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Favourite Food

&

Travel quotes

 

Food: like a loving touch or a glimpse of divine power has that ability to comfort. Norman Kolpar

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To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted. - Bill Bryson  

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National days.....

 

American Samoa (US17 April (Flag Day)

Cuisine of American Samoa.....

Trivia: In July 2008, the Minister of Transport, announced that the switch from driving on the right, to driving on the left, would come into effect at 6am on Monday, 7th September 2009. The 7th and 8th September 2009 were public holidays, to allow people to familiarise themselves with the new rules.

 


 

Zimbabwe 18 April (Independence Day, declaration of independence from the United Kingdom 1980.

 

Dining in Zimbabwe.....

Trivia: Zimbabwe is believed to be the location of Ophir, the ancient wealthy country from which King Solomon got ivory, gold, and such other precious items.

 


 

England, United Kingdom 23 April (St George's Day, patron saint of England)

On the English table....

Trivia: Mother Shipton's Cave near Knaresborough, North Yorkshire, is England's oldest recorded tourist attraction. Its owner, Charles Slingsby, fenced off the site in 1630 and started charging visitors to gape at this so-called petrifying well.

More fascinating facts....

 


 

 This year Jewish Passover (Pesach) is from April 22-30.

(image: SoulSkorpion)

Find out more about the foods served during this period.

 


 

Anzac Day, Australia and New Zealnd, April 25.

See something that is traditional on this day.

 


 

Sierra Leone 27 April (Republic Day, independence from the United Kingdom 1961)

The food of Sierra Leone....

Trivia: Sierra Leone is about the size or either Wester Virginia (US) or Ireland.

 


 

South Africa 27 April (first democratic general election 1994)

On the table in South Africa...

Trivia: South Africa has 9,600 plant species, 70 percent of which are not found anywhere else in the world.

 


 

Togo 27 April (Independence from the French-administered UN trusteeship 1960)

Eating in Togo...

Trivia: Each of the green bands on the flag represent on of these: the forests, agriculture and hope of the future.

 


 

 

Sardinia 28 April (Sa die de sa Sardinia - Sardinia's Day - celebrating the uprising of April 28, 1794)

Sardinian cuisine....

Trivia: When Ringo Starr visited Sardinia in 1968 on Peter Sellers' boat, he was served octopus for lunch by the captain. The resulting conversation between the two men was the inspiration behind The Beatles song "Octopus's Garden".

More fun facts about Sardinia.....

 



 

See all National Days for APRIL

 


 

Food related events....

Strangest US food festivals in 2016

Food festivals around the world in         APRIL...

 

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Food related events on this date in history!

 


 

oldfoodie

...visit The Old Foodie.

 



 

See where we have been...

24 percent of the world's countries!

 


 

Australian travellers - do you need a visa?

Check the visa requirements by country...

Read more....

 

 

traveltipstop

Five tips to save money on car hire when travelling.

Helpful hints for every driver....

 


 

Here's an update on the US HAZMAT rules for aircraft luggage.

 

 

 


food_of_week_02

How about the world's priciest cheese for a Christmas gift your a friend who is a cheese lover?

Find out more.....

 


triviatop

ciaos

The Chinese have so many proverbs about food.

Learn some of them....

 

 

Here are some great tips to get the best out of dining on a cruise ship.

Find out here....


 

 

books

.............and Apps and DVDs


 

If you think you know Australia well, you need to see this book and realise there is still more.

Read more...

 


 

Sydney has many precincts and now you may explore them.

See what you may have been missing out on....

 


 

Have you been to Berlin? This book will make you want to visit.

Read more....

 


 

Something for every day of the year from famous writers and speakers through the ages.

Read more.....

 


 

Now you can cook all your favourite foods from Japan's capital.

Find out about it...

 


 

Here's a book with double value.

Find out what it is.....

 


 

India has some of the best vegatarian dishes in the world.

Find them in this new book....

 


 

Chef-farmer Matthew Evans helps us through hot weather cooking.

Read more...

 


 

Could this be the el Bulli of Australia?

