Feature Friday: Key Lime Pie

Desserts spelled backwards is “stressed.” Coincidence?

Many of us flock to the pastry shelf, amongst other craving go-tos on that necessary occasion to unwind. It’s such a blessing for us solace-seekers that there is great variety to drown or bury our sorrows. The guesswork is usually taken away when we seek that vice. That comfort. That relief.

……….

The great news of my hubby and I travelling down south before Christmas this year had me craving a Floridian classic for that necessary unwind; that flavourful, yet tangy and satisfying Key Lime Pie. Originating in the Florida Keys, a beautiful collection of connected islands, this refreshing combination of citrus and cream, has satisfied patrons for the last century.

In the early 1900’s legend states that the pie was made from scratch for Florida’s first millionaire William Curry, renowned ship rescuer. The complete origin of the pastry is somewhat foggy, but since then, the recipe has remained a staple for the region and has been a favourite of chefs worldwide, who have since been developing their own adaptations and culinary varieties.

key west

What makes the original Key Lime Pie recipe unique, is the key lime. Key limes are more tart, more acidic, and produce a yellow juice; this differs from limes grown outside the Keys, as they have greener juice and less acid. When you order your pie, your first hint that the pie was made from key limes is the yellow filling. Made with regular limes, the dessert would have a greener filling.

The pie when initially made did not require baking. The method instructed bakers to combine the condensed milk with key lime juice; this caused natural thickening of the filling, allowing for a beautifully set dessert. Nowadays, depending on the recipe you follow, you may or may not require baking; most recipes requiring baking contain eggs in the filling- an ingredient where baking is essential.

Since the original recipe, many have enjoyed this iconic dessert. Nowadays, not only can consumers indulge in the original classic, but restaurants and home cooks have taken the dish and customized it into meringues, flans, and even tarts.

Regardless of how many variations currently available, nothing beats the original in the region, served with lime peel and whipped cream, washed down with espresso as the boats sail by. Divine!

Wanderlust Wednesday: Vibrant Vienna

Halfway through the week, and for some reason, I cannot get the minuet out of my head. Perhaps I’ve entered a subtle trance from our hot summer combined with the classical music drawing me in from swanky restaurant patios. The minuet, the classical music, the patios, it has all taken me back to Vienna, a haven of history, harmony, and flavour.

Vienna was one city I was truly excited for a return engagement. A city where there is never enough time to explore its plethora of historic buildings, quaint patisseries and iconic landmarks.

While travelling through Vienna, I thoroughly enjoyed learning about one of Austria’s most famous countrymen – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. One of the most renowned and talented composers in history, Mozart shaped the classical music genre while captivating the world. Born January 27, 1756, his music has inspired concert pianists, child prodigies, and many others throughout the centuries. Known particularly for minuets and sonatas, audiences are compelled to visualize dancers dressed in suits, bustled frocks, and powder wigs with each chord.

mozart statue

Austrians have such pride for Mozart. In his honour, statues have been erected in various cities commemorating his life and contribution to music. The monument located in Vienna was sculpted in 1898, then was moved and dedicated to the main city centre in 1953. This beautiful statue can be easily identified thanks to the pristinely landscaped flowers of a musical treble clef.

To delve further into Mozart’s life and music, visitors have many options. There are many  organized tours offering thorough itineraries. These tours escort visitors to the concert hall where Mozart was a discovered 5-year old prodigy, his beautiful residence, and many other significant landmarks. Conclude your tour with a lilting tribute concert. Tickets are prevalent and quite reasonable.

As cultural as the musical accolades and history characterize Vienna, its cuisine is also deserving of honourble mention. Gourmands will enjoy a variety of exclusive Viennese sweets and savouries while exploring the iconic streets.

