15 Books About Food & Travel That Saved Me During the Pandemic

books about food and travel
Here are a few of the paper books I read. The rest are ebooks.

Books about Food and Travel!

How did books about food and travel save me during the COVID pandemic? They provided me a way to escape during a challenging time and envelope myself in a world that means so much to me. Exploring interesting destinations, reading about exciting adventures, and real-life memoirs about chefs and food entrepreneurs is my passion. In addition to a personal escape, reading as much as I do helps to make me a better writer! As a brand ambassador and travel writer, the lockdown was particularly agonizing because I wasn’t planning and experiencing travel, nor was I working.

Some days were slow and relaxed, while others were depressing and sad. Most of us felt this way during the Quarantine, right? Confusion, sadness, and a longing for normality were the catalyst for my positive, uplifting reading choices.

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For Valentine’s Day, Why Not Create A Virtual Romantic Getaway for Two!

long term marriages

Does the idea of a virtual romantic getaway sound a little crazy, but fun?

After all, this is 2021, travel remains at a virtual standstill, and almost everything we do, even as ridiculous as it sounds – is virtual. Work, school, birthday parties, Thanksgiving, Christmas, cocktail hour, baby showers, wine tasting, cooking class, exercise class! Good grief! Why not enjoy a virtual romantic getaway for two? Let’s create everything you need to pretend to be at the destination of your dreams!

Valentine’s Day is around the corner, but we have a little time to plan. Why the heck not? As a travel writer, my work life was upended by the pandemic, which allowed me the freedom to try a few new ideas. One of which was to create a Virtual Maui Vacation. Brilliant, yes? 

romantic getaway
A virtual Maui could be fun!

After umpteen months of quarantine, a virtual Maui Vacation sounds kind of fun, doesn’t it? Maybe you want to create a weekend in Maui? Just check out the Vacation Guide, which has all of the details!

Maybe you need a little help with this virtual romantic getaway idea? I plan to give you a few tips to get your creative juices flowing.

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Small Group Tour Anyone? – A Truffle Hunting Adventure in Italy!

small group tour
The gorgeous Italian countryside – All photos in this post by The Italian Tour!

A Small Group Tour will be the hottest travel ticket in town.

I am thinking of planning my next small group tour. For the past six months, did we ever think we would still be socially distancing on month #6? We have been stuck inside, unable to travel like we used to before COVID.  

Everyone has a different philosophy, and perhaps underlying health issues that complicate this discussion further. 

This is me talking; I will not put any pressure on you to make plans to travel. However, I can offer you something fun to think about and maybe put down a deposit for the possibility of taking a small group tour.

Tours of 12 or less will be popular for the obvious reasons. Fewer people, more intimate tours created by locals who can prepare and protect their guests while visiting. 

Can we forecast how travel will be in November 2021? No, we can’t. But we can dream and plan for it.

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The Tastiest Dishes & Most Delicious Cocktails of 2019

tastiest drinks
A celebratory Piña Colada on a sunny afternoon in Maui

Tasty Dishes & Enticing Cocktails

I began my search for the tastiest dishes of the year by sifting through my photos starting in January. However, by the time I reached the month of June, I had already chosen 30 different tantalizing feasts for the eyes! How to choose?

Be honest, do you want to see that many of my “highlights”? I don’t believe so. Therefore, I carefully looked for colorful, unique meals and surprisingly incredible drinks that are worth celebrating once again. A few of them are favorites due to their unique nature or element of surprise!

I have narrowed down this list to a more manageable number and I hope you enjoy revisiting them as much as I do!

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What a fantastic year! My Top Travel Highlights of 2019

 

travel highlights
Our spectacular view from the Hyatt Residence Club, Kaanapali, Maui.

Hello friends & Happy New Year – I hope that you were able to hang out with family and friends, devour some delicious meals and maybe even find a little adventure! We enjoyed all of these things too!

travel highlights in Wyoming
Grand Teton National Park, Jackson Hole, Wyoming – Absolutely breathtaking!

It has been a fabulous year of travel!

Wow, to narrow down my top travel highlights of the year was truly a challenge. 2019 was one heck of a travel adventure full of eclectic destinations, firsts and second time visits, discovery and nature so big it takes your breath away. Literally.

January began with a relaxing but rainy week in Maui and then the travel wheels got moving very quickly! No time for resting, extraordinary destinations were waiting for us to arrive.

I know that you are super busy and you cannot always make time to read every single one of my posts… so here are some of the top travel highlights and links to their respective posts. I once again want to thank you for being here and for reading and commenting on my adventures. I truly appreciate you.

My goal is to provide you with helpful, interesting info that you couldn’t find anywhere else!

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A Visit to Verona, Italy Will Amaze & Delight You, I Promise!

visit to Verona
How pretty is Verona, Italy?

A Visit to Verona –  Absolutely!

When you decide to take trip to Italy, cities like Rome, Florence and Venice come to mind immediately, don’t they? However there is a glaring omission from this list under the title of spectacular Italian cities and this charming city is Verona.

