floor will leave you lots of unforgettable memories to bring back home.

Book your room here and ask for the actual rates!

Food & Drinks

As a food lover I was very happy to enjoy fresh sea food every day. The fish is caught practically in front of the hotel. The menu choice is small but special every day. There are dishes for vegetarian, too. I was happy to discover various local Swahili dishes with excellent curry during my stay. Get a variety of raw tuna carpaccio to grilled lobster combined with local vegetables and spices. Be prepared to fall in love with special aromatized salts as curry or cinnamon and fresh baked bread!

What to do around Matemwe & Sevi Boutique Hotel

Matemwe is ideally located for snorkeling or diving at the Mnemba Atoll, one of the diving hotspots of the island. If you are planning several dives, Matemwe is a good choice. Ask the Diving specialist at Sevi to advise you. A snorkeling morning is around 45 USD which I found reasonable, all equipment used was of good quality, wet suit, water, coffee & snacks included. Of course you can choose a service from the local fisher man that are around the beach. Prices are cheaper but service quality varies.The staff of Sevi Boutique Hotel and Manager George are very happy to assist you for any kind of activity.
I would like to take the occasion here to say thank you for the time spent at Sevi and hope to be back soon!

Are you in the mood of more lovefoodish travel stories?
Planning a trip to Bali? Get some inspiration here!

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Asian Food

Kinkhao Thai Restaurant Zurich

My personal highlight: Welcome to the living room style tavolata where random people sit really close together and enjoy traditional Thai Food

As a food blogger I am always snooping around in town when it comes to new openings. I became aware of this little gem Kinkhao via Instagram.
It is located in the former Liquid at Zwinglistrasse 12.

Kinkhao means food in Thai explains Laor, Chrisoph’s wife and co-owner Laor. More than it describes everything that is experienced around food. The hospitality, the sharing and the feeling of good mood. All this takes place at Kinkhao sitting around several large tables. The ambience is cozy the Interieur simple decorated with attention to details as some typical local Thai decors.

About the menu

The motto is: One menu one a price. Enjoy a 4, 5 or 6 course menu with or without wine accompaniment. Prices start from 40 CHF for the 4 course menu without wine accompaniment. Absolutely try the menu including the wine, because the Spanish wine pairs super tasty with the spicy food!

We start eating!

Super tasty fish burger on a stick and a spicy sweet sauce. The sticks are a homage to the famous Thai streetfood Christoph explains to me and like all dishes this speciality comes from Laor’s homeland, the northeast of Thailand. The burgers are made from certified tilapita fish, kefir lime leaves, snake bean pieces and some egg really super tasty.
Next comes: a truly spicy thai salad next. I am kind of not used to eat so spicy, but very happy to have the super delicious red wine next to me!

The absolutely highlight for me is the next dish: A perch fillet nicely packed in a palm leaf, perfectly aromatized with coconut milk, Curry und Lime leafs. As a side we get sticky rice typical Thai style and some thin sliced shitake mushrooms, mint, lime juice and coriander with semolina that give the ideal touch and crunchiness to the dish. With all of that comes a Nam Phrik Oong, which is an intensely flavoured tomatoes with chili. Yes, spicy again!

After that we go for three different home made curries.
Hot & Spicy green curry with veggies, yellow curry with chicken and the red curry with pork. The green curry was absolutely to spicy but I did really love very much the pork curry, the meat was super tender and flavorful.

The lovely evening ended with a home made chocolate, coffee coconut cake made from Chrisoph’s son and an amaro Averna. Yes, accompanied by one of the songs Christoph and me like from the one and only Lucio Dalla.
Ciao ragazzi del Kinkhao! A prestissimo. Khup kun ka!

Opening hours: Monday – Saturday: as of 6 pm Opening & Apéro (included in the price), as of 7.30 pm dinner together – closing; between 11 and 12 pm

Address:  Kinkhao Restaurant, Zwinglistrasse 12, 8004 Zürich

www.kinkhao.ch

In the mood of other Asian restaurants in town? Here some suggestions!

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STORIES

What happened at St. Moritz Gourmet Festival 2019 ?

My personal highlight: The uniqueness of this event unites excellent international Chefs, creative minds and curious foodies in one special spot up in the Swiss Alps. Chef Nicolai Nørregaard from Denmark was my discovery this year.

