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Favourite Food


Travel quotes

All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt.― Charles M. Schulz


Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow.― Anita Desai


National Day of ...


Abkhazia November 26 (1994).  

India, November 26 (1949).  

Mongolia, November 26 (1924)


See all National Days for NOVEMBER.


Food related events....

NOVEMBER 2014, food-related events.


Food related events on this date in history!



Want even more food history?


...visit The Old Foodie.



See where we have been...

24 percent of the world's countries!


Discover Ireland's sensational Atlantic coastline.

Now you can walk along it!



Pack your Big Yellow Suitcase ...

... find out where you can take it!


One of the world's largest cities, Shanghai still has a personal side.

Find out what it is .....


Proving there's more to Bora Bora than sand and palm trees.

Find out what....



Would YOU fancy a night in a Swiss igloo?

Find out more...



Is this the world's most dangerous road??

See what you think...



Bangkok is a bustling fascinating city with friendly people.



Which part of the UK is said to be the 'world castle capital'?

Find out here...



How would you like to holiday in a palace?

How about this one?


 Wonderful Agra - romantic ...and more.

Find it here.....


African touring just gets more do-able!

See what we mean?



Or maybe you can spend some time in Greece?

Here's how....



Picton on a perfect day....what could be better?

Find out more about New Zealand's hidden gem....


The butcher-shop that's open only ONE day a week.

Find out where (and why)....



Peru is a fun place for food...

... and they love a good festival!



The French love wine, but they consume another drink even more!

Learn where to find it at its source!


Not all art belongs in a gallery.

See these outdoor sculptures....


Outer-space artists??

Where is this....?



If you missed seeing our story about Kashmir, and meeting Ali Baba .... it is now.



Did you know that France covers more time-zones than any other country?

Find out why...


Spice travel with Herbie!

Learn more here....


We caught a whale!

...on camera



Stay in a Royal Pavilion in the desert...

Where, where?



Lovely Kerala has more than elephants to experience...

.... but the elephants are pretty special!










Ever wished you could fold up that way-too-big SUP (stand up paddleboard)?

Now you can.....





Mangoes are coming into season now and are as healthy as they are delicious!

More about mangoes....




Did you know potato blossoms were once fashionable?

Find out other strange potato facts.....





Now you can earn a prestigious wine diploma - and cruise the Med at the same time!

See how.....




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


Lovers of Venetian food will be thrilled with this insiders' guide to the city and its food.

Read more.....


Whether you are a wine expert or just want to be, this book is for you.

Find more here...



If you can't get to Scandinavia - you can at least bake its cakes and breads.

Here's how....


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

Read more.....



Yes, the City of Light has still more secrets to disclose!

Discover them here....



Thai Royal Cuisine is now within your reach with these authentic recipes, edited by a descendant of Prince Chakrabongse.

....enjoy preparing them yourself.


Love cycling? Live in Melbourne or visit often?

You need this book!


Is there a budding chef in your family? This eBook will help them master more dishes.

Here it is.....

America-bound travellers, take note! 

The fully revised edition is now  available....


If you'd like a food-loving guide to show you around Paris, Jane is the person to do this.

Read her book....


Want to eat the world? Here 39 cuisines have been explored and explained.

Find out more....


Love cooking, like trivia?

This book is for you!



Ever wondered what makes Melbourne so special?

This book will show you....


The Big Apple has some huge and hidden surprises.

Discover more...

Now you can bake like Phillippa!

Get ready for the compliments!

Got friends coming for a party - this is the book for you!

Find some new recipes....

One of the stars of MasterChef share his take on healthy food.

Good and good for you!

Are you ready for a fashionable shopping spree in Paris?

You need this book!

If you have small children and live in Sydney or Melbourne, these cute but very helpful guides are for you!


The world's greatest maritime explorer - and real person.

An engaging read...

Would you like to cook like an Italian nonna?

Silvia can show you how....

Sneak a peek at the tried, true, and prize-winning recipes of CWA Judge, Merle Parrish.

...learn to cook like she does


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

Read this and be delighted...

Craving a burger? Live in Victoria - or visiting?

This book is a must to read...

Finally Sydney has its own Gault & Millau restaurant guide...

....but do you know how to pronounce it?

The biggest and most beautiful book of Italian food.

Read about it here....

Coffee seems to be the fluid which fuels most of us in this beautiful book

Learn about who grows it, roasts it and makes it.


If you think you may be the only person 'that everything happens to' when travelling - read this!



and laugh out loud....

Give this book and you give even more. 



find out how.......





