The Portuguese gazpacho at Cooking Lisbon

Something is cooking in Lisbon!

Text: Marcella van Alphen
Photographs: Claire Lessiau

It is still morning when Chef Sara Verissimo takes us for a stroll to the 31st of January market, far away from touristy Lisbon. Locals have been shopping here for their fresh vegetables, cheese, meat and fish since 1878, and so do we on this sunny day to get the best ingredients for some typical Portuguese dishes.

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Relaxing in the hot tub at Prague Original Beer Spa

The beer culture in 3 authentic & unusual experiences in Prague

Text & photographs: Claire Lessiau & Marcella van Alphen

The Czech Republic has been topping the charts of beer consumption for years. On average, it is a 33-centiliter beer bottle that is drunk every day by every woman, man and child in the country! Actually, ordering a pint is very often cheaper than a coffee or water to the point that now restaurants and bars must propose a cheaper non-alcoholic drink by law. However, the beer culture in Prague goes way beyond cheap beer enjoyed by locals and tourists in one of Europe’s top destinations for bachelor parties. Keep reading to find out how to experience it through authentic and unusual experiences!

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Pizzas in the oven

Rome’s best pizza you’ll ever have!

Text: Marcella van Alphen
Photographs: Claire Lessiau

Are you expecting pizzeria recommendations? It gets even better than this!

If Italian gastronomy goes way beyond pizzas, they remain a must-taste during any trip to Italy, and they are for sure better than any back home, wherever home is. For the best pizza in Rome, do not look too far: join a pizza making class! Not only will it be the best and most fun pizza ever with your own specific generous toppings, but it is also a wonderful way to bring back home a bit of Italy to share with your loved ones any time you wish.

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Chef Neil cooking at The belly of the beast, Cape Town

Cape Town eateries for foodies

Text: Claire Lessiau
Photographs: Claire Lessiau & Marcella van Alphen

Over a few years, Cape Town has become a foodies’ paradise. If the city developed thanks to its ideal conditions to resupply passing ships, today its food scene thrives thanks to its organic green grocers, ethical fisheries, free range cattle farmers, excellent wine regions and inventive chefs putting it all together. From fine dining to casual eateries, do yourself a favour and taste the best of Cape Town! Here is our cherry-picked selection of casual eateries…

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View on Arctic Cathedral from Scandic Ishavshotel at night, Tromso

3 days in Tromsø, the gateway to the Arctic

Text: Claire Lessiau
Photographs: Marcella van Alphen

Tromsø, nicknamed the gateway to the Arctic, is the largest urban area in Northern Norway (and the third largest in the world North of the Arctic Circle) where one can tick off probably all the northernmost bucket list items one can think of from the northernmost brewery to the northernmost botanical garden and many more.

With the city centre located on the Tromsø Island, surrounded by the Norwegian Sea and snowy mountain peaks, the weather can be tricky at times. In this article, activities are sorted out by indoor and outdoor settings in order to easily fill up a three-day stay, with a special section about the Northern Lights that are often the reason to visit.

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Characteristic yellow fishermen rorbuer on turquoise water in Lofoten, Norway

Authentic Lofoten

Text: Claire Lessiau
Photographs: Claire Lessiau & Marcella van Alphen

Hamnøya, Lofoten, 1900s

The ice-cold winds howl through the planks. The fishing nets and gear hanging in the adjacent room make the whole cabin humid. The stinking cod liver oil lamp provides a gloomy light. There is no escape from the pungent smell of cods hanging on the wooden racks everywhere outside. Through the window, the small harbour is packed with fishing rowing boats. As least, they are well protected here in this natural harbour close to the Moskstraumen, one of the strongest ocean currents, running between this island of Moskenesøya and the small island of Mosken at the western tip of the Lofoten Archipelago in northern Norway. Looking at the direction the king cod hung from the ceiling is pointing, the weather is not about to better anytime soon. With another eleven fishermen sharing the four-bedded 20-square-meter room, the snoring is non-stop and covers the lapping of the waves against the stilts and the loud squeals of seagulls. Today is going to be another day getting busy building a mock up fishing boat to pass time.

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Jumping Svolværgeita overlooking Svolvaer, Norway

Goat climbing & stockfish tasting in Lofoten!

Text: Claire Lessiau
Photographs: Claire Lessiau & Marcella van Alphen

It is only thanks to the fish! Mastering the drying of cod, fished in the winter off the coast of Lofoten, transformed this fish into a sought-after and profitable commodity exported all over the world. Without the nutritious stockfish with no expiration date, the Vikings would not have been able to survive their long journeys to Greenland or America; the Hanseatic merchants would not have established profitable businesses in Bergen; Norway would have missed out on one of its most important sources of revenue; and Lofoten would have never seen its cute and colourful fishermen’s cabins pop along its shores attracting so many today and in which it is so enjoyable to stay.

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Tsucan vistas on the Golden Road at sunrise, Norway

Your 4-day itinerary in Norway’s Tuscany!

Text: Claire Lessiau & Marcella van Alphen
Photographs: Claire Lessiau & Marcella van Alphen

Barely an hour north of Trondheim, the lovely Inherred region is the ideal place to slow down and follow a food path between local farms and historical landmarks through fields of gold, rolling hills and scenic fjords… Here is your perfect four-day itinerary in Norway’s food basket through Trøndelag starting from Trondheim.

