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Favourite Food

&

Travel quotes

 

Potatoes are one of the last things to disappear, in times of war, which is probably why they should not be forgotten in times of peace.― Mary Francis Kennedy Fisher, How to Cook a Wolf

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As a very young man, I thought of Europe as a place that could not exist except in the imagination, in glorious dreams, and through the careful lies of the silver screen. ― Roman Payne

 



National days.....

 

Malaysia 16 September (Malaysia Day, the formation of Malaysia)

Dining in Malaysia...

Trivia: Malaysia is the only country that includes territory both on the mainland of Southeast Asia and in the islands that stretch between the Asian continental mass and Oceania.

 


 

Mexico 16 September (Grito de Dolores, declaration of independence from Spain 1810)

The food of Mexico....

Trivia: A Mexican tamale called the zacahuil is three feet long and weighs about 150 pounds. More...

 


 

Papua New Guinea 16 September (Independence from Australia in 1975)

Eating in Papua New Guinea....

Trivia: PNG is one of the very few places on earth which lie close to the equator where places at higher altitudes experience snowfall.

 

 

Chile 18 September (the first Government Junta is created 1810)

The food of Chile....

Trivia: Chile is the longest country in the world at 2,647 miles (4,620 km), north to south, and extends across 38 degrees of latitude.

 

 

St Kitts and Nevis 19 September (Independence from the United Kingdom 1983)

The cuisine of St Kitts and Nevis.....

Trivia: It was once known as the Gibraltar of the West Indies.  

 


 

 

Belize 21 September (Independence from the United Kingdom in 1981)

The food of Belize....

Trivia: Belize has the only Jaguar reserve in the world, the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife sanctuary.

 
 

 

Malta 21 September (Independence Day, independence from the United Kingdom 1964)

Dining in Malta.....

Trivia: Calypso Cave is said to be the cave that Homer wrote about in The Odyssey.

 


 

Mali 22 September (Independence from the Mali Federation 1960)

The food of Mali....

Trivia: When Mansa Musa, emperor of the Malian Empire in the early 1300s, made his Mecca pilgrimage, he made Mali famous by bringing with him 12,000 slaves, 60,000 men, 80 camels that each carried between 50 and 30 pounds of gold, and building a mosque every Friday during his journey.

 


 

Saudi Arabia 23 September (unification of the kingdoms Nejd and Hejaz 1932)

Saudi Arabian cuisine....

Trivia: Saudi Arabia is the largest country in the world without a river.

 


 

Cambodia September 24, Monarchy restored (1993.

Dining in Cambodia....

TriviaThe Cambodian flag is the only national flag that has an image of a building – the Angkor Wat.

 


 

Guinea-Bissau 24 September (Declaration of independence from Portugal 1973)

The food of Guinea-Bissau....

Trivia: Gumbe’ is the most popular form of music in Guinea-Bissau. The genre of music is derived from the country's folk singing tradition.

 
 

 

See all National Days for SEPTEMBER

 


 

Food related events....

Strangest US food festivals in 2016

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Food festivals around the world in SEPTEMBER

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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....

Find out which visas are the most difficult to receive....

 


 

PACKING FOR  TRIP?

Pack safe. Here's how to know what is allowed and what is BANNED.  

 


 

 

traveltipstop

 

Ten fun things you can be covered for by travel insurance.

Find out what they are....

 


 

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

 

 

 


food_of_week_02

It is that time of year in Australia, and these black beauties are on everyone's dinner wishlist.

Find out more.....

 


triviatop

ciaos

Winter is here. Did you know these facts?

Test your knowledge here...

 

 

MSC Cruises' hottest new destination.

Can you guess where this is?


 

 

books

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


Ah, Chocolate! Here presented by 'the queen of chocolate'!

Find out more....

 


 

If you always thought cooking Indian was too difficult....

... think again and see how easy it can be.

 


 

Find out what Edinburgh has been hiding.

Read more here.....

 


 

Need somewhere to rest during a busy day in London?

Here are about a hundred ideas....

 


 

Do you love Paris? Would you like to really know your way around?

This book will show you how...

 


 

Favourite cookery book writer Anneke Manning, opens her BakeClub files.

See what she is sharing...

 


 

What's for dinner? Now you kn ow with the help of this expert.

Nadia's book has the answers....

 


 

Is there such a thing as a quiet spot in Los Angeles?

This book shares 120 of them....

 


 

If you love food and travel equally, this new novel might satisfy your hunger.

Take a look....

 


 

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....

 


 

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....

 


 

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... 

 


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....

 


Love cooking, like trivia?

This book is for you!

 

 

 

 

 

Another Window on Singapore

They used to call Singapore 'a fine place to visit' - and you can see why. Some of these make perfect sense - read through and tick the obvious ones. But, durians? Visit Singapore (and much of south-east Asia) and you'll find that most hotels ban them too, because they win the world award for smelliest food.