Window on Auckland, New Zealand

First things first. On a recent cruise to Auckland, top of my list on leaving the ship was to find a decent - no make that fabulous – cafe. Cruise ships are not noted for the coffee they serve and, to put it simply, we were desperate for a good shot of caffeine, delivered in the right surroundings.

Because the port of Auckland is located almost at the waterside end of Queen Street we had only a block or so to walk to reach The Square cafe in Queen Elizabeth Square.

There is something about the smell of a good cafe. The aroma of freshly ground coffee, the scent of just-baked blueberry baked muffins, and this also goes for Imperial Lane, just a little further up Queen Street, another place which became an instant favourite with its moody interior and truly fabulous coffee. Just watch for the fairly obscure entrance.

In fact Auckland is a good place for food-lovers. Not only is the city centre well-endowed with cafes and restaurants, but the surrounding areas produce almost everything needed by their kitchens. 

One bustling pedestrian mall is packed with pubs and restaurants, and it is obvious the locals appreciate having alfresco dining so close to their workplaces. Aucland's temperate climate make places like this ideal to enjoy a sunny lunchtime.

Enjoy the video

And, yes, of course there's the ubiquitous fish and chips!

While Wellington has Peter Jackson of LOTH fame, Auckland has Lucy Lawless, screen siren who appeared as Xena Warrior Princess in the late 1990s. She is an Auckland girl of Irish stock - the former Mayor of Mt Albert's daughter, in fact. While filming the series she split her time between Auckland and Los Angeles.

Yet, long before these silver screen idols - five hundreds years before white man set foot here - there were real warriors on these islands. Although some of their exploits are lost in the vapours of history, pride in New Zealand's Maori heritage is strong. This fine sculpture stands at the end of. Queen Street overlooking the harbour. In his hand he holds a ceremonial club, which possibly would have been made from the local greenstone, and his cloak would have been woven from native flax and the feathers of indigenous birds.

To see some originals, the most significant collection of Maori treasures in the world, including a waka taua (war canoe) from the 1830s, can be found at the Auckland War Memorial Museum.

Auckland looks after its visitors. These 'Big little city guides' who will be happy to give information, hand you a map and point you in the right direction to see as much as you can of their city.


Don't want to walk? Short on time? These easily recognised buses are useful.

One thing I always notice when visiting New Zealand is the standard of arts and crafts. Maybe its origin is in the Pacific heritage that uses so many of the fluid lines of ferns and sea creatures in emblems. Maybe it is just the country's separation from Australia - and the rest of the world for that matter - that has enouraged its artisans to reach deep into their creativity and explore their individuality. 

Whenever I am in Denmark or Sweden I am always struck by the marvelous restraint used by local designers, and in local carvings and sculptures. New Zealand artisans adopt a similar economy of line in their work. As far as arts and design goes, I see this country as the 'Scandinavia of the Pacific'. Whatever is the case, the net result is unique souvenirs and irrestistible keepsakes .....

.... and a fashion eminence that encourages people to travel here........... 

....just to meet up with New Zealand designers and maybe take home next year's wardrobe.

But even though New Zealand has a confident, prosperous air, and aspires to be on the cutting edge of things, there is a respect for the past as well.

Auckland has some lovely old heritage buildings....

....all still in use.

Here, the old Ferry Building Erected by the Auckland Harbour Board between 1909-1912, oversees the sleek ferries that constantly come and go just below it.

Each year dozens of cruise ships visit Auckland, bringing many thousands of international visitors to the city, now nicknamed SuperCity.

The city centre has grown in recent years and now a modern high-rise CBD is the backdrop to the harbour. 

When people think of Auckland they're most likely to remember the hotly contested America’s Cup in early 2003, which brought the cream of the world’s sailing fraternity, complete with well-heeled hangers-on, and put this harbour city smack bang on the tourism map. Suddenly Auckland (the country’s capital for the first 25 years of the colony) went from a relatively small city, with a population of 1.3 million, to a vibrant centre with a café culture, night life and heaps to do.

Auckland is home to 23 regional parks, two marine reserves, 100 kilometres of coastline, more than 500 kilometres of walking and hiking tracks and – believe it or not - 48 volcanic cones! Fortunately the latter are inactive.

The city centre itself is relatively flat, but if you make your way to the 328 metre-high Sky Tower and take the elevator to one of the several observation levels, you can enjoy a panoramic view coast to coast. At this point, the North Island of New Zealand is only 16 kilometres wide and it is possible to see 80 kilometres in every direction from the top of the tower.