Every year in January the Gourmet world of Switzerland points the eyes to St. Moritz. Together with chefs of a variety of prestigious local hotels, nine top-class star chefs from Europe and Asia join for culinary delights.

This year the following gourmet chefs participated at the festival 2019:

What to choose out of the variety of gourmet Food Events when visiting the the St. Moritz Gourmet Festival – a useful guide

Gourmet Safari Event: For those who love to experience different Chefs in different hotel locations in St. Moritz. This event allows best to interact with other gourmands. Taste a variation of menu in one night in an unforgettable surrounding. Get more inspiration here.

Legendary Kitchen Party at Badrutt’s Palace Hotel: The place to live the most vibrant and authentic vibes of the Chefs preparing the dishes directly in the kitchen. Together with 300 other guests you enjoy culinary highlights standing close to each other, the live music is the cherry on the top! Get some highlights of this year’s kitchen party here.

Side events: Wine & Cheese celebration in the legendary wine cellar of the Hotel Steffani, St. Moritz?
Go for this intimate evening in the Hotel Steffani, St. Moritz. Taste international rarities of wines paired with the amazing French cheese selection that Maître Antony, the world’s best “éleveur de fromages” offersorregarNNroregagararrdstivivalmon

Gourmet dinner with your favorite Chef!

My choice this year: Chef Nicolai Nørregaard from Copenhagen and I am absolutely happy about this selection, since the cuisine from Denmark was a novum to me.
The Gourmet dinners offer a relaxed atmosphere where to dive into a culinary journey. It’s the best way to experience the real food philosophy of a Chef. The dinner comes as a more course menu with signature dishes of the Chefs. Mostly there is the chance to talk in person to the Chefs during the dinner and get detailed explanations about the menu.

About my Gourmet dinner at Grand Hotel Kronenhof with Chef Nicolai Nørregaard

This dinner was an excursion to the Island of Bornholm, where the 1 Michelin Star Restaurant Kadeau Bornholm is located and run by Rasmus, Magnus & Nicolai. Beside Bornholm Nicolai and his partners run the 2 Michelin Stars restaurant Kadeau in Copenhagen.

Bornholm is a small island in the Baltic Sea, to the east of the east of Denmark, on the south of Sweden. Here the neighbors are the forest, the beach and the sea. The flavors of Bornholm were reflected 100% in the dishes prepared from Chef Nicolai. He knows the island best, since he grew up there. Years ago, when he was a kid he says during the interview, he used to spend a lot of time with is mother and his grandfather exploring the nature. That is where he got plenty of the knowledge on how to prepare, process and preserve the precious ingredients that grow on the island.

A lovely story I like to share with you that Nicolai revealed at our interview: back in time, when he was a teenager and he was dating a girl at his house it was absolutely normal, that girls got invited to help out in the garden. Some girls may have found that awkward back in time. The house of his mother was located in full nature.

My question about the food philosophy that they follow at Kadeau was answered on the one hand by tasting the extremely balanced and delicate dishes during my dinner. My palate experimented different layers of sour, sweet or salty flavors, perfectly balanced and aromatized.
On the other hand, in the interview Nicolai explained, that on the island of Bornholm they follow the rhythm of the cycle of the seasons by observing nature. In Summer everything grows fast, so it’s a lot of work in a short period of time to absolve. Winter instead is his favorite season, because there is time to experience nature slowly. What I also understood, is that at Kadeau a big part of the work goes to fermenting, pickling and drying. They do also make syrups, oils or vinegars as for example the rhubarb root oil used in the soured cream berry dessert. Several tons of items were preserved this year, this to put Bornholm also on the plates in Copenhagen, when the restaurant Kadeau Bornholm closes its doors.

Another secret I love to share with you here, Cooking and experimenting the way Chef Nicolai works, he says, is like a Jazz composition, “sometime you improvise, but at the same time your instinct and experience create a composition that feels harmonic”. This explains to me, why he has chosen to go for a autodidactic education to get there where he is today.

Nicolai’s curiosity for cooking has always been there. He comes from a family with a high gastronomic interest. His granddad’s family owns a smokery, which is common in Bornholm. I was very happy to try a smoked Bornholm Salmon during our dinner with an excellent taste, of course balanced with a fermented tomato sauce, rosehip and fig leafs. On Bornholm the climate is so special, that figs grow, too!
The menu consisted of a variety of seafood as Oyster, salmon or scallops from the , vegetables and reindeer.

