Culinary Vacations Open Up the World of Culture

Unique vacations are on the rise. One of the specialty vacations that many are asking about are culinary tours. Culinary tours give the vacationer the ability to taste of the culture as they indulge in the best of the foods in each culture. Open up the world as you taste of the delicacies of various regions, towns, cities, nations and continents.

Travel abroad tasting food specialties and delicate wines while diving into the lifestyle and culture of a region, area or country. Discover the taste and differences of each unique area. Taste the wine of Vienna or the sweet treats of Brazil. The unique flavors of foods from various countries and regions fill the palate with flavor and provide memories that last a lifetime.

Taste of global cuisine. Immerse yourself in the culture of the land by tasting the unique flavors and spices of each area. Interact with culture and society by enjoying a culinary vacation. Most culinary tours involve a small group that journey together tasting and enjoying. Enjoy the laughter and joy of dinning as you travel through the most popular areas and even small hidden barely known best kept secrets. Culinary vacations are filled with the art of dining and the atmosphere of community. Culinary vacations are designed with a flexibility that caters to the participants.

Tours are uniquely catered to the individual from the budding culinary artist to the expert traveler. Select your style of eating. What are you looking forward to tasting and enjoying? Within each area lies the strength of various culinary arts. Learn the methods of creating the best international and national cuisines.

United States international cuisine is tasty and unique. Take a culinary tour to enjoy the breeze of the ocean and specialty seafood dishes along the East Coast. Enjoy Colorado and the flavor of foods such as prime cuts of fresh Elk and Buffalo steaks which viewing breathtaking mountain scenes. Enjoy New Jerseys fresh produce grilled to perfected and tossed with fresh cuts of meat. Enjoy an international tour to such places as Italy, Australia or France.

The flavors of Italy may include a Roman dinner party or traveling through the country side tasting of wines, handpicked olives, perfected meats, freshly pressed olive oil, and homemade breads and pastas. The flavors of Italy cannot be imagined, they must be experienced. An Italian culinary vacation will open you up to the very best of Italian cuisine. Italy has some of the finest food in the world and some of the very best culinary artisans. Enjoy foods that have been created with art and passion. This is a unique trip that you will never forget. Your own cooking will forever be marked by a culinary vacation to Italy.

Enjoy the knowledge gained as you travel and relax. The culinary art is caught more than it is taught. Catch the art of creating foods that will speak of the joy of living. Gourmands enjoy traveling and partaking of the culture through foods. The culinary art is tasted. The freshest of natures foods are cooked to perfection in a variety of unique ways and light up the face of the gourmand. Young and old gourmands enjoy culinary vacations. Culinary vacations are also often enjoyed by couples as they travel; enjoy each others company over meals and delights, talk for hours into the wee hours of the night, and laugh together as you enjoy the very best life has to offer in culinary arts and foods.

In Search of the Best Coffee Makers

Coffee may be the most popular beverage in the world. Recent statistics indicate that over 50% of the American population are coffee drinkers and this number would more than likely hold true in many other countries as well. This more than any thing else helps to explain why there is such a wide range of coffee makers available for purchase today.

With such a diverse range of coffee machines, there is more choice for the coffee drinking public than ever before. Main stream popular styles include the Automatic and Manual Drip, Pod, Automatic Espresso, French Press, Percolator, Stovetop Espresso and the Vacuum. Each one of these styles has some unique characteristic that are sure to appeal to a certain segment of the coffee drinking public.

Automatic and Manual Drip Coffee Machines

The most popular style of coffee maker continues to be the automatic drip coffee maker. The basic design is very simple and efficient. Add fresh water to the built-in reservoir, insert a filter in to the handy filter holder, measure your favorite coffee grounds and pour into the filter and then press the start button. Within minutes your senses are excited by the smell of freshly brewed hot coffee! Most models also have a built-in timer and a pot warmer included so that you can set your coffee to brew and be ready at any hour of the day or night, and kept constantly warm as well.

