Archive for the 'Food & drink' Category

A taste of what’s to come at Chowka

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

Pre opening taster at Chowka, MarbellaHaving got to know Sunil and also met James Hewitt at the Polo House we were invited to a pre-opening sampling at Chowka, the new restaurant at the fantastic venue of the former Polo House.

Getting a peek before the official launch is always exciting, and the concept behind Chowka is an enticing one that blends modern Indian cuisine with the convivial Spanish tapas style of eating out. The first thing you notice is how the ambience has been given an Indian twist with subtle changes to the décor, yet the refined feel of the Polo House remains. (more…)

Sixto Rodriguez and other poets

Saturday, January 5th, 2013

Rodriguez, Cold Fact album coverPerhaps it’s a generational thing but I’ve never really gotten poetry. With few exceptions poems to me seem a random jumbling of words that speak of self-indulgent rambling in the same pseudo-intellectual manner of abstract art. If you can’t discern deep and poignant meanings from a wild array of painted dashes then chances are you won’t be able to feel the pained emotions of the poet either. Apologies to all true poetry lovers, but this kind of navel gazing ain’t for me.

And yet, we all know that words can stir emotion like few other means of human expression. Perhaps only music and art can convey feeling with the same intensity – and it is therefore from the most unexpected sources that I have come to enjoy poetry. Like when a sentence in a book suddenly causes you to sit up and ponder it, quite apart from the overall story, or when you hear certain parts of a song. The latter may be good, bad or indifferent, but can stand out for the poignancy and feeling of a single line. (more…)

Judging a hamburger cook-off

Sunday, December 30th, 2012

Gourmet burger competitionSo there I was, quietly enjoying a drink at Bar El Casar in the little village of Benahavís where I live, when I got talking to the bar’s proprietor Chuck and fellow local resident Daren. Word had got out to them that I write restaurant reviews for Essential Marbella Magazine, so when they started comparing notes on what the perfect hamburger should look and taste like it ended in a hamburger cook-off challenge – with yours truly as the judge. (more…)

Why Italian food is so good

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

Le Cannazze di CalitriI like a lot of Italian things: cars, furniture, clothes, art, etc. What all of the above have in common is design, that special Italian flair for creating things that are pleasing to the senses, and the eye in particular. But, as in most countries, there are two sides to Italy. One is a world of elegance and sophistication, reflected in the fashion of Milan, the architecture of Florence, the monuments of Rome and the uniqueness of the Venetian thalassocracy.

The other Italy is an earthy world inhabited by real salt-of-the-earth people whose priorities in life are not being stylish and sophisticated but enjoying food, family and the simple pleasures in life. It is within this category that most Italian food falls, for where other countries have a rather clear distinction between haute and peasant cuisine, Italian gastronomy is remarkably homogenous. (more…)

Discovering Calitri

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

View of Calitri and castleAfter having lived abroad for many years and travelled widely we came upon this little village in the hills not far from Avellino, in the Campania region of Italy. It was a bit like discovering a Tuscan or Gascon village in the 1950s or 60s, for this was authentic Italy untouched by tourists or mass development.

We fell in love with Calitri, with the Italians, their countryside, culture and food. Oh, the food, even the simplest salad or pasta, when made from local ingredients bought in the Calitri market, is a true delight – and when you can enjoy it with the French doors open and letting in the sights and sounds of the countryside, then you’ve got your touch of Mediterranean idyll right there. (more…)