The good news is that there is so much more to Singapore than strange rules and foods that stink.

I decided on a recent trip that I would see if I could upend the idea that Singapore is an expensive city. So come with us on a free-and-easy stroll around Singapore, the island city, state, country that has more oomph and more courage and ambition than anywhere else in the world.

This is the only city that has been kicked out of another country. True! in 1963, Malaysia basically told Singapore it was not needed in its new country which was evolving to the north on the Malay Peninsula.

Chinese-Peranakan lawyer, Lee Kwan Yew, picked up the challenge, became Prime Minister of the new Republic of Singapore and almost single-handedly, with a whole bunch of tight restrictions and rules (see the first picture) plus the immense savvy and entrepreneurial skills of the Singaporean people, lifted the island from a smallish city with a population of 1.8 million to one of the world's top trading nations.  

Now, as one of the Four Asian Tigers, along with Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan, it is notable for maintaining exceptionally high growth rates (in excess of seven percent a year) and rapid industrialization between the early 1960s (mid-1950s for Hong Kong) and 1990s.

All this in only fifty years!

 

Last year, 2015, was a year of great celebration - and with good reason.

The highest proportion fo the population of Singapore has Chinese heritage. Some are peranakan, which is a hard enough word to pronounce without trying to explain it. Especially when these people are sometimes also called babas and nyonyas, and the cuisine - fragrant, spicy, irresistible concoctions - is called Nyonya. Or maybe peranakan. Confused yet?

It is simply this: the peranakan people came from mixed marriages between Chinese male nationals and local Malay women. The Chinese men are called babas and the women nyonyas.

Singaporean cuisine is one of the world’s best – and most affordable - and the breakfast I go looking for as soon as I leave the plane in Singapore is this - kaya toast – coconut jam, boiled egg and toast - with ‘sock’ coffee.

It’s not what you think. The coffee is strained through a cotton filter, not a real sock!

Everyone talks about the shopping in Singapore. In the 1970s and for a couple of decades, this was the place for duty free purchases - watches, cameras and other high-end things. More recently this has changed a little, but the shopping centres are still amazing places to wander.

When shopping, it doesn’t cost anything to look, and there may be bargains too. Erskine Road on the edge of Chinatown, just across from the Maxwell Hawker Centre is the place for cool novelty items. At the other end of the shopping spectrum, wander and window-shop at The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands. Big names, luxury items, high prices, but you can look for free. 

Sensational skylines come free too. This gracious old building is now dwarfed by the high-rise.

Inside, it is a bustling food court. In fact, if you are after some inexpensive dining, stalls in places like this have meals for a fraction the price of those in restaurants, and often just as good. As a precaution, look for the food hygiene certificate, as each stall must display it, as it is part of their licence to sell food.

If you are on a really strict budget, the Singapore Buddhist Lodge on Bright Hill Road, serves a daily buffet of free vegetarian dishes to anyone, rich or poor.

Streetside vendors sell slabs of ice cream (including durian - you know you have to try it, at least once!) between bread slices or wafers. That SGD $1 is about the same as AUD.

And if you want to know another cool way to deal with Singapore’s equatorial heat, look out for ais kachang on a menu - a dish of shaved ice slathered with with syrups and beans and jelly and fruits. 

One of the charms of wandering around Singapore is the chance to enjoy its wealth of street art - either sculptures or installations. This eighteen-metre piece pays tribute to all the past and present Singaporeans who have made this city so successful and vibrant.

A replica of Rodin's famous sculpture outside this very luxurious hotel looks as if he is considering whether or not he should check in. Having stayed there on a previous visit, I would advise him: Definitely, yes!

The Marina Bay area is the centrepiece of modern Singapore. Reclamation work began in 1969, and involved diverting the Singapore River mouth into the bay rather than the sea.

It is our guess that Singapore's town-planners are also photographers - or artists - as the positioning of buildings, monuments, scultpures and art seems to beg you to use the mulitude of great photo angles.

Here is the Merlion statue, the place where everyone comes to have their photo or selfie taken. It is especially popular from the other side, where, if you get it right, the Merlion appears to be dousing you with his stream of water.

The Merlion is the personification of Singapore. It is a play on the city's original name, Singapura (lion city). The Mer (sea) lion is a further play on that.

This prickly customer is the Opera House, but ask a local for directions to the 'Durian', and they will send you here too. If you think I have forgotten our 'free' tour of Singapore, it's important to know that all of these places are free to wander around and enjoy.

This is the other Fullerton Hotel, the original one which began its days in 1928 as Singapore's General Post Office.

