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Favourite Food

&

Travel quotes

 

Never order food in excess of your body weight. - Erma Bombeck

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Two great talkers will not travel far together. - George Borrow

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National Day of ...

 

Gabon 17 August (Independence from France 1960)

Food in Gabon....

Trivia: The rainforests are home to 777 species of birds. The largest lake in Gabone is Ogooue which stretches over a distance of 1200 km.

 

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Indonesia 17 August Proclamation of Independence day, (Hari Proklamasi Kemerdekaan R.I.), from Japan 1945)

Indonesian cuisine....

Trivia: Marco Polo is believed to have been the first European to visit Indonesia, in 1292. More....

 

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Afghanistan 19 August (Independence from United Kingdom control over Afghan foreign affairs in 1919)

The food of Afghanistan....

Trivia: Afghanistan’s national sport  Buzkashi, or ‘Goat-Grabbing’ as it is also known, is considered to be one of the most hectic and dangerous sports in the world.

 

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Hungary 20 August (St. Stephen's day)

Hungarian cuisine....

Trivia: Inventions by Hungarians include the noiseless match (by János Irinyi), Rubik’s cube (by Erno Rubik), and the krypton electric bulb (Imre Bródy).

 

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Ukraine 24 August (Independence from the Soviet Union 1991)

The food of Ukraine....

Trivia: Ukraine is the largest country in Europe (2nd biggest if counting Russia) and it is called Ukraine not The Ukraine. Read more.....

 

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Uruguay 25 August (Día de la Independencia, declaration of independence from Portugal 1825)

Dining in Uruguay....

Trivia: In Uruguay there are three cows for every one person.

 

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Moldova 27 August (Independence Day, declaration of independence from the Soviet Union 1991)

The food of Moldova......

Trivia: Moldova's production of wine is the highest in the world per capita.

 
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See all National Days for AUGUST 

 


 

Food related events....

AUGUST, 2015, food-related events.

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Food related events on this date in history!

 


 

Want even more food 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....

 

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traveltipstop

Just because you want efficient bags, doesn't mean they can't be pretty!

Check these out....

&

if you are looking for the cheapest flights to carry these bags on..... Read here!

 

 


triviatop

ciaos

Q. Which grain had a whole year dedicated to it not so long ago?

A. Quinoa (PRON: KEEN-wah) The United Nations General Assembly declared 2013 as the 'International Year of Quinoa', in recognition of ancestral practices of the Andean people, who have managed to preserve quinoa in its natural state as food for present and future generations, through ancestral practices of living in harmony with nature.

Find out other strange food facts about quinoa.....

 

 

 

 

Broaden your wine and food knowledge onboard and onshore in Europe.

Find out how you can do this....


 

 

books

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


 

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....

 


 

Washington DC probably has many secrets....

....but these are the most fun.

 


 

Have you ever wondered what top chefs eat at home - when they are not at work?

Now you can find out and cook the same tasty things yourself....

 


 

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....

 


 

Ever wished you could escape to Spain?

Here's the latest book from one author who did.....

 


 

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 chocolate is your weakness, this new book will feed your need.

Read about it...

 


 

If Thai cookery has always been too difficult...

This is the book for you....

 


 

Learn the tricks of barbecuing from an expert with an endless supply of ideas and tips.

Get fired up about it....

 


Is Copenhagen big enough to conceal many secrets?

The authors of this book thought so....

 

 


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....


 

Visit Spain - from your own home!

Learn how to cook the food with an expert!

 


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.

 


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!

 

 


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....

 


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

An engaging read...

 


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

Read this and be delighted...

 


The biggest and most beautiful book of Italian food.

Read about it here....

 

 

 

 

Window on Port Macquarie, NSW

Most visitors to Port Macquarie on the NSW mid-north coast expect to see these. Beaches....

..............some stretching as far as the eye can see.............

.....others delightfully secluded.

After all, this is NSW's oldest town, dating from 1821, and has drawn holiday-makers, honeymooners and sea-changers for many years. 

Imagine the surprise – no, make that, gobsmacked amazement – of explorer John Oxley and his men, trekking through mountainous inland NSW in 1818, when they broke out of harsh bushland and encountered a magical view of the sparkling ocean and sweeping sandy beaches.

Then there are the cafes. You'll find plenty of these, as well as all the fast-food chains. After all, this is a family holiday destination too, and the ocean is full of hungry surfers who come ashore just long enough to carb-load before heading out again. 

