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From Gauchos to Glaciers - Adventures in South America
LISTEN HERE Is South America on your wish list but you worry it might be too challenging or unsafe? In this episode, ExtraVirgin host, Natascha Mirosch who has just returned from 3 weeks in Uruguay, Argentina and Chile, shares her experiences. Her trip, travelling by plane, car and boat, starts in Santiago in Chile, where she visits an extraordinary museum and wanders the vibrant Yungay and Lastarria barrios. From there, she explores the Uruguayan capital, Montevideo, with its unique architecture and excellent restaurants, as well another fascinating museum dedicated to a famous and tragic incident in Uruguayan history. Then it’s onto a ferry across the widest river in the world, the Rio de la Plata to Buenos Aires. Here Natascha discovers the origins of the tango, visits Eva Peron at Recoleta cemetery and the balcony of ‘the pink palace’ where she gave her final speech to the Argentinian people. She does a walking tour of the colourful La Boca district, takes in a beautiful bookshop in a theatre and more. In Patagonia, Natascha visits a glacier, attempts to hike up another one, gets up close with the iconic Fitz Roy, eats the world’s best lamb and drinks a liqueur made from a local berry in a bar at -15c. From there, it’s onto the province of Mendoza, where she stays in a ‘dome with a view’ overlooking the Andes, visits a couple of wineries and has an unforgettable horse ride with a gaucho. If you’ve thought of visiting South America, you’ll want to have a listen as Natascha shares the details of her new favourite destination. LISTEN HERE
Christmas fruit mince ma’mool from "Rumi" by Joseph Abboud
I was very excited when I came up with this idea. It was around Christmas time when some fruit mince pies caught my eye because they looked like misshapen ma’mool. I couldn’t get past the idea of a cross-cultural biscuit that represented my world: a Lebanese man married to an Australian woman with three little mince ma’mool. I love that the Anglo fruit mince Christmas tart and the ma’mool that appears at my Lebanese family Easter is also popular during the Lebanese Eid. You will need to start this recipe a few days in advance. You can find a beautiful ma’mool mould from a Middle Eastern grocer. Makes 36 icing (confectioners’) sugar, for dusting Filling 125 g (4 ½ oz) brown sugar 100 g (3 ½ oz) raisins 1 apple, grated 50 g (1¾ oz) barberries juice and zest of 1 orange 50 g (1¾oz) medjool dates, pitted and chopped 50 g (1¾ oz) dried figs, chopped 50 g (1¾ oz) currants 50 ml (1¾ fl oz) muscat 1 ½ tablespoons almond meal 50 g (1 ¾ oz) ghee, melted pinch of ground nutmeg pinch of ground cloves pinch of ground ginger Pastry 720 g (4 cups) fine semolina 300 g (2 cups) plain (all-purpose) flour 600 g (1 lb 5 oz) butter, melted ½ teaspoon baking powder 2 teaspoons orange-blossom water or rose water 60 g (2 ¼ oz) caster (superfine) sugar 150 ml (5 fl oz) warm full-cream milk For the filling, place all the ingredients in a bowl, mix well and refrigerate. This is best done a few days in advance. To make the pastry, mix the semolina and flour well, then add the melted butter and mix thoroughly to ensure the flours are coated in the butter. Mix all the other ingredients separately, then add to the flour mixture, combining well. Bring together into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and rest the dough in the fridge for 30 minutes. Preheat your oven to 190°C (375°F). Line two baking trays with baking paper. Remove the pastry from the fridge and divide into 36 balls, each about 45 g (1¾ oz). Take a ball of pastry and use your fingers to press it into a small cup shape with a hollow a bit bigger than the size of a walnut. Fill the hollow with 1 teaspoon of the fruit mixture, then close the edges of the pastry over the mixture. Roll into a ball, ensuring that no fruit mince escapes, and put to one side. Continue until you have used all the pastry and filling. By the time you’ve finished you’ll have worked out the best way for you to stuff the pastry; next time it will be so much easier! Carefully but firmly press each ball into a ma’mool mould, flattening the base. Remove from the mould by turning it upside down and tapping the mould on your bench to release. Place the ma’mool on the baking trays and bake for about 20 minutes, removing them as they begin to colour. Allow to cool then dust with icing sugar. ‘Images and text from Rumi by Joseph Abboud, photography by Armelle Habib. Murdoch Books RRP $39.99.’
