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Women on the Road Blog

Solo travel tips for women like you - the first Tuesday of every month >>

(and to say thank you I'll send you the 'list of 9' indispensable items I NEVER travel without!)

Foodie Heaven

Food transmits certain values and attitudes I can’t uncover any other way and I love to explore the meaning and history behind a culture’s eating and cooking habits. And – I love good food and appreciate not only the taste but the preparation and the backstory. When I travel I visit food markets, try local specialties and talk to people who feel strongly about their culinary culture. These are some of my food stories.

Christiane Brioude, the Chef Who Wouldn’t Quit

Medieval town of Aubenas

When Christiane Brioude was told she was seriously ill and no longer be able to work, she became so angry she started a new restaurant and wrote a cookbook. This may have saved her life. "After generations of restaurateurs in the family, I wasn't about to quit." It all started with her great-great-grandmother Adeline, back [...]

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Lou Pisadou: How Some French Traditions Aren’t Old at All

chestnuts ardeche

When I think of French tradition, I usually think of something ancient, quaint, inherited from past generations. But a tradition that only dates back to 1994? Impossible. Yet that's exactly what happened with Lou Pisadou, a sweet chestnut cake that is now the pride of patissiers all over the Ardèche, that mountainous province of south-central [...]


The Tapas of Santiago: Falling in Love with Pimientos de Padrón

Pimientos de padron, among the best tapas of Santiago

It was a week-long bar crawl in search of the best tapas of Santiago and once I sampled my first plate of pimientos de Padrón there was no turning back. I'd heard of them but never tasted them and for years I thought the name meant 'peppers of the boss' (padrón means boss in Spanish). It doesn't. Padrón is actually [...]


Lake Geneva Fera, or the Fish With No (English) Name

Hotel Les Cygnes Evian view

It’s called féra in France and lavaret in Switzerland, which vaguely translates into whitefish. But in English? No idea, so here's what it looks like. On the French shore (the lake is two-thirds Swiss, one-third French) of Lake Geneva féra, along with perch and trout, are mainstays, providing a livelihood to the 48 professional fishermen who still [...]


The Best Bottled Water? Just Ask a Water Taster

Choosing the best bottled water means tasting them all first - a professional water taster can help

I’ve been busy tasting the water equivalent of grand crus (the highest wine classification). I’m not a drinker so I miss out on the perpetual wine tastings my friends enjoy - pouring the liquid gently, swirling it in a glass, checking the film on top, smelling it, examining its clarity and transparency, running it across [...]


Blown Away by Bilbao, Spain

Outside the Guggenheim in Bilbao Spain

Not many years ago Bilbao, Spain was the heartland of the Basque independence movement, a no-go zone where few outsiders dared to venture. ETA, the independence movement, killed hundreds of people in its fight for a Basque homeland and was particularly active under the authoritarian Franco regime. But when Franco died the Basque country was [...]


Chef Arzu: A Thoroughly Modern Istambullu Woman

Menus of Dai Pera

Arzu Gurdamar isn't just any Istanbul woman. In a traditional and increasingly conservative society she is part of what seems a modern minority: a woman going her own way. And not just any way. After 12 years securing tenders for a shipping company and traveling the world, she left it all and opened her own [...]


Istanbul Tours for the Culturally Curious Foodie

coffee maker in Istanbul

Any breakfast that involves cheese, olives and rose jam is worth discussing for a moment, especially if it's in the middle of a fishing market selling rope by the kilo and wire by weight. In a tiny eatery - the Mutfak Dili ev Yemekleri - deep in the market's centuries-old streets, an Armenian couple prepares [...]


A Taste of Old Madrid

dipping a churro into Spanish hot creamy chocolate

I grew up in Madrid in the 1960s and 70s and then, as now, life often revolved around food. This visit would last just a few hours on a Sunday between flights so I'd have to be quick but I visit Madrid whenever I can. It is a stunning city, but it also represents more [...]


Olives, Olive Oils and the Brotherhood of the Olive Tree

black olives from Nyons

When Athena, Goddess of War, presented the Greeks with an olive tree, she didn't know what she was unleashing. She was vying for popularity with Poseidon: the one with the best gift would get to name Greece's capital. As we know, the Hellenic capital is not called Poseidon City. The best he could come up [...]


Learning History by Eating: the Lower East Side Food Tour

Lower East Side food tour

New York City makes me fat. I visit about once a year and I rarely go home without gaining more weight than I can afford: bagels, pastrami, hot dogs, tacos, cupcakes... anything and everything I can't get in the French countryside. Yes, I know we eat sublimely here but it's not about eating well. It's [...]