Find out why.....

 


 

Spend some time with Australia's 'Queen of Nyona'.

Learn her history and Asian cooking secrets....

 


 

Looking for a way to spend your weekends in Australia in 2016? 

Here are 52 suggestions complete with things to do and places to eat....

Read more..

 


 

 

Hate waste? Want to feed your family healthily?

Get preserving....

 


 

Frustrated by a fridge full of leftovers? Don't know what to do with them?

Your worries are over....

 


 

It's not often a Michelin-starred chef shares his favourite home-style recipes.

Get the help of an expert...

 


 

Attention! All those who thought they would never cook Japanese food at home!

A leading chef show you how....

 


 

How to eat like an Italian! 

Fratelli Fresh's Barry McDonald gives the recipes you need....

 


 

Lovers of Middle Eastern food will devour this book - and its wonderful recipes.

Read more...

 


 

Too old to colour-in? Not with this delightful book.

Release your inner child...

 


Michelin starred chef Jason Atherton would like to assist you in your kitchen...

.... that is, his amazing dessert cookbook will.

 


 

Outback food from a Masterchef contestant.

See what the country has to offer....

 


NEW from Lonely Planet

&

See more...

 


 

Meatballs for everyone - from the Meatball and Wine Bar.

Read about them...

 


 

Lovers of food and beer, need to see this latest book from Ross Dobson.

Find out more.....

 


 

Perfect for summer. Hartsyard shares its secrets.

Learn them all....


 

Aimed at the food industry, but also valuable for home cooks, this tongue-in-cheek book might make you think.

Read more...

 


 

One of the delights of travel is eating on the street.

This book helps you cook the food at home too...

 


 

One family of foods can help you eat your way to health!

Find out how....

 


 

Heart-shaped Tasmania is all about good food.

Find out who is making it even better ........

 


 

How big is your garden? Even a tiny courtyard is big enough to add to your menu.

Find out how....

 


 

The best of the best. Iconic cookery teacher Gretta Anna's recipes with her son Martin Teplitzky.

See it here....

 


 

Food is art - and here, a master chef  marries Italian cuisine and painting.

Find out more about a truly beautiful book ...

 


For those who love the world and its beauty and want a REAL life.....

.....this is the book for you.

 


 

Fancy some fishing - with a chef and TV celebrity and two other seafood experts?

Go fishing (and cooking) with these there....

 


 

Healthy, beautiful and well-fed?

Now you can be....

 


 

Heading for Hong Kong? Take this book (and an appetite) with you!

Read all about it.....

 


Explore 19 areas and discover Tokyo's best food and shopping.

Read more....

 


 

Find your way around a new country - greet the locals, eat the food...

Explore with Marco Polo!

 


 

Everyone's favourite grandmother and cook, as known by her grand-daughter, Kate Gibbs....

....sharing her recipes for life , and for the kitchen

 


 

Now you can create your own home patisserie.

A top French patissier shows how....

 


 

Does Australia have the world's best beaches?

Find out where Australia's best ones are....


 

Join five women for a weekly meal in Umbria, Italy - simple, but so much more.

Find out about this beautiful book... 

 


 

Adriano Zumbo is king of the A-Z of sweets, desserts and pastries.

Now you can learn his secrets...

 


 

If Thai cookery has always been too difficult...

This is the book for you....

 


You probably know of Rick Stein from his TV and cookbook fame, as well as his restaurants...

..but now you can get to know him from his memoir

 


Put the Taste of Australia into your meals with Lyndey Milan's latest book.

Read more....

 


 

Fresh from the West - chef Sophie Zalokar's delicious recipes using local south-west Western Australian produce.

 

Read more....

 


If you are a reader of food blogs, this behind the scenes peep at the real story, will captivate.

Read more.....

 


America-bound travellers, take note! 

The fully revised edition is now  available....

 


Love cooking, like trivia?

This book is for you!

 


Burma is a mystery to many people. Its food is even more obscure.

Read this and be delighted...