About a five-hour drive from Sydney, Port Macquarie is an ideal stopping point roughly halfway between Sydney and Brisbane on the Pacific Highway, aka Highway 1, now termed the Pacific Coast Touring Route. Getting to Port Macquarie (or Port, as the locals call it) – population over 40,000 – is certainly easier these days, but the rewards and surprises are just as great. 

But while we had expected those other things, what we weren't prepared for were these! Koalas, dozens of them, popping up everywhere throughout town, decorated to match their location.

Of course the real ones are here too, so it's no surprise that the local council chose to feature them for a year from last December until the end of 2015. The town has a Koala Hospital (free entry, daily) which rescues and rehabilitate these animals, tends to injured and sick ones, and raises tiny orphaned joeys. Of course they can be see in the wild too at the Sea Acres Rainforest Centre.

Of course we knew about the local food. This area is noted for its farmers' markets (more of that shortly) and producers, and several annual fairs and festivals featuring food and wine. The Observatory hotel made sure we got to appreciate it immediately with a gift bag of goodies in our room.

Just look what they give to guests: a sauvignon blanc from Cassegrain Wines, a bottle of chambourcin from Bago Vineyards, locally brewed beers from Black Duck Brewery, locally baked lavosh, Hastings Valley Dairy vintage cheddar, Ricardoes tomato chilli chutney, and handmade Baba Lila handmade chocolates. Of course we couldn't resist sampling these almost immediately!

Visitors to Port Macquarie have no trouble finding accommodation. There is everything from caravan parks and camping grounds, through bed and breakfast accommodation, to five-star elegance. The Observatory hotel adds even more by being justly proud of its green-cred. From 2008, it set out on a staged program to become carbon neutral. By retro-fitting with low-emission energy assets and the introduction of other environmentally-sound practices, the deluxe 4.5 star rated hotel is now one of Australia's few hotels to be awarded 100 percent carbon-neutral status.

Solar panels on the rooftop supply the energy consumption of about 100 guests per week, and there are many more initiatives in place. Read more about these....

As it happened, our visit coincided with National Tree Day and were presented with our very own tree  to plant, an indigenous Brush Muttonwood.

The hotel is named for the Astronomical Observatory which is located in the park between the hotel and popular Town Beach. The road is lined by Norfolk pines, and our extremely well-appointed apartment had a stunning view of it all.

Luckily for us, the best breakfast place in town was directly downstairs from our room.

Good coffee, great food....

...and the right attitude.

It was a sunny place to begin each day. After this, an excellent coffee, and a glance at the newspaper, it was time to head off and see what the region had to offer.

If you are in town on the fourth Saturday of any month, get up early, grab your shopping basket, and head for Wauchope showgrounds, about twenty minutes away. Here the farmers' market will be in full swing, and you'll pick up local cheeses, olives, homemade jams and freshly picked flowers.

The town is the centre of a rich food bowl and, as you can see, the locals are creative, with a lovely sense of humour. These products are made by Ewetopia which also offers farm-stay accommodation. As the name suggests they also have sheeps-milk products.

Pure milk from the farm's goats is used for these soaps made by Mountain Goat Soap.

The Northern Rivers region of New South Wales is well named. Wide rivers dawdle through lush landscapes before emptying into the ocean at regular intervals along the coast between Newcastle and Tweed Heads. These rich floodplains will grow almost anything – macadamias, avocadoes, kiwi fruit, coffee, bananas – and the sweet pastures plump out the udders of the many herds of black and white dairy cattle which dot the paddocks.

Stray inland from Wauchope on the Ellenborough Falls road, and you will be pleasantly surprise by tiny Byabarra. Only a handful of cars pass each day, yet most can’t resist stopping at Blue Poles cafe-gallery which also offers studio accommodation.

Having fallen for the Baba Lila handmade chocolates in our hotel room, we were thrilled to meet at the markets, Lila, the chocolatier who draws on her Russian heritage to create them. It’s a retail combination made in heaven, and by late-morning you can see how popular her stall is! Almost sold out.

 

Back in town, we discovered more koalas! There are over fifty on the Hello Koalas Sculpture Trail. Each has been individiually designed and decorated to suit its location. Going on a 'koala search' can be a fun family activity - and a good way to see the town and its surrounds at the same time.

Tacking Point Lighthouse is worth a visit too, with its long views over the ocean and coastline. To the south, on Lighthouse Beach you may be able to take a camel ride in holiday season.

