bread

Pan de Muerto: sustenance for Día de los Muertos

Pan de Muerto: sustenance for Día de los Muertos

We don't need to be convinced that food plays a central role in people's lives and cultures that goes way beyond the basic need for sustenance. But if we did need proof, Mexico's Day of the Dead observances would be Exhibit A. On November 1, families decorate the graves of their lost loved ones with marigold flowers. It's a custom, several women told us, that brings them close to their loved ones and makes them feel contento (content). The bright orange flowers almost cover the gravestones and their pungent aroma fills the air. We've really never seen anything else quite like it. As we looked more closely, we realized that families also leave personal belongings and mementos that their loved ones had enjoyed in life....Read More
Sixteen Bricks Bakery makes Cincy’s daily bread

Sixteen Bricks Bakery makes Cincy’s daily bread

Ryan Morgan is not a man you can easily forget. Neither is the bread that he creates at Sixteen Bricks Bakery (sixteenbricks.com). We'd been eating our way around Cincinnati for a couple of days before we had the chance to tour the bakery that supplies bread to many of the city's restaurants—both casual and high end—that insist on a high-quality product. Morgan revels in his role as the most unlikely of bakers. He left a career as a mechanic making medical equipment at Johnson & Johnson to help his mother in her struggling bakery. Not one to pull any punches, Morgan told us that the bakery turned out “some of the most garbage bread.” He shakes his head at the memory. “I don't know why...Read More
Serve hearty soup and rustic bread for St. Patrick’s Day

Serve hearty soup and rustic bread for St. Patrick’s Day

No corned beef and cabbage for us this year. As we were contemplating a lighter meal to celebrate St. Patrick's Day, we turned to two new cookbooks by great Irish chefs. We've written before about Darina Allen, the cookbook author and co-founder of the Ballymaloe Cookery School, which is located on an organic farm in County Cork. Her new book, Simply Delicious: The Classic Collection (2019, Kyle Books, $29.99), gathers some of her favorite recipes from her television cooking show and cookbook series of the same name. The 100 recipes illustrate Allen's love of traditional Irish cooking as well as her enthusiasm for cuisines around the world. They represent her straightforward approach to creating good, flavorful food. We have to admit that we were initially...Read More
Glasgow street fare: Morton’s Rolls and fried Mars Bars

Glasgow street fare: Morton’s Rolls and fried Mars Bars

Wherever we go, we try to stay open to serendipity. We like to think of our approach as open-minded, but it might be better described as open-mouthed. Our goal is to discover local foods, however humble. So when we spotted the Morton's stand in Glasgow, we knew we'd hit paydirt. As scripture reminds us, “man does not live by bread alone.” The folks of Morton's Rolls would agree. You really ought to split it, spread it, and put something between the halves. Founded in 1965, Morton's remains one of the two bakeries making the crispy edged, pillowy soft white bread rolls so beloved by Glasweigians (or “Weegies,” as they sometimes call themselves). Morton's even has a small fleet of self-contained stands that sell the rolls...Read More
Costeaux proves one cannot live on wine alone

Costeaux proves one cannot live on wine alone

The most famous of Persian poet Omar Khayyam's quatrains suggests that “paradise enough” consists of a loaf of bread, a jug of wine, and his beloved beside him in the wilderness. Healdsburg has dozens of potential wine suppliers to the paradise picnic, but the loaf have to come from Costeaux French Bakery (417 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg, 707-433-1913, costeaux.com). We were already well-acquainted with Costeaux's breads before we ever stepped foot in the downtown bakery and cafe. Honor Mansion makes most of its breakfast goodies from scratch, but there's no homecooked substitute for the Cinnamon Walnut loaf from Costeaux. (We know. We tried and failed to get the recipe.) It's a hand-rolled eggy bread dense with chopped walnuts and aromatic cinnamon. Sweet icing glazes the top...Read More
Backhouse realizes Niagara’s great potential

Backhouse realizes Niagara’s great potential

Too bad the great French gourmand Christian Millau didn't live long enough to visit Ryan and Bev Campbell's Backhouse in Niagara-on-the-Lake (242 Mary St.; 289-272-1242; backhouse.xyz). In 1968, Millau revolutionized the way the French (and, given the era, the world) regarded haute cuisine when he announced that he had discovered “the best restaurant in the world” in the provincial town of Roanne. He might have said something similar had he discovered this grill-centric, hyper-locavore restaurant in a shopping strip at the edge of this Lake Ontario resort village. “Best restaurant in the world” is hyperbole, of course. But the comparison to Les Frères Troisgros is more than fair. Backhouse serves brilliant food far from the metropolitan restaurant scene. Asador Etxebarri in the small village of...Read More

Living the Atlantis fantasy on Paradise Island, Bahamas

It takes a certain audacity to create a resort themed to the lost city of Atlantis. Royal Towers was the first hotel built on the 171-acre property of Atlantis (atlantisbahamas.com) on Paradise Island in the Bahamas. It still embodies that fanciful vision of lost glory. Much has been written about Atlantis since it opened more than 20 years ago, but you do have to see it to believe it. It's so over-the-top that it is almost impossible not to be caught up in the tale of the drowned city first related by Plato. The sunny Bahamian weather certainly doesn't hurt, but it was the artwork that drew me in. As soon as I stepped out of a taxi, I was greeted by a gigantic fountain...Read More

Camisadu farmstay in heart of Cannonau country

Exploring the Cannonau wine country means spending at least a few days in the mountains of Sardinia. That's hardly a hardship. The scenery is beautiful and aromas of the Mediterranean scrub hang in the air. This macchia Mediterranea, as it's called, consists of myrtle and strawberry trees with an undergrowth of yellow-flowered gorse and mastic, a shrub that bleeds a gummy sap. In the heat of the Sardinian sun, they smell like a resinous cache of rosemary, bay, and wild thyme. Stands of cork oak and groves of evergreen holm oaks punctuate patches of machhia. Sheep graze in the few open meadows. Pigs forage for acorns in the oak forest. One of the simpler lodgings I experienced was a farmhouse just outside Oliena. Agriturismo Camisadu...Read More

Jeffers Home Bakery bakes Irish staff of life

Whenever we travel in Ireland, Pat's mother always requests that we bring her home some soda bread farls. Now in her 90s, she still remembers her own mother, a native of County Armagh, cooking the four triangular pieces on a hot griddle. For us, it's a good request since it guarantees that we seek out a homey traditional bakery. In Belfast, that was Jeffers Home Bakery (4-6 College Street, 028 9032 7157, www.jeffersbakery.co.uk), right across the street from Sawers in the downtown shopping district. The operation started small in East Belfast when William Jeffers bought a van in 1937 and began delivering bread from Thompson's Bakery. By 1950 he had purchased the first bakery of his own and the little business began to grow. Andrew...Read More

Belfast holidays close out Year of Food and Drink

With no Thanksgiving to break up the autumn, folks in Northern Ireland start looking ahead to Christmas as soon as Halloween is over. That doesn't mean that Belfast lacks for reasons to give thanks. With all its occasional rough spots, Northern Ireland has enjoyed nearly a generation of peace since the Good Friday Peace Accord of 1998. The Peace Wall (below) has become a huge tourist attraction. Belfast has blossomed as a cosmopolitan, sophisticated city proud of its Irish roots. Nowhere is the renaissance more obvious than on the gastronomic front. Ireland north and south spent 2016 celebrating the island's great provender, amazing farmers, and legendary fishermen during the Year of Food and Drink. Belfast's chefs have broadly embraced that renewed local pride, and menus...Read More