Episode 103: Uncharted Paths: The Joy of Small Group Adventures
LISTEN HERE Group travel needn't involve being shuttled around on 50-seater coaches, taken to the major sights to snap your instagram pics, then...back on the bus to do it all again. In this podcast, host Natascha Mirosch talks with Lisa Pagotto, founder of Crooked Compass who offer small group trips to some destinations that are definitely off the well-trod tourist path. But, if you're usually an independent traveller, why would you consider group travel? It's one of the questions that Natascha poses to Lisa. They also discuss how the pandemic has shifted the way many people want to travel, who are the people who take small group tours, the cultural, economic and environmental advantages of travelling this way, as well as the destinations her company covers and more. Lisa's just returned from Georgia, a country that's high on Natascha's bucket list, so they chat about it, including the top sights (turns out Georgia's mountains outdo the Swiss and French alps for hiking and wildflower spotting.) And wait until you hear what intrepid traveller Lisa's favourite travel experience ever is - we can guarantee it's somewhere you don't expect! LISTEN HERE If you'd like to known more about Crooked Compass trips, you can check out their website . Pics: Mike Swigunski, Dimitry Liminov, Lisa Pagotto
The World's Greatest Sex Show
Step right up everybody. Come to Cairns, Australia and the Great Barrier Reef for the world's greatest sex show, on selected evenings into December. The first of 2023 took place on the full moon a few days ago. It's coral spawning time on The Great Barrier Reef. So what does this "Spawn Show" involve exactly?
Billions of tiny pink balls explode into the water as different species of soft corals and a handful of hard corals began the regeneration process, spawning for a few hours during the night. The sex cell bundles break open releasing sperm and eggs to bump into each other as they float on the Coral Sea currents and then settle on coral rubble to form baby corals.
“Right now, the Great Barrier Reef is teeming with new life," says ”Great Barrier Reef Foundation Managing Director Anna Marsden.
“The annual coral spawning is not only one of the most extraordinary natural phenomena on the planet, it provides us with an opportunity to fast-track world-leading research to safeguard its future from the impacts of climate change,” she said.
What is coral spawning?
Coral spawning is the reef having sex. Coral polyps simultaneously release egg and sperm bundles into the ocean for external fertilisation. This happens in an annual mass event earning it the cheeky reputation of being the world’s largest orgasm on the world’s largest organism.
During this time the Great Barrier Reef is transformed into an underwater spectacle resembling the inside of a snow globe. The spawn creates a pink-brown slick on the surface where the sperm will meet a compatible egg and produce a larvae that takes about ten days to fully mature into a coral polyp.
Stories passed down by coastal Indigenous communities acknowledge coral spawning, but western science did not become aware of it until 1982 so researchers are still learning about the phenomenon. Inshore reefs tend to spawn a month ahead of the outer reef where the spawning is more spectacular. It generally occurs on the outer reefs off Cairns and Port Douglas two to six nights after the November full moon when water temperatures are 27-28C.
This year the full moon is at the end of the month in both October and November and may result in a split spawn after both moons. There is little movement of the water between high and low tides in the week following the full moon and these calm conditions help to maximise the fertilisation process. Spawning predominantly occurs at night when the plankton-eating reef fish are sleeping which reduces the risk of the eggs being eaten.
How to see the coral spawning If you're keen to get among it - literally, some tour operators offer coral spawning night trips in November and December 2023.
Diver’s Den , Pro Dive Cairns and Tusa) Liveaboards are also out on the Great Barrier Reef during coral spawning. It’s a natural event so seeing the coral spawning is not guaranteed, but you will still spend your evening discovering the sea creatures that emerge after dark. Pic: Calypso Productions
Episode 102: How to Get Free Accommodation Around the World
Accommodation is one of the biggest expenses when we travel, but what if you could travel almost anywhere in the world and stay for free? Our guest on this episode of ExtraVirgin Food and Travel tells us how. Fiona Ryan has done more than a dozen exchanges, temporarily swapping her home in Brisbane, Australia for one in cities such as Helsinki or Barcelona. Fiona, who's a volunteer regional coordinator with the world's oldest home exchange program, the not-for-profit " Intervac ," chats with host Natascha Mirosch about how it's done; the multiple benefits of changing homes with someone and gives us her tips, gained from fifteen years’ experience. So if you've got itchy feet, but not necessarily the budget for that holiday you’re dreaming of, this episode is for you. ***And if you're an Australian listener, While you can get a free month membership to Intervac to have a look around, if you decide to sign up after that, you can use this special code EXTRAV10 for 10% discount, using the code EXTRAV10 . ***
The 50 Best Bars in the World
The annual list of The World’s 50 Best Bars was announced on Tuesday, 17 October 2023. Held in Asia for the first time in its history, the ceremony celebrates the excellence of the international drinks sector, paying tribute to the visionary bartenders, enterprising bar owners and trailblazing brands that lead the charge in shaping cocktail culture around the world.
