WanderFood Wednesday: Harvest Festivals Around the World

by Samantha Scott
( October 14th, 2014 )

Apple Orchard

It’s Harvest time! Around the world this is an important, often sacred time, signifying prosperity and providing the means to get through a cold winter. Here are a few harvest festivals around the world:

Moon Festival: China

Moon Cakes

Anyone familiar with the novel “The Joy Luck Club” will recognize this. One of my favorite vignettes from that book features this festival, and in fact it was turned into a separate children’s book which I adored as a kid. The Moon Festival is a time for families to gather together and takes place in mid August. It’s especially known for traditional “moon cakes” which feature prominently in the story from “The Joy Luck Club.”

Pongal: India

Pongal Festival

Pongal is an Indian rice dish, served during the festival time of the same name. Symbolizing new opportunities and abundance from the land, this festival spans over four days and involves big gatherings and the honoring of cattle, sun, rain and family.

Yam Festival: West Africa

Yam Festival

A public holiday in Ghana and Nigeria, during this festival yams are offered to the gods as the end of the rainy season is marked. The festival is also known as “Homowow” meaning “To Hoot at Hunger.” It is a celebration hoping for a bountiful harvest with parades, music, dancing and singing.

Thanksgiving: North America

Thanksgiving Turkey

In North America, harvest time culminates in the celebration of Thanksgiving. Turkey is typically served in the United States, a symbol of the first Thanksgiving which occurred in 1621. Other typical Thanksgiving fare includes stuffing, sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie.

Have you attended any of these harvest festivals around the world? What did you think?

Eat Well, Travel Well ~ Samantha

Photo Credits
Apple Orchard: Jeff Kubina via Flickr
Moon Cakes: Karen via Flickr
Pongal: Byghan via Flickr
Yam Festival: OneVillage Initiative via Flickr
Thanksgiving Turkey: Tim Sackton via Flickr

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5 Destinations I Would Revisit Just for the Food

by Samantha Scott
( October 13th, 2014 )

Discovering local cuisine is one of the things I love most about travel. Here are my top five foodie destinations I would revisit in a heartbeat!

Tuscany, Italy

Obviously Italy has to be on the foodie list! There is nothing quite like eating Italian food in Italy. There’s such reverence for the art of cooking and so much enjoyment surrounding food and gathering with friends and family for meals.  I’ll never forget the deliciousness of a home cooked meal at the Badia a Coltibuono or the divine simplicity of a gelato while roaming the streets of Florence.

Gelato in Tuscany

Vancouver, Canada

Not only does this city boast spectacular oysters and other seafood, the choices are exhausting for fun, interesting restaurants! I love charcuterie and there is a fabulous spot in Gastown called Salt, which is set up like a tasting room and focuses on wine pairings with cheese, spreads and condiments. Interesting wines and knowledgeable, engaging staff make this a wonderful experience.

Salt Tasting Room Wine Pairing

Melbourne, Australia

Melbourne is a bit of a hidden gem for foodies. There’s fabulous Dim Sum to be had at Red Emperor in the beautiful South Bank area, wonderful variety along the St. Kilda beachfront and great markets, especially Prahran Market, home of the best Greek yogurt I’ve ever had, and still crave. For a real neighborhood feel, Di Palma’s pizza on Glenferrie Rd. remains one of my all time favorite pizza joints.

Prahran Market

Boulder, Colorado

Boulder boasts some great restaurants and there is a very strong focus on fresh, organic, non-processed ingredients which is wonderful to see from a place where getting fresh items can be a challenge. The Kitchen is one of my favorite restaurants, with it’s rustic feel and truly exceptional food. Boulder is also home to Frasca, named by food and wine magazine as one of the 100 Best Wine Restaurants in the country, 2014.

Healdsburg, California

Northern California is one of the most versatile foodie places I know of. The climate is temperate, it’s beautiful, and the close proximity to farms and vineyards means that the “Farm to Table” movement is a way of life, and not simply a tourist buzz-word. For one of the best burgers, (and also the best martini EVER) visit Bistro Ralph on the Healdsburg Sq. Spoonbar in the H2 Hotel has made a name for itself, offering spectacular mix drinks and constantly upping their mixology game with new and interesting cocktails. And for a truly unique experience, Madrona Manor offers a classic 5 course meal like nothing you’ve ever seen.

Bistro Ralph Burger, Healdsburg CA
What are your top five foodie destinations?

I was nominated to write this post by Valerie and Valise as part of a promo through booked.net: Booked.netTop Destinations to Go There. I nominate Trupti at Trailbound, Sarah at Luxury Nomad, Mackenzie at Wandering Scribbler, Sarah at Sarah Under the Sea and Becky at The Girl and the Globe!

Eat Well, Travel Well ~ Samantha

Photo Credits
Gelato in Tuscany: Derek Key via Flickr
Salt Tasting Room in Vancouver: kslee via Flickr
Prahran Market in Melbourne: Alpha  via Flickr

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WanderFood Wednesday: Best American Ballpark Food

by Samantha Scott
( October 7th, 2014 )

Corn Dog at Hi Tops

Last weekend I experienced one of the best corn dogs I’ve ever had at Hi Tops, a sports bar in San Francisco’s Castro neighborhood. Flavorful and perfectly fried, a delicious homemade batter made all the difference.

While I wasn’t actually at the ballpark, corn dogs have become my new favorite snack at a baseball game and it got me thinking…what is the best American ballpark food? Are there things that aren’t around anymore or used to be more popular? Cracker Jacks spring to mind…don’t see those much anymore! Or those red and white striped bags of popcorn.

To bid farewell to baseball season, I thought it would be fun to compile a list from your submissions of what you think the best American ballpark food is. Send me your favorites WanderFoodies! So many things can contribute to what makes a great ballpark food. Here are a few ideas to keep in mind:

  • Ease of eating – always important at the ballpark. Nothing worse than spilling all over your team colors!

  • Quintessential or kitschy - at Wrigley Field in Chicago, they serve nachos in an upside down batting helmet, and a trip to AT&T in San Francisco is not complete without their famous garlic fries.

  • Pure nostalgia – cotton candy anyone?

What ballpark foods would you add to the list?

Eat Well, Travel Well ~ Samantha 

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