These signature dishes are among my favourites:

sacher torte two

sacher tote

The Sacher Torte:
Originating in 1832, the Original Sacher Torte has satisfied many a sweet tooth for centuries. Created at the Hotel Sacher, visitors flock to its famed tea room for a taste of the original recipe. Since its debut, chefs and bakers worldwide have launched their own adaptation of the chocolate indulgence as the original recipe, housed in the hotel’s “culinary vault,”  is a closely guarded secret. Visit the hotel and try its fluffy and rich chocolate cake topped with apricot preserves, thick to-die-for frosting, and capped with a signature Sacher medallion.

almdudler

The Almdudler:
Second only to Coke in popularity, the Almdudler is an apple ginger soda with herbal extracts. The Almdudler, deemed the national drink of Austria, is a perfect accompaniment with schnitzel or bratwurst.

Strudel:
Vienna is also a haven for strudel lovers. This flaky pastry full of sweet apples and syrup is a favourite of dessert fanatics. Pick a sidewalk café, order a strudel made with phyllo, then crown it with a dollop of iced cream. A patisserie classic.

Viennese coffee 2viennese coffee

Viennese coffee:
A beautiful fusion of strong black espresso with whipped cream (in lieu of milk and sugar). Order one next time you are in a cafe. It goes perfectly with strudel or Sacher Torte.

cheese filled hot dog

Cheese-filled Bratwurst:
Throughout Vienna’s city centre, you will find many kiosks offering wursts. Variations include plain, chili, and my favourite – the cheese-filled brat. Foot-long in length, these sausages are available in a variety of spices and served in a round closed-bottomed bun. Wash one down with anAlmdudler – Heavenly!

 As you can see, Vienna is truly a foodie capital of the world; a city not to miss. A city that combines sweets, savouries and symphonies – a most mesmerizing trifecta.

Monday Musing: July 4th Food, Fireworks, Fun!

It is the 4th of July. The day Americans celebrate their independence. A celebration never taken lightly. They have a fun-filled, jam-packed extravaganza of fireworks, special events and blockbuster feasts showcasing the BBQ and baking skills of their many professional and home chefs alike.

With the celebration dating back to 1776, Americans have honoured the breakaway from the British empire for 240 years. And in this time, they have shaped this special day with traditional festivities, spectacular events, and culinary creativity.

When I think of the USA, I think of my joyous times spent there of unforgettable experiences, decadent gastronomy, and beautiful scenery. However, one place that resonates with me often, where many a memory was made (my engagement being #1!) is New York City. The most populated city in the country, it should be no surprise that this buzzing city has scheduled signature events, combined with delicious patriotic fares for this momentous day.

In Manhattan, you cannot escape excitement. Quintessential selfies being snapped at Times Square, The Statue of Liberty standing proudly on its island attracting thousands of visitors daily, Macy’s offering summer sales, and yellow cabs passing by escorting patrons everywhere. You cannot help but begin spinning excitedly on the street corner keeping up with the sensation.

american independence day, celebration, patriotism and holidays

To commemorate this special day, red, white and blue libations and menus highlighting iconic favourites of ribs, hot dogs and burgers are featured in numerous eateries to whet your appetite. There is something for everyone. Here are some of our favourites:

 Dream Baby Bar & Cocktail Parlour:
A swanky bar on Avenue B, bartenders have put together a classy and stylish Red, white and blue cocktail specially for today. A refreshing sip of curaçao and ginger liquor mixed with a hint of mint to name a few flavours, this drink will enhance your celebration with sprinkles and patriotism.

Fornino – Brooklyn

A beautiful restaurant featuring Italian cuisine, offers a rooftop terrace for beautiful views of the traditional fireworks. Book early to avoid disappointment, ensuring you have secured a table.

The Dutch – Restaurant & Oyster Bar
This quaint eatery is offering a special Luau menu for today adding flair and flavour to your day! Visit from 11-9 to feast on a tantalizing menu of celebratory grub including oysters, waffles, lobster, and chicken, while washing it down with a selection of tempting specialty cocktails.

Hot Dog Eating Contest – Coney Island
Held yearly on July 4th, Coney island celebrates with a hot dog eating contest. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the event broadcast on ESPN, attracting thousands to witness one of the 20 qualifying contestants for both male and female events, take home the jeweled champion belt. Competitors have 10 minutes to eat as many hot dogs as possible, and must keep them down to win. An event not to be missed!