 

The lighthouse was erected in Victorian times and is now classified by the National Trust. The headland marks the end of the roughly nine-kilometre Coastal Walk from Town Beach to Lighthouse Beach.

And now for something completely different! 

Not every country town has something like this, but Port Venture Cruises offers junk cruises of the river and canals in an authentic vessel.

The company also offers cruises on its other boat, River Princess.

 

 

And here she is, our junk, ready to leave from the Cruise Terminal on the Hastings River.

We board and shortly glide out onto the river......

....and past  the houses on the canal developments. Sometimes, we are told, dolphins come and play around the boat.....

...though today the waters stayed quiet, but very beautiful. Port Macquarie has a very comfortable sub-tropical climate, and the weather was showing off how perfect it can be that day.

The junk moves at a stately eight knots - or 'pedal to the metal in this craft', as our friendly and very experienced skipper, Steve, says. As we go he tells stories and points out various parts of the river (Australia's oldest slipway, oysters raised on pontoons, a yacht which picked up survivors from a boat torpedoed by the Japanese in 1943) and brings the area alive for us.

And as it is the two-hour 'fish'n'chip' cruise (chicken and chips as an option), we are met halfway with our lunch!

And very good it was too.

For decades Port remained just as it name suggests - a port and ideal fishing spot. But tourism in the sixties changed all that. Motels mushroomed, resorts followed, and today it is a booming holiday destination.

People come now to enjoy the scuba diving, yachting, sailboarding, windsurfing,  horseriding, and hang-gliding, They hire boats, house-boats and jetskis; join river cruises, 4WD, eco and motorcycle tours; and go on canoe safaris. They charter fishing boats and aeroplanes, then parasail or skydive. Or they may simply play golf, or go fishing. See more ideas...

Port Macquarie’s Cassegrain Winery is noted for its delectable chambourcin and shiraz, and The Restaurant at Cassegrain, has long been highly-regarded.

On the fifth Sunday of the month the Artist's Markets draw crowds who come to listen to live folk music, browse the arts and crafts at the stalls, and soak in the ambience of the waterside gardens.

Of course (this is food-loving Port Macquarie after all!) there is plenty to eat as well.

Cross the mighty Hastings River, just north of Port Macquarie, and watch out for the large sign for Ricardoes Tomatoes & Strawberries, a clue that one of the state’s hidden gems is nearby. 

In 2005 brothers, Anthony and Richard Sarks, set out to raise the best and brightest and most flavourful hydroponic tomatoes. 

They became an immediate success. Soon they had added equally bright red strawberries and then, changing the colour-coding, introduced lettuces. 

Now there is a café and market selling tomatoes and strawberries (of course!) as well as other local produce and their multi award-winning products. 

With 140,000 plants of five varieties here, there are always plenty of strawberries to go around. 

How beautiful are these?

Perhaps the greatest drawcard is that visitors may pick-their-own strawberries. Children especially love doing this. Now, not only families come by car, but tourist groups by the coach-load. You can imagine how busy that cafe gets in summer!

Despite all the produce that grows in the area, it is still important to remember that Port Macquarie was originally known for its seafood. And it still is!

The long-established Big Oyster remains a drawcard, a place where you can relax and lunch overlooking the river and its oysterbeds, or take away a dozen or so freshly shucked ones to enjoy at home.

Whatever you do while you are in 'Port', take time to explore the string of beaches south of the town centre. Get a feel for the always-summer vibe, breathe in the salty fresh air.......  

......and pause to watch the waves rolling in from the world's largest ocean.

Back in town, Cafe 66 has excellent Italian food, and this astounding laneway mural beside it. Best to make a booking, as this place is extra popular.

Then, for something different, Tea and Treasures is just what you need for a quiet cuppa in beautiful surroundings. 

Tea is served here of course, so it is an ideal morning or afternoon place to stop and catch your breath. Of course the 'treasures' are all sorts of teacups and saucers, teapots and various china pieces for sale, many of which have been donated or collected. All the cakes, slices and biscuits are baked here, adding to the homestyle feel.

A town of contrasts, Port Macquarie is proud of the new additions such as the modern Glasshouse which serves as the town's entertainment and performance venue as well as information centre.

But then there is the history too, also valued.

(complete of course with a convict koala!)

Understandably the locals are proud of their local member who is called the 'father of Federation' and who became Australia's first prime minister.