Manual drip coffee brewers do take a bit more work since you need to boil the water using another heat source, but after that it is basically the same coffee making process of putting coffee grounds in the filter and pouring the hot water through the filter so that the coffee liquid is collected in the pot or container below. One great advantage of the manual drip coffee machine is that is can go most any where with you as it is not dependent upon having electricity to operate so it is great for camping and other outdoor activities.

Pod Coffee Machines

These are becoming very trendy and popular in recent years. Working similar to the automatic drip machines, they feature the ability to use pre-packaged containers or pods of specialty coffees to brew great tasting coffee. With many reputable coffee chains such as Starbucks now selling their most popular coffee blends in the pod format, consumers can get the same tasting cup of specialty coffee at home that they had to go out and purchase before at a much higher price.

Automatic Espresso Coffee Brewer

Espresso coffee makers have become much more affordable in recent years and because of this, they are gaining in popularity amongst serious coffee drinkers wanting something more than just a normal cup of coffee. There are currently three types of espresso coffee brewers to choose from, namely semi automatic, fully automatic, and super automatic. As a rule, the more automatic the espresso maker is, the less you need to do to brew your coffee, but unfortunately the more expensive it is to purchase. For example, where a semi-automatic model will tamp the coffee grounds, brew the coffee, fill your cup and eject the old grounds, an entirely automatic model will also grind the coffee for you as well, and the super automatic espresso coffee maker will do all of the above plus having additional features such as built-in water filters and self-cleaning.

Stovetop Espresso Coffee Maker

The stovetop espresso coffee brewers are basically a manual method for preparing espresso coffee when you do not have access to an automatic version or an electrical source of energy. This makes it an ideal coffee maker for taking outdoors on camping or fishing trips if you feel the need to make an espresso cup of coffee. First water is placed inside the underside boiler and then a cone filter is situated inside the boiler and filled with coffee grounds. Next the top is lightly tightened and the brewer is place over the heat source. After a few minutes, once the top of the boiler is filled with the freshly brewed coffee it is removed from the heat supply and the coffee is ready to be served. Here again, the absence of any warming feature means the coffee has to be served immediately.

French Press Coffee Maker

Also known as “press pots” or “plunger pots”, the French Press coffee makers are not as common as they once were. Preparing coffee is more work than it would be using any of the coffee makers already discussed as it is a manual coffee machine. The pot is actually a glass or porcelain tube consisted of a stainless, mesh plunger that acts like a filter. To make the coffee you must first measure the coffee grounds into the pot, then pour in almost boiling water. After allowing the coffee mixture to steep for a few minutes, the plunger is then pushed downwards and the liquid beverage is forced into the waiting cup or container. As there is no built-in heating plate or element beneath the coffee container, you must serve the coffee beverage immediately or place it into an insulated container to keep it hot for later.

Percolator Coffee Maker

At one time percolator coffee makers were the standard type of coffee brewers in most households, a role now held by the automatic drip machines. Although not as popular today, they still have their place when a coffee maker is required that can brew large volumes of coffee rather than the 10-14 cup limit or less in most other popular coffee machines sold these days. Modern percolators are available as stove top models and electric and can be programmed like other automatic coffee machines. The coffee making process is based on running water continuously over the coffee grounds, held within a metal filter, as the water is boiled. One drawback of this method is that the coffee often gets stronger and more bitter tasting the longer it goes through the brewing cycle.

Vacuum Coffee Maker

Perhaps the strangest looking type of coffee machine is the vacuum coffee maker. Looking like something from a science fiction movie, the apparatus is made up of two overlapping containers connect by a siphon tube. The filter is located in the bottom section of the upper container. To brew coffee, the user first adds coffee grounds to the upper container, then pours water into the lower container. Next the brewer is placed on top of a stove where the water is then boiled and the resulting steam is passed along through the siphon tube into the upper container. After about 3 minutes the container is removed from the heat source and the steam condenses back into liquid water which is forced through the filter and back into the lower unit. Your fresh pot of coffee is now sitting in the lower unit. An interesting way to brew a cup or pot of coffee!

