Showing posts with label Travel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Travel. Show all posts

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Devour Seville, a foodie adventure

My wanderlust list is quite extensive, and my top ten destinations keep changing, but Seville has always been in my top five places to visit.
The time came that I actually made it to Seville this January.

Being a food-lover, Seville was a dream destination for me to explore Andalucian cuisine. What better way to enjoy the cuisine than to jump into tapas and wine tasting through Devour Seville food tours?  It was an excellent choice.  From the first contact to booking, and the tour itself, it was super organised—The website was clear and easy to navigate, booking was very easy, and they really made sure that I was reminded about the tour up to the day.

The meeting point was very central and just a ten minute walk from my hotel.  I was quite surprised that there were about ten people on tour; for cold January, that was pretty impressive.  It was a colourful and diverse group of American guests, one Irish guest, and me, Brazilian.  Some of the guests from the US were on holiday, and others lived in Europe, like me. I was all good banter.
This particular tour was about tapas and wine, but when they say wine, it includes vermouth, varieties of sherry, and local wines.
Vermut and local cold meats

We started with a short walk to our first stop, Maestro Marcelino, a tapas bar with a mixture of deli and boutique-style foods located in the Sant Cruz area near the Seville Cathedral. They have barrels selling wines by the glass, or you can bring a bottle to fill up.  We tried their local cured meats, mojama, chorizo, chicharrones, caña lomo, Iberico Bellota, and montaditos—little sandwiches. We had the grilled pork loin, and we washed it all down with a sweet red vermouth on tap.

The next stop was Las Teresas, a busy traditional tapas bar; there, we tasted Jamon Iberico de Bellota—acorn-fed Iberian ham, aged sheep cheese, and a glass of dry manzanilla sherry, a variety of fino sherry made around the port of Sanlúcar de Barrameda. It's very pale and dry.  We also tasted Amontillado, a sherry wine characterised by being slightly darker than fino.

The final stop was Vineria San Telmo. This place serves a modern take on tapas using fresh local ingredients. We had hot-off-the-grill tapas and three modern style local wines from Cadiz, Rioja, and Sierras de Malaga. It was just a fantastic place for a degustation of modern Seville cuisine.
Panko Prawns - delicious king prawns cooked in Japanese panko breadcrumbs, served with arugula, grilled zucchini/courgette and paired with a soy mayonnaise

A mild chicken liver pate aperitif served with caramelized onion, melted cheese and a tomato confit and crispy toasted bread - ideal for stacking!

A crepe de morcilla, using delicious blood sausage mixed with rice to create a unique texture and amazing taste, typical from Burgos in Northern Spain, served in a crepe with caramelized onion and lightly fried beetroot on top and a sweet pepper sauce.

beautifully prepared pluma ibérica, a cut of pork taken from near the ribs, served on a bed of pumpkin with a deliciously light curry sauce - so good!!

Our guide, Fleur was fabulous, knowledgeable, and very patient. She is British but has been living in Seville for the last six years. She told us various local curiosities, and it was a very entertaining evening.

The tour was a mix of traditional and modern establishments in Seville. At the end of it, I was fully satisfied and needed no more food until the next day. The tour was supposed to take 2.5 hours, but it ran over a bit, although no one seemed very preoccupied. It is ideal for first timers and an intro to the Seville food scene.  It is highly recommended.

Disclosure:  I was a guest of Devour Seville. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

France: Picturesque Trentemoult


We discovered the small ancient village of fishermen called Trentemoult. Located south of Nantes with easy access by the Navibus from stop Gare Maritime in Nantes. Here we are in an ancient group of islands.  Trentemoult, however, gathered the majority of the population, and its name was commonly used to refer all Rézé Islands.

Opposite the lovely village, there is the port of Nantes. This strategic position occupied by the village in the 14th century the monopoly of fishing in the Lower Loire. In the 19th century, the workers settled in the village, near the shipyard where the worked. Fishing was gradually abandoned, and maritime trade took off. There are very distinguished beautiful mansions among the traditional dwellings of fishermen walking through the streets. These estates were owned by high hierarchy naval personnel, who by way of 'souvenir' brought palm trees and exotic plants we can see on their properties.   They thrived due to the mild micro-climate in the region.
It is a place for a  pleasant stroll, a stop for something to eat and drink. A place to enjoy and unwind with family and friends, to chat and observe the ever changing Loire under the sunset.
The residents have created a  stunningly picturesque community with narrow and intriguing alleyways,  colour houses,  and small restaurants with music and dancing.  The Nantes residents come to get away from city life.

The ancient village of Trentemoult lies in the suburbs of Rézé,  which stretches along the south of Nantes. It’s here that Jules Verne’s fictionary captain character lived.