From all of us at Fill My Passport, we wish all our American friends and readers a fun and flavourful day!

hot dogs 

Weekend Brunch: The Best Eggs Benedict Worldwide

I love eggs benedict. As breakfast is my favourite meal of the day, I would have to say that I’m truly impressed with the creative direction chefs have taken this classic dish, eliminating the difficulty in deciding my restaurant orders.

History has suggested various origins of this dish. The most credible of all theories, in my opinion, involved a Wall Street executive in New York City who visited the Waldorf Astoria hotel in search for a hangover cure. The servers presented him a plate with eggs, English muffins, two pieces of ham and a side of hollandaise sauce. Sound familiar? To me, this theory seems most accurate considering the Waldorf Astoria was responsible for bringing numerous recipes to the worldwide dinner table (Waldorf Salad and Thousand Islands salad dressing are just two examples).

benedict savoy

For almost 75 years, the world has embraced the classic eggs benedict which has become a staple for weekend brunch. The traditional recipe uses ham upon the English muffins, topped with hollandaise sauce; however, chefs have experimented over the years with various ingredients, bringing numerous variations to the worldwide menu. While travelling abroad, I came across everything from smoked salmon benedict, spinach and feta, brie and mushroom, and pemeal bacon. The possibilities are endless.

Below are some of Fill My Passport’s recommendations for delicious eggs benedict experienced abroad:

The Ritz London
Luxury at its finest, The Ritz serves up a delicious classic eggs benedict for an early breakfast or weekend brunch. It does come with a hefty price point of £40 per person, but the service, bone china presentation, included breakfast buffet, and feeling of sheer luxury, make the cost easier to swallow.

Chu Chocolate Bar & CafeBangkok, Thailand
Rated the best brunch restaurant in Bangkok, eggs benedict is offered with either back bacon or smoked salmon with a mustard-infused hollandaise sauce.

chu chocolate bar benedict

The SavoyLimerick, Ireland
Another luxurious venue, The Savoy offers a delicious eggs benedict accompanied by a plentiful brunch buffet. If you wish a healthier alternative, The Savoy offers an egg-white benedict, omitting the yolks, served with parma ham.

M CafeVarious Locations across California
This cafe offers a vegan alternative to the classic dish. Enjoy a sublime plant-based benedict of scrambled tofu, kale, sliced tomatoes, traditional hollandaise sauce and a sprinkling of tempeh.

Chez Cora’sVarious Locations across Canada
A favourite Canadian family chain, Chez Cora’s serves up breakfast and lunch daily with several benedict options on the menu. If you wish to divert from the classic, why not try the asparagus with Swiss cheese, the smoked salmon, or the tomato, bacon and green onion options? All are served with fresh fruit, a Cora’s staple, and breakfast potatoes. Delightful!

Eggs Benedict With Smoked Salmon

A delicious eggs benedict with smoked salmon hollandaise sauce and chives.

With the numerous options available, it is hard to fathom someone disliking eggs benedict. If you haven’t experienced this delectable fare for yourself, give one of our aforementioned favourites a try; alternatively,if you have found a gem of an experience, we would love to hear about it!

Afternoon Tea ~ A British Delight

I lived in Cambridgeshire England for nearly 2 years. The old city charm, combined with the prestige of being just outside the University’s campus made living here a true privilege.

On the eve of the Referendum, where UK citizens will vote to leave or remain in the EU, I felt it only fitting to showcase beautiful traditions and experiences that have shaped Great Britain through the centuries and have become essential inclusions to many traveller’s itineraries.

 First on the list: Classic Afternoon Tea.

Fortnum and mason 1

Afternoon tea. It’s an occasion, an experience, an array of delicious and delectable fancies that everyone, not just the posh, can enjoy.

Originating in the 1840’s, and observed initially by the upper class, afternoon tea is a meal served usually in the afternoon between 2-5 pm. By the end of the 19th century, this delectable repast became available and adopted by everyone and not just the wealthy.

There are several variations of traditional afternoon tea. Back when it was considered a meal for the privileged, it consisted of mini savoury sandwiches aesthetically presented without crusts; such flavours as cucumber, egg salad, and cress sandwiches were the most popular. Following these was a selection of scones accompanied with clotted cream and jam. Once the sandwiches and scones were devoured, fancies and cakes would be presented. The favourites and most traditional sweets included the Battenberg cake and the Victoria sponge.

