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Marina Lovefoodish

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Seascape Luxury Residences Crete – Agia Pelagia

My personal highlight: Get the comfort & relax you need at the residences, enjoy the freedom to be super close by the sea & restaurants

Seascape Luxury Residences Crete

Opting for privacy and tranquility in an affordable boutique style accommodation Seascape Luxury Residences is the best choice. It is located in Aigia Pelagia. This seaside fishing village built in the centre of a picturesque amphitheatric bay offers crystal waters and a great choice of restaurantcafés, boutiques & shops. Agia Pelagia lies right in the middle of Crete. This makes it easy to use it as a base for tours and excursions. From here you can reach some beaches in walking distance. Read more in my blogpost about what to do and where to go around Agia Pelagia. The airport of Heraklion is only about 20 min. drive by car.

Accommodation

Find 31 apartments with modern equipment, TV, super comfy beds and bright rooms in various categories (Superior double room, Deluxe Apartment Sea or Pool view). Some apartment offer a private garden terrace, too. All apartments are different and are perfect for couples or families.
Get your morning swim or relax time at one of their two pools. The residence is located 5 minutes from the beach and the village of Agia Pelagia, therefore perfect to explore the place without car.

Price start as of ca. 110 Euro/night for an apartment. Get your offer and details about all sizes of the apartments here.

Breakfast at the bar

The residence has a pool bar where delicious breakfast is served. Absolutely recommend to try the Cretan breakfast. I could not find a more traditional one than at Seascape all around Agia Pelagia. The breakfast is served at the pool bar and this spot is excellent to get in contact with other guests for a chat if you like.

A big than you to Dimitris and all of the staff for having me and taking care of all of my wishes. I felt very much at home!

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EuropeSTORIESTravel

Traveling Crete Island – Heraklion & surrounding – experiencing hidden food pearls with locals

My personal highlight: living the Cretan wisdom. The last two things you take with you when you die is what you see and what you eat.

My food tour guide Eva from Urban tours/intrepid travels could not describe better, the motto of my life.

This 5 day trip to crete aims to inspire and experience the island with all of its flavors, colors and cultural history. A program that suits to travel or food lovers aiming an appetizer Crete offers. Get to understand better the mentality and way of life Cretan nurture! Crete’s culture and food is strongly influenced by Roman, the Byzantines EmpireArabs, the Venetian Republic, and the Ottoman Empire. This explains a lot, how diverse the place is compared to other greek islands.
A warm thank you goes to my two local guides and new friends Phil Buttler and his wife Mihalea that introduced me to this mediterranean pearl! Check Phil’s blog Argophilia for more travel insights about Crete!

Crete is the  largest island of Greece and lies to the south of the mainland. You can reach it either from the International Airport Chania, located in the south or the International Airport Hiraklio (the one I recommend) in the north. Absolutely recommended to rent a car for traveling around the island.

The island offers some of the most stunning landscapes and famous historical sites: Mark this one in your historical site bucket list: Knossos!
Knossos flourished for approximately two thousand years. It’s the must see archaeological site located 5 km southeast of the city of Heraklion. Here back in time the dynasty of Minos ruled (roughly 2700–1420 BC). Curious to experience the magic of the Minoan lifestyle? Visit a show at the Minoan Theater at Karteros. Read more about the show here.

Cretan hospitality teaches best, how to be truly wealthy. The life motto: siga siga (slowly slowly) makes me smile every time I hear it.

Beaches to reach by feet or car around North Crete

If you are after beaches, Crete has hundreds of beaches to suit every taste.
Lygaria BayMononaftis bayKladissos bayMade beachPsaromoura beachFylakes beachAmmoudi to name the most important ones. Though there are several (little and almost hidden) beaches in the area.

To mark on your beach bucket list: Aigia Pelagia.
Surrounded by mountains and hills, Agia Pelagia lies right in the middle of Crete. This makes it easy to use it as a base for tours and excursions. This seaside fishing village built in the centre of a picturesque amphitheatric bay offers crystal waters and a great choice of restaurant, Cafés and shops. (More on that in my food suggestions below). From here you can reach some beaches in walking distance.

Where to sleep in Agia Pelagia

Opting for privacy, tranquility in an affordable boutique style environment? Seascape Luxury Residences is your choice. Add it now on your accommodation bucket list!
Find 31 apartments with modern equipment, TV, super comfy beds and bright rooms in various categories (Superior double room, Deluxe Apartment Sea or Pool view). Some apartment offer a private garden terrace, too. All apartments are different and are perfect for couples or families.
Get your morning swim or relax time at one of their two pools. The residence is located 5 minutes from the beach and the village of Agia Pelagia, therefore perfect to explore the place without car. Make your booking here.

