Experience Northern Spain

Trafalgar is offering a new 12 day north Spain trip that showcases the ultra-modern city of Bilbao such as the landmark Guggenheim museum, and rural spots, like Covadonga and the Picos de Europa national park. You will have the opportunity to stay the night in a real Renaissance palace, where Napoleon’s troops once rested before they attacked nearby Vitoria. Relax at a bar in Oviedo— sipping on cool nectar, share the town’s love of the drink. SNOR_WIN_MAP_US_14

You will have some amazing inclusions offered to you:

Insider Experiences

  • Be My Guest At a Cider Mill close to Oviedo.
  • Local Expert in Santiago de Compostela, Salamanca and Madrid.
  • Local Speciality Wine Tasting in a typical bodega.
  • Local Speciality Cider tasting at a bar in Oviedo.
  • Hidden Treasure Enjoy at least one surprise Hidden Treasure experience, unique to your itinerary, courtesy of your expert Travel Director.
  • Authentic Accommodation Parador Hotel, Argomaniz – A Renaissance palace in the hamlet of Argomaniz is often our home here – as it was for Napoleon’s troops before they attacked nearby Vitoria. Authentic Accommodation, you can still feel history in Parador Hotel’s stone walls.

Travel Highlights

  • Travel by luxury air-conditioned coach with reclining seats and an on-board restroom.
  • First Class hotel accommodation featuring twin rooms and private facilities.
  • The services of a professional Travel Director throughout your journey.
  • All hotel service charges and tips, baggage handling fees and local taxes included.
  • Audio Headsets provided throughout your trip to enhance your included sightseeing experiences.
  • A travel wallet with your documentation.
  • Complimentary keep sake photo

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A look into the itinerary: 

Day 1 – DEPART CANADA

Day 2 – ARRIVE MADRID

Day 3 – MADRID–BURGOS–ARGOMANIZ

Day 4 – ARGOMANIZ–SAN SEBASTIAN–BILBAO–SANTANDER (2 NIGHTS)

Day 5 – SANTANDER AT LEISURE

Screen Shot 2014-06-18 at 11.32.54 AMDay 6 – SANTANDER–PICOS DE EUROPA–COVADONGA-OVIEDO

Day 7 – OVIEDO–LUARCA–SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA (2 NIGHTS)

Day 8 – SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA SIGHTSEEING

Day 9 – SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA–ZAMORA–SALAMANCA

Day 10 – SALAMANCA–MADRID SIGHTSEEING (2 NIGHTS)

Day 11 – MADRID FREE TIME

Day 12 – MADRID—CANADA

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Sightseeing Highlights

  • City tour of Santiago de Compostela, Salamanca and Madrid.
  • Orientations of Burgos, San Sebastian, Bilbao, Santander and Oviedo.
  • Visit the Cathedral of Burgos, the Holy Cave of Covadonga, the fishing village of Luarca, St. James Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela, the University of Salamanca and the Prado Museum in Madrid.
  • Scenic drive through the Picos de Europa.

Remember, you can save Save $250 per couple on 2014 Europe & Britain Guide Vacations.

Speak to a Bon Vivant Specialist by clicking here.

 

Bangkok: A Food Lovers’ Dream Destination

A couple of years ago, I was passing through Bangkok for one night only and had the great fortune to dine with a local at Jok Phochana. I knew it was a place I needed to find again on a subsequent trip. A hole-in-the-wall restaurant on an alleyway somewhere in the city though, I wondered if I might ever find it. The food was so good, definitely not your dumbed-down-for-tourists Thai fare, but how to find a restaurant with no address?  Enter Google and the magic of GPS tagged photos. A photo on Flickr led us right to a Google map of the location. True enough, it’s a laneway but there it was. Our “address” caused many perplexed (and to be honest, concerned looks) at the hotel reception as we ordered a taxi but we eventually made it there.