Eating in Trentemoult

La Civelle
21 Quai Marcel Boissard Trentemoult
t: 33 (0)2 40 75 46 60

The view of the Loire with Nantes in the background is one of the reasons to visit this open-air restaurant by the water in Trentemoult (Rezé). LA Civelle translate into English means baby eels.  That was the local speciality many many years ago.
What to expect on the menu:  lobster, scallops, tiger prawns, langoustines or cuttlefish; fresh cod steaks, vegetables,  wild rice and diced vegetables. For the meat eaters crème de Serrano (ham) or filet of lamb, red meats including delicious steak tartare. All this served up in a décor of untreated wood and industrial lamps. Excellent selection of grands crus wines. It gets very lively around meal times.

White fish from the Loire, vegetables and butter sauce - light and delectable perfect for a lunch by the Loire

Steak Tartare and chips

Cafe Gourmand at La Civelle

This is gâteau Nantais : egg-less mixture of sugar, almonds, butter and Antilles rum- there's a lot of alcohol in this cake! So much so that it keeps in the cupboard for a month I was told!

Show stopper : Les Traditionnelles Profiteroles de Trentemoult  - choux, ice cream, Chantilly, and hot chocolate - you can't go wrong with this dessert!

How to get to Trentemoult 

The Navibus Loire provides a smooth and scenic crossing on the Loire. The boat leaves every 20 minutes (every 10 minutes in the rush hour) – crossing time:  10 minutes.
Single ticket 1,60€ (validity: one hour)
Free for Pass Nantes card holders

Until next time why not join me on  InstagramTwitter and Facebook…X

Disclosure: I was a guest of Pays de La Loire Tourism Board  and ATOUT FRANCE on this trip. All views are my own.

Sunday, 4 December 2016

France: 48 hours in Nantes


The city of Nantes lies on the Loire River, Upper Brittany region of western France. It has a long and intricate history as a port and industrial centre. Nantes is the capital of the Pays de la Loire region and the Loire-Atlantique département. It's also the home to the restored, medieval Château des Ducs de Bretagne, where the Dukes of Brittany once lived.
View over Nantes and the Loire

Exploring Nantes

Walking around Nantes you will notice a green line on the floor. An urban route of 12 km, painted on the ground. The Voyage à Nantes is a permanent trail of over 40 installations, linked by the green line; it's an event brought to life every year during the Summer. Next year dates: from 1st July to 27th August 2017

A walk around Nante's historic city centre is a must. A good way to find out about the fascinating city architecture and soak up the atmosphere.

The medieval quarter includes the Saint Pierre & Saint Paul Cathedral, the château of the Dukes of Brittany and Bouffay square L’Ile Feydeau, a mark of the city’s maritime past in the 18th century. The 19th century quarter includes the Pommeraye Passage, Graslin Theatre,  Cambronne square

Passage Pommeraye

Passage Pommeraye

Debotte in Nantes

CHOCOLATE SHOP DEBOTTE (9 rue de la Fosse)
This firm is part of the heritage of Nantes, and this listed national heritage (1870) shop is opulently decorated with impressive chandeliers, marble floors and a circular velvet banquette where Nantais have waited while their orders were filled since 1823. Handmade specialities include macarons (finely ground chocolates encased in a dark chocolate shell) and the rainbow boiled sweets.

Debotte in Nantes
The most beautiful sweet shop ever! Debotte in Nantes

Le berlingot

macarons Nantais (finely ground chocolates encased in a dark chocolate shell)

RIGOLETTES SHOP (18 rue de Verdun)
In 1902, Charles Bohu created a new candy that he christened Rigolette, an homage to his cat. Nowadays, this sweet shop is located in Verdun Street. There are five original flavours: pineapple, blackcurrant, lemon, raspberry and Tangerine in addition to new features, such as chocolate and salted butter caramel and  Praline.

le Lieu Unique

walking by the canal

Located alongside the canal St Felix this building used to be an old biscuits factory. A national centre for contemporary arts and music venue in Nantes. You can find a very busy bar, theatres, a hammam, a day nursery and a bookstore.

le Lieu Unique
Quai ferdinand favre
44000 nantes
t: 33 (0)2 51 72 05 55

Château des Ducs de Bretagne

Once the home of the Dukes of Brittany between the 13th and 16th centuries, subsequently became the Breton residence of the French Monarchy. This large castle served as the centre of the historical province of Brittany until its separation in 1941. Nowadays, The Château is now a local history museum with multimedia exhibits, as well as a walkway atop its fortified ramparts.
Ten years after its original conception the has a profoundly transformed with a micrographic tour on offer.
This chateau has been listed as a  historical monument by the French Ministry of Culture since 1862.

