Celebrations International Travel Blog

Posts Tagged ‘customized tour

I don’t know how many people in Japan celebrate Christmas, but check out this Frosty the Snowman bento box lunch and Gingerbread Man bento posted on Refrigerator Soup’s site….both excellent ideas and cute as can be!  Refrigerator Soup features a number of other Japanese-inspired creations.

As with many Asian cultures, the Japanese celebrate countless holidays, festivals, and other observances throughout the year.  Foods of special significance and symbolism are served at each meal, and the food choices are just as varied as the styles and types of Japanese meals.   Japanese cuisine prides itself on a large variety of foods served in small quantities that look exquisite.

You can experience the culinary wonders of Japan first-hand on a culinary tour customized especially for your family or group.  See our Japan Sample Itinerary, and contact us for more information.

Domo Arigato & Happy Holidays!

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Following our string of Italian-themed tweets this morning, I thought this would be a good day to write about Christmas food traditions in Italy, one of our culinary tour destinations.  On Thanksgiving, my family and friends enjoyed a Marsala-infused gravy with our turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes.  Our friends are still talking about it!  That was our “Italian-inspired” twist for that meal.

My fellow tweep and travel writer Barry Frangipane has great ideas on Christmas in Italy and Italian food and wine.  One of his tweets from this morning reads:

How do they celebrate Christmas in Venice? I found out: http://bit.ly/NOELvc

Also, I really like this video clip from Food Network’s “The Best Of” celebrating Christmas Eve at Aldo’s in Baltimore’s Little Italy.

Another fellow tweep and foodie, @foodiephotos, who runs the Web site Refrigerator Soup has some great photos and recipes on her site.  Check out this beautiful panettone, a traditional Italian holiday cake.  Refrigerator Soup posts photos of food submitted by food bloggers.  A great “foodie” and culinary resource!

Here’s to a joyous (and tasty!) holiday season.  Contact Celebrations International Travel to start planning your custom culinary tour today!

Rasamalaysia.com is offering a chance to win a copy of this unique new cookbook.   Here’s the link to enter by leaving a comment:  http://tinyurl.com/yjhfog6

Subtitled “Home Cooking from Asian American Kitchens”, the cookbook offers a collection of recipes from various cuisines across Asia.

I must confess that I wasn’t always a fan of Asian foods while growing up.  I’m an American-born southern girl of Chinese heritage; many times I preferred to stick to good old macaroni and cheese!  But now that my husband and I have combined two distinct Asian cultures in our household, we are both ardent connoisseurs of all Asian cuisines.  (We’ll still join you any day for some scrumptious BBQ, NY Strip, or hearty American breakfast any day!)

I think this cookbook is a great way to not only celebrate our Asian origins, but to acknowledge and embrace our way of life in our American homeland as well.

Celebrations International Travel currently has sample itineraries for culinary tours in China, India, Japan, Thailand, and Vietnam.  We customize all itineraries to suit your family or group’s preferences, budget, and travel timeframe.

Interested in visiting another country in Asia or elsewhere in the world?  Let us know and we will create the tour just for you!  Contact us to start planning your culinary tour today!

To celebrate the season, I thought it would be fun to take a look at Christmas and other similar holiday food traditions around the world.  In doing so, we’ll pay homage to each of the countries for which we currently offer our exclusive custom culinary tours. For more information, contact Celebrations International Travel, Inc.

The first in this series of blog entries is Australia:

Christmas takes place on December 25th, the summertime in Australia. People often spend part of Christmas day with their families at the beach. Christmas dinner is just as likely to be salads, cold meat and seafood as the traditional meal is roast turkey and plum pudding. Children believe that Santa Claus leaves presents for them under the Christmas tree on Christmas eve. One popular Australian song states that six white boomers, or large kangaroos, pull Santa’s sleigh.