The World’s 50 Best Bars 2023 features establishments from 28 cities, with Barcelona’s Sips crowned The Best Bar in Europe and The World’s Best Bar , sponsored by Perrier. This is the second time a bar from Barcelona has taken the top spot in as many years, following Paradiso’s triumph in 2022. London leads Europe and the world, but Barcelona remains on top
London retains its place as one of the world’s cocktail capitals with five bars on the list, more than any other city, including two in the top 10: Connaught Bar , rising three places to No.5, and Tayēr + Elementary at No.8. They are joined by East London neighbours Satan’s Whiskers at No.28 and A Bar with Shapes for a Name at No.35, with Scarfes Bar coming in at No.41. Edinburgh’s Panda & Sons also returns to the list at No.39.
Barcelona has two entries in the top five, with No.1 Sips alongside Paradiso at No.4, with Madrid’s Salmon Guru at No.16. In Italy, Rome’s Drink Kong at No.21 is joined by new entry Freni e Frizioni (No.33), alongside 1930 (No.42) in Milan, L’Antiquario (No.44) in Naples and Locale Firenze (No.46) in Florence.
Athens continues its ascendency with Line, winner of London Essence Best New Opening Award, at No.12, alongside Baba Au Rum (No.25) and The Clumsies (No.47), which was also named Rémy Martin Legend of The List. Elsewhere in Europe, Paris features Little Red Door at No.6 and newcomer The Cambridge Public House at No.38, while Oslo’s Himkok (No.10) bags the Nikka Highest Climber Award . Berlin sees a strong return to the list with new entry Wax On at No.29. Last year’s Campari One To Watch, Röda Huset from Stockholm, ranks No.31 and is also the recipient of the Ketel One Sustainable Bar Award .
New York and Mexico City continue to battle it out
New York’s Double Chicken Please (No.2) is crowned The Best Bar in North America , with fellow Manhattan bars Overstory coming in at No.17 and Katana Kitten at No.27. Miami’s Café La Trova is at No.24 along with new entry Jewel of the South (No.49) bringing New Orleans back into the list for the first time since 2014.
In Mexico City, Handshake Speakeasy has risen 8 places to No.3, with Licorería Limantour at No.7, Hanky Panky at No.22 and Baltra Bar at No.45.
The Best Bar in South America is once again Cartagena’s Alquímico, which has risen to No.9, alongside Buenos Aires’ three entries: Tres Monos (No.11), also winner of the Michter’s Art of Hospitality Award), CoChinChina (No.26) and Florería Atlántico (No.30). Carnaval in Lima is at No.43.
New entries shine in Asia
In the host city of Singapore, Jigger & Pony is at No.14 alongside Sago House (No.32) and re-entry Atlas at No.48. They are joined by Seoul newcomer Zest , winner of this year’s Disaronno Highest New Entry Award, at No.18.
Bangkok, Singapore, Hong Kong and Tokyo each feature two bars in the list, with Bangkok’s BKK Social Club taking the top spot as The Best Bar in Asia at No.13 and welcoming neighbour Mahaniyom Cocktail Bar, entering at No.19. Tokyo stalwart Bar Benfiddich (No.37) is joined by The SG Club , which re-enters the list at No.36. Hong Kong is represented by Coa at No.20 and Argo at No.34.
Middle East & Australia
Sydney’s Maybe Sammy (No.15) is crowned The Best Bar in Australasia for an incredible fifth time, having won the title every year since its launch in 2019, whilst Melbourne’s Caretaker’s Cottage joins the list for the first time at No.23.
In Dubai, newcomer Mimi Kakushi storms into the list at No.40 as The Best Bar in The Middle East and Africa , joined by Galaxy Bar at No.50. Special Awards The ceremony kicked off the celebrations by naming Lady Bee in Lima as Campari One To Watch , an honour bestowed on a bar outside of the 1-50 ranking that the 50 Best team believes has what it takes to make future editions of the list.
