Nomadic Boys – Discovering Hoi An Local Food on a Vespa

Author: , July 6th, 2015

Nomadic Boys

Nomadic BoysVietnam is a heaven for foodies, with every region boasting its own unique yummy prizes.

Our favourite part of Vietnam for local food was around the centre of the country in Hoi An, where we experienced some of the tastiest noodles ever and a variety of delicious street food…on a vespa!

We took a food tour in Hoi An with the excellent Vespa Adventures.

Our guide, nicknamed, “Trinh and Tonic”, showed us some of the highlights of central Vietnamese local food.

Full Story at the Nomadic Boys | Vietnam Gay Travel Resources

Italian Days Food Experience in Modena, Italy

Author: , September 20th, 2014

Italy Food Tour - Dolly GoolsbyWow. What a day we had! We had arranged to do a tour again, with Alessandro, owner and creator of Italian Days Food Experience. (http://www.timesofitaly.com)

Susan and I had done this tour last year, and I thought, correctly, that my travel group would enjoy the experience. All the products we got to see and taste, the cheese, the balsamico, and the prosciutto, are certified DOP, which means that they are made according to the regulations of the consortium that makes sure all the steps are followed, from the feeding and care of the cows that produce the milk for the cheese, the grapes and aging process of the balsamico, and the food fed to the pigs that become prosciutto as well as that aging process. It is a very exacting process for each step for each product, but that DOP seal means that one can be sure of the high standard and quality of those foods.

We were picked up at our hotel in Bologna, by our driver, Raphaello, at 0700 this morning. We drove from Bologna to Modena, to a Parmigiano- Reggiano factory, where we were witness to the birth of a new batch of this wonderful cheese.

The milk cooks in one of 10 copper vats, the beginning of the year-long process of becoming true Parmigiano -Reggiano cheese (DOP). This is the certification of the Consortium that regulates the production of the cheese. Alessandro explained the process to us, then we walked through the factory, viewing cheeses in various stages of aging. By law, the cheeses are aged for a minimum of one year.

After the cheese tasting, we went to a balsamico factory. This factory has some of the best balsamico I have ever tasted. The one called balsamico condimento is aged at least 6 years, then there are two other ones that are aged a minimum of 12 and 25 years, respectively. The making of that wonderful balsamico is so different from the kind of balsamico we get in the United States. But of course, it is very expensive, too, so we just enjoyed the tastings. Wonderful on gelato and ricotta.

Balsamico ages in little barrels. Balsamico is also regulated by a consortium, so the final product will have a seal that verifies it has met the standards and is certified DOP.

Then we were off to the prosciutto factory. Again, Alessandro explained the curing and aging process to us. Prosciutto of Modena is also a DOP product. The entire process is regulated by that consortium.

Of course we got to taste the finished product there, also, accompanied by bread sticks and more Lambrusco wine. This wine, by the way, is not the Lambrusco you might remember from the 1960’s, in the United States. This wine is really good.

Then we went to lunch! We were taken to an organic farm/winery, called Corte d’Aibo, which is now also an agroturisimo. ( http://www.cortedaibo.it). So one could go stay there for a vacation, help out with the farming and enjoy their wonderful food every day of vacation. Sounds good to me!

Finally, we made our way back to Bologna, with the expert driving of Raphaello. We got back to the hotel at 4:30 p.m. We had had a long, wonderful day.

So tonight, in Bologna, we did not feel like eating or drinking anything, except water. Some of us took a long walk through town this evening, but primarily we just had to rest up after the long day of eating and drinking. What a great life we have!

Tomorrow we go to Cinque Terre. More adventures are waiting for us, I do believe. So I will say, Ciao for now, and catch up with you again when we are on the Ligurian coast.

Dolly

By Dolly Goolsby – Full Story at Dolly Travels | Emilia Romagna Gay Travel Resources

Tasting the Best of Prague on a Food Tour

Author: , September 4th, 2014

Prague Food TourI’m not sure when my love of food really started. I don’t think I was always so hungry but at some point (probably the first or second year out of college) I realized how much fun food can be. It became less of a necessity and more of a desire. There were a brief few years where I had a sudden fascination with cookbooks (thanks to years of working at a Barnes & Noble bookstore), but my own cooking took longer to develop into a passion. These days, food is pretty much always on my mind. Especially when I travel.

Travel and food go so well together, I don’t really know why the idea of “food tours” took so long to catch on. But these days, you’d be hard pressed to visit a city and not find out about a food tour.

Ever since taking my first food tour in 2011, I’ve been hooked, and have now taken these kinds of tours all over the world–from Bangkok to New York (and just about every city in Europe!). And my passion for food & travel has even gone so far that I now also work quite a bit for Eating Europe Food Tours–a company so clearly aligned with my own passions: good food, good fun and local experiences.

