Tagged with travel

Dining in the Netherlands: Podium onder de Dom

Dining in the Netherlands: Podium onder de Dom

Podium onder de Dom is a restaurant in Utrecht (half an hour south-east of Amsterdam) that is located right under the city’s main landmark, the Dom (cathedral) tower. They do not have a Michelin star (yet) — but it seems that they are aiming to get one. Chef Leon Mazairac’s motto is “Simplicity is complex … Continue reading

Dining in the Netherlands: Librije*** (2016)

Dining in the Netherlands: Librije*** (2016)

Every year we celebrate our anniversary at Librije, our favorite restaurant in the Netherlands and one of our favorite restaurants in the world. The restaurant run by chef Jonnie Boer (no relation) and his wife and sommelier/maitre Thérèse is located in Zwolle, about an hour from Amsterdam, in a historic building (a former prison for … Continue reading

Dining near Amsterdam: De Kruidfabriek by Lute

Dining near Amsterdam: De Kruidfabriek by Lute

De Kruidfabriek is the new restaurant by Peter Lute, known as one of the judges of the Dutch version of MasterChef. The name is a pun that works in Dutch only, because the restaurant is housed in a former gunpowder factory (kruiTfabriek), whereas now they grown their own herbs in a greenhouse (kruiDfabriek, which looks like … Continue reading

Condrieu: the Best Viognier in the World

Condrieu: the Best Viognier in the World

You may have noticed that over the last year, I’ve been blogging a bit less frequently and lately there have been more posts about wine. The reason for both is the same: I’ve been studying the become a vinologist (which means someone who knows about viticulture, wine making, grape varieties, terroirs and appellations around the … Continue reading

Gramona: Cava and Still Wines in Penedès

Gramona: Cava and Still Wines in Penedès

The last winery we visit in Spain is Gramona in Sant’ Sadurni d’Anoia, the capital of cava in which 93% of all cava is produced. DO Cava is allowed to be produced in many regions all over Spain, but most of the cava comes from Penedès. Gramona is a family business that has made cava … Continue reading

Dining in Spain: El Celler de Can Roca*** (2016)

Dining in Spain: El Celler de Can Roca*** (2016)

El Celler de Can Roca is the restaurant in Girona (Spain) of three Catalan brothers: Joan (chef and inventor of sous-vide cooking), Jordi (pastry chef), and Josep (sommelier). It is difficult to get a reservation. You can only make a reservation online. On October 1st at midnight (Spanish time) the month of September next year will … Continue reading

Valdesil: benchmark Godello and Mencía from Valdeorras

Valdesil: benchmark Godello and Mencía from Valdeorras

Our discovery of Spanish wines continues in the denominación de origen Valdeorras, a bit more inland but still influenced by the Atlantic. The climate is between Atlantic and Mediterranean with significant vintage variation. Wet vintages such as 2014 are called “atlantic”, dry vintages such as 2015 “mediterranean”. Because this is a cool climate, the best vineyards … Continue reading

Wines of Rias Baixas

Wines of Rias Baixas

Rias Baixas is a wine region in the north-western corner of Spain in the autonomous region of Galicia, north of Portugal. The rias are inlets of the Atlantic that are a bit like shallow fjords. Rias Baixas, which should be pronounced as “ree-ass-by-shuss”, is best known for delicate, aromatic whites of the albariño grape (which in Portugal … Continue reading

Nivarius: Rare White Wines from Rioja

Nivarius: Rare White Wines from Rioja

The first winery we visited in Rioja is a very new one: Nivarius. The first vintage produced was only in 2012. It is unique in Rioja because it is the first and only winery in Rioja that only produces white wine. This is possible because of the unique terroir after which the winery was named, … Continue reading

Wines of Rioja

Wines of Rioja

Rioja is the oldest and most famous wine production area of Spain. It has been famous for centuries, and in 1991 it was the first (and for quite some time the only) production area with the highest rank in Spanish wine law: Denominación de Origen Calificada (Qualified Denomination of Origin). Rioja is known for its oak-aged … Continue reading

Dining in Spain: Azurmendi***

Dining in Spain: Azurmendi***

Azurmendi is a restaurant in a futuristic building by the freeway near Bilbao in the Basque country in Spain. The restaurant of chef Eneko Atxa has three Michelin stars and ranks highly on the World’s 50 best restaurants and Opinionated about dining. As we were visiting the Basque country, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity … Continue reading

Moscatel from Navarra: Bodegas Camilo Castilla

Moscatel from Navarra: Bodegas Camilo Castilla

The Spanish wine region of Navarra is famous for its moscatel de grano menudo, and the benchmark producer of moscatel is Bodegas de Camilo Castilla in the town of Corella. Navarra is on the northeast of Rioja in the North of Spain, with a climate that is influenced by both the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. … Continue reading

Dining in Stockholm: Frantzén**

Dining in Stockholm: Frantzén**

Frantzén in the old town of Stockholm is a small restaurant that seats only about 20. It has two Michelin stars and ranks 31 on the World’s 50 best restaurants or 16 on Opiniated About Dining. There are a few tables and there is seating at the bar with full few of the tiny kitchen. … Continue reading