Frequented by locals and tourists alike, Jok Phochana has been around for over 40 years, owned and run by the same family.  Reminiscent of the soup shops, popular with Chinese immigrant workers in the early days of immigration to Thailand, Jok Phochana offers filling, authentic dishes at reasonable prices and an entertaining welcome from owner Panya Amnajpantanakorn*. We dined for around $20CAD for four people (6 dishes and 5 large beers). Well worth the adventure of finding the place!

Jok Phochana

Samsen Soi 2, Phra Nakhon
Bangkok 10200
Thailand

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It’s easy to subsist on street food in Bangkok, so heading to nahm run by Michelin-starred chef David Thompson, is definitely a bit of a splurge… We were looking to book a special dinner for a party of 10 in a private room with a set menu and nahm was easily able to accommodate us (the set menus are also available for smaller parties).

Australian-born Thompson is renowned for his Thai cuisine, establishing his reputation with Darley Street Thai in Sydney (1991), then Sailors’ Thai, in 1995 (also in Sydney).  Thompson opened nahm in London in 2001, and was awarded the first ever Michelin star for Thai cuisine just over a year later.  nahm in London has since lost the star but in April 2012, nahm in Bangkok was included in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards (organised Restaurant Magazine, a UK industry publication).  Controversial when it opened in 2010 because many wondered how a foreigner might bring something different to Thai food in Thailand, nahm promises a meal that is “an exercise in balance, with the dynamic interplay of hot and sour, sweet and salty.”  Certainly, Thomspon does not shy away from traditional Thai ingredients and flavours, making this an exquisite and authentic Thai dining experience not to be missed.

Our menu came in at around $55CAD for a family style appetizers and mains (9 dishes in total) and individual desserts (not including drinks, tax and tip).

nahm at the Metropolitan Hotel

27 South Sathorn Road Tungmahamek, Sathorn
Bangkok 10120
Thailand
+662 625 3388
http://www.comohotels.com/metropolitanbangkok/dining/nahm

Nahm at The Metropolitan in BKKOwner/ instructor, Tam Piyawadi Jantrupon has spent considerable time abroad and is fluent in English.  She made use of her cooking skills (learned from her aunts and grandmother then honed in culinary school) in Los Angeles where, as the spouse of a diplomat, she had the opportunity to cook for the Thai community.  At Amita, Tam hopes to share the experience of true Thai home cooking in a laid-back environment.Classes also include a welcome herbal drinks, a garden tour, demonstration class, hands-on cooking of 4 dishes which students sit down to enjoy together at the end of the class and a full set of the recipes of the day.Finally, if you’re looking for a way to transport those Thai flavours home with you, I’d highly recommend the Amita Thai Cooking School for a hands-on cooking class.    With a choice of three menus, these half-day English language classes include transportation to and from your hotel (including a boat trip from Maharaj Pier along Chao Phraya River via Bangkok Yai canal to the school).

Price: 3000 Thai Baht (approx $95CAD) per person.

Amita Thai Cooking School

http://www.amitathaicooking.com/162/17 Soi Wutthakat 14
Wutthakat Rd., Talad Plu  Thon Buri
Bangkok 10600
Thailand
+662 466 8966* thanks to this article (http://bangkok101.com/2011/08/street-eats-jok-pochana/) on Bangkok 101 for filling in a few gaps about this elusive eatery!

cooking school

Written by Mardi Michels

Delicious Peru

“With distinct regional variations and many diverse influences, this eclectic, mouth-watering cuisine that’s sweeping the culinary world is best enjoyed in its birthplace.”

The day had been chock full of alpacas. Riding in a minibus, climbing high into the Andes from sprawling Arequipa to the villages of the dramatic Colca Valley, I’d seen alpacas all along the way. Alpacas on the road. Alpacas grazing on the arid mountain vegetation. Alpacas hanging out in the backyard of my little Spanish-style casita, which overlooked the soaring cordillera. And that evening, chatting with César Landeo, the young executive chef of the restaurant at Las Casitas del Colca, a luxury property tucked away in the valley that places top priority on good, fresh, local Peruvian food, I had a nice slice of alpaca on my plate.