This article was written by Adam Groffman, author of the internationally popular travel blog, Travels of Adam. Read more here: Tasting the Best of Prague on a Food Tour.

Czech Republic Gay Travel Resources

An Italian Food Tour in Bologna

Author: , June 17th, 2013

Our dear friend, Bella (Dolly Goolsby) is on the go again, this time in Italy. She has graciously allowed us to republish her travel blogs. Enjoy!

Parmegiano Cheese - DollyStill trying to catch up with all I want to tell you about.

My friend and I left Zurich on Thursday, and finally made it back to Italy. This time our stop was in Bologna. I had never been to Bologna before. To spend any time, so this was another new city to visit. I was disappointed that Rick Steve’s doesn’t cover Bologna in his guide books, as we found it to be a delightful city. There are museums, old towers, churches, beautiful parks, a university. We really enjoyed our stay there.

I had chosen Bologna for our stay, as I had read about a food tasting tour that sounded great to me, so we had made reservations for this tour for Friday.

As expected, Alessandro, our guide for the day, had his driver pick us up at 0700 on Friday, as our first stop was to be at a factory that makes Parmigiano – Reggiano cheese. Cheese making takes place early in the morning, so we had to be early to see this. Of course, we got a tour of the small factory, got to see the cheeses being made and lifted out of their huge cooking vats.

Then we saw each process of the product, from being lifted out of the vats, to being placed in molds; several days later being processed in a salt water bath, finally being placed onto shelves to finish aging. This cheese now has to age at least a year. The cheeses are turned every ten days, and the outside of the cheeses are brushed to remove any oil or fat that has oozed out during the curing stage.

Each step of the process is highly regulated, or the cheese cannot be stamped and approved by the Consortium and give the D.O.P. approval. This regulation starts with the cows that produce the milk for the cheese. The Consortium says what kind of feed must be given to the cattle, and the cows cannot be given any antibiotics.

We got to taste some cheese, with focaccia bread and some very good Lambrusco wine… don’t scoff, now. Lambrusco does not have a very good reputation in the United States, but here where the Lambrusco grapes grow, and are made into a sparkling red wine, it is delicious.

Then we were off to another small factory in Modena. This one make balsamic vinegar. This was other very interesting lesson, followed by a tasting. Balsamico has to age at least 12 years to be certified, again by a Consortium.

The process starts with the producers crushing Lambrusco and Trebbiano grapes, then letting it ferment and age in wooden barrels. Some of the balsamico we tasted was 35 years old, thick as molasses and ever so good…..also, ever so expensive. For our tasting, we had fresh ricotta with balsamico on it, also vanilla gelato with balsamico.

Then we were on to the next stop, this time a prosciutto factory. Once again, prosciutto is also regulated by a consortium so that it can be labeled Prosciutto of Modena, D.O.P. the Consortium regulates how the pigs are fed and raised, and each step of the aging process. This little factory that we visited has been in the same family for seven generations, now being run by a fine little lady, about 70 years old.

The hind legs of the pigs are brought here, weighed, then covered with sea salt and put into cold storage for 10 days. They are then brought out, the salt is all wiped away, and new salt is applied. Back into another cold storage for another 10 days. This time the salt is wiped away, and the legs are hung in an area that is cool, but not refrigerated. The legs then go through the aging process. They are aged at least one year.

Finally, we went to lunch..we had already had tastings at all the factories. But it was after 1:00 p.m., so we went to an organic farm and winery for lunch. OMG!

This lunch went on and on…first, a salad of fresh butter lettuce, apples and almonds, then a pasta, then another pasta, and another. And the wine flowed freely, too. By this time, I was so full I cold hardly move, and out comes a main dish of chicken and roasted vegetables. This was followed by dessert, which, fortunately, was 3 different platters of all kinds of fruits. The berries were my favorite. As full as I was, I just had to eat some of these.

Eventually, we made it back to our hotel, where I fell into a food-wine-induced stupor. About 2 hours later, we got up, and cleaned up, ventured out of the hotel, but neither of us wanted any food or drink. We wanted to go up to the park, where there was to be a jazz session that evening.

We had met a very nice couple from Edinburgh, Scotland, Desmond (Dez) and his wife, Bridget, on the food tour. They were staying near where we were staying, so we met up again that evening in Bologna to listen to jazz in the park.

That day was so fantastic. If you get a chance to be anywhere near Bologna, I encourage you to check this out – http://www.italiandays.it. This is a small operation, run by Alessandro and his German girlfriend, Barbara. Alessandro really knows his stuff, and he has a fantastic sense of humor.

I am so glad we did that, although I really didn’t feel like eating again till about lunch time the following day!

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