Breakfast at Seascape – Try the Cretan breakfast

My absolute favorite choice: The Cretan breakfast. It comes with local products and reflects best, what food is about in Crete! Rich and healthy flavors as tahini, honey and home made orange or quince jam to spread on the bread. Greek yoghurt and biscuits made of carob flour.
Sit at the large table in front of the pool and have a chat with other guests. This makes the difference at Seascape compared to an anonymus hotel atmosphere! 

Ever heard about the Cretan Diet?

Did you know, that Crete is world famous for its Diet? I am a food explorer and not really following a diet. Traveling through this region however, made me best understand, what it means to be surrounded by premium products. It’s an art to know, how to prepare these exceptional quality products. A large variation of citrus fruits, tomatoes, mainly goat and sheep cheeses, olive oil, snails, fish, wholemeal bread make this cuisine exceptional. (You’ll very rarely find cows in Crete or even Greece for that matter, they can’t handle the rocky terrain). By the way, it is recorded that over 500 types of greens and herbs are used raw in salads or cooked in small and large pies in various ways. Talking to different Taverna owners made me understand, that the preparation of food is made with passion and care about every single ingredient.

One of the basic difference between the cretan diet and diets of other mediterranean areas is the huge consumption of fruits.

The best way to get in contact with Cretan food is to experience a guided tour. For your Food tour Bucket list:
Book a 4 hour tour with urban tours and stroll through the city of Heraklion. You get introduced to some historical sites, churches and spots where the locals meet. A particular point of interest you may come across when walking the walls, is the tombstone of Nikos Kazantzakis. He was perhaps the most influential writer in Crete and even Greece.

What your food tour includes:

  • Taste home made biscuits in one of the oldest bakeries in town
  • Get a typical Cretan coffee (which seemed very turkish to me). 
  • Hit the backstreets and hidden pathways saying “yassas” (“Hi” in greek) to the local fish market man.
  • Try the local meze and get your olive oil tasting in a local food shop. Absolutely recommended: Visit the food store Vourgiali. It’s the ultimate address to get in contact with Cretan products. The family owned business has all you can dream of! The selection of dakos ,a typical cretan bread used for aperitife, light lunch or dinner is impressive! On the dakos come chopped tomatoes, feta crumbles and some extra virgin olive oil. Find best local wines, honey and cheeses.
  • A local sweet you can’t miss on your tour: bougatsa! Get a delicious one at the bistro Kirkor (Platia Eleftheriou Venizelou 31-32). Order a portion half cream and one half cheese and find out which you love more! My heart went boom for the cream version!

Bougatsa is a traditional Greek dessert made with the creamy custard or goat cheese wrapped in golden brown crispy phyllo, sprinkled with melted butter and garnished with icing sugar and cinnamon.

Dinner in Heraklion with a majestic view overlooking the harbor and fortress Koules (Venetian Castle)?

Restaurant Trata (Eikostis Pemptis Avgoustou 10, Heraklion) is a secret hint. It offers a superb view overlooking the harbor and delicious local food at a valuable price. Order local meze as fried graviera cheese called saganaki, eggplant salad or a grilled octopus. Try snails here! They are fired in olive oil with plenty of rosemary. A pure delight! Cretan snails have a special taste, since they live attached at olive trees!

Graviera cheese is slightly sweet and nutty in the taste. The Cretan version is made with sheep’s milk or sheep’s milk with a small amount of goat’s milk. It’s delicious eaten with thyme honey!

Restaurants & Bistro in Agia Pelagia

  • Tavern O Nikolas
    (Address: Agia Pelagia 715 00, Phone +30 281 081 2090)
    Local food, very authentic style where locals go, fresh fish/catch of the day, very good price. The staff is friendly.
  • Almyra bar & food
    A perfect spot to have an aperitivo, cocktail or dinner overlooking the sea. Chic & surely a trendy spot. The dishes are prepared with fresh and seasonal ingredients. The card is mixed with traditional cretan and international cuisine.
  • Restaurant Alati
    An authentic restaurant at the beach to try different local meze and sea food. I had the Crème trilogy with the classical split peas with onion, tzatziki with cucumber and smoked eggplant salad. As a main a fried octopus that was crunchy and super fresh.
  • Café & Restaurant The home
    The kind of place that makes you feel in a good vibes only environment. I love the positive quote and fancy decor everywhere. Very nice for a lunch to try some local dishes as eggplant salad and a homemade juice.