Peru-Image-1

Peruvian cuisine is fast becoming the toast of the culinary world. Integrating an eclectic (and tasty) mix of influences brought to this South American country by immigrants from around the world including Spain, Italy, the Caribbean, West Africa and even China, Peruvian restaurants are popping up from New York to Paris. But to get the true taste of Peru, you need to make a visit to the homeland. While Lima-based celebrity chefs like Gastón Acurio and Rafael Osterling have led the way, some of Peru’s best food is found outside the capital, and the country’s cuisine varies along with its widely diverse climate and geography, from the wild rainforests of the Amazon to the high-altitude delicacies of the Andes to the pleasures of the coast.

Chef César was teaching me to cook lomo saltado, a dish normally made with beef sirloin and which occupies a high place in the pantheon of Peruvian cuisine. Essentially a stir fry (which brings in the Chinese influence), the preparation incorporates Creole/Caribbean frying and sautéing techniques, and chef César caps it all off with a shot of pisco, which is – apologies to the Chileans – a most Peruvian liquor. Here in the remote Colca Valley, chefs must use the ingredients they have on hand, and to that end the Casitas are home to an impressive network of gardens and orchards that provide fresh herbs, fruits and vegetables to the kitchen. And with beef not readily available, chef César has added a local touch by using alpaca. Flavoured with pisco, sautéed in onions, red wine, soy sauce and coriander, on a base of quinoa infused with yellow chili – one of the staples of Peruvian cuisine – plus Parmesan cheese and other delicious ingredients, this adds up to a unique, eclectic, mouth-watering dish. The alpaca is local and 80 percent of the herbs and vegetables are grown on the property. “Here in the mountains, you need to plan ahead,” says Chef César. “The gardeners plant according to my menus. So I’m always thinking three months ahead.”

And if the Colca Valley is remote, the Peruvian Amazon is even more so. A few days earlier, I flew to Iquitos, a city of almost half a million inhabitants, built on the banks of the Amazon River, a sprawling place deep in the rainforest that isn’t connected by road to any other major centre. From there, we took the only road in the region to the small town of Nauta and boarded a Delfin river cruise. A spot of sophistication in the humid heart of the jungle, the cruise featured luxurious cabins, a fully stocked bar, air conditioning and – importantly – gourmet cuisine. Our days were spent fishing for piranha, hiking among squirrel monkeys and three-toed sloths, buzzing around in skiffs on caiman-spotting outings and making visits to local villages with no electricity or modern conveniences, where people live in thatch-roofed structures with hammocks for beds.

Peru-Image-2

Again, the cuisine we enjoyed was a reflection of our surroundings – ceviche (another dish in the Peruvian culinary pantheon) comprised of river fish and crustaceans, dishes made with root vegetables like cassava, as well as copious amounts of tropical fruits, from citrus to bananas and plantains. The ship’s executive chef, Isaac Arevalo, who grew up in Iquitos, explains that many of the fresh ingredients come from the villages along the way, and that it just makes sense to cook what you have in your own backyard – especially when your backyard is filled with some of the juiciest, freshest foods you’ll find anywhere. “My main inspiration is everything around here – the flavours, the colours, the textures,” he says. “I mix them all together, create, and add a gourmet twist.”

On one of my final days in the country, I took the quintessential Peruvian excursion to Machu Picchu, which is even more majestic in person than it is in pictures. I spent hours taking in the view from the crop-growing terraces that overlook this great Incan holy city, then spent considerable time walking through its former rooms and ceremonial spaces. Among the ruins was a surprise – the remnants of kitchens, used to feed the Incan ruling class.