Dining in Amsterdam: Sinne*

Dining in Amsterdam: Sinne*

Sinne is a small restaurant in the Pijp neighborhood of Amsterdam that was awarded a Michelin star in 2014. So it was about time I went to check it out. The cuisine is a mixture of Mediterranean and Oriental influences. You can look straight into the open kitchen (which featured a ‘big green egg’ BBQ) and … Continue reading

Wine Study Trip to Loire and Bordeaux

Wine Study Trip to Loire and Bordeaux

The reason I’ve not blogged for a week is that I was away on a study trip to France. This trip is part of the wine training I’m taking at the Dutch wine academy (Wijnacademie) to become a registered vinologist (vinoloog). A vinologist is not exactly the same as an oenologist (who has a deeper … Continue reading

Dining in the Netherlands: Librije*** (2015)

Dining in the Netherlands: Librije*** (2015)

De Librije is our favorite restaurant in the Netherlands and we go there every year for our anniversary. We celebrate two anniversaries each year, and after 10 years of celebrating our wedding anniversary at the Librije in June, we decided to switch to our first date anniversary (which happens to coincide with Christmas eve) for … Continue reading

Dining in Amsterdam: Bord’eau** (2015)

Dining in Amsterdam: Bord’eau** (2015)

Almost two years have passed since our last visit to Bord’eau, the two-star restaurant in Hotel de l’Europe, and so it was time to check the new developments on our home turf. Also because I was curious to compare it with our recent dinner at Librije’s Zusje. We opted for the 6-course degustation menu (118 … Continue reading

Dining in Italy: Locanda delle Grazie

Dining in Italy: Locanda delle Grazie

For our final night in Italy we went to another famous trattoria with 3 gamberi from Gambero Rosso: Locanda delle Grazie in Curtatone, on the border of the Parco del Mincio. The Mincio is the river that changes into a lake here. We have moved from Veneto into Lombardia, into the region of mostarda, tortelli di … Continue reading

Dining in Italy: Le Calandre***

Dining in Italy: Le Calandre***

Le Calandre of chef Massimiliano Alajmo is one of Italy’s most famous restaurants, has three Michelin stars and is listed as number 34 on the World’s 50 best restaurants. It is located just outside of Padova. There are three tasting menus (11 courses) for 225 euros each: Classico (with classic dishes from the restaurant), Max, and … Continue reading

Dining in Italy: Ai Cacciatori

Dining in Italy: Ai Cacciatori

During our travels in Italy, we always try to include as many trattorie with 3 gamberi from Gambero Rosso as possible. Each year, leading gourmet magazine Gambero Rosso publishes a restaurant guide and there are only 18 trattorie in all of Italy that get the highest score. In Friuli there is one: Ai Cacciatori in … Continue reading

Dining in Italy: Agli Amici**

Dining in Italy: Agli Amici**

Agli Amici is a two-star restaurant in the village of Godia, just outside of Udine in the Italian region Friuli. It is run by a brother a sister: he is the chef, she is the sommelier and maitre. When we arrived, the annual Festa delle Patate (potato harvest party) was going on in a big … Continue reading

Dining in Croatia: Ulixes

Dining in Croatia: Ulixes

We are in Slovenia and Croatia for a few days before heading back to Italy. Porec is a nice little seatown on the coast of Istria, and there we had dinner at seafood restaurant Ulixes. The restaurant has a nice patio with an olive tree. They show the catch of the day to the guests … Continue reading

Dining in Italy: Laite*

Dining in Italy: Laite*

We had been looking forward to going back to Laite again, because we had good memories of our first dinner there in 2010. It is located in Sappada, a mountain town in the far North East of Veneto in the Dolomiti, and run by the couple Fabrizia and Roberto. She cooks, he takes care of … Continue reading

Dining in Italy: Aga

Dining in Italy: Aga

Aga is a new restaurant of chef couple Oliver Piras and Alessandra Del Favero, located inside a hotel near Cortina d’Ampezzo in the Dolomiti. We decided to give it a try because Oliver Piras has been awarded chef emergente (upcoming chef) by Gambero Rosso. Aga does not have a Michelin star yet. The tasting menu of … Continue reading

Dining in Italy: Pretzhof

Dining in Italy: Pretzhof

In Italy a distinction is made between ristoranti, more formal restaurants, and trattorie, more informal restaurants with rustic food like grandma used to prepare it. The Gambero Rosso guide awards 1, 2 or 3 forks (forchette) to the best restaurants, and 1, 2 or 3 shrimp (gamberi) to the best trattorias. There are only 18 … Continue reading

Dining in Amsterdam: Daalder

Dining in Amsterdam: Daalder

Daalder is located on Lindengracht in the Jordaan neighborhood in Amsterdam. It has nice outside seating, perfect for dinner on a (rare) warm summer night. Inside the tables are small and a bit close together. Daalder doesn’t have a menu. You can only select whether you’d like 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7 courses (for … Continue reading

Dining in Amsterdam: Eatmosfera

Dining in Amsterdam: Eatmosfera

I use two rules for distinguishing a good Italian restaurant from a tourist trap. The rule in Italy is that the menu should have local dishes from the region (e.g. spaghetti alla carbonara is a good sign in Rome but a bad sign in Bologna, tagliatelle alla bolognese is a good sign in Bologna, but spaghetti … Continue reading