Needless to say, coffee lovers can select from a wide variety of coffee makers. From cheap stove top coffee pots to high end super automatic coffee machines, there is a coffee machine for every inclination as well as for every budget. Fantastic news! Now here is the unpleasant news. With all the many coffee machines to choose from today, even knowing the style you favor is not enough. Within each of the coffee maker styles noted above there are numerous different brand names and models to choose from.

Bill’s Candles

If you are looking to purchase beautiful looking homemade candles, but you aren’t interested in the candle making process yourself, turn to Bill’s Candles. They offer an array of quality candles that you will love. This company started in 1999 after beginning to reprocess candles bought on the market. The candles were reprocessed because the scent had already disappeared. By melting the leftover wax, adding a fragrance, and pouring into a container, new candles were had that held their scent for a very long time.

 

From there, experimenting with various types of candle waxes and molds lead to the invention of Bill’s Candles. The candles you purchase are the result of many labor intense hours. Some of the experiments worked well while others were complete disasters. Finally, recipes for the perfect candles were done and written down.

 

Customers are very happy with the candles they receive from Bill’s Candle. They love that the process is still one done by hand rather than in a factory. Bill also gives his personal guarantee that if you are not satisfied with any candle you can exchange it or get a full refund. The only requirement is that you return in before you have used 10% or more of the candle.

 

Bill’s Candles uses two types of wax. There is the vegetable candle blend and the soy wax. Please note soy wax is only available on the container candle line. Soy candles burn clean without producing smoke. They also burn for a great deal of time. The scent of a candle stays for an amazing length of time with soy candles. The vegetable candle blend is used for pillars and votives. It is American made and gives the candle a very lustrous color.

 

All of the candles offered from Bill’s Candles are hand poured. It is important that you allow at least two weeks for your order because there is no automated process here. What you get are top of the line candles that are 100% homemade. Customers can be assured there is no shortage of selection at Bill’s Candles.

 

This company offers container candles that come in an apothecary jar. Choose from a 10 ounce, 16 ounce, 22 ounce, or 26 ounce candle. You can also choose a classic mason jar container candle. The mason jars come in either a pint or half pint. The lids for the mason jars are gold with a flower design on top.

 

Pillar candles are a very popular type. Bill’s Candles offers a wide range of pillar candles to choose from. Traditional pillar candles can be purchased in most any size. They are available in round and square shapes. Dome top pillar candles add a bit of design to this classic candle. The arch motif has a ridge design in it as well as an arc shape at the top. The fluted spiral has ridges, giving this pillar a very unique design.

 

Round votives are available in the traditional size of 1 ½ x 1 ½. Once you have decided which types of candles you want to purchase, select the color and fragrance you want. There are 30 great colors and over 200 scents to choose from. You will find a full list of colors and scents posted online and in the Bill’s Candles catalog.

 

Bill’s candles offers a wonder variety of homemade candles for you to choose from. The quality is guaranteed. Bill takes great pride in his candle making techniques. Each candle is made with care and customer service in mind. If you are considering purchasing candles from Bill’s Candles as gifts, look at their online store. They offer unique gift baskets and gift sets to choose from. They will also work with the customer to make a customized gift set or basket to meet your needs. This is a small business that still enjoys the candle making process as opposed to manufacturing large quantities to make profits. The love Bill has for his candle making shows in his products and satisfaction guarantee.

Six Best Culinary Herbs for Cooking

Freshly picked culinary herbs add flavour to food and many are delicious additions to salads. Edible herb flowers such as pot marigold, nasturtium and rosemary can also be added to the salad bowl. Many culinary herbs are rich in vitamins and minerals and when freshly picked and eaten raw they can form part of a well-balanced diet. Raw herbs can also be used to add flavour to oils and vinegars for cooking and for salads.