Fortnum and mason 2

Nowadays, afternoon tea is typically observed on special occasions, including hen parties, Mother’s Day, and in some occasions, wedding receptions. That is not to say that a day of sightseeing in London cannot include an indulgent tasting of several pastries delicately presented on a tiered bone china dish.

During my time in England, I was spoilt with experiencing afternoon tea in many settings – the posh swanky hotel where all is served on silverware, bone china and is complete with a visit from the cake trolley; the cozy independent bakery making its version of the quintessential fancy; the deliciously different and sublime experience on a vintage bus (Yes. You read that correctly. A Moving. Vintage. Bus.); and in famous homes of iconic women whose literature has shaped the libraries of today.

 All afternoon tea presentations were different, but kept up the prestige, charm, sophistication and decadence. Below are three of my favourite places I have experienced afternoon tea, which would delight any traveller, tourist, resident, or simply the curious.

 Enjoy!

1).  Fortnum & Mason

Afternoon tea in Fortnum’s Jubilee Tea Room is a real treat.  Frequented by the royal family, I too felt regal when I walked through the door. The ambiance of sophistication is set as the pianist plays a soft selection of jazz. Your table adorned with beautiful linens, bone china, and silver flatware awaits as you choose from a variety of over 80 loose leaf teas, some of which have delighted patrons for over 300 years.

The overall experience at Fortnum’s leaves you feeling like one of the Royals. The menu was extensive with High Tea and Afternoon Tea options, depending on your appetite. The High tea menu included hot eggs Benedict, scones with preserves and clotted cream, savouries, pastries and a choice of cake from the dessert trolley. This was the heartiest of meal choices, with the afternoon tea offering all the above minus the first course (eggs) and dessert trolley.

fortnum and mason 4

Presented on three-tiered dishes your scones, preserves, savouries, and pastries arrive for a second-to-none presentation; a completely sublime fusion of flavour and style. I particularly loved the rosewater eclair. Subtle sweetness of the icing mixed with the rose extract made this a delicious conclusion to my meal.

Prepare to pay approximately £100.00 for two people. If you wish to have champagne with your meal, a popular addition to the spread, this will cost you extra.

Don’t forget to make a reservation. As Fortnum and Mason is a popular for locals and tourists, it would be a shame to miss out. If you wish to have piano music as your backdrop, book an earlier time slot as the pianist leaves mid-afternoon.

 2) The Berkeley Hotel

Berkeley pastries

Another option for those wishing a posh afternoon tea is the Berkeley hotel. The Berkeley combines traditional afternoon tea with fashion. Located in Knightsbridge, The Berkeley prides itself in offering the Prêt-à-Portea afternoon tea menu, influenced by chic trends in Milan.

A personalized place card shaped like a stiletto welcomes you as you browse the menu detailing the season’s inspiration. When I went for tea, the featured designers included Tory Burch, Oscar de la Renta, Yves St Laurent, and Gucci. To learn more about the current selection, details can be found on the hotel’s’ website.

berkeley card

The tea selection here is also second to none. An assortment of about 20 to choose from, you will receive your chosen blend in your own designer bone china pot. I chose the pear caramel blend and it was incredible- definitely a tea that is unique with strong infused flavours. A gem of a beverage.

The portion here is ample and perfect for a girls luncheon, business outing, or simply a nice afternoon out. The menu doesn’t include scones or a dessert trolley, but you don’t miss those seemingly obvious items, thanks to the delicious fashion-inspired pastries you receive.

Prepare to spend £80-100 for two regular afternoon tea meals. A glass of champagne is extra.

 3) BB Bakery Vintage Afternoon Tea Bus Tour

tea bus 3

This afternoon tea without a doubt is my favourite. The uniqueness of being served on a vintage 1960’s bus, combined with a guided tour of London makes this an experience unlike any other. On the bus you are greeted with your servers who guide you through the various sites. The bold spread includes delicious savouries, partnered with such decadent fancies as cheesecake, macaroons, tarts and of course, scones with clotted cream and jam.