 

 

 

 

Window on Hong Kong (2)

Hong Kong: skyscrapers, sunsets, street markets, food and flowers - is there more?

If you miss out on seeing a world-famous landmark that's not a bad thing. It simply gives you something to make you want to return. And you'll appreciate it just that bit more too, when finally, it all comes together and you can enjoy for yourself what others have been going on about for years.

Victoria Peak (also called, simply, 'The Peak') is the place for the ultimate panorama of Hong Kong. That's unless you count one other place - but more of that later. On our previous visits to Hong Kong, the humid sub-tropical climate meant that it had always been shrouded in cloud or drenched by rain. This time, the sun shone and we, and the crowds, loved it.

Hong Kong has several main areas. To the north, there is, at the southern end of a peninsula on the Chinese mainland, KowloonHong Kong Island, the Outlying Islands (of which Lantau is one, which most people know because the airport is there) and the New Territories, further north of Kowloon. Want even more? Macau, a separate territory, is close enough for a day trip and accessible by ferry or helicopter. Read more....

Just knowing all this, hints at how diverse the region is. Hong Kong is a SAR, a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China. On our most recent trip, the aim was to tick off places from our itch-list (those things we are still itching to see) and discover yet another facet of Hong Kong.

On Hong Kong island, from one district to another, the mood changes dramatically. We realised this as we headed to the southern side to visit Stanley. Public transport is fast, clean, easy and affordable, and you can get an Octopus Card that will take you on the subway (MTR), buses, ferries to almost anywhere.

 

 

After a subway ride to Central, we caught a bus and passed through neighbourhoods of towering apartment blocks, past sparkling bays ringed by hotels, and more apartments. Forty-five minutes later, we arrived at the market everyone talks about.

A market is a market is a market. Right? Well, yes, but then there's Stanley Market spread throughout a warren of lanes, with an indefinable ambience. Tourists flock here for the bags and cards with your name spelt in Chinese on the front, then translated literally on the back as your personality, fans, scarves and, as you can see, owls. This booth was crammed with them in every size, shape and material. 

Location may be key to success, and stairs would be a thoroughfare, but this stallholder found some downtime to read the paper.

There's plenty of art, Vietnamese lacquerware, clothes, watches and jewellery....

....but the prize for the grumpiest cat ever, goes to this stallholder's pet!

Keen bargain-hunters could easily forget that Stanley is also famous for its two sandy, protected beaches: Stanley Main Beach, on the eastern side of the peninsula, and St. Stephen's Beach, on the west. The boardwalk not only allows views of the beach but also .........

.....of course, more shopping opportunities, as well as seafood places, burgers, bars and pavement dining.

 

Where are we here? You could be forgiven for thinking it is the south of France, or maybe the Adriatic. But no, it not the Riviera, it's that same boardwalk - at Stanley, Hong Kong.

At the end, and in a plaza setting you'll even find Starbucks, Macca's and more, including Beef & Liberty Milk Bar Dinerpart of a growing chain serving excellent burgers and other milk bar/diner fare. This burger was about A$15, with fries and good coffee at half the price of the waterfront. Best of all, the owner is proud that the burgers are made using minced Tasmanian Cape Grim wagyu beef. Through the open kitchen's windows we could see the care with which they were prepared, too. 

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While on the southern side of Hong Kong island it is also worth visiting Aberdeen, 35 minutes by bus from Stanley, and only a further half an hour to return to what the locals call TST (Tsim Sha Tsui) in Kowloon. It makes a fascinating tourist loop for those who have already seen the more iconic spots in HK.

But linger a while on the waterfront of Aberdeen. There are sculptures and information boards which will fill in the history of what was Hong Kong's first major port and still remains a vital fishing hub. Many local Tanka people, associated with the fishing industry, still live on boats in the harbour. Long ago, incense trees from the New Territories were also brought here for export to other cities in China, and may account for Hong Kong's name as 'fragrant harbour'. 

No visit to this area would be complete without a sampan tour. They usually run for around 45 minutes, but because our time was running out we begged (and paid less) for a shortened version.