Make a trip to the traditional local village Fodele, talk to locals and eat a Taverna

Fodele is about 20 Km from Heraklion and absolutely worth visiting. Watch the old ladies doing needle works. We got invited to try delicious home made pickled bitter oranges and raki. Although the spot is touristic it has a relaxed atmosphere. Stop at the shops to buy some local cotton ware.

The village is the birthplace of the most famous Greek painter, El Greco. He has his own monument in the village next to a tree that is over a thousand years old! Make a visit at El Greco’s house where he was born. Today it has been transformed to a small museum.
On the way to the museum stop by at the Souvenir Shop of Maria! She is a lovely soul and has very cute little gifts (food & other things) to buy for your friends!

Your perfect local dinner in Fodele – Taverna Giasemí

Talk to Eleni the owner and let her advise you on the menu! Get some tasty dolmades (stuffed grape leaves), lamb chops (they are super tender) and different meat dishes as slow cooked pork or a creamy liver prepared with special herbs. The desserts are seasonal and made from Eleni every day. I had a delicious Orange cream tarte and a super soft and humid chocolate cake. Fruits will never miss after a meal and are a gift from the house in every restaurant.

Slow cooked lamb at Fodele Beach on a cozy Sunday?

The food experience at Taverna Opou Vastaxi is one of the most authentic on my whole Crete trip. Early in the morning the owner Stella and his husband prepare the fire where the pork and lamb slow cooks on the grill for at least 3 hours. Stella explains, that all animals are from local farms. The BBQ menu is available only on Sunday. Get some delicious sides as typical greek salad or dolmades. I appreciated the simplicity and authenticity and the very familiar ambience.

The beach of Fodele is close by. For families with kids: Stop at the water park at 2 Km distance and have some fun crazy slides!

Driving back from Heraklion to Agia Pelagia – Stop at Taverna Mitato to try Cretan bulbs!

I get more and more familiar, that on Crete the food is rustic and rich! It combines seasonal ingredients and balanced flavors. They reflect the bounty of Crete’s sun-blessed fertile land. At Anna’s Taverna you can find authentic local dishes as floral bulbs and a variety of stuffed vegetables. The menu offers a variety of grilled or stewed meat and fish, too.

They usually come fresh as a salad, dressed with oil and vinegar or lemon, pickled, or stewed with olive oil, vinegar and flour.

If you like to have a chat in German with Anna, she will be happy. She used to live in Germany. The interior of the restaurants is super vintage and reminds me of the living room of my aunt back in the 80s. 

“There us a kind of flame in Crete – let us call it “soul” – something more powerful than either life or death. There is pride, obstinacy, valor, and together with these something else inexpressible and imponderable, something which makes you rejoice that you are a human being, and at the same time tremble. (Report to Greco)” 
― N. Kazantzakis

See you soon Crete! Efcharistò to Seascape Manager Dimitris & his staff for having me. EyeWide Eservices – Minas & his staff for organizing the press trip. Mihaela & Phil Buttler for the memorable and fun time together.

In the mood of other travel stories? Check my travel guide here!

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Restaurant Guide

Miss Miu Koren BBQ Restaurant & Take away, Zurich

My personal highlight: Feeling like a “Miss Miu” enjoying Korean Food & dreaming big to conquer Zurich’s food world

Do you know the feeling when you wait longingly for your favorite cuisine to open in your city and the day X is finally here? That’s how I felt at the opening of Miss Miu, the new Korean Restaurant in Zurich!
Miss Miu is located at Europaallee and probably the largest Korean restaurant including a BBQ Grill in Zurich. With around 150 seats inside, 80 seats on the terrace and 40 seats in the burlesque bar guests can enjoy Korean specialities and homemade drinks in a modern and cool ambience on 430 m2. The space is decorated with a burlesque and avant-garde interior, with some little fancy corners, absolutely instagrammable, too! The staff welcomes you with a happy smile and if you are in a hurry, all food is available for take away, too. Register to their lunch newsletter here! In September a Speak Easy Bar is planned in one of their secret rooms!

Restaurant & Take away – supporting food waste with a very smart take away concept, where you can pre order from your office and pick up your order with your own crockery! The food is kept warm in a special shelf for you!