The selection of beverages is small, but this is understandable with the kitchen being mobile. That being said, the tea, lattes, and brewed coffees were satisfying and they are presented in travel-style cups, ensuring safety.

The tour lasts approximately 2 hours depending on traffic conditions and takes you past many iconic landmarks in London including Parliament, Notting Hill, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Harrod’s, and Piccadilly Circus.

The cost for two is approximately £100.00. Seats fill up quickly, therefore, it is essential to book in advance for the day you wish to go to avoid disappointment.

tea bus 2tea bus 5

Brooklyn Bridge~An Iconic Beauty

I sometimes cannot believe that I got engaged on this iconic piece of architecture in the heart of New York City. A bridge that is featured in handfuls of movies, the popular Sex in the City HBO series amongst other shows, and in many a photographer’s portfolio. On National Bald Eagle day (it seems that there’s a day for everything nowadays!) I acknowledge this beautiful American landmark.

Plan your visit today and see it for yourself 🙂

brooklyn bridge 4Brooklyn Bridge 2

The French Riviera: A posh treat on the Mediterranean

The French Riviera.  When someone suggests a trip here, one usually thinks of sheer luxury. Truth be told, envy probably is added to the mix of emotion as you sense the feeling of importance being surrounded by the rich and famous.

Nice, France is the capital of the posh French Riviera, deemed a favourite holiday destination for Europeans since the 18th century complete with luxury resorts, swanky hotels, boutique shops, and elegant restaurants fit for royalty. I mean, here it is an everyday occurrence to spot an Aston Martin drive by, fully loaded with an optional convertible top. Can you really blame anyone for feeling slightly regal when visiting?

The French Riviera is a vacationer’s dream with its clear sea water and stretch beach. When planning your day at the beach, double check with your hotel on whether they have a private area strictly for guests. Many areas on the beach in the heart of Nice are reserved for guests of particular hotels. If your hotel does not have a secluded area, there are many public sections for you to settle in and relax.

French Riviera 8

The beach is pebbly with large stones. It does not have sand. Since the stones can be painful, it is best to rent a lounger and wear a good pair of water shoes to avoid foot injuries. For the moderate price of € 35 approx. (Shop around as the price may differ depending on the hotel or public section offering the service) the package includes a lounger, towel, umbrella and use of the change rooms for the day. Servers are ready and waiting to take your drink orders, but those, of course, are extra. Choose your spot wisely and anchor for the day where you can snap breathtaking photographs, taste the sea salt of the crystal waters, and admire the ritziest of yachts sailing by.

If lazing by the sea is your cup of tea for only a short time, there is much more to enjoy surrounding the shore. There is an array of shops – both boutique and budget to suit all visitors. Heck, a highlight of my time here was finding a beautiful “one size fits all” peach dress for €10 Euros…proof that glamour is possible at any price.

As you shop, stop in to one of the many artisan coffee shops and have a talented barista craft you a latte; always a welcome treat with a fresh baguette.

monaco 4

To balance the beach time with sightseeing, there are many points of interest in the area. If museums are on the list, the Musée de Picasso is an ideal stop in the quaint town of Antibes, a short drive from the seaside.

While in Antibes, take a short trip to the castle Château Grimaldi, named after the Grimaldi family, who reigned over Antibes from 1385 to 1608. The castle is a 10-minute drive from the centre of Nice and offers accommodations at a luxurious price of €12000 Euros a night in low season and up to € 22000 Euros a night in high season. If you are considering this haven for a holiday accommodation, keep in mind that their the minimum stay is 4 days/3 nights!

Chateau Grimaldi

If the € 12,000-22,000 price tag is not in your budget, there are many other options for beautiful accommodations in the area. The Hotel Villa Cosy is rated the #1 hotel in the region by Trip Advisor and has suites for as low as  € 375 per night.

The cost of accommodation may prove tough to swallow, however, a visit to one of the upscale restaurants with a glass of French wine may help.  If elegance is your type of dining style, the French Riviera is home to 126 Michelin Star restaurants, with Le Mesclun being at the top of the guide for 2016. There are restaurants for all tastes and budgets. If you like Risotto, it is particularly tasty at the seaside restaurants near the beach. And, for the brave, escargots (snails cooked in garlic butter) are plentiful and available at restaurants for all budgets. Go on! Give them a try!