One place we particularly asked to see was this mega-seafood establishment specialising in Cantonese, dim sum and Western dishes. It seats 2000 diners, making it one of the world's largest floating restaurants

On the video, you may have already met Thomas, our friendly sampan driver. This is his boat, brightly painted and carefully decorated with birds and lanterns....

 
.....and decorative fireworks.

The brainchild of Dr. Stanley Ho, the world-renowned Jumbo Floating Restaurant was established in October 1976. It took four years and millions of dollars to design and build, and is ornamented in the style of an ancient Chinese imperial palace. It has had over 30 million visitors over the years, including many dignitaries and celebrities.

Children are the same everywhere, and this little fellow is totally unaware that he has climbed a sculpture which has been made to honour the industrious work of the early fisherfolk of Aberdeen.

It is important to realise that Hong Kong is more than just one island. There are 235 islands in the vicinity - most uninhabited - but Lantau, Lamma, Cheung Chau and Peng Chau can be reached by ferry (also by train to the airport on Lantau) and make ideal day trips. On many there are fishing villages, beaches, monasteries and temples, as well as cafes and shops and accommodation.

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The Lower Peak Tram, which leaves from Cottontree Drive, is the world's steepest funicular railway and offers a short but breathtaking trip. The queues can be lengthy, especially in good weather or on school holidays, so allow around an hour extra.

Finally aboard, in just five minutes passengers reach The Peak Tower, and 'the Peak Experience' with entertainment for children, shopping, cafes and restaurants.

Hong Kong's Cantonese or Hakka name sounded like the word for 'fragrant harbour'. This deep natural harbour has been the destination of trading ships for centuries. Perhaps the fragrance tag also applied to the sweet fresh water from the nearby Pearl River, or because incense was a major product of coastal factories north of Kowloon, and stored in the south, near Aberdeen Harbour.

And what a view there is from the platform at the top. Please notice Hong Kong's tallest skyscraper, above, far across on Kowloon. You'll find out something very interesting about it shortly.

Plenty of pooches come with their owners to the Peak, so it only stands to reason that any entrepreneurial ice cream seller would choose to provide something for them as well. That price is in HKD, and translates to about AUD3, but it's all in a good cause - as you can see.

There is a scoop of another kind, here, and that is the huge viewing platform atop a mall of shops, eateries and entertainment. It is the highest 360-degree viewing space in the city. Outside in the plaza there is even more, making a day's outing exactly what it is billed as - 'a peak experience'.

Here, there is also possibly the world's smallest Michelin-starred restaurant, and almost certainly the cheapest. This one is a branch of the city's third-generation family wonton business which some say makes the best noodles anywhere, using a recipe which hasn't changed in 60 years.

Hong Kong is dim sum central - and tender prawn dumplings like these (and a hundred other versions) are available throughout the city. If you have any extra time at all, do plan a lunch or breakfast and taste as many of these sorts of dishes as you can. Take a large group and you will be able to sample more.

In Hong Kong, many restaurants start serving dim sum as early as five in the morning. It is a tradition for the elderly to gather to eat dim sum after morning exercises. For the best place to watch them doing that go to Hong Kong Park.

But if you want to have a view to go with your meal, could anything be better than this? Hong Kong and its beautiful harbour laid out before you. You could even pass the time by counting (or attempting to count) the skyscrapers below.

It would take some time though, as Hong Kong has the most skyscrapers in the world. So if you don't have the patience to tally them up, here's your answer. The number of buildings which are higher than 150 metres, and so classifying as a skyscraper, is 314. It has 74 more than New York, the city in second place.

The Peak Tram which is one of the world's oldest funicular railways and operating for over 120 years, rises to 369 metres (or about 1300 feet) above sea level at an angle of four to 27 degrees. However, as you pass trackside high-level apartment blocks, the optical illusion is that they appear to be leaning at a 45-degree angle.

The Peak was, in the early days of colonisation, a cooler retreat for wealthy British residents. Around 1880, those with enough means were carried on sedan-chair by two stong Chinese men (coolies) up the steep track. See more at the fascinating historical gallery at the entrance to The Peak Tram in the city.