1-50 List Position 1 Sips, Barcelona 2 Double Chicken Please, New York 3 Handshake Speakeasy, Mexico City 4 Paradiso, Barcelona 5 Connaught Bar, London 6 Little Red Door, Paris 7 Licorería Limantour, Mexico City 8 Tayēr + Elementary, London 9 Alquímico, Cartagena 10 Himkok, Oslo 11 Tres Mono,s Buenos Aires 12 Line, Athens 13 BKK Social Club, Bangkok 14 Jigger & Pony, Singapore 15 Maybe Sammy Sydney 16 Salmon Guru, Madrid 17 Overstory, New York 18 Zest, Seoul 19 Mahaniyom Cocktail Bar, Bangkok 20 Coa, Hong Kong 21 Drink Kong, Rome 22 Hanky Panky, Mexico City 23 Caretaker's Cottage, Melbourne 24 Café La Trova, Miami 25 Baba au Rum, Athens 26 CoChinChina, Buenos Aires 27 Katana Kitten, New York 28 Satan's Whiskers, London 29 Wax On, Berlin 30 Florería Atlántico, Buenos Aires 31 Röda Huset, Stockholm 32 Sago House, Singapore 33 Freni e Frizioni ,Rome 34 Argo, Hong Kong 35 A Bar with Shapes for a Name, London 36 The SG Club, Tokyo 37 Bar Benfiddich, Tokyo 38 The Cambridge Public House, Paris 39 Panda & Sons, Edinburgh 40 Mimi Kakushi, Dubai 41 Scarfes Bar, London 42 1930, Milan 43 Carnaval, Lima 44 L'Antiquario, Naples 45 Baltra Bar, Mexico City 46 Locale Firenze,Florence 47 The Clumsies,Athens 48 Atlas, Singapore 49 Jewel of the South,New Orleans 50 Galaxy Bar, Dubai
Postcard from Dublin, Ireland
This episode of Extra Virgin Food and Travel's "Postcards,"comes to you from the Republic of Ireland's capital, Dublin. Our guide is Louise Slyth, who's originally from Scotland but has made this enchanting city her home. Louise shows us around 'her' Dublin, her favourite galleries and museums, parks and pubs. She tells us the best places to shop and shares with us her recommendations of where to eat and drink - from simple fish and chips to sophisticated modern Irish; a pint of guiness to a classic cocktail. So, whether you're planning a trip to Dublin or simply daydreaming of a future visit, have a listen, as our guide Louise shows us where to find the craic in Dublin. You can also follow Louise on instgram at @louiseslyth_writer. And if you've enjoyed this episode, don't forget to subscribe and rate us on your favorite podcast platform. pic: Anna Church/Supplied
Postcard from Istanbul, Türkiye.
LISTEN HERE Welcome back to another episode of ExtraVirgin Food and Travel Podcast. In this episode, we're embarking on an extraordinary journey to an enchanting travel destination, where east meets west (literally) and history and flavours are equally complex - Istanbul, Türkiye. Chatting with host Natascha Mirosch , is intrepid travel writer and cultural connoisseur, Lisa Morrow . Lisa has spent more than 15 years living in and exploring this captivating city, and today, she's here to be our guide through Istanbul’s culinary and cultural treasures. The city, which spreads across two continents, is a top travel destination that entices with its aromas, seduces with its history, and leaves an indelible mark on visitors’ hearts. It’s a place where ancient traditions collide with modern trends, and where every bite tells a story. So, join us as we explore this city's rich history, vibrant culture, and, of course, its irresistible cuisine with Lisa Morrow. It's a journey full of wanderlust-inducing experiences, from traversing the bustling bazaars, to learning about Lisa’s favourite places to eat and drink and how she likes to spend her time in this most enigmatic of cities. LISTEN HERE And if you'd like to read more of Lisa's writing on Istanbul and Türkiye, including her recently published guidebook, links are below. Istanbul 50 Unsung Places
Inside out Istanbul Follow Lisa on Instagram Pics: Faith Yuryur Unsplash/Lisa Morrow/Linus Mimietz,Paratook JK, Emir Egrisecu
Episode 101: Creating a Hospitality Empire with Tony Kelly
LISTEN HERE OR CLICK PLAYER BELOW Being credited with having "the Midas touch" is one thing that riles the seemingly unflappable Tony Kelly. His journey from young apprentice to owning ten successful Sunshine Coast hospitality businesses has been far from easy, nor linear - there have not only been set-backs and hard times, but also periods of intense self-doubt, the chef-turned-restaurateur admits. Today though, Kelly is recognised as a tour de force, a game-changer on Queensland's Sunshine Coast, where he employs around 400 people across his group's businesses, that include the incredibly popular " Rice Boi ." " Bocca Italian" and newly opened " RB ." In this episode, ExtraVirgin Food and Travel host Natascha Mirosch talks to Tony about his earliest years working in hotels, cruise ships and fine diners. They discuss how he manages to steer his hospitality juggernaut and his most memorable meals, she canvasses his opinion on hats, stars and the Michelin Guide, the best advice he's ever received and finds out who he'd invite to dinner. Even if you've not heard of Tony Kelly or dined in one of his establishments, it's guaranteed you'll enjoy listening to Natascha's chat with this modest chef-turned-businessman.
