“Paris’ Best Flavours” Marché Aligre Food Tour

During our recent visit to Paris we booked the “Paris’ Best Flavours” food tour with operator “Anto’s Paris” via Tripadvisor (£61.50 each). Anto’s Paris Like a Local had received some great reviews, which alerted us to the tour (even though the tour itself we had not found any reviews on, except for a solitary 5 out of 5 rating here and there with no weight). Our tour was larger than average comprising eight paying guests. Our guide was a bubbly lady in her early thirties who had been living in Paris for ten years but initially hailed from Mexico. I can’t seem to remember her name. After a short introduction and a brisk five minute walk we arrived at our first stop: Blé Sucré, a bakery known for their out-of-this-world croissants and other fine pastry. We all opted for the pain of chocolat, one each, and it sure turned out […]

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The Barbarians started with carbon-offsetting, better late than never

The Barbarians fly a lot. Or at least used to. For the past two years I’ve been working mainly abroad, which meant that most Monday mornings, I got up at 3:30am, took a cab to Heathrow at 4:15am, then hopped on an airplane, just to return to London on Friday evenings. Sometimes Ms B and I also met in other locations, so I would take a plane from Frankfurt to New York or Paris while she would do the same from London. Ten years ago, we were even worse, we used to treat ourselves to overseas holiday trips two out of four weekends per month and even added some inland air travel to places like Newquay or Edinburgh. In short, we’ve been doing an awful lot of damage to the planet during those past ten years since we met, and we’ve not been feeling great about it. Could I have […]

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Learning how to row Venetian style with Row Venice and loving it

During our recent visit to Venice, we booked ourselves into a 90-minute €85 rowing training session with Row Venice. They are ranking #1 out of 75 local boat tour operators and watersport activity providers on Tripadvisor, and, for good measure, also had a Certificate of Excellence thrown in on top. For the €85 it was open to us, if we both wanted to have a go at it, or just one of us; in the end Ms B decided it wasn’t her thing, so I became the only student. If you are a larger group, the cost per boat (whether rowing or riding) is as follows: €120 for 3 people, €140 for 4, or €200 for the 5-passenger boat.   About Row Venice Row Venice has been founded in the mid-Noughties by Jane Caporal, now 56, from Bristol, UK. She grew up in Australia, married an Italian, and moved to […]

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An Amazing Dinner at the Lovely Il-Horza, Valletta

During our recent visit to the beautiful Knights Templar island of Malta, Charlie Bone, the chef and owner of Il-Horza, invited us to visit his tiny but highly regarded restaurant. We asked the cab driver to drop us off some distance from the venue and enjoyed the short stroll across the pompous squares and through crooked alleyways of Valletta, Malta’s capital. We were offered to choose between the more elegant, slightly more spacious ground floor room, and the more rustic, basic, but very cosy basement, which is just a few steps down the stairs from the entrance. We chose a table in the basement, because we loved the ambience.    After short deliberation, we opted for bone marrow (€9) and the chef’s daily selection of Antipasti (€9) as our starters. As main Ms B chose local fish of the day (sea bream, €23.50), and I couldn’t resist the ribeye of […]

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Fera, Claridge’s – Fine Dining in Mayfair

We have just returned from our lunch at Michelin-starred Fera at Claridge’s , whose kitchen has been headed by Australian chef Matt Starling since February 2017. Fera focuses on British cuisine. We had been having meals at Claridge’s in the past, when it was called “Gordon Ramsey at Claridge’s” and when it was labelled London’s most overpriced, overrated restaurant. However, Ms B, my wife, found out that instead of charging you £300+ for a meal for two with wine, like in the olden days, there was now a surprisingly acceptable lunch deal on offer: three courses and a glass of champagne or gin and tonic for £42 per person. For an additional £10 you can add their signature snacks (we didn’t, because we weren’t that hungry). There is an undeniable wow effect when you enter the dining room through a curtain-lined entrance which leads to a rotunda, where the room […]

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