 

Don’t miss the stunning Marina Bay Sands laser show each evening, best seen from the city side of Marina Bay. At Gardens by the Bay it costs nothing to walk amongst the stupendous Supertrees which play atmospheric music in the evenings. 

And this is where we sneak in something that does cost a little, but is so good and so worth-it that I don't feel at all guilty. The forty-minute cruise is $25 (Singapore dollars - but, as you know, that's almost exactly the same as AUD). It takes you from near the Merlion,  along the Singapore river and then back into Marina Bay. As you travel you will pass under old-Singapore arched bridges and get a closer look at heritage buildings.

The bum-boats, a local name for small water taxis, are an ideal size for small groups, and leave about every 15 minutes.

Leaving the bay behind, the boat begins its leisurely way up the Singapore River, the original place for ships to bring cargo into the port in the early days of the city.

Period- style buildings, many reflecting Britain's colonial era here, are also built on the waterfront for easy access for supplies. The shutters are also a colonial addition to allow breezes in but to keep out intruders. The recently-added bright colours are so 'Singapore'.

The architecture could be in London, which makes sense it was carried out by architects and builders from Britain during the colonial period.

Many of the local boatmen working on craft on this river have come from families who may have been doing the same task for generations. This particular business, Singapore River Cruise has been operating since 1987. You will see more parts of the cruise on the video (above).

Finally, forty minutes later, we are delivered back to the quay to discover sailing boats decorating the bay.

Whatever you do, when next in Singapore, get moving, with a map and your walking shoes, and locate Singapore’s top sights. Merlion on Marina Bay for photos, the Fountain of Wealth for some good luck, the Singapore riverside with its sculptures, restaurants and bars for some local culture, and Marina Bay just for the beauty and enrgy of it. All are all photo-worthy.

Every weekend Singapore Footprints’ student volunteers offer free walking tours of the Singapore River and Bras Basah and Bugis.

 
As it happens, Bugis is where we head next. We can overlook Bras Basar's busy crowds of shoppers from one part of the hotel where we stay.
 
 
It is here, at the lovely Hotel InterContinental Singapore, that Singapore's Peranakan theme comes alive. The architecture of the facade is that of the early shop-house traders, and the pastel colours have been intentionally used by the refurbishers of the hotel to honour its historical background.
 
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There is a grandness to the hotel, with an airy height, and cool, genteel demeanor.

Singaporean people who are referred to as Peranakan are descended from Chinese men who can many gernerations ago seeking work on the Malay Peninsula. Many married Malay women and naturally two great cusines and cultures blended into a new )and delicious) one.

In the lobby areas, Peranankan patterns and colours are echoed in the floor tiling....

... and friezes of authentic wall tiles elsewhere.

On a display table a Peranakan teaset is ready for someone to demand 'Tea!'.

Some of the rooms and thesuites in the hotel have been specially decorated, channelling the Peranakan theme again. See the ceramics on the shelves, and the card on the bed is a bedtime story: Peranakan legend. 

And of course the hotel knows that after all that wonderful food, you need somewhere  to get fit.

Many hotels serve a classic high tea, but here there is not just one .....

.....but two! There is a bright and modern version as well.

The free view from the 70th-floor City Space Barthe top of the Swissotel the Stamford will also help orientate you.

In one direction you can see the shop houses along the Singapore river and the skyscrapers and modern city behind.

Look the other way and there is (anti-clockwise from top) Marina Bay Sands, Gardens by the Bay, the Singapore Flyer, and the 'durian'.

Of course if you have the time, you can relax here and enjoy the view over a good meal.

The buffet is almost as extensive as the view!

For a small entry charge, why not learn more about the Peramakan culture at this museum?

No, Queen Victoria was not a Peranakan! But she is honoured here because she was the monarch during the colonial period and she is remembered with affection by the local Peranakan people.

Peranakan handiwork is colourful and meticulous. You will have seen beaded shoes and slippers in many places, but here, in the museum is a large piece depicting a resident of Australia - a sulphur-crested white cockatoo!

Many Chinese customs were adopted by the Perankan families, and here is a sumptuous marriage bed...

... and a table set with the best ceramics and silver for a huge family of twenty or so diners.

Peranakan food is known for its rich and spicy dishes such as this calamari..

.. here served with a simple pomelo and nut accompaniment.

We ate these dishes (and a few others!) in True Blue, a Peranakan restaurant  just a few steps from the museum.

Decorated in typical Peranakan (sometimes call nonya or nyonya - meaning 'aunties' - as the women were the cooks, usually) it has the ideal surroundings in which to relax and immerse yourself in the culture.

Getting around town, the MRT rail system offers an ez-link card which deducts your fares as you travel on trains of buses. The Singapore Tourist Pass offers tourists unlimited travel on basic bus services and MRT trains with one, two or three-day unlimited rides.