Parsley

Parsley leaves gives a fresh flavour to sauces and salads, when added just before serving. The stems and leaves of parsley can also be used in bouquet garni. Parsley tastes particularly good with pasta dishes, omelettes, vegetables, fish and any meat or poultry.

Parsley is one of the most widely known and used of the culinary herbs. There are two main types of parsley – curly leaf and flat leaf – and both are excellent for culinary purposes. Both of these herbs are a rich source of vitamins and minerals and they can be used to enhance the flavour of cooked dishes and green salads.

Basil

Basil goes with almost any dish but it has a special affinity with tomatoes and is a favourite in Italian cooking.

Sweet basil with its soft green leaves and creamy white or purple tinted flowers is the most popular type of basil. This culinary herb can be used in sauces and salads and to enhance the flavour of cooked dishes such as soups and stews. Perhaps the greatest basil dish is pesto sauce, eaten with spaghetti. This combination makes a wonderfully delicious meal.

There are many other types of basil. Purple ruffle, dark opal and Greek basil are three of the other more unusual varieties, all with differing flavours.

Mint

Spearmint and peppermint are two members of the mint family most widely known and used as culinary herbs. There are many varieties of mint, some with distinct scents and flavours and some can be used for a variety of culinary purposes, such as in sweet and savoury dishes, in salads and for herb tea.

Spearmint is a favourite for mint sauce to accompany lamb and tastes particularly good with dishes such as soups, stews, plain meats, fish and lemon-based deserts.

Peppermint is also popular as a culinary herb flavouring. This herb is most commonly used as flavouring for sweets and chocolates etc. and is also used to flavour cordials. Fresh peppermint leaves can be used to make peppermint tea and the leaves can be added to fresh green salads.

Thyme

Thyme can be used to improve the flavour of most dishes. Both the fresh and dried leaves of this herb are used for cooking. Fresh thyme leaves are useful in many savoury dishes.

Thyme has a rich flavour which makes it an ideal accompaniment to roast meats and tastes good in slowly cooked dishes such as stews and soups. The finely chopped fresh leaves may be added to new potatoes or salad.

Thyme is regarded as one of the great culinary herbs and is widely used in European cooking. This herb is an evergreen perennial it is recognisable by its mauve flowers and small leaves.

My Nutritional Advice From a Personal Trainer

What’s the point of doing extensive exercises and workouts when you don’t get and maintain a proper diet and nutrition? Your Personal Trainer will not only guide you through the workouts, but also help control of your appetite, diet and nutrition plans. Since your goal is to build your body in such a way that you’ll look and feel good and healthy, it is therefore important that you watch what you eat because some of it could just make the program and your efforts useless. Continue reading

Why not processed foods?

Have you ever seen a picture of your blood plasma after you’ve eaten a meal from McDonald’s or Burger King? It’s not a pretty picture. It looks thick and cloudy. Fast foods are loaded with fat and sodium. They use white bread and rolls, which means they’ve used white processed flour, with very few nutrients in them.
And how do you feel after a Big Mac and french fries? You need a nap, don’t you? All that fat will drag you down and make you feel sluggish.

Going on a diet is hard, but think about some of the things you do when you go on a diet. You eliminate those high fat, processed, high-sodium foods. You eat less, true. But you also eat more raw fruits and vegetables. You drink water. And the results of eating this way are increased energy, less need for sleep. Processed foods, with their high fat content are hard to digest. They take an enormous amount of the body’s energy to consume. When your body’s energy isn’t used up digesting all that fat, it’s available for YOU – for work, play, love, exercise – in other words, for LIFE.

These aren’t drastic concepts. You don’t have to make drastic changes in your lifestyle. But take a good look at what you consume without even thinking about it. We reach for the potato chips, or stop at McDonald’s or Taco Bell when we’re hungry and we want something in a hurry.

