What if …you take a Gastro Tour

London. The centre of the universe, if you ask me, I wouldn’t doubt it. London has everything and everyone from all corners of our planet. It’s fascinating, right? London – much like a rubber band, stretches further and further, but we don’t mind, we love it, we live it. We walk, we smell, we run, we eat, we meet, we laugh, we learn, we love. I happen to walk and learn and taste and smell on one of the strolls in London with Celia Brooks (on Coffee_Me soon), a little sneak peak of one of her guided gastro tours. One can pass by same places over and over again backwards and forwards. I did for years and years and never bothered to walk inside. I guess I just didn’t have the right company or never got invited to find out. How many of us actually do bother to find out the origin of places? Do we care how it all began or where we eat or drink? I will not bore you with my philosophical thoughts and trying to find the roots:) The fact is I totally loved that day with Celia, I’m glad there are people out there who are so passionate about what they do and implement it in their business and most importantly they make other people ‘wow’ back.

We started our tour on the famous detective street, Baker Street, at the Japanese Knife shop, where many blades are put over each other to make them super sharp and unique and expensive, well-known chefs buy them here and chop chop chop. We had a demonstration by an employee which was truly impressive. When I become a chef, I know where I will be getting my blades from.

Next stop was the little street off Marylebone High Street that leads to the car park. Yes, the one where the Farmers’ Market runs every Sunday. La Fromagerie, a place that started off with one particular cheese which the owner once tried whilst in the French Alps back in the days. Now it’s a busy cafe with French and Italian cheeses in the fridge and fresh foods from British makers. It’s busy and famous but cosy, easy to grab a seat at in the morning and enjoy a coffee (almond cappuccino vegans can always enjoy), make a trip to the fridge and try THE cheese, I only took pictures and enjoyed the smell though:) (well it really doesn’t bother me). Once cheese lovers are done with their supplies, walk out of the shop and fall into the Chocolatier that is right in front. Yesssss a shop full of chocolate and one of the first British finest chocolates ever produced. They even offer customers a taste of the hot dark chocolate which they make mixed with just water so vegans once again clap your hands. Bright packaging inspired by the Marrakech tile patterns, aromas and pockets full of dark chocolate. Next stop is the Winery Le Vieux Comptoir (no, we didn’t taste any at that time of the hour:) for French food and wine lovers, this would be a must place to visit. Elegant interiors and a very French ambience inside. Rococo and Le Vieux Comptoir run all kinds of workshops too – some are chocolate themed, others are about wine and sometimes they are combined in one, definitely something worth checking out.

Our tour continues and next stop is Portobello Road. I have lived around this area for over 14 years and I was sure I know the place as well as I know the five fingers on my hand, turns out I know ‘nada’ (Spanish for nothing). Our 1st stop is the Spanish supermarket R. Garcia & Sons, walk through the doors and once they close behind, you are in Spain. Everyone speaks Spanish and everything is Spanish, the atmosphere is great as is the pickled garlic, just so tasty. For meat eaters there is, of course, the leg to slice and take away, JAMON I mean:) (I always associate the word with the movie where young Penelope and Javier as Almodovar debut their cinematographic success). Next stop is the Spice Shop on Blenheim Cres, walking into this shop is like walking into a spice shop in Marrakech, the authenticity and smell of it, I swear I had to turn and look out of the window just to make sure I hadn’t travelled through space and time. Incidentally, the shop is right in front of the ‘Books for Cooks’ shop, so once you pick all the spices but perhaps don’t know how to apply them, go and fetch the right book for this.

Walking further – a biscuit shop ‘Biscuiteers’, smells so sweet and inviting, external facade is reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland kinda feel. Instead of sending someone flowers, send them box of funky corky biscuits, healthy too, without gluten:)

Next stop – more cheese, wine and ham to enjoy:) ‘La Cave a Fromage’ (as long as one doesn’t take these gastronomical footsteps the same day, one has a chance to survive:) After you finish with the wine and the cheese and some other small platters accompanying your wine, cross the road and walk into the bar which started its own gin production ‘Portobello Road Gin No.171’, from small batches for customers only to producing larger volumes for sale due to the popularity and goodness of it. This was the end stop of our tour, gin was great, I recommend:)

What if… you love Greece as much as I do.

Been meaning to do this post for a while. I just wanted to show Greece that maybe most of us don’t know of. I travelled extensively around this beautiful country and its islands over the years covering three seasons of the year.

(click on the pictures for gallery viewing)

S-P-R-I-N-G

From snowy mountains, you can go down to the coast line and enjoy the sun.

 

S-U-M-M-E-R

We all know how beautiful the waters of Greece are and its islands but the dried out landscapes of southern Crete and its gorges are just so raw and peaceful.

A-U-T-U-M-N

This is the season I love the most, in the mainland it’s full of yellow and red colours, mountains are covered in snow but down in the south of Crete, it’s full on flower blossom season. One can swim and sunbathe with nobody around.