Monday, October 31, 2016

Flavourful Saskatoon, October 31, 2016

Food Waste Film Night, Nov. 8
A screening of Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story will be followed by a panel discussion about making sure that healthy food doesn’t go to waste in our community at 6:30 pm, Nov. 8. (Funding for the rights to show the film was provided through an EcoFriendly Action Grant.)

Cider & Spanish, Nov. 15
Enjoy a glass of cider and learn some basic Spanish preparatory to your winter holiday during a two-week course at the Glen at Crossmount beginning Nov. 15.

Gourmet Blood Drive
Here’s an idea that might be fun to try in Saskatoon, maybe at the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market. The City of Tours, France, is holding a Collecte de Sang Gastronomique. Donate blood and 4 local chefs will provide a gourmet snack.

Pralines, Racism and Emancipation
New Orleans is famous for its pralines, which have an interesting history. “The praline itself is a French confection, named after C├ęsar, duc de Choiseul, comte du Plessis-Praslin, who some believe had his cook devise an almond-studded candy to woo his various love interests.”

They travelled to Louisiana where pecans replaced almonds and they became “one of the earliest street foods in America, and a means for emancipated Black women to make a living during a time when civil rights weren’t even in the picture. . . . In essence, the praline vendors of that time were street performers: They all dressed the part of a "mammy," the pernicious stereotype of a comforting Black woman whose inherently maternal nature made her content in her servitude. The costume — long skirts, aprons, scarves, and tignons — signified a demented myth of the South, a romanticizing of slavery and reconciliation that was inherently racist. "It was shrewd marketing," Fertel says. ‘They knew their customers.”

The Secret to a Long, Healthy Life?
The inhabitants of Acciaroli, Italy, live remarkably long, healthy, sexually active lives. Researchers believe that it may be because they eat large quantities of rosemary. Rosemary has antioxidant properties; the oil is antimicrobial and has been shown to reduce anxiety and increase memory function. It may even slow the growth of cancer cells. Great reasons to add a little Mediterranean flavour to your food this week.

Flavourful Saskatoon is a weekly Monday feature. I also post articles about food that is good, clean and fair; travel; and books. You may also enjoy EcoFriendly Sask profiling Saskatchewan environmental initiatives and events.

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Photos of signs at Maison Corlotti, Bastia, Corsica

Friday, October 28, 2016

Bonifacio, Corsica: A Clifftop Fortress

Bonifacio is at the southernmost tip of Corsica, just 12 miles across the sea from Sardinia.

It's a startling place as the old town is a fortress on a cliff. Even more surprising is the fact that the old citadel is home to approximately 3,000 people as well as being a popular tourist destination.

We went for a wild and windy boat ride in the morning to see the limestone cliffs and caves that surround Bonifacio.

In the afternoon, we explored the old city. Stone towers were used to store grain in case of a siege and a long flight of stairs leads down to a water cistern.

Among the streets full of tourist shops, there are signs of residential life.

This seagull loves to be photographed. I think he's posed for every camera-toting tourist that passed through the citadel.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

St. Florent and the Hill Towns above Bastia, Corsica

Two thirds of Corsica is mountains, and it’s fascinating to travel on the windy roads of the interior. You’ll spot a tiny village across the valley and minutes later will be driving through it. Continue driving and you’ll see it again below you.

Far, far below is Bastia, the commercial centre of Corsica.

The most recognizable feature of every village is its church and tower. Some small towns will have two churches.

We had lunch in St. Florent, a popular tourist spot with a sheltered harbour.

The citadel was built by the Genoese in 1440.

The Corsican flag features a black Moor's head with a white bandana. I find it intriguing that they represent their country by an image of a historical enemy as the many Genoese towers were built to defend Corsica against Moorish pirates.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Driving Around Cap Corse, Corsica

The northern tip of Corsica is narrow and rocky with one minor road going round the point connecting the scattered small communities.

It's a fabulous seaside drive for cars and bicycles - but be forewarned, the roads are narrow and constantly curving. There were lots of cyclists out for the day when we drove the route on a Sunday.

The east coast is fairly low, while the west coast rises up into steep cliffs.

We took a very steep, narrow side road (our rule of thumb: don't take any road that is less than 1 1/2 lanes wide) down to the tiny coastal community of Barcaggio.

One restaurant was still open and doing a bustling business in leisurely Sunday lunches. We disappointed the owner by not being able to eat a full course, let alone three courses.

The rock around Barcaggio was astonishingly green. 

Bell towers are often separate from the church in Corsica.

Erbalunga, Corsica

Our first stop in Corsica was in Erbalunga, a small town just up the east coast from Bastia. And it was magical!

Erbalunga is now a tourist centre, but it was once one of Corsica’s major ports. The old town sits on a tiny peninsula jutting out from the coast and is a maze of tiny alleyways branching out from two small squares.

At the end of the peninsula is a tower, one of many erected by the Genoans to defend their territory of Corsica from the barbarians. There are hundreds of them!

The church has lost its roof and is now a balcony overlooking the sea.

There are potted plants, old walls, and pastel-coloured walls.

We were staying at Castel Brando, a lovely hotel in an old house surrounded by a garden. It was a wonderful place to stay with spacious rooms and pleasant staff. And – right across the street – was a boulangerie so that we could enjoy fresh pains au chocolat and bread for breakfast.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Travelling to Corsica

We took the ferry from Nice to Bastia, Corsica. It's normally a 6 1/2 hour trip. Ours was slightly longer for various reasons, including a large memorial ceremony in Nice which meant that our ferry left from a different dock. It had to back in around a very tight corner - a remarkable feat.

Many people headed to the top deck to enjoy the sunshine and last views of Nice.

We landed in Bastia after dark. Here's a shot of the ferry terminal taken from high up in the hills a few days later.

Nice: Sunshine and Rain

There was a massive thunderstorm on our second full day in Nice. Fortunately, the sun came out in the afternoon and we took a stroll along the Promenade du Paillon (a long, narrow park following the path of a former river), starting out at the Place Massena.

There's a wonderful children's playground based on sea creatures.

And there are tropical trees and flowers.

Our next stop was Vieux Nice with its narrow, winding alleyways.

And, of course, as soon as the sun came out, people headed to the beach.

Finally, a few shots of the European architecture, which I love.