Le Mesclun

French Riviera 3

After sightseeing, sunbathing or shopping, a wonderful way to cap off a day in The French Riviera is to take a trip to Monaco. Just an hour’s drive away, the municipality of Monaco is a gem of a nation under royal rule of Prince Albert. Here in this tiny municipality, you will marvel at the beautiful palace where Hollywood actress Grace Kelly once resided, see the church where she married the prince, gaze at the famed monk statue honouring Francesco Grimaldi who seized the castle with his brother in the 1200’s,and sadly view the cliff where Grace Kelly met her end in a tragic car crash.

Monaco 2

Monaco 3French Riviera 5

As much as the tourist’s list of key landmarks provides a history-filled sightseeing itinerary, most make the trip to Monaco to rub elbows with the wealthy in Monte Carlo. One of the ritziest casinos in the world, The Monte Carlo, truly showcases glam and luxury. For starters, outside in the surrounding lot, every luxury car from the Aston Martin, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Rolls Royce and others, is parked as owners attempt to win their down payments back. I, of course, just had to pose beside a stunning silver Ferrari; we do dare to dream.

The Monte Carlo entertains thousands of visitors yearly with gamblers, curious tourists and Formula One fans, who watch the cars zoom by in a split second. Others visit the venue for a touch of nostalgia as the complex has been a movie set choice for a handful of movies. Notable films include 007’s Never Say Never Again and Goldeneye, Monte Carlo starring Carey Grant and Grace Kelly, and most recently in 2012 Madagascar 3.

Entering this iconic building, you cannot escape being mesmerized by the gamblers in tuxedos crossing your path (there is a strict dress code) and quickly grabbing a seat at a private table. I was amazed how the dapper men would balance a cigar in one hand as they placed their €25.00 minimum bets with the other hand. That definitely took skill. The women in elegant floor-length gowns pass by elegantly, keeping their designer clutches close to their belts as they swig cosmopolitans and touch up their lipstick. The scene emulated the 1950’s as these glitzy blonde bombshells bet (and prayed upon) the roulette ball, hoping it would win them millions while clasping their cigarette extenders.

French Riviera 6

The French Riviera  is a wonderful place for visitors to escape the grind of everyday life. It has something for everyone and definitely serves as a sunny sanctuary. It is warm, buzzing, exciting, ritzy and full of surprises…

Ice Cream. A Frozen Favourite for Centuries!

The day we have been waiting for has arrived – the first day of summer. With cold winters and unpredictable springs, it is no wonder we are in countdown mode until the warm and reliable weather arrives in the northern hemisphere. As the days grow longer and the patios start opening, many of us need a pick-me-up in the afternoon between meetings or while out exploring. Besides water, ice cream and variations of this age-old dessert tops the charts in popularity and is usually the treat of choice in the hot weather. It has become so popular that Good Humor trucks circle the streets to attract school children (c’mon, you have heard their music playing miles away) and theatres now include it on their refreshment menus.

The evolution of ice cream is quite incredible. Dating back to the 5th century BC, Ancient Greeks used to indulge in frozen snow mixed with honey for a sweet ending to a delicious meal. Since then, cultures have adapted the dish to suit various tastes and traditions. China created their own version of the sweet by freezing milk and rice to create a tartufo-textured dessert, while the British created a recipe back in 1718 which we have adapted over the centuries to what we now enjoy today.

The British created their variation of ice cream by taking a tin pot of cream, mixing it with sugar, eggs and a flavouring of choice, letting it freeze and thicken. Sound familiar?  After the British recipe was tried, tested and widely replicated, variations were developing, allowing for the creativity floodgates to burst. By the 19th century, chefs began experimenting with this basic recipe and expanded the variety with such delights as floats and sundaes.