Peru-Image-3

That evening, back in Aguas Calientes, the small town at the foot of Machu Picchu, I chatted with Carlos Mayta Zamora, executive chef at the Sumaq Hotel. Although he’s originally from Lima, Zamora noted with a boyish smile that he was inspired by ancient Incan ingredients and techniques when he moved to this mystical place. Driven to explore further, he visited local native communities, gathering information on their cuisine and in the process forming relationships with local farmers. He now creates meals that could be called ‘Machu Picchu fusion,’ using local ingredients that owe much to the Incas, but in many cases integrate Creole touches that he learned back in Lima. “Because we’re here at Machu Picchu, I want my food to incorporate ancient techniques using local ingredients,” he says, talking with his hands. “I want it to complement the history of the citadel.”

Zamora then served a feast: alpaca ham with huancaína sauce, potatoes and Andean cheese in a ball, tacu-tacu, a form of tortilla with tender stewed beef served on a base of local beans and rice, crowned by huacatay, a native herb with some kick, finished off by a sort of mousse made from kiwicha, a staple grain, and squash. It’s all muy rico – the term Peruvians use to describe a meal that’s rich and delicious. In fact, it was a meal so good, you could even say it was historic.

By Tim Johnson

Specialty Crystal Cruises Restaurants

cs-intro_cs_hero_sea_960x415When you travel Crystal, you’re travelling in luxury. Crystal Cruises not only offers you exceptional service but an exceptional dining experience.

In our last post, we talked about the exceptional restaurants in the highest-rated ships in the world, Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity. In this post we will talk about the speciality restaurants that Crystal Cruises has to offer in their ships. Crystal Cruises provides alternative specialty restaurants to enhance the evening dining options and provide the opportunity to enjoy a variety of culinary environments.

Prego

Charming and romantic, Prego brings the flavors of Italy to Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity. The Valentino at Prego offers a seasonally changing menu with an extensive fine-dining menu. Valentino is considered by many to be among the finest Italian restaurants in the country.

Samples of the menu include:

Vitello Tonnato “Prego Style”
Ahi Tuna Tartar & Pink-Roasted Veal Loin, Micro Greens

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Osso Buco
Veal Shank Braised in its own Jus, Vegetables, Tomato, Porcini and Fresh Herbs, Served with Mascarpone Polenta.

Take a look at the full menu by clicking here.

Silk Road & The Sushi Bar

The eclectic–and delectable–cuisine of world-renowned master chef Nobuyuki “Nobu” Matsuhisa is prepared by Nobu-trained chefs at Silk Road and The Sushi Bar. Regarded for his innovative approach to sushi, Nobu blends classically styled Japanese foods with distinct Peruvian and European influences.

Samples of the menu include: 

Seafood Ceviche
Assorted Seafood, Tossed with Nobu Ceviche Dressing.

Nobu Box
A sampler of Nobu’s Most Popular Signature Dishes. Beef, Cod and Rock Shrimp.

Grilled Washugyu Beef rib eye Steak
On Wok-Fried Vegetables with Three Kinds of Sauce: Anticuccho, Teriyaki, and Nobu-Style Wasabi-Pepper.

Take a look at the full menu by clicking here.

Book a tour with Crystal Cruises by clicking here.

 

A Crystal Dining Experience

When you travel Crystal, you’re travelling in luxury. Crystal Cruises not only offers you exceptional service but an exceptional dining experience.

crystal dining

When you travel on-board two of the highest-rated ships in the world, Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity, you will discover the hallmarks of Crystal: extraordinary service, abundant space, exceptional quality and incredible choices— the Crystal Cruise essence and difference.

“Freshness and innovation are the hallmarks of the Crystal dining experience.
From your choice of dining times in the Crystal Dining Room to lavish themed buffets on deck or intimate experiences in our specialty restaurants, you’ll find an ambiance and cuisine to suit your every mood.”