The InterContinental Hotel offers guests a free Guided Heritage Trail tour of the area surrounding the hotel. It's location in the vibrant ethnic heart of Singapore makes this a fascinating insight into the beginnings of this city.

The real bargains are in Singapore’s various precincts. Mustafa Centre, in Little India, is Singapore’s only 24-hour hypermart, laden with costume jewellery (a whole aisle of jangly bangles alone!) clothing, electronics, watches, perfumes. Beat the crowds and shop at 2am! Haji Lane, close to Bugis MRT, is a hip place to be seen and spot the local (and visiting) fashionistas, without spending a cent. 

Throughout Singapore, there are temples and churches which are free to enter. Of course tourists must be sensitive to the fact that to the people who worship in these places they have immense meaning, and we all need to dress appropriately, remain quiet and be sensitive when taking photographs.

Changi Airport wins awards for its style and efficiency. Passing through? Even then, Singapore is considerate of your budget. With a layover of at least 5.5 hours, you may book a 2.5-hour Free Singapore Tour. Choose between a daytime Heritage Tour or a dazzling evening City Sights Tour.

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A baker's dozen of more free things to see and do in  Singapore:

  • Colourful ethnic festivals throughout the year.
  • Many Buddhist and Hindu temples are free to enter.
  • Sungei Buloh, a wetlands reserve park, free entry on weekdays, a dollar at weekends.
  • Singapore Art museum (SAM) is free on Friday evenings.
  • Free admission at Singapore’s National Museum and Changi Chapel.
  • The National Gallery charges a small entrance fee.
  • Asian Civilization Museum has an entrance fee, but offers free guided tours twice daily.
  • Walk the Southern Ridges trail, or hike the treetop suspension bridge at MacRitchie Reservoir Park.
  • Walk around the Marina Bay Street F1 Circuit.
  • Visit parks at dawn to see locals practising Chinese martial art, qigong.
  • Picnic on the grassy top of Marina Barrage, and fly a kite or watch others.
  • Stroll Marina Bay boardwalk along the Singapore River.
  • Picnic at the Botanical Gardens.

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More information about Singapore......

Words and pictures: ©Sally Hammond

Video: ©Gordon Hammond

(Sally & Gordon travelled to Singapore independently, and stayed as guests of Hotel InterContinental Singapore)

 

 

 

 

 

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Breaking News!

 

Emirates has been named the best airline in the world at the annual World Airline Awards held by Skytrax at the Farnborough International Air Show in Hampshire.

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...this baby wombat in Tasmania

(PS: his name is Derek!)

 


 

Heading south from Sydney? Stop at East Hotel in Canberra.

Eat well at Joe's Bar too...

 


 

Discover a cooler side to Malaysia.

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Here are FIFTY of the world's friendliest faces.

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A bay named for a predator? A 400-year-old plate? Aliens? What sort of place is this?

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The lovely Hunter Valley, NSW, has something for everyone.

Find out its secrets....

 


 

Take an 'international trip' but stay in Sydney!

Find out how to do this.....

 


 

Perth - the world's most remote capital which has everything - dolphins included!

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

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Pack your Big Yellow Suitcase ...

... find out where you can take it!

 

 

 


 

 

tastethis

 


DON'T MISS THESE:

2016

AUSTRALIAN FOOD EVENTS

 

The Truffle Festival, June to August, Canberra region, ACT.

 


 

RECIPE TIME

Sweet relief for time-poor winter pudding lovers.

Three minutes is all you need...

 


 


Anyone want a slice of Granny's currant pie?
 
 
 

 

Joe's Bar at East Hotel in Canberra is worth checking out. 

...especially if you love truffles!

 


 

 MUST TASTE THIS

Australia's premier ginger producer now has more reasons to make Aussies smile.

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Need a coffee????

This app is now unavailable but you can still stay in touch on the FB page.

Taste_03

Hear a podcast

 
 
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Top chef has found a new Abode at ParkRoyal Darling Harbour.

Food you have to taste...

 



 

Lot 1 near Wynyard, this one is worth knowing about too.

Find out more....

 



 

Woollahra's BUZO has evolved.

Find out about the Evolution menu....

 

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TAKE A BREAK

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

 

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

 


 

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..

 


 

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

Find out more....

 


 

So you want to explore SYDNEY?

This new app is just what you need.....

 


 

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

Find out when and where....

 


 

Festivals throughout Australia too in 2016.

Check these out...

 


 

Scotland's Year of Food and Drink 2016....

...what's on?

 


Festivals in Korea, 2016

Here they are....

 


 

2016 Malaysia's Year of Festivals....

Find out when and where...

 


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

Check it out here...

 


 

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 .....

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

 


 

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!

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

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

...find out where

 

 

 


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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.