The ice cream craze expanded worldwide in the 20th century once it was possible to freeze food at home. The boom followed with keen entrepreneurs taking this trendy treat and opening parlours worldwide. The first two companies were Howard Johnson, a hotel chain bringing the traditional family values to the dinner table and advertised an impressive selection of 28 flavours, and Baskin Robbins who went one step further with 31 flavours, and now, still scooping today, boasts the development of 1000 varieties.

ice cream 2

Later in the 20th century soft-serve was developed. Shops including Dairy Queen and McDonald’s introduced the soft ice cream swirl cones to customers as an alternative to the scooped texture.

ice cream

As history indicates, everything in life evolves and we are constantly attempting to improve the current market. As summer is in full swing, I have compiled a list of 10 incredibly satisfying ice cream parlours, based on personal experience and reputation, that are worth a stop on any foodie’s itinerary:

1. Slickers Ice Cream – Bloomfield, Ontario, Canada
Visitors of this parlour rave that this ice cream is hard to beat. Chefs make the ice cream from scratch in small batches with local ingredients. With any ice cream parlour nowadays, in order to compete a large flavour selection is necessary, and Slicker’s doesn’t disappoint with a large variety. Local favourites include burnt marshmallow and apple pie.

2. Scrumdiddly’s – Dublin, Ireland
If a sundae is your indulgence of choice, Scrumdiddly’s is the place for you. It is situated slightly outside the city centre, and for €2.50 your sundae will include two hearty scoops, your chosen filling from their varieties (chocolate bars, cake pieces, candies…possibilities possibilities!)

3. Morelli’s – Broadstairs Kent, England
A family run business since 1932, Morelli’s has remained a favourite for gelato and unique ice cream flavours for decades.Chef Giuseppe Morelli is world renowned and has been featured on BBC’s “Mary Berry’s Absolute Favourites,” They have expanded to London, accross the UK, The U.A.E, Bahrain, Malaysia, and the Philippines,  but the original location on the boardwalk in Kent will delight any visitor.

4. The Creamery – Capetown, South Africa
The creamery has prided themselves in making delicious artisan-quality ice cream in Capetown since 2011. They are continuously developing new flavours and are proud of their unique hot cross bun flavour.

5. Gelato and Coffee Lab – Siem Reap, Cambodia
Rated the #1 eatery in Siem Reap on Trip Advisor, this little gem of a parlour boasts delicious gelato and a variety of flavours including the fan favourite coconut.

6. Four Winters – Amman Jordan
Truly a magical experience, this ice cream parlour presents customers with a masterpiece of sublime flavours since 2013. The Jordanian company has now expanded to London, England and serving up ice cream using the latest of technologies.

7. Serendipity Cafe – New York City, USA
This cafe became a household name and major attraction in New York after being featured in the blockbuster film of the same name, starring John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale. Visitors flock to the cafe and order their famous Frozen Hot Chocolate, big enough to feed three guests.

serendipity

8. Ristoro Della Salute – Rome, Italy
With the Colosseum as your backdrop, stop in to this patio restaurant and have a gelato. This little eatery has delicious flavours and serves your dessert in a cute touristy Colosseum cup. Delizioso!

Colosseum ice cream

 9. Gelato Messina – Sydney, Australia
Boasting revolutionary ice cream flavours and dessert offerings, Gelato Messina has been the Achilles heel of every dieter’s sweet tooth since 2002. Visit their parlours across Australia to delve into a gelato cake shaped like a Super Mario Mushroom, one of five weekly flavours, or to learn their techniques at one of their classes.

 10. Sorveteria – São Sebastião Brazil
Considered an ice cream haven in South America, Sorveteria has been serving delectable frozen treats since 1947. Family run, Sorveteria has been delighting customers with its original 61 flavours since its grand opening. Visit today and enjoy a delicious sundae complete with acai ice cream,  sprinkles, marshmallows, and hot fudge.

This list is not exhaustive and thousands of other shops will cross every nomad’s path as each travels the world. Drop me a line and tell me about the ice cream artisan/parlour you discovered and why it left a lasting memory!

 Stay cool out there!