Today, although some people live on the Peak, the tower is located in the 396-metre Peak Gap (not at the summit) and is most famous as a tourist must-do item.

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Those skyscrapers continue, often with beautiful lines and angles.

In a city bristling with tall buildings, currently the tallest one is the 484-metre International Commerce Centre in Kowloon with 108 (or 118 - explain later) floors.

With a population of around 7.2 million, Hong Kong is one of the world's most densely populated cities. These massive tower apartment blocks would house many hundreds of residents.

Glass has been used extensively in tower block architecture in this city. Some of the reflections are stunning, and also give a sense of more light and space to the cityscape.

The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong hotel occupies the tower's top floors, from 102-118. Its wide forecourt overlooks the harbour and is spacious enough for all the various Rolls Royces and Daimlers and other fine cars to pull up and allow their passengers alight. To check in, they are then ushered to a special elevator which whisks them to the lobby on the 102nd floor.

On the 118th floor (the top floor) the Ritz Carlton hotel boasts two records: the world's highest bar and the world's highest swimming pool.

But here's a bit of trivia for you. The building actually has 108 floors above ground and four below. However the locals suffer from tetraphobia, or a fear of the number four. To get around this, floors that would have included a four (such as 4, 14, 24, and so on) were simply omitted. It is therefore marketed as a 118-storey building. Go figure!

The Ozone Bar, on the 118th floor, has been designed to maximise the massive views of the harbour and city, but also create a chic and cosy place to relax with Asian tapas-style dishes and some of HK's best cocktails, wines and spirits.

And this is the stunning view from the top at dusk as the lights come on. Could there be any better place to see this spectacular city, looking across at Hong Kong island and Victoria Peak  at the top? Stay a little longer and the 8pm nightly laser show will play across the waterfront buildings on the island.

Now here's a really interesting thing: Victoria Peak has an elevation of 552 metres, but the Peak Experience and its viewing platform is actually less than 490 metres, lower than here at the top of the International Commerce Centre.

That stunning, crazy-paving decor which is throughout Ozone, ideally expresses the relaxed eclectic mood.

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The next day, in downtown Kowloon, we decide to go shopping. Do you think we will find anything to buy? Just asking!

We set out to see as many street markets as we could in a morning and found five within easy walking distance of each other and the MTR station.

Kowloon means 'nine dragons' and was named in the 13th century for its eight hills. Eight? The ninth 'dragon' was a piece of flattery for the 13th-century emperor, emphasising that he was seen as a dragon too. The last of the Sung dynasty, he was just a ten year old boy at the time, and probably loved that.

There is a goldfish market, which turns out to also include a street full of cute kittens, puppies, rabbits, rats, mice... 

...and of course, fish.

There also seem to be a lot of places to rent too.

Gardeners will fall in love with this market. Easy to find, it centres around Flower Market Road and has everything from cacti and orchids....

.........bonsai and bamboo in more shapes than you thought existed......

...to bouquets so beautiful they could be carried by a bride.

Then of course there are the markets we all know. Bags, shoes, bras, brica-brac. Prepare yourself to haggle, and possible haggle hard. There are bargains to be had, and if you are prepared to buy six or ten of the same thing (thinking of gifts for friends and family at home) often the asking price will plummet.

This is the well-named Ladies Market,  but there is also the Fa Yuen Street Market dealing mainly in clothes, but which still yielded me a couple of lovely pashminas.

We knew we were close to the famous Yuen Po Bird Market when we spotted this man carrying his three cages down the street. It is a practice in many Chinese citiies for mainly older men to bring their small caged birds to an open local spot, a square, a cafe or, in this case, the bird park, to encourage the birds to sing to each other and enlarge their vocal repetoires. 

There is a reason for this, as these birds - often silvereyes or finches - will be entered into hotly contested singing contests. There's nothing in it for the bird, but the cash prizes (and the prestige!) are useful to their owners.