Choose from an abundant selection of cuisines, restaurants and styles— Crystal Cruises offers something that anyone can enjoy: The classic Crystal Dining Room, the intimate Vintage Room, the striking Sushi Bar or the delicious comfort of a meal served in-Suite/in-stateroom. From the extraordinary cuisine of celebrity chefs and legendary restaurateurs such as Nobu Matsuhisa and Piero Selvaggio to the inventive menus created by Crystal’s own acclaimed culinary team, dining aboard Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony promises to delight and surprise even the most discriminating palate.

crystal dining2The Crystal Dining Room:
Offers an extensive selection of regionally inspired cuisine prepared in the classical French tradition. The array of tantalizing options includes our “Lighter Fare” low-sodium, low-cholesterol and low-carb selections, plus vegetarian offerings.

Click here to see a sample menu.

The Vintage Room

For the traveller with exquisite taste and who enjoys a bit of privacy, the Vintage Room is meant to enhance your dining experience. Crystal’s Ultimate Vintage Room Dinners are one-of-a-kind culinary experiences featuring some of the rarest wines in the world. Offered a few times each year on both Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony, depending on the wines selected the exceptional dinners are priced at an estimated $1,000 per person.

Click here to see a sample menu.

Our next post will describe all of the specialty restaurants.

 

The Crystal Cruise Experience

If you’ve heard about Crystal Cruises, you know that it’s the pinnacle of luxury.

“At Crystal Cruises, we are motivated by a single goal: to provide you with the finest experience not only in cruising but, in all of luxury travel.”

When you travel on-board two of the highest-rated ships in the world, Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity, you will discover the hallmarks of Crystal: extraordinary service, abundant space, exceptional quality and incredible choices— the Crystal Cruise essence and difference.

veranda-CCYour accommodations on-board are impeccable. You’ll be pampered. A personal butler who will anticipate your every need will attend your penthouse suite. Complimentary amenities will include wine and a selection of your favourite spirits. You’ll have a sanctuary at sea. Your spacious, contemporary stateroom has all the touched of your own home: wireless internet, television, DVD player, soft drinks, bottled water as well as something you probably don’t have at home, an ocean view. The ulliving area- CCtimate indulgence. You’ll have a separate living and dining area, private workout studio, sound system and three flat-screen televisions. Delicious beginnings. Savor the arrival of each day with a quiet breakfast on your private verandah. Simple luxuries. Enjoy the beauty of fresh flowers, the pampered comfort of twice-daily housekeeping and nightly turn-down service.

The bars and lounges on-board are astonishing. Enjoy custom-blended cocktails at the Cove Bar. theater- CCImagine fresh mango, muddled raspberries and a zest of ginger. When the sun sets, the fun rises at LUXE. Your nights will be accompanied with an amazing DJ and an incredible atmosphere. If the nightclub isn’t for you, you can enjoy a Broadway-style production, Hollywood celebrity guests, comedy revues and classical recitals in the theater.

The difference is crystal clear.

 

Interested in Crystal Cruises? Click here to speak to one of our specialists.

What you didn’t know about Olives

800px-NCI_2_green_olivesOlives have become an essential ingredient in the kitchen and especially in Mediterranean cuisine. In a previous post, we talked about how good olives are for your health but did you know all these unique facts about them?

1) Olive oil is produced the same way now as thousands of years ago. Olives are still harvested by hand, collected in nets and placed at the foot of an olive tree. Several days later, olives are  taken to the closest mill where stones weighing several tonnes crush the olives and pits into mash. The olive mash is then spread on to thin mats and pressed, separating the oil.

2) Olive oil is a stretch mark prevention treatment.

3) Greece is the largest producer of olive oil.

4) Olive oil contains no cholesterol, sodium or carbohydrates.

5) Eye shadow was once made from olive oil. Women in Greece created the first ever eyeshadow by mixing olive oil and charcoal. 800px-Olives_in_bowl

6) Your baked goods will last longer if you substitute butter for olive oil. The vitamin E and poly-phenols help for a longer shelf life.