Dad. Father’s Day. James Bond?

james bond 2

Fathers are being celebrated this year in some parts of the world on Sunday June 19. It’s a day to put fathers on a pedestal and show appreciation for all they do. This 107-year old holiday originated in the United States by a lady named Sonora Smart Dodd. Sonora was sitting in a Mother’s Day sermon at her church in early May thinking her dad needed to be celebrated too. Since that day in 1909, all papas, granddads, appreciated men, and single Mums playing both roles, are showered with new ties, share silly jokes, and of course, fire up the barbecue for the season.

Father’s day is a celebration that the world embraces at various times of year. While North America crowns dads this Sunday, countries such as Australia and New Zealand honour fathers at the beginning of September.

When in London this past March, my husband and I visited Bond in Motion – the largest display of Original James Bond vehicles and artifacts in the world. For a limited time, these film props and vehicles would be on display to touch, photograph, simulate and enjoy.  While I was there, I kept thinking how much my father and other dads would enjoy seeing this extravaganza.

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The exhibit features vehicles from most of the films, plus an exclusive showcase from the most recent blockbuster “Spectre.” Each display includes footage from the film, and in some cases, wax figures of the corresponding actors. There are informative plaques providing details about every piece, and the convenience of Free WIFI allows for quick check-ins on Facebook and quintessential Instagram posts to make your friends jealous.

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Fathers will enjoy this day out as the admission is reasonable, the exhibit is child-friendly, and is conveniently located in the heart of London at Covent Garden.  Adult admission is £15.00 and £10.00 for concession. You can buy tickets online or at the door. Be sure if you are commuting on theUnderground Tube to check the schedule as quite often Covent Garden station is bypassed. If it is closed, get off at Leicester Square, a 5-minute walk away.

 The Gift shop at the exhibit can serve as a go-to haven for Dads and a perfect solution to finding that unique gift. Everything from shirts, key-chains, limited edition prints, complete DVD sets, and much more is available.

Currently, the exhibit will be running until the end of 2016, but this is subject to change. If you wish to experience this special event, you have at this time until December 31st.

james bond airplaneJames Bond movies were first introduced with the release of Dr No in 1962, starring Sean Connery. Since then, most of Ian Fleming’s works have been adapted for film with various actors playing the leading roles. This exhibit brings all the 007 films, actors, scenes, and trivia together; six decades of film history.

Once you have concluded your visit, why not treat Dad to a martini- shaken, not stirred, at DUKES Pub in London- the venue believed to be where Ian Fleming penned the 007 stories. How thrilling to be sitting in the same pub, and possibly the same table, where the ideas were born.

DUKE’s pub is located near Green Park Station on the Underground train line. Reservations are recommended to avoid disappointment in getting a table. DUKE’s also adopts a strict dress code of smart causal style. They will not permit patrons into the pub wearing leisurewear.

I wish fathers all over the world a wonderful day. I hope if you are in the London area, you will consider this limited time exhibition as it will please any James Bond fan from the past six generations.

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Paris is Always a Good Idea…

Paris’s love story is captured by millions yearly. People flock to Paris to wed, propose, renew vows, find love, or just fall in love with it’s atmosphere. But even with the pages and pages of memories it fills in the millions of travellers’ diaries, everyone can still find something new to discover.

Whilst in Paris, be sure to visit the most iconic landmark in the city: The Eiffel Tower.

There are a few ways to ascend the tower for the spectacular views – elevator, walking, and a combination of both. The method you choose, influences the cost of your admission.

The admission is as follows for adults:
Lift to the top: €17.00
Lift to the second floor: €11.00
Climbing to the top: €7.00

There are gift shops within the tower as well as washrooms cafés. Double check the opening hours and for any unexpected closures during your trip. For more information to help plan your visit to the Eiffel Tower, visit: http://www.toureiffel.paris/en.html

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As the entrance lines can be quite long, many tours recommend travellers visit in the evening to experience the tower lit up to its beautiful brilliance. You can get breathtaking photographs of the Champs Élysées and the Arc de Triomphe from the top. A truly magical experience that nobody should miss.

In the past year France has sadly been a target for terrorism. Paris has been victimized by acts of evil, but its appeal has not tarnished and it remains one of the most visited cities in the world. It is a city that everyone should visit within his or her lifetime.

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