Another Beautiful Market


We went shopping with the chef again in the port of Sanary Sur Mer, France. Like almost all of our stops, the village had a beautiful carousel.


The market was an explosion of color.


Gorgeous greens.


Would we like an artichoke appetizer delivered to us at dinner this evening?


Yes please!

Caviar In The Pool

A Seabourn Signature Event in the Caribbean is something called Caviar in the Surf.  During a beachside picnic, senior staff arrives in uniform and wades into the ocean to serve caviar and champagne off of a surfboard.  In the Mediterranean it’s done in one of the swimming pools onboard.  We prefer to have ours delivered by room service. 🙂



Shopping With The Chef in Valencia


When this tour bus pulled up I had to giggle. Besides me and Brian, only one other couple had signed up to go. We also had the chef and a kitchen staffer with a large cart to tote everything he purchased back to the ship.


Valencia’s central market was gorgeous! It has almost 1000 stalls and was a little overwhelming


The fruit and vegetables were beautiful.


Being a port town, there were lots of unusual things from the Mediterranean. Who knew there were so many kinds of seaweed?


Besides basil, carrots and a large variety of cheeses, the chef bought a large variety of cured and fresh sausages for the next day’s lunch.


These looked a lot like a cross between crab claws and elephant feet. They were actually extremely expensive(60 euros/lb.) goose barnacles. We sampled them, they were pretty un-tasty.


The seafood in the market was so fresh and beautiful.


Chef kept asking us if there was anything there we wanted him to make for us. Would we like some giant prawns? Yes please!


They were delivered to our cabin for the most decadent room service dinner ever.

Valencia, Spain was our first port and we immediately called to sign up for Shopping with the Chef as soon as we saw it on the Valencia schedule.  We did this last year in Livorno, Italy and it was a highlight of our trip. It’s a free excursion that included a guided tour of the city.




A Culinary Backstreets Walk

We booked a Culinary Backstreets Walk in Barcelona after reading superb reviews of them online.  We selected their Made in Catalonia tour, which lasted 6.5 hours.  There were six of us on the tour, plus our guide.


Our guide met us carrying churros and chocolate sauce to dip them in. We enjoyed this very much and brought home a chocolate dipping sauce mix for about $1.50. Now I just need to learn to make churros.


Our guide took us to his favorite restaurant where he ordered two dishes for us to share. One was a fried sopressada with runny fried eggs drizzled with rosemary honey. The other was a snoot and hoof terrine served over smoky local beans.


Next stop was a small nut shop where we tried marcona almonds and tiger nuts, which is what the drink horchata is made from in Spain.


A confectionery was next on our agenda. We tried five different small bites, including chocolate covered marcona almonds.


Monibiric was next, we tried both white and black iberico cured ham.


From here we stopped at a local market. We sampled a few different kinds of cured sausages and local cheeses.


And something called coca, which had anchovies and olives on it. Yum.


And olives. Our first of many on this vacation.


We didn’t try any eggs, but as an egg purveyor, I was fascinated. This vendor had everything from quail to duck to emu to ostrich to ordinary chicken eggs.


Our lunch included spring onions that had been treated for a few days in freezing cold water to remove their bite then served with olive oil and pepper.


And some really delicious snails.


And a salt cod and potato dish. I wonder where I’ll find salt cod in the US?


From lunch we stopped at a local bodega for a glass of cava, our very favorite sparkling wine.


And we finished with a taste of horchata, a lovely sweet chilled drink. This was an experience to remember and we’d absolutely do another one in a different city if it was offered.


Bodega 1900

We spent three days before boarding our cruise in Barcelona and were so happy to do it!  At the top of our list of things to do on our food and wine vacation was to visit Bodega 1900 for tapas.  This is one of the restaurants in Barcelona opened by Albert and Ferran Adria, known for their three star Michelin restaurant elBulli which was renowned as the world’s best restaurant for many years.  Since elBulli closed in 2012 and was way out of our price range anyways, we were thrilled to try something currently offered by them.


These are spherical olives made through a molecular process. It’s actually olive juice made to look like an olive. They were so good we placed an extra order.


House made potato chips? Yes please. They were served with a bottle of their hot sauce. I will eat potato chips with hot sauce from now on.


They sold canned seafood so we decided to try one. We selected the tuna belly in oil. It was served with a crusty bread and was delicious! We brought a can home which we plan to have on New Years Eve.


Snow crab salad with dill. This was served with a different crusty bread.


Ham croquettes with a glass of cava.


Strudel with baked apples and calvados cream. I adore calvados.


Chocolat truffle cake with hazlenut ice cream. Yes, a bite was taken before the photo was. It was yummy!



Where We’ve Been

sunsetWe got away from the farm, and I mean really far away for a few weeks in the Mediterranean once again on the Seabourn Sojourn. What we really wanted to do was a food and wine themed cruise with Seabourn but they only do 1-2 a year and they are always either to a destination we’re not interested in or in a time of year we’re unable to travel so we decided to come up with our own food and wine vacation. Autumn is a really easy time for us to get away. Nothing much left in the garden, no seeds to plant, no lambs being born, etc. My folks were kind enough to come watch our place and they almost made it the entire time we were gone except they live in a direct hit area for Hurricane Matthew, so they left a day early to batten down the hatches. I’m still getting over jet lag and have mountain of laundry so will take my time over the next few days documenting our amazing travels. Welcome aboard!

An Annual Goal


















Every year it’s my goal to grow a pumpkin.  I’m not greedy, just one is all I need.  I have failed miserably over and over again and decided this year to increase the odds by planting two full raised beds of pumpkin seeds plus plant some in the greenhouse and some along the edge of our property far away from our vegetable garden to try to hide from the squash bugs.  I bought new plant-based pesticides at great expense to add to our arsenal.  Pretty much everything I could think of besides getting a commercial pesticide license which allows us to use the really harmful stuff (and I’ve considered it, believe me).  I’ve been fighting squash bugs for months.  Spraying them, picking them off, ripping off the leaves that have squash bug eggs on them, looking under every leaf of every vine.  Every. Single. Morning.  Two days ago I gave up and ripped all the vines out of our raised beds, I couldn’t look at the insect-damaged vines any more.  October is next month and  we hadn’t produced a single pumpkin.  Yesterday I ripped out the ones in our greenhouse for the same reason.  Today Brian found this along the edge of our property while mowing.  It was growing on a vine that had every single leaf eaten away.  Happy early Halloween, everyone!






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