You can not imagine, how delicate and intense in the same time Scots pine taste with dried tomatoes & scallops. What about the unique nutty taste of Limfjord Oysters?

Our 7 course menu at a glance:

  • Limfjord Oyster, fermented gooseberry, kale & oyster emulsion.
  • Young potatoes, codroe, lovage, eldercapers, blue mussel
  • Bornholm smoked salmon, fermented tomato sauce, rosehip, fig leaf
  • Raw scallop, horseradish cream, scots pine, semi dry tomatoes
  • Celeriac, woodruff, oscietra caviar, oxalis, fermented white asparagus
  • Reindeer, Barbecue jelly, currant, rehydrated carrot & beetroot, chicken wing sauce
  • Soured cream, currant, raspberry, gooseberry, blueberry, rhubarb root oil, seaweed oil

The absolute highlight of my dinner was not only the visual presentation, more than that, it’s the different preparation techniques and the perfectly balanced flavor and taste of every ingredient that fascinated me. The dishes connected mind and soul, it was a surprise with every bite. 

A big thank you to Chef Nicolai Nørregaard and his team for introducing me to the food from Bornholm. A very warm thank you to the Grand hotel Kronenhof and St. Moritz Gourmet Festival for the flawless organization.

Curious to read about other St. Moritz Gourmet Festival experiences, check my stories here.

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AccomodationEuropeGUIDESTravel

B2 Boutique Hotel & SPA Zurich

My personal highlight: Feeling home in the midst of 33,000 books. In a sea of ​​poetry and history I fantasize about what happened in the beer brewery Hürlimann back in the year 1836. 

Do you know the feeling of forgetting every thought around you while time looses its value? This is what happened to me during my stay at B2 Boutique Hotel in Zurich. The hotel is built in the former Hürlimann brewery and full of history and architectural highlights. The Wine Library at B2 Boutique Hotel is memorable. On the ceiling you find lamps constructed from old original beer bottles. All books that fill the hotel library – 33000 of them – come from the inventory of a former antiquarian bookshop in Zurich. This boutique hotel is ideal if you are traveling to Zurich for a business trip or a SPA weekend. It is connected with a thermal bath and a marvellous temple of relax.
The thermal bath offers 3500 sqm of pure joy for body & soul. Take a bath in the rooftop infinity pool overlooking the city of Zurich. The fresh thermal water bubbles directly from Zurich’s “Aqui” spring and offers guests relaxation with valuable minerals in 35 to 41 degree warm water. A delight especially in cold winter days.  Find all of their packages here.

B2 Boutique hotel in a glimpse

  • 51 rooms and suites between 28 sqm – 55 sqm, book a room here
  • Meeting rooms for up to 18 people as well as a large room for events called Machine hall / 370sqm. A historic, landmarked event location for up to 100 persons as an extraordinary backdrop for special events, such as expositions, film or photo shootings, openings and presentations
  • Wine Library and restaurant with selected Swiss Wines from Caduff’s Wine loft.
  • Personalized Guest Ambassador service
  • Direct access to the Spa & thermal bath with 3500 sqm of Roman Bath and an infinity pool on the rooftop

Accommodation

The hotel offers 51 modern rooms in different categories. Each room is characterized by the industrial history of the house, yet so authentic that you feel thrown back in time. The rooms are specious and offer a warm interior. The parquet invites to walk around barefoot. Selected designer armchairs with classics ranging from Artifort to de Sede to Willudsen and Dixon lamps create a sense of urban living in an avant-garde atmosphere. The cherry on the top is the Hürlimann beer that waits for you in the mini-bar.

Food & Drinks

Small dishes even at exceptional times. The food choice is small but special and ideal for lunch or dinner. Get some vegetarian or meat ravioli, a burger with Swiss Cheese or just an apéro plate to accompany with a glass of delicious Swiss wine. Discover exclusive Swiss wines at the Wine Library designed by the famous restaurant in town called Caduff’s Wine Loft. It includes wines from well-known Swiss wine makers as Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot gris, Pinot noir or Cabernet.

The breakfast is regional from the Zurich Oberland and offers a buffet with fresh bread, fruits and vegetables as well as homemade Bircher muesli and fresh juices.

In the mood to discover more accommodations in the Lovefoodish guide ? Zurich, Hamburg or Munich for example? Get more here.

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