Wine, Surf, & Sun: A Weekend in Sonoma County, California

Taking to Bodega Bay’s beach just before sunset, we had to pinch ourselves that we were really strolling through the golden sand in winter. Between us both, Shawn and I had endured our fair share of brutal Midwestern, Canadian, even Continental-European winters, but this weather, we were told, was even exceptional by California standards. DuringContinue reading “Wine, Surf, & Sun: A Weekend in Sonoma County, California”

Growing Together: Moldova’s Family-Run Et Cetera Winery

For years, we had our sights set on participating in a grape harvest. As the golden months of the summer of 2014 dwindled, and Europe’s grapes grew plumper and riper, we decided to meander to Moldova to meet the newest vintage. It’s said that a whopping 25% of Moldova’s working population is involved in winemaking,Continue reading “Growing Together: Moldova’s Family-Run Et Cetera Winery”

A Land of Hidden Gems: Moldova’s Wine, Food & Monasteries

On a quest to discover Moldovan wine, food and culture, we embarked on an adventure in the countryside, having just left the small European country’s capital city of Chisinau. Roadside merchants sold their wares: wicker baskets, colorful mums wearing autumnal hues, and large bowls containing green grapes fashioned into a pyramid shape. Farmers picked applesContinue reading “A Land of Hidden Gems: Moldova’s Wine, Food & Monasteries”

Soaking up the Details (and the Wine) of Saint-Emilion – Bordeaux, France

Enclosed by vineyards producing some of Bordeaux’s most esteemed wine, it’s no wonder that the village of Saint-Emilion is one of the region’s most alluring destinations. During a weekend trip there earlier this year, I found myself effortlessly charmed by Saint-Emilion’s elegant limestone buildings, its window-boxes brimming with beautiful blooms, its wine, and its almond-flavored macarons. By day, Shawn and I ascendedContinue reading “Soaking up the Details (and the Wine) of Saint-Emilion – Bordeaux, France”

Hvar Island: A Croatian Odyssey of Music, History & Wine

The Croatian island of Hvar is renowned for its 2,800 hours of sunshine, intensely-blue water, luxury yachts, and summertime nightlife. Visiting there during an early spring weekend, however, Shawn and I encountered something quite different from the Hvar of postcards: refreshing rain showers, landscapes that appeared to be wearing a sepia filter because of clouds overhead,Continue reading “Hvar Island: A Croatian Odyssey of Music, History & Wine”

Where Tempranillo & Tradition Meet: A Wine Tour of Rioja Alavesa, Spain

As we motored through the Rioja Alavesa wine country in northern Spain, a golden landscape dotted with hilltop monasteries, sweeping vineyards, and walled towns with window boxes overflowing with red geraniums, I reflected on what we had absorbed that day. In a region famed for wine we’d enjoyed much wonderful vino, of course, but we alsoContinue reading “Where Tempranillo & Tradition Meet: A Wine Tour of Rioja Alavesa, Spain”

Basking in Bilbao’s Renaissance: A Walking Tour of the Basque City

As we passed Bilbao’s state-of-the art structures, juxtaposed with timeless buildings flashing Old World flair, I had a hard time imagining what the Basque Country’s largest city was like before the Guggenheim Museum sparked its economic renaissance in the late 1990s. Still new to Bilbao, I was also fascinated with what constituted a Basque identity – what makes the Basque people unique from others in Spain.Continue reading “Basking in Bilbao’s Renaissance: A Walking Tour of the Basque City”

A Lesson in Making Yogurt in Kalofer, Bulgaria

One of our favorite things about Bulgaria’s tasty cuisine is its yogurt, which is appreciated worldwide because of its health benefits and creamy texture. The people of the Balkans have been making yogurt for more than three millennia. Lactobacillus Bulgaricus, the bacteria responsible behind Bulgaria’s prized yogurt, is enjoyed as far away as Japan and China. In fact, Bulgarian yogurt dominatesContinue reading “A Lesson in Making Yogurt in Kalofer, Bulgaria”