Market:  Talensac

The oldest market of Nantes housed in a covered building, with some stalls outside selling bric-a-brac to fruits and vegetables. It is the town’s biggest market, open every day (7am-1pm) except Monday. Don’t miss its stalls overflowing with langoustines and lobsters, bread, cakes, wild mushrooms,  prawns and crabs, market garden produce, wine and lots more edible goodies.
Where: Place Talensac


l’île de Nantes 

Ile de Nantes, a new metropolitan centre and one of the biggest urban renovation enterprise in France. Sitting by the Loire river, l’île de Nantes spans 350 hectares, situated opposite the historic city centre.
The symbolic Nante’s naval history has contributed to the west side of the island to become an attractive tourist and cultural hotspot where many of Nantes’ fairs and festivals are held. 

Some places of Interest:   the rings of Buren and Bouchain (work from the Estuaire contemporary arts festival), the banana warehouse, the François Mitterand Quay, the builder’s yard park and its 5 gardens, he Titan crane, the Prouvé station (from the Estuary Festival), La Fabrique creative centre, the Machines de l’ile, the Manny building, the Jean Nouvel Palace of Justice and L’Absence by the Van Lieshout studio

The Machines de L'Ile
The great elephant
The Machines de L'Ile - the great elephant

The Machines de L'Ile - the great elephant

This mechanical elephant stands just over 12 metres high. When it moves, the 49 passengers feel as if they are on the 4th floor of a building.  It looks fun!

Carrousel des Mondes Marins 
Carrousel des Mondes Marins

This unbelievable 25m tall merry-go-round is set over three levels representing the ocean like the water, ships, sea creatures and the surface of the sea. There are 35 moving mechanical creatures, guarded by 16 fishermen from differents parts of the world.  It is great fun going around for both adults and children. A must visit for families.

Eating  and drinking in Style in Nantes

Le Nid  –Jean Jullien
Weighing 80,000 tonnes and soaring at 144 m, the Tour Bretagne is the third highest building in the region.  There's a lift that takes you directly to the 32nd floor which offers a magnificent  360° view over the city.  Designed by Jean Jullien, a young prodigy in the international world of graphic arts, the atmosphere is fun and relaxing.  An enormous white bird curls around the terrace; furniture inspired by the animal world welcomes you to this unique space. There is a bar serving cocktails and soft drinks to the very diverse public.
Le Nid  bar

Le 1

This stylish eatery attracts an upmarket clientele.  It's a chic and modern restaurant with views of the Loire River. It also has an open kitchen, which allows the customers to witness chef Jean-Yves Massonnet’s culinary art, up-and-close.  Expect lots of seafood and fish from the sea and the Loire itself.
Foie Gras  cooked served with prune sauce and sourdough, Asian salad and some delicious wine 

Le1 - open kitchen
steak tartare and fries

The house special: Grand Marnier souffle - so light , tasty and boozy - made for me!

café gourmand, an expresso and small selection of desserts - perfect!

1, Rue Olympe de Gouges
44200 NANTES
33 (0)

This dazzling new restaurant is run by a visionary English chef, Dominic Quirke, and it lives up to its word-of-mouth reputation.  Dominic Quirke forged his own culinary path using local and seasonal ingredients to create ethnic dishes, made with precision and often with unexpected matches.
Expect on the menu salmon, miso, cucumber pickles, horseradish yoghurt, nori; lean roast beef,  sesame rice, chestnut crumble and emulsions.

Interesting starter: chorizo, peas, coriander flower and peanut 

Foie Gras, shiitake dashi,  quince, lemon and carrot puree, black lemon  - lovel clean flavours

light and full of flavour cod, celery 2 ways, carrots from dear friends suppliers Annie et Olivier and ratte (loca potato) smoked

a delightful selection of British and French cheeses

Chocolate mousse and caramel, an intense buckwheat ice cream that resembled toasted bread or  hoppy beer and cumin - I reall enjoyed the ice cream

2 rue du Marais,
33 (0) 2 51 84 11 89

Les Table de Nantes
The table de Nantes’( in French and English) is a guide to discovering local cuisine and wines in restaurants chosen by locals. In total, there are 120 addresses, from healthy fast food to gourmet listed in Nantes, greater Nantes and the out-laying vineyards


L Hotel
6 rue Henri IV
t:33 (0)2 40 29 30 31
lovely breakfast

Conveniently situated in the historic centre of Nantes, L Hotel is near the Train Station, the Congress Centre, and the heart of the city. Lhotel is a 3* boutique hotel, with its own unique personality reflected in its stylish, contemporary design.

How to get to Nantes:

To Nantes:
->City jet from London City Airport and Cork
-> Easyjet from Manchester and London Gatwick
-> Flybe Birmingham, Manchester and Southampton
->BMI from regional and Easyjet from Bristol

To Nantes
You can book London to Nantes with (with one change in Paris from Gare du Nord to Gare Montparnasse,  December 2016)
From Paris:  pending on the train 2-3 hours

Until next time why not join me on  InstagramTwitter and Facebook…X

Disclosure: I was a guest of Pays de La Loire Tourism Board  and ATOUT FRANCE on this trip. All views are my own.
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