It’s much easier these days to have snacks on hand so you don’t have to stop at a fast food place when you’re hungry. If you’re on the road a lot, and get hungry, pick up a bag of vegetables or apple slices at a grocery store. Yes, it’s easier to drive up to Wendy’s, but taking a few extra minutes, not to mention a few extra steps, will be well worth it in energy and vitality.

The Effect of having Sports in the Bars

It is well said that 2 is company and 3 is crowd. However, I do not think so. In fact, after 2 it is a group. That’s right. Once you are a group or a clan, everything falls your way. It is an immense pleasure and fun to be a part of a big clan with all the members sharing the common interest and passion towards the sports being offered at the Singapore bars. Being a couch potato at home, sitting before the idiot box and watching your favorite match series is only one side of the world. You ought to get out of your couch and visit the sports bars in Singapore. Only then can you understand the fun of watching the matches together. Continue reading

Wine and Food Pairings

Pairing food and wine is an art. To create a pleasurable dining experience, there are some basic considerations to understanding how food enhances the taste of wine, and vice versa. The goal is to find balance and synergy, keeping in mind that this process is one of personal preferences. Success is achieved when you find a combination that is pleasing to your palate.

Here are some suggestions on how to pair food and wine, so that they may accentuate the flavors in one another and as a result, taste better.

Consider how the dish is being prepared, and if there will be a dominate seasoning, sauce or flavor. Delicate foods should be served with a delicate wine, while heavy dishes go better with heavy full bodied wine.

Keep in mind how the wine will react with the food. For example, sweet foods will taste less sweet with a wine high in tannins. While salty foods offset the sweetness and emphasize the fruit in sweet wines.

Bring wine and food from the same geographical region together. It is natural for these combinations to work, especially with the culinary history in certain wine-producing regions around the world.

For wine and cheese pairings, white wines compliment softer cheeses, while red wines taste better with hard cheeses. A Chardonnay, for example, enhances the flavors in a provolone or gruyere cheese. While a Merlot pairs well with brie.

Below are some suggestions for pairing wine and food:

Chardonnay- salmon, shellfish, veal, grilled chicken, grilled fish, cream sauces
Sauvignon Blanc- fruit, white or light fish, lemon based sauces
Pinot Grigio- turkey, shrimp, veal, cream sauces
Dry Riesling- shrimp, lobster, chicken
Zinfandel- tomato pasta dishes, pizza, pesto, chicken with heavy sauces
Dry Rose- salads, light spicy food, pasta salads
Cabernet Sauvignon- red meats, roast, dark chocolate, lamb
Syrah/Shiraz- sausage, stew, peppered red meats, spicy pizzas
Pinot Noir- salmon, light meats, chicken, tuna, beef stroganoff
Merlot- pasta dishes, game birds, smoked or grilled meats, chicken

These are only starting points for wine and food pairings. Experimentation is the key to finding a combination that fits your personality and works best for you.

Recognized Culinary School

The culinary school provides several international recipe programs for the students. The professional and adroit chef and cooks present the practical learning of international dishes. These schools give many short term and long term programs. The culinary institutions give wide knowledge of variety of national and international meals, dishes preparation. The institutes provide excellent methods and process as well as complete knowledge required for food cooking. Continue reading

Coffee Brewing Methods: Is Your Coffee Brewer Just a Drip?

For most of us, brewing up our morning cup of coffee is more than just a necessity, it is a matter of convenience. Each night, millions of us coffee lovers pile heaping tablespoons of our favorite gourmet coffees into those paper filters, fill the tank of our coffee makers with water and set the timer so that our coffee is ready and waiting first thing in the morning.

So if you are like me and you enjoy the finest gourmet and specialty coffees available, then you must also believe that they deserve the best and most reliable coffee brewing equipment available.