Weekday Lemon Cake
A while ago, I spent a couple of days working in a little studio looking out on the most gloriously laden lemon tree I have ever seen – fruit drooping from its branches by the dozen. It truly was a magnificent sight. In honour of that beautiful tree, and the philosophy of The Plain Cake Appreciation Society – the appreciation of good, simple cake – I give you my weekday lemon cake. A (very) simple melt-and-mix number, perfect for when cake is in order, but fuss is not. From:The Plain Cake Appreciation Society by Tilly Pamment Weekday Lemon Cake MAKES 1 LOAF CAKE plain (all-purpose) flour, to dust 220 g (7¾ oz) caster (superfine) sugar finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon 225 g (8 oz) self-raising flour 125 g (4½ oz) unsalted butter, melted and cooled 3 eggs, lightly beaten 130 g (4½ oz) Greek-style yoghurt 60 ml (2 fl oz) full-cream (whole) milk LEMON GLAZE 120 g (4¼ oz) icing (confectioners’) sugar 1 tablespoon lemon juice Preheat the oven to 160°C (315°F) fan-forced and grease a 1.5 litre (52 fl oz) loaf (bar) tin thoroughly with butter. Dust with a little plain flour, tapping out any excess. Place the caster sugar and lemon zest in a large mixing bowl and use your fingertips to rub the zest through the sugar, releasing the oils and perfuming the sugar. Add the flour to the bowl and whisk to combine. Pour in the melted butter, eggs, yoghurt, milk and lemon juice and whisk to a smooth batter, taking care not to overmix. Spoon the batter into the tin, smoothing the top with a spatula and tapping the tin lightly on the bench to remove any air bubbles. Bake in the oven for 45–50 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through. Allow the cake to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. When the cake is cool, make the lemon glaze. Combine the icing sugar and lemon juice in a bowl and stir until smooth. Check the consistency of the glaze and add a little more lemon juice if needed until you have a nice drippy glaze. Drizzle the glaze over the cooled cake and allow to set (or not) before cutting the cake into thick slices and serving with a big cup of tea. This cake with keep happily in an airtight container at room temperature for 2–3 days. TEA & BLOOMS MATCH Earl Grey and white peonies. ‘Images and text from The Plain Cake Appreciation Society by Tilly Pamment, photography by Tilly Pamment. Murdoch Books RRP $39.99.’
Episode 100: How to Drink Australian
LISTEN HERE Sommelier, importer and wine writer Jane Lopes reckons that Australia is making the most exciting wines in the world right now, and ExtraVirgin podcast host Natascha Mirosch, while she could be accused of being a little biased, agrees. In this episode of ExtraVirgin Food and Travel Podcast, Jane and Natascha discuss Jane's background - including the soul-destroying experience of passing, then having her consort's Master Sommelier exam nullified; her newly released book: How to Drink Australian , co-written with her husband, Jonathan Ross and how a Californian-born, Nashville-dwelling American developed such a passion for Australian wine. Jane also tips us off on one of her favourite great-value Australian wines, her "death row" Australian choice and her favourite Australian wine region. Whether you already know how great Australian wines are, or have zero experience with them, pour yourself a glass of wine and have a listen. Cin Cin! Jane and Jon's book "How to Drink Australian is available at all good book stores, published by Murdoch Books. RRP $79.99 You can also buy tickets to one of their events through the website. wwww.howtodrinkaustralian.com/ I
Postcard from London
LISTEN HERE Heading to London? There's a lot more to the city than Buckingham palace and Big Ben. Our guest on this episode of "Postcards," is Che-Marie Trigg, a freelance writer and editor. In February 2023 she relocated from Sydney to London for the second time – she spent two years living and working in the English capital in 2017 and 2018, and has been in the city's grip ever since. Before returning to London, she was the Sydney Editor at city guide and culture publication Broadsheet. She's also worked as a subeditor at Gourmet Traveller magazine, and began her career at the Virgin Australia in-flight magazine. She has had her work published in Good Food, Harper's Bazaar Australia and International Traveller, as well as various other travel and lifestyle publications. In this Postcard, Che Marie shows us her London, sharing her favourite places to eat and drink, off-the-tourist-track sights, including museums and parks (including one with a swimming pond!) and much more.
So whether London is an upcoming holiday destination for you, or you're just armchair travelling, sit back and enjoy this postcard from London. LISTEN HERE