Apart from that, it appears to be a good male-bonding exercise in the open air, and a ritual the men seem to greatly enjoy. If you are a bird-lover, you may not enjoy the park itself, even though it is attractively laid out beside a winding pathnway. There are many wild birds for sale, and some of the larger ones are displayed in very small cages.

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After three days in Hong Kong, we have returned to some favourite places, found some new ones, and been, yet again amazed and confronted by it. There seems to be no simple way to describe this once-British now-Chinese city. 

There is no way, either, to fast-track to a complete understanding of it. Full of contradictions and sometimes an enigma, even to those who know it best, Hong Kong is, quite simply, an intriguing and complex Chinese puzzle. 

More information about Hong Kong......

 

Text and photos: Sally Hammond

Video: Gordon Hammond

Want to comment on this? Add your favourite Hong Kong places. Go to..........

 

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See where it is - and why....

 


 

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This house is meant be be like this!

 


 

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If you like beer, this could be helpful when you travel.

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Pack your Big Yellow Suitcase ...

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tastethis

 


DON'T MISS THESE:

2016

AUSTRALIAN FOOD EVENTS

Taste of Perth, WA, April 29-May 1, 2016

Tasting Australia, Adelaide, May 1-8, 2016

Noosa Food and Wine Festival, Queensland, 20-22 May, 2016

Foodservice Australia 2016, Sydney, May 22-24, 2016

 


 

RECIPE TIME

Bourek is a tasty Middle Eastern dish. But what if you can't find a filling to suit everyone?

This version suits everyone....

 


 

Blood oranges are in season and they team beautifully with fennel.

See the recipe.....

 


 

Don't be fooled! This is a giant-sized chocolate truffle.

(recipe and pic courtesy of Sugar Hero)

See how to make it....

 


 

 MUST TASTE THIS

If burrata is not a cheese you know, then do try this Gold medal Sydney-made one.

Find out more...

 


They're calling it the mayo for the masses - soy, dairy, egg, nut and gluten free.

Find out more....

 


scc

Need a coffee????

Taste_03

330 of Sydney's BEST cafes in this HUGELY POPULAR iPhone and iPad app!

... read more

NOW ALSO available on Android

 visit the blog and hear the good news! 

Hear a podcast

 
 
diningtop

 

This Italian cheese-maker serves it up at the table....then sells the makings upstairs.

Can you guess where it is?

++++

 

..and then there's Andy, the Irish cherry pie maker on the north coast of NSW...

...see what Coolongolook has!

dining_bottom

 


 

takeabreak_top

TAKE A BREAK

++++++++++++++++

 

Find out what food events are on around the world in APRIL

 


 

Looking for a way to spend your weekends in Australia in 2016? 

Here are 52 suggestions complete with things to do and places to eat....

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A centrally-located luxury Sydney hotel has some deals you may like for the holiday season.

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A year of fabulous food festivals is ahead in 2016 for Britain!

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...what's on?

 


Festivals in Korea, 2016

Here they are....

 


 

2016 Malaysia's Year of Festivals....

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What's happening in Rome this month....

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Ever dreamed of having your own place in France.

This may make it easier....

 


 

SPOIL YOURSELF -    TOTAL LUXURY

Tour the world in a luxury private jet .....

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Where better to take a French cookery course.....


...than in Paris?


 

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Shopping in Paris is great fun - but you might need some help...

...and not just with carrying your purchases!

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food and wine tour in one of France's most beautiful regions.

Learn more about it...

 


 

Now you can travel and pick up some artistic skills - and enjoy Italian cuisine.

...find out where

 


 

SYDNEY'S LIVING HISTORY

Find out about the (sometimes colourful) past of  Australia's first city:

slhlogoiPhone and iPad App packed with information and pics.

....discover what has made Sydney the great city it is.

BUY IT NOW on iTunes here

or for Android  here!

 

 

 


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Sally, and Gordon Hammond also operate the Australian Regional Food Guide Web site. This comprehensive directory is a great resource for everything that is happening in the regional food scene in Australia. Make sure you visit and bookmark this site. Please Follow on Twitter or Like on Facebook.