I have been to Italy six times and once each of the past three years. This is not to boast but to share that Italy draws you close like a magnet and leaves a lasting impression.I just can’t stay away! My hope is that everyone should visit, at least once many times.

farm fresh artichokes in the market

Some of what I love about Italy

The food is some of the most divine in the world and there is much more to Italian food than pizza and spaghetti. You cannot imagine how different Italian food can taste until you sit down in a small town in the Veneto Region where the artichokes were picked on a farm nearby, the tasty local cheese is organic and the olive oil came from the groves of a local family just minutes away.

I love this about Italy. The Italians are proud of their local regions and the foods that come right from home. They adhere to strict guidelines when creating cheese, olive oil, wine and sparkling wine, as well as many other products. Farmland is precious, family is the most important component of life and Sunday dinner is sacred.

I grew up in an Italian family and our gatherings were epic. Pasta, Italian cold cuts and antipasti salad always accompanied traditional American Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. I have been happy to continue these traditions with my own family as well.

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A Cheese, Glorious Cheese Tour – Italian Cheese is the best!

Italian cheese
Cheese that has been aged in cavernous warehouses and carefully flipped, cleaned and stored in order to age it to perfection was a sight to behold.

Learning about cheese

Is learning about cheese on your bucket list? Maybe not, but let me tell you that once you know the work and craftsmanship that goes into the making of cheese, you may change your mind. I certainly did. I knew that I loved to eat and serve Italian cheese, but truthfully had no idea what it took to make authentic, real Italian cheese.  A trip to the Veneto Region of Northern Italy was the best way to learn! To get all of the delicious details of my entire tour with Oldways please click ==> HERE!

Italian cheese
Walking in the mountain pastures of Northern Italy

 

Cheese glorious cheese!

I must apologize to my lactose intolerant friends, but ooey gooey, tangy, buttery cheese is divine! Pair it with your favorite wine, grate it over pasta, bake a lasagna, melt it for sandwiches, enjoy a quesadilla or just eat a chunk with a piece of fruit. Tasty cheese is big business and nobody does cheese like the Italians!

Italian cheese
Monti Trentini is a family owned business and located at the base of the Dolomites.

Happily touring for cheese

On my recent culinary trip to Italy with Oldways, our traveling group had the pleasure of suiting up and touring a cheese plant with our new friends at Monti Trentini. Located in the Dolomites of Northern Italy, with views of craggy stone mountains in every direction, this AMAZING facility impressed us all.

I had no idea how much thought, effort and skill, mixed with a little Italian love, went in to making cheese. The cleanliness standards are extremely important and every precaution is taken to make sure the plant is germ free. This cheese is raw, not pasteurized and therefore must be aged in order to kill any possible contaminants. We all wore special clothing and fabulous hair nets.

Italian cheese

The milk comes from happy Italian cows that are only fed local, organic grasses, while they breathe fresh mountain air. They always use the freshest milk combined with certain techniques coupled with a strict aging process and this creates the most incredible cheese!

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A Visit to Bologna – A Delicious & Vibrant Must-See City In Italy!

visit to Bologna
The arched walkways are stunning in Bologna

A Visit to Bologna

This beautiful Italian city is the belly of the nation and the heart of the kitchen. Bologna is a delightful maze of narrow cobblestone streets and the best location to start your visit is in the ancient mercantile center called the Quadrilatero. It’s an easy town to navigate where a popular 11th century university brings students from around the world. We were charmed by the arched covered walkways and the large brick piazzas were filled with happy tourists and locals. Why have I not visited before?

visit to Bologna
Bologna selfie!

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My Custom Made Adventure: A Culinary Tour in Italy

a culinary tour of Italy

A Well Seasoned Culinary Tour in Italy with Oldways

For me, travel should include eating, touring, learning, smiling, tasting, experiencing and a little added relaxation. Would you enjoy a tour to the Veneto Region of Northern Italy which included these satisfying ingredients? Yes, me too! Every detail of my culinary tour in Italy with Oldways was executed to perfection and I often wondered if it was custom made just for me.

Now I know this isn’t true, but the itinerary sure checked the boxes of my list of favorites. This trip to Italy focused on authentic dishes and included traveling with Chefs and Co-owners Michael Lombardi and Kevin O’Donnell from a traditional Venetian restaurant in Boston called SRV. Additionally, the creativity of the excursions and inventive itinerary were beyond anything I could envision. Imagine seeing a tour through the eyes of chef? How unique is that? It seems that every passion, every interest that I hold dear about cooking and travel, I share with Oldways

a culinary tour of Italy
Enjoying lunch on the Grand Canal in Venice with my tourmates

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Sensational Iceland: The Making of a Travel Video

 

making a travel video

A travel video – Our tour in Iceland

Craig and I are a small part of the making of a travel video of epic proportions. Nature in Iceland is so BIG, so incredible that it could be a challenge to capture it. However the professionals from Colette Travel that we worked with, brought their A game. Both Dan and Drew manage to capture the essence of the landscape as well as the sheer magnitude of our surroundings. Any traveler will jump at the chance to travel to Iceland after watching this!

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