Traditional Christmas Pudding

1/2 lb. plain flour
1/2 lb. breadcrumbs
1 lb. butter
1 lb. brown sugar
1 lb. currants
1/2 lb. raisins
1 lb. sultanas
1/2 lb. citron peel
9 eggs
pinch salt
1/2 cup brandy
1/4 lb. almonds
1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, well beaten, also brandy. Stir in all fruit and chopped blanched almonds. Add breadcrumbs, flour, soda, and spices. Bake in greased pudding basin, leaving sufficient room for rising. (The pudding can also be poured onto a piece of calico and tied securely with string.) Steam for 6 hours. This pudding can be made ahead of time, say two or three months if wished. This recipe makes two very large puddings; It is best divided into 3 portions. A half quantity takes 3 1/2 hours to cook. For heating pudding when required, boil slowly for 2-3 hours.

Christmas Cake

1/2 lb. butter
1/4 lb. white sugar
1/4 lb. brown sugar
4 eggs
4 tablespoons brandy
1/2 lb. raisins
1/2 lb. sultanas
1/2 lb. currants
lemon peel and almonds to taste
10 oz. plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon or allspice
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon plum jelly

Cream butter and sugar, add eggs. Sift in half of flour and half of fruit, mix, then add rest of ingredients. Bake in an 8″ tin 3 1/2 to 4 hours at 300 degrees.

Pavlova

The Pavlova is a dessert invented in Australia and named are the great ballet dancer Anna Pavlova. Pavlova is a wonderful summer holiday dessert – and therefore makes a regular appearnace on many Australian Christmas menus.:

3 egg whites
1 pinch of salt
3/4 cup of castor sugar
1/4 cup of white sugar
1 tablespoon of cornflour
1 teaspoon of lemon juice
300 ml / ½ pints of cream
kiwifruit or strawberries for garnish

Preheat the oven to 150°C, 300°F or gas mark 2 (the temperature is reduced for baking). Beat the egg whites to a foam, add the salt and beat until soft peaks form which fold over when the beater is removed. Slowly beat in the castor sugar, beating well after each addition. Keep beating until the mixture is stiff and the peaks stand up when the beater is removed. Mix together the white sugar and corn flour. Lightly fold into the meringue with the lemon juice.

Line an oven tray with baking paper. Spread the meringue into a circle and pipe a decoration around the edge or swirl with a spoon if desired. Bake in a cool oven (80°C or 180°F) for 2 to 2½ hours. Turn off the heat and leave in the oven overnight to cool.

Top with whipped cream and decorate with sliced kiwifruit, sliced strawberries, passion fruit, or just about any tropical fruit, just before serving.

Anzac Biscuits (Cookies)

A biscuit or cookie originally sent in food parcels to Australian and New Zealand troops during the First World War when eggs were scarce, the Anzac (named after the term for Australian and New Zealand soldiers) has become a national favorite.

100 grams / 4 oz of butter
1 dessertspoon of golden syrup
1/2 cup of white sugar
3/4 cup of flour
3/4 cup of rolled oats
3/4 cup of coconut
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 tablespoon of water

Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas mark 4. In a large saucepan melt the butter and golden syrup, then remove from the heat and cool. Add the white sugar, flour, rolled oats and coconut and mix thoroughly. Dissolve the baking soda in 1 tablespoon of water and add to the mixture. Line a baking tray with cooking paper. Roll small rounds of the mixture and place on the baking tray, remembering to allow room for the biscuits to spread. Flatten with a fork. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden.

Tonight’s State Dinner in Washington, D.C. is being held in honor of the Prime Minister of India.  While I’m not usually the one into blogging about “all things Indian,” I came across a link on the President’s Web site with the guest list.  These are the names that jumped out at me at first glance:

Deepak Chopra

Katie Couric

Dr. Sanjay Gupta

The Honorable (Governor) Bobby Jindal, Governor of Louisiana
Mrs. Supriya Jindal, First Lady of Louisiana

Gayle King

General Colin Powell

Mrs. Marian Robinson

Brian Williams

I also found it quite interesting to see the number of American dignitaries and statesmen on the list who are of Indian origin.  Goes to show what a melting pot America truly is.