7) Olives start out green and turn black or purple as they ripen.

8) Olives are drupes— fruit with skin.

Chef Christine Cushing just released a brand new olive oil with  the taste and aroma of fresh almonds, green apple, green banana and fresh lettuce. Click here to find out about it. Also, if you’re interested in the Mediterranean and Mediterranean cuisine, find out about an EXCLUSIVE Bon Vivant offer by clicking here.

Five Iconic Views While Dining

By Kevin Yeung

We know you love to enjoy the finest foods around the world, but what if we told you that you can enjoy those finest foods around the world with a stunning view included? Here is my list for unforgettable experiences while you enjoy the local seasonal seafood or classic recipes infused with a touch of modern elegance; all paired with fine wine.


Felix

the Felix, in Hong Kong

The View: Located in the swank Peninsula Hotel, this 28th-floor restaurant offers floor-to-ceiling windows that provide panoramic views of Hong Kong’s light filled skyline across Victoria Harbour.

The Food: Features fresh seasonal dishes such as slow-cooked sea bass with black shrimp mousse, crab salad and tuna tartar with dandelion salad.

Tip: Don’t miss the Symphony of Lights show- Hong Kong’s nightly laser and light show at 8pm every evening shown across the harbour


Ithaa

the Ithaa, in Maldives

The View: With 180-degree views, visitors are literally surrounded by fish, sharks, and coral reef- this is a truly unique dining experience that’s intimate yet totally immersed in an underwater world.

The Food: A contemporary, European menu in a six course dinner or four course lunch- each paired with expertly selected Champagnes. Special indulgences include caviar for dinner.

Tip: Make a reservation early- especially the 6:30pm seating to see the sea life in day light, change colours at sunset, and then at night.


JulesVerneParis

the Le Jules Verne, in Paris

The View: Perched high above on the Eiffel Tower’s second level, 410 feet above the ground; it offers expansive views of the City of Light. Go in the Evening to see Paris’ twinkling lights.

The Food: Enjoy the revered culinary traditions of France with a modern touch to classic recipes.  Each dish is a taste of intense flavour with a 100 percent French wine list.

Tip: Make your reservations 3 months in advance and ask for the a window table to truly enjoy the spectacular views.


Above-Blue

the Above and Beyond Restaurant, in Santorini

The View: While marveling at the breathtaking sea views and the celebrated Santorini sunset, in the dramatic backdrop of spectacular volcanic beauty is the ideal setting for an unforgettable culinary experience.

The Food: Authentically Greek, simple and delicious dishes are prepared with the finest and freshest ingredients from small producers of Santorini and the nearby islands.

Tip: Stop by for lunch during your port visit to Santorini with Oceania Cruises.


Daphne

the Daphne’s, in Barbados

The View: For beach-side dining at its finest, it’s hard to match with Daphne’s; especially with the Caribbean’s sun and sand destinations.  Cool breezes from the sea is as refreshing as the sunset, as you enjoy a candlelit dinner once the sun has set.

The Food:  This luxurious beach-side establishment serves an infusion of modern Italian with the local tropical seafood that blends well with home cooked elements.

Tip: For lunch, try the buffalo-milk burrata with prosciutto di Parma, and for dinner, try the jerk pork chops with pickled green banana, roasted pepper, and pumpkin.

Mango-Banana-Pistachio Strudel with Raspberry Sauce and Dried Mango Chips

From A Taste of Excellence Cookbook, Rudi Sodamin

Mango-Banana-Pistachi-Strudel-600x450

Chase away the wintertime blues with this exciting combination of creamy tropical fruit in crisp phyllo.  You can make the mango chips and raspberry sauce up to two days in advance.