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View from the top of four vegan tapas to share at Chefs Warehouse Beau Constantia

Inside the Chefs Warehouse in Cape Town & around

Article updated on April 30, 2022
Text: Claire Lessiau & Marcella van Alphen
Photographs: Claire Lessiau & Marcella van Alphen

South Africa attracts for its safari game reserves, varied landscapes, surfing spots, beautiful Cape Town and the very well-marketed Garden Route. A day in the vineyards of Stellenbosch or Franschhoek is often part of the trip, but the rainbow nation is not necessarily renowned for its gastronomy. However, for the past 15 years, the food scene in Cape Town has gone from non-remarkable to exquisite. If there are no restaurants rewarded with Michelin stars in the country, it is simply because the prestigious French guide does not operate on the African continent. Nevertheless, Capetonian restaurants have become used to hitting competing lists of world’s best restaurants such as the Test Kitchen in Woodstock, or La Colombe in Constantia. If it has become quite noticeable, and has also hit the top of these lists, there is still a little gem for the ones in the know… The Chefs Warehouse… Started as one location in the city centre in 2014 by chef Liam Tomlin, and expanded since, the dish-sharing restaurant concept combines delicious food artistically plated in remarkable locations with a fantastic service and a great attention to details.

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Canal with the medieval Butcher's Hall, Ghent, Belgium

Food & drinks to try in Ghent

Article updated August 16, 2022
Text: Marcella van Alphen
Photographs: Claire Lessiau and Marcella van Alphen

Belgian gastronomy is too often summed up to beer, chocolate and waffles. There is a lot more to it, and Ghent is the perfect city to explore the wide range of yummy foods and innovative drinks! On top of this, its vibrant student life makes Ghent’s nightlife lively and a forerunner for vegetarian and even vegan fares in Belgium.

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Colourful coastal village at dusk in Cinque Terre, Italy

Cinque Terre: do not visit, EXPERIENCE it

Text: Claire Lessiau
Photographs: Claire Lessiau & Marcella van Alphen

Cinque Terre is so much more than just five instagrammable colourful medieval villages dominating the crystal-clear Ligurian Sea. First of all, it is more like a dozen other tiny villages including the ones that are high up overlooking the five most famous Italian villages: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore (from North to South). It is also a National Park, including a large marine reserve, and it is an agricultural land where vineyards have been cultivated on narrow terraces supported by dry-stone walls for almost a millennium.

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Ready for the pesto workshop at Nessun Dorma in Manarola, Cinque Terre, Italy: all the ingredients are on the table

Let’s pesto in Cinque Terre!

Text & photographs: Marcella van Alphen

Seated with my back against a century-old dry-stone wall, I am overlooking the small picturesque harbour of Manarola in Cinque Terre where a few fishing boats dance on choppy waves. Colourful houses built on the dark cliff above the turquoise blue Ligurian Sea in Italy set the backdrop. I contemplate the view when Keep travelling!

Wooden table with greek food well presented during a cooking class, Greece.

Greek cooking in the heart of Athens!

Text: Marcella van Alphen
Photographs: Claire Lessiau

Greek food is one of the most characteristic gastronomies of the Mediterranean diet. Based on olive oil, nuts, vegetables, and fish, its traditional recipes are not only healthy but also simply delicious – and with the proper teacher, not that hard to prepare. Let’s pierce its secrets in the heart of Athens.

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Traditional crafts of Cambodia (5/7): fish paste, Battambang

“Smell like the hell, eat like the heaven”, Mr. Ola tells us with a mesmerizing smile while explaining his mother’s signature recipe for the traditional prahok, a Cambodian fish paste dish. I uncomfortably move from one leg to the other trying to carefully listen to his story but holding my breath at the same time, avoiding the offending foul smell. We are about to discover how the unmissable and key ingredient for many Asian dishes is made on the fish paste market of Battambang, Cambodia. Keep reading

Traditional crafts of Cambodia (3/7): Rice noodles, Battambang

Rice noodles are a favourite in many Asian countries. A pho for breakfast or rice noodles as a base for lunch or dinner are common. To serve this high demand, most noodles are produced in factories. However, it is still possible to buy them fresh and hand-made. In Battambang, a few families living in the rice noodle district have been passing on this know-how for many generations.

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The national dish of El Salvador: delicious pupusas!

Pupusas are the specialty of El Salvador! We eat pupusas all day. There is even the National Pupusa Day every November where the biggest pupusa was cooked reaching a diameter of 4.5 meters! And if you ever fly from San Salvador, you will see that Salvadorans buy pupusas before the flight to bring them abroad!” With this enthusiastic answer of our Salvadoran friend to our local specialty question, we had to try as many pupusas as possible while traveling through El Salvador! Keep tasting!

Ultra fresh sashimis on rice at Tsukiji market, Tokyo, Japan

Japan food series – Sushi

Article updated on May 26, 2020
Text & photos: Claire Lessiau

About 5 centimetres (2 inches) in length, 2 centimetres in width (a bit less than an inch), and roughly the same in heigth for just a few grams and 40 to 50 calories… They do not sound like much but sushi have conquered the world to the extent that many identify them with the whole of Japanese gastronomy (as you know by now if you have checked out our Japan food series, this is far from the truth!). Keep savouring!