Signature dishes & more

Miss Miu serves around thirty Korean specialities. Korean Fried Chicken, the Korean BBQ, Bibimbap (around 25 CHF) and Gimbap (Korean Sushi) as a side 4 pcs CHF 9.50. Absolutely unique for Zurich: their Korean shaved Ice cream! All of that to share with your friends, the food comes in generous portions. Find their menu here.
To all vegans: the fried cauliflower with a the delicious sticky honey are absolutely excellent or the Asparagus in tempura dough, garnished with sesame seeds (CHF 9.50). Must try, too: The iron pot with pork & shrimps, chicken & broth, sweet potato noodles, cabbage, carrots, spinach, soybean sprouts & lotus root (31.50 CHF) perfect to share.

Korean BBQ – try the Busan Urban Beach Buzz

Every evening from 6 p.m. they serve delicious Korean BBQ plates in the stylish BBQ room. You can spice up the BBQ plates with a wide range of add-ons to suit your taste. Korean BBQ is great for sharing and is best enjoyed in groups! To recommend: Busan Urban Beach Buzz with a 80 gr beef cut, 40 gr, bacon & shrimps for CHF 44.

Opening hours: Monday – Thursday: 10.00 – 23.00, Friday Saturday: 10.00 – 24.00, Sunday: 10.00-23.00

Address: Miss Miu, Europaallee 48, 8004 Zürich, Tel. 044 260 55 22

Read the Miss Miu Story to better understand why Zurich has this place and where the design and food influences come from!

Atsuko Yamano, a talented Japanese thoroughbred cook and drummer of a punk-pop band, moved from Tokyo to neighboring South Korea in the 90s during the Asian crisis and fell in love with the tattoo artist and former bartender Park Tae-Soo during one of her jam sessions. Both didn’t have much money and tried to stay afloat with part-time jobs. Park, however, had a well-to-do aunt who was sympathetic to him – Aunt Miss Miu. The three of them spent a lot of time together and always fantasized about their own restaurant. Miss Miu was always very mysterious.

One day Miss Miu, Atsuko and Park met in front of an empty big hotel. Miss Miu typed, without hesitation, a four-digit number combination into the code lock and the door opened. Everything had already broken down a bit and you could see that it must have looked very pompous in former times, but was no longer inhabited for a long time. A former partner of Miss Miu ran this hotel some time ago and also ran a small restaurant kitchen. The business flourished, but the crisis had also hit him and he had to close his restaurant. After that he disappeared without leaving a trace and since that day the premises were yellowing.

Miss Miu asked Park and Atsuko if they could imagine opening a restaurant here together. She knew the landlord and still had some money on her side. The two looked each other briefly in the shining eyes. They were not allowed to miss such an opportunity. The three were a perfect team. Atsuko, with her many years of experience in the kitchen and her extravagant way of cooking, put together a selection of menus that were both enthusiastic and astounding. She loved her local Japanese cuisine and at the same time had enjoyed the new Korean dishes so much that she wildly combined both cuisines.

Miss Miu turned out to be a true design genius. The young and extraverted service staff flashed around between the tables with Miss Miu’s freaked out dresses, tattoos from Park and cheeky sayings and left a unique impression on the guests with their personality, which echoed weeks after the visit and made them laugh. The bartender past of Park turned out to be the icing on the cake. He developed completely in the art of cocktails and created drinks in flower vases, with shaved ice and with flavours that enraptured when tasting.

www.miss-miu.ch

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Coffee Guide

Tisch Bank Stuhl: Coffee & interiors at Bürkliplatz

My personal highlight: Enjoy your Coffee in the middle of an interior shop with a sableés from Mallorca

Sometimes I just need a different environment for my daily routine of having a coffee! This is why the place Tisch, Bank, Stuhl located close to Bürkliplatz is the choice when it comes to be surrounded by style, colors and design.

My eyes immediately catch the beautiful old-fashioned Faema machine, the roast they offer is from Carlito.

The shop is a well-known address in the city for accessories, lamps or pieces of furniture with avant-garde or classic design.
The owner Urs Brack is a Mallorca fan and often on the island, so he brings home sablées from there to enjoy with a coffee!

Address: tischbankstuhl & co. ag, Fraumünsterstrasse 2, 8001 Zürich

Opening hours: Tuesday: 7.00 am – 6.30 pm, WE/THUR: 10 am – 6.30 pm, FRI: 7.00 am – 6.30 pm, SAT: 10 am – 4 pm

http://www.tischbankstuhl.ch

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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
  • 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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