YIELD: 6 SERVINGS

Ingredients:

Strudel

  • ½ cup shelled pistachio nuts
  • 4 sheets phyllo dough (18 inches X 14 inches)
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ cup yellow or white cake crumbs
  • 3 ripe bananas, peeled, and split lengthwise
  • 1 large mango, peeled, pitted, and chopped into ¼-inch dice
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for sprinkling

Mango Chips

  • 3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 mango, unpeeled and well washed

Raspberry Sauce

  • 2 (12-ounce) packages frozen unsweetened raspberries, thawed
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 table spoon kirsch or framboise liqueur (optional)

Cooking Instructions:

For the Strudel

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread pistachios on a baking sheet and bake for 5 to 7 minutes.  Let cool, chop, and set aside.  Increase oven temperature to 375°F.  Lightly coat baking sheet with butter.

Lay 1 sheet of phyllo on a work surface (keep remaining phyllo covered with a damp kitchen towel and plastic wrap).  With a pastry brush, brush phyllo sheet lightly with some melted butter.  Sprinkle with one-fourth of sugar and one-fourth of cake crumbs.  Lay another sheet of phyllo on top.  Lightly brush with more butter and sprinkle with more sugar and cake crumbs.  Repeat with remaining 2 sheets of phyllo.

Arrange some sliced bananas and diced mango along 1 long edge of phyllo so that bananas cover an 18-inch x 3-inch area.  Sprinkle fruit with some pistachios.  Top fruit with remaining bananas, mango, and pistachios.

Starting from the fruit-lined edge, roll up phyllo into a cylinder.  Place strudel on prepared baking sheet and brush with melted butter.  Bake for 10 minutes, or until pastry is golden crisp on the outside and warm on the inside.

For the Mango Chips

Preheat oven to 200°F.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper, nonstick foil, or a nonstick baking pad.  Sift 1½ tablespoons confectioners’ sugar evenly onto lined baking sheet.  Use your palm to hold down a whole mango as you make slices around the pit with a mandolin or other manual slicer.  Keep fingers clear.  Arrange a single layer of the best-looking slices on the prepared baking sheet and sprinkle evenly with remaining 1½ tablespoons confectioners’ sugar.  Bake slices in middle of oven until beginning to crisp, about 2 hours.  Immediately peel chips off parchment and cool on a rack.

For the Raspberry Sauce

In a heavy medium saucepan, stir berries, sugar, and water over medium heat until mixture just comes to a boil, stirring occasionally.  Transfer mixture to food processor and puree.  Scrape into a wire mesh strainer set over bowl; press on solids to extract as much liquid as possible; discard solids in strainer.  Mix liqueur into sauce, if desired.  Thin with water if necessary.


To Serve

Transfer strudel to a cutting board and slice into 6 diagonal slices.  Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar and transfer to plates.  Garnish with fruit sauce and mango chips.

 

Bon Appétit!

Mediterranean Superfood: Olives

In a Mediterranean diet, olives are essential. Not only are they colourful and tasty, they are extremely healthy— who knew?

Olives are known to be an excellent source of monounsaturated fat, to which many of olive oil’s Oliveshealth benefits have been ascribed, especially its ability to prevent heart disease. Both olives and olive oil have been studied because of their potential beneficial effects toward blood pressure and cholesterol levels. What else can olives so do for you?

1) Protect against colon, breast and skin cancer. Olives and olive oil contain phenolic antioxidants as well as anti-cancer compounds such as squalene and terpenoid.

2) Olives can reduce pain. They contain a compound called oleocanthal, which has been shown to have strong anti-inflammatory properties— mimicking the acts of ibuprofen. Adding olives to your diet can reduce the pain of arthritis.

3) Olives and olive oil protect against ulcers. The antimicrobial properties in olives help to combat the bacteria responsible for causing stomach ulcers.

4) Olives contain a substancial amount of iron! Iron also helps to build he enzymes responsible for regulating immune function and cognitive development.

The next time you’re wondering what your Spring meal is missing, use olives.

If you’re interested in Mediterranean cuisine, click here for more information.