If he could return over a hundred years later, Sir Edmund Barton would be proud of this tiny former fishing town and port. It has grown up beautifully - a hub for local residents and industry, a wonderful playground for visitors.

By now we had realised that Port Macquarie is a fun place offering something for everybody. Families, couples, travellers, locals. Here, old mixes with new in the balmy climate and it comes as no surprise that this town is high on the list of many people's favourite beach destinations.

Still ahead in 2015:

Port Macquarie Beer and Cider Festival, Saturday September 26.

&

Tastings on Hastings, with the celebrity chef Matt Moran, November 6-8.

For more information on Port Macquarie.... 

and more.....

 

Text & photographs: ©Sally Hammond

Video: ©Gordon Hammond

Sally & Gordon Hammond travelled to Port Macquarie independently. Accommodation was courtesy of The Observatory Hotel. Thanks to Port Venture Cruises as well.

 
 

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China's rainbow scenery.

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Don't turn your screen upside-down!

This house is meant be be like this!

 


 

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Which is the world's most liveable city?

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Take a look at what's happening in Newcastle's food and wine scene.

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There are dozens of ways to travel the world....

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Planning on travelling with children soon?

This will help you....

 


 

WA's Batavia Coast is known for its shipwrecks and lost treasures.

Now this strange creature is bringing new wealth to the area.

What is it?

 


 

This has to be the world's most advanced suitcase!

 

Meet it here....

 


 

Fancy a 200km beach drive?

Guess which Australian state it is in....

 


 

And how about knowing ahead of your trip what Duty Free bargains you can plan on buying?

Find out....

 


 

Just look what's planned for fabulous Freo!

Find out here....

 


 

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A tour of France - see it all here....

 


 

Take a walk on the whisky-side and discover another face of Scotland

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Hawaii's annual coffee festival turns 45 this year.

See what's in store....

 


 

Talented Rachel Khoo cooks Melbourne soon in a new TV series

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

Useful phrases....

 


What do Latin Americans eat  for breakfast?

Some really yummy dishes......

 


 

Visiting Paris? Taste the city while you are there.

Tour and taste....

 


 

Which Sydney hotel has just been named #1 in Australia, NZ and south Pacific?

Find out here....

 


 

Autumn in Korea - it's brighter and tastier, and more fun, than you could imagine.

See what is planned....

 


 

Visit the cool south of the world.

Window on Antarctica...

 


 

Once known as 'tin city' now there is much more.


Window on Ipoh, Malaysia

 


 

Where did Portugal's former colonies go?

Find them here...

 


 

Do you want to enjoy some FREE things when you travel?

Have a look at these!

 


 

Take a seafood tour in Hobart....

....then feast on your catch!

 


 

Stay in a Parisian villa...

...and pay less than you'd think!

 


 

Take the Grand Tour of Switzerland.

It comes with extras...

 


 

'grand' way to travel in Ireland.

Luxury plus....

 


 

A miraculous way to stay less expensively in Rome.

Stay in a monastery...

 


 

Get some help with cooking from a robot!

Has your kitchen got room for one of these?

 


 

Pack your Big Yellow Suitcase ...

... find out where you can take it!

 

 



 

 

tastethis

 


DON'T MISS THESE:

2015

AUSTRALIAN FOOD EVENTS

The Truffle Festival, June-August, Canberra region, ACT

The Coffee Experience, Sydney, September 3-5

Sample Food Festival, Bangalow, northern NSW, September 4

Royal Melbourne Show, Sept 19-29

Fine Food Australia, Sydney, September 20-23, 2015

Cake Bake & Sweets Show, 23-25 October 2015, Melbourne

Taste of Melbourne, 12-15 November

 


 

RECIPE TIME

Potato 'pizza'? Or just something tasty to have with fish or for the barbecue.

 

Please yourself .....

 


 

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

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?

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

...see what Coolongolook has!

dining_bottom

 


 

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TAKE A BREAK

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AUGUST 2015 food-related events worldwide.

 


 

So you want to explore SYDNEY?

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

 


 

A year of fabulous food festivals is ahead in 2015 for Britain!

Find out when and where....

 


 

Festivals throughout Australia too in 2015.

Check these out...

 


 

Scotland's Year of Food and Drink 2015....

...what's on?

 


Festivals in Korea, 2015

Here they are....

 


 

2015 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 .....

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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.

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....

 


 

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.