Tonight’s menu, by Guest Chef Marcus Samuelsson, combines American and Indian cuisines.  Here’s the menu, course by course:

Potato and Eggplant Salad
White House argula with onion seed vinaigrette
Wine: 2008 Sauvignon Blanc, Modus Oprendi, Napa Valley, California

Red lentil soup with fresh cheese
Wine: 2008 Riesling Brooks “Ara” Willamette Valley, Oregon

Roasted Potato Dumplings with tomato chutney
Chick peas and okra
or
Green curry prawns
Carmelized salsify with smoked collard greens and coconut aged basmati
Wine: 2007 Granache, Beckman Vineyards, Santa Ynez, California

Pumpkin Pie tart
Pear tatin
Whipped cream and caramel sauce
Wine: Sparkling Chardonnay, Thibaut Janisson Brut, Monticello, Virginia

Petits Fours and Coffee
Cashew Brittle
Pecan Pralines
Passion Fruit and Vanilla Gelees
Chocolate dipped fruit

Personally, I think the pumpkin pie is a befitting nod to the Thanksgiving holiday this week, and pecan pralines are a wonderful way to highlight not only an American classic, but also Gov. Bobby Jindal’s home state.

For your personal taste and experience of authentic cuisine by 5-star chefs around the world, see Celebrations International Travel’s Culinary Tours.  Here’s our India sample itinerary, just to tempt your palate and inspire your travels.  All tours are customized to suit your needs and preferences. 

Contact us to start planning your culinary tour today!

 

 

 

 

 

I am amazed at the response that my post from yesterday entitled McDonald’s in the Louvre!  I had no idea that it would generate such a buzz.  Thank you to everyone who has visited the blog, left comments, and referred others to view it.  And a big thank you to WordPress for listing Celebrations International Travel’s blog on their homepage.

In the spirit of fairness, I must tell you that I enjoy a McDonald’s hamburger, Chicken McNuggets, and french fries just as much as the next guy, just not all the time, and certainly not on vacation at the Louvre.  The reason why I included the words “all the time” is because many Europeans (especially the French) have long held tight to the notion that all Americans eat McDonald’s (or whatever fast-food) and chug down soda incessantly.  I am speaking, of course, of the most stereotypical of viewpoints.  I must confess:  I love my Coke, but I did go six weeks without it once in France because it was so expensive at the time.

But just because Coke’s my favorite and I eat McDonald’s sometimes doesn’t make me a stereotypical American, whatever anybody’s idea of that is.  Nor does it mean that I agree with or understand the decision to let McDonald’s take up residence inside the Louvre!  No, I don’t think the golden arches, or any other fast-food restaurant for that matter, are a good fit for the ancient grounds of the Louvre.  Frankly, I think the whole connotation is disrespectful to the institution of the Louvre.  I can only hope that the controversy over this topic is directed at a clash of cultural ideals and not intended as purely anti-American sentiment.

After all this talk of “no fast food,” I thought I’d show you my idea of what classic French cuisine entails.  As culinary travel specialists, we endeavor to share with our travelers the best that each destination has to offer, whether it be five-star cuisine or home cooking.  What’s important to us is quality and good taste.  All tours are customized for your family or group, so the sample itineraries are provided to inspire you!

We invite you to browse our sample itineraries for all culinary travel destinations currently featured and let us know your thoughts.

Check out these beautiful pictures of a small town in Tuscany (tweeted by Susan Pohlman this morning): http://bit.ly/EOEMb

Enjoy pristine vistas like these, along with superb food and wine on a Culinary Tour of Tuscany! Celebrations International Travel will customize an itinerary for you:  The sample itinerary is just there to inspire your travels.  You let us know when and where you want to travel.  We will custom design a tour to suit your particular interests, tastes, and budget.

tuscany

In a nutshell, our custom culinary tours allow you the flexibility to see, do, (and of course eat and drink) what you want, when you want.

Celebrations International Travel’s custom culinary tours are all about Celebrating Life Through Travel!


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This is blog based on the experiences and interests of travel agency owners Adrienne and Agni Mitra. Through our blog entries, we will share our travel experience and expertise. We will also have other entries of interest to inspire your travels.

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