If you want to see one closer, then you can take a ferry from the wharf at Auckland  and walk to the summit of a volcano on Rangitoto Island.  The alien landscape of this black lava volcano, which last erupted in 1750, is softened by beautiful Pohutukawa forest. It's also the youngest volcano in the Hauraki Gulf.


These red street lamps are a feature of the waterfront, and just a half-hour ferry ride away (or ten-minute helicopter flight, if you have the cash), is Waiheke island, home to New Zealand's smallest wine producing area. Goldwater Estate was the first, established in 1978. Stoneyridge the second, in 1982, also planted the first olive grove, and there are now 27 wineries, and more groves, dotted across the island.

Te Whau Vineyard - pronounced the Maori way, Te Fow - was established in 1993 by Tony Forsyth (above) and his wife Moira. It is one of the best situated with its lookout position on the headland, and views of the island, the Gulf and distant Auckland. It's an endless panorama - forest and pastures deeply indented by watery inlets, then more islands, more bays and stony headlands trimmed by bobbles of rock. It's hard not to gasp.

Shaped much like an eagle in flight, Waiheke’s elongated outline only enhances its beauty - coves, inlets, rocky promontories, isthmuses - a whole geography lesson in one place. More than 50 South Pacific islands scatter the Hauraki Gulf beyond Auckland and include native bird sanctuaries, lava-strewn inactive volcanoes, sunlit sandy islands, vineyard covered islands and retreats with ferries that provide regular links to Auckland.

Once the precinct of artists and get-away-from-it-all escapists who found the space and  rhythm here to follow their alternative lifestyle, Waiheke still has a peaceful ambience, but has morphed recently, into the base for a number of wineries and olive groves, and home to white collar Auckland commuters who value the separation it allows from their work. After all, Waiheke is just a comfortable 35-minute trip by Fullers ferry from Auckland CBD, so who could blame them?

This island, the Gulf's largest, is home to around 7500 residents, but summer sees the crowds arrive, swelling the population to 30,000 or so. To deal with this, there are all the usual backpacker, bed and breakfast, and self-catering accommodation options - some of them 'bach's', a New Zealand word for a simple cottage or fishing shack -  but also many more upmarket lodges, plus a resort and conference centre. 

Back in the city, as night falls,it is almost time for us to leave.

Sunset gilds the Sky Tower and paints the twilight cityscape in surreal film-set colours.

From a vantage point, high on the top deck, we watch as we slowly pull away. In the Maori language the Auckland area is known as Tamaki Makau Rau – the maiden with a hundred lovers - and so it’s not so surprising, with this area’s great natural beauty and charm, that thousands more visitors become smitten each year.


As our ship is piloted out through the channel to leave this lovely city, we reluctantly also say goodbye. But not for too long, we hope. 

More information....


- Sally Hammond



News Feed

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Do you know....

See how well you know  your food.

Test yourself......




Taste of Melbourne, 13-16 November

Margaret River Gourmet Escape, WA, November 21-23





Here's a new take on an old Russian favourite.

See what you think....


DISCOVER the WINNERS in this year's ABC.delicious Fine Food Awards.


Drum are the results




You need a snack - BUT everything is too sweet, too rich in fat??

Try these guilt-free options...



Maille mustard has been a leader worldwide since 1747. Now it is in Australia!

Find out more....


New blog on the block!

World Baking where Sally shares breads of a country on its own National Day.



SBS's Feast magazine is out again, full of stunning recipes.

Learn more...


Need a coffee????


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


True North - set the compass to find where comfort food central is!

See where it is....








NOVEMBER food-related events worldwide.



Magical, mystical Morocco with Nadine Abensur, an expert who knows and loves the local food!

Be quick for this one!


Queensland has whales too...

....and they are helping research!



Ever dreamed of having your own place in France.

This may make it easier....



Let's go WHALE spotting in Sydney!


They're migrating NOW!




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

But wait, there's more.....


NSW's Central West has TEN great Food and Wine experiences for the cooler months.

Check these out!


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

...than in Paris?

Taste Miami with someone who knows.

See how to do it...

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

...and not just with carrying your purchases!

Find out more.....



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

Here is the answer for food and wine lovers travelling around Australia.

Read more....



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

slhlogoiPhone and iPad App packed with information and pics. what has made Sydney the great city it is.

BUY IT NOW on iTunes here

or for Android  here!


A year of fabulous food festivals is ahead in 2014 for Britain!

Find out when and where....


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

Check it out here...




Contributes to:


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.