Here is a quick list of the most popular coffee brewing methods & equipment starting from the best:

French Press
The French press coffee maker (or press pot) is universally recognized as the best brewing method, allowing for the truest coffee taste and aroma. This method actually brews the coffee in the hot water (as opposed to drip machines which only pass the water through the coffee and a filter). After a few minutes of brewing, a metal filter is pressed through the brew catching the coffee grinds and then trapping them at the bottom of the carafe. What is left over is full-bodied coffee with all its aroma and essences.

One of the main advantages to using a French press, other than great coffee taste, is the amount of control you have. You can control the water temperature (which incidentally should be around 190 to 200 degrees Fahrenheit, a temperature that drip makers do not achieve), you can control the amount of coffee you want to add, and you can control the brew time. Four minutes of brew time and 30 seconds of “plunging” time is considered best.

Another great feature about the French press is that it is extremely portable and only requires hot water. You can take it camping or use it in places with limited kitchen space, like a boat or an RV. Some press pots can also be used to brew loose leaf teas in the same manner.

As an aside, you shouldn’t leave your brewed coffee in the press-pot with the grounds after you brew it! Either consume it or transfer it to a carafe, preferably a thermal carafe.

Vacuum Brewer
Vacuum brewers aren’t very common, but they make coffee just about as well as a French press since the coffee and water are brewing together. A vacuum brewer has an upper and a lower chamber connected by a tube with a small filter inside. Coffee grounds are placed in the upper chamber, and water is placed in the lower chamber. As the lower chamber is heated, the water rises up to meet the coffee in the upper chamber where the brewing begins. After brewing, the water (now coffee) cools and seeps back down into the lower chamber leaving the used coffee grinds behind in the upper chamber. Ideally, the upper chamber is removed and the lower chamber is used as a decanter for the finished coffee.

Vacuum brewers can be electric, stovetop, or even used over a sterno can for dramatic tabletop brewing!

The Toddy Maker
The toddy maker or Cold-Brew Coffee Maker uses an unusual cold-brewing method that creates a coffee concentrate. This concentrate is then mixed with hot water to make coffee. The concentrate can be stored in a refrigerator and used to make one cup at a time if you so desire. This method produces a low-acid coffee, which is doctor recommended for coffee drinkers with stomach conditions.

Although this method of coffee brewing is sounds a bit odd, the result in taste is pleasantly surprising. One drawback is the amount of time it takes to brew. A good idea is to brew the coffee overnight. Once brewed, the concentrate can produce more than just one pot of coffee, so it’s not a nightly event for a great cup of morning coffee!

Drip Grind Coffee Makers
Drip Grind coffee makers are the most common and usual coffee brewing method that we are familiar with.

In this method, water is dripped over and passes through the coffee grinds and a filter and is caught by the coffee pot below. Despite being the most common brew method it also happens to be the one which produces a coffee brew with the least amount of flavor and aroma.

There are generally 2 filter options for the drip grind coffee makers.

Permanent filters: are just what they say, permanent. They are usually gold-plated so they don’t add any unwanted metallic taste to your coffee, resistant to corrosion so they are dishwasher safe and economical because they don’t need replacing. Permanent filters are preferred because they allow for better coffee taste as opposed to the second filter option, paper filters.< are the most common filter choice for the drip grind coffee makers. Unfortunately, paper filters can filter out more than just coffee grinds. Flavorful oils can be left behind in the filter and not make it to the finished coffee brew resulting in less coffee flavor and aroma. Since permanent filters allow for more liquid to pass through, the end result is a more flavorful cup.

As you can see, the most common brew method happens to be the one which produces the least amount of coffee flavor and aroma. Since, mornings usually need to be made quick and simple, most people have never had their coffee brewed any other way. If you are one of these people, don’t just splurge on gourmet coffee’s, get a small French press maker, start experimenting and experience the truest coffee flavor & aroma in each cup.

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