Tag: food and travel

Why you should visit Lyon’s new foodie hub

My final travel assignment of the year was a return trip to Lyon.

France’s foodie hub is one of my favourite French cities for food and culture.

While my main commission was based around the Lyon Light Festival, I also had a look behind the scenes at the newly opened Cité de la Gastronomie.

The site is located next to the InterContinental hotel in the redeveloped Grand Hôtel-Dieu [pictured above].

The historic city-centre building served as its former hospital from the 15th century onwards.

The Lyon opening is the first of four similar projects — coming soon to Dijon, Tours and later Paris-Rungis in time for the 2024 Olympic Games.

The network celebrates the 2010 designation by Unesco of the French gastronomic meal to its Intangible Heritage list.

Each site will examine a different aspect of French gastronomy with Lyon’s foodie hub focused on the relationship between food and health.

The exhibition explores the history of gastronomy with a section devoted to Lyon’s most famous chef, Paul Bocuse, who died in 2018.

The upstairs kitchen, meanwhile, hosts guest chefs from across the world to create new tasting menus.

“The French gastronomic meal was given Unesco status because of the way it brings people together,” says Director Florent Bonnetin.

“It’s the community aspect of eating together that is the single most defining aspect of French life.”

Read more about my Lyon trip, both the Light Festival and the Cite de la Gastronomie, in articles to be published in the new year.

More from Only Lyon Tourism

How to visit the most historic harvest festival in North Wales

North Wales today hosts the annual Conwy Honey Fair, a historic harvest festival dating back to the reign of King Edward I.

I was in Conwy last week to preview the event and find out more about the walled city with its Unesco-listed castle.

I also visited the National Beekeeping Centre of Wales [pictured above].

Here’s a sample of my story:

The Fair dates back more than 700 years to the reign of Edward I when local beekeepers were given the right to sell honey, without charge, within the walls of the town for one day only.

Harvest festivals were always part of the church calendar but the right to hold the Honey Fair was formally decreed by the King in the town’s 13th-century Royal Charter.

“It’s an event frozen in time,” says event organiser Peter McFadden, “and still generates a huge sense of community.”

The town also hosts the Gwledd Conwy Feast, a weekend food festival with street food, show-cooking displays and live music from October 25-27.

Read the full article in Telegraph Travel, Is this Britain’s sweetest town?

How to celebrate 100 years of afternoon teas at Bettys Cafe Tea Room, York

To York on the hottest day of the year for a magazine assignment for Immediate Media.

It was a special birthday party.

This year marks 100 years of Bettys Tea Room Cafe, a Yorkshire institution for its afternoon teas with a frisson of Swiss style.

Plus the fact it has done away with its possessive apostrophe.

The Swiss baker, Frederick Belmont, first founded the company in 1919, creating a niche in Yorkshire for high-quality cakes and pastries, served the old-fashioned way.

Today, the third generation of the family runs the business with two Bettys in York, including the Art Deco-style café at St Helen’s Square, plus the first café in Harrogate.

The company is hosting a series of events, and offering special souvenirs, as part of the year-long centenary celebration.

A recreation of one of Frederick’s famous cakes currently takes pride of place in Bettys front window [pictured above].

But the must–try treat is a Yorkshire Fat Rascal, Betty’s signature fruit scone, served warm with a pot of Taylors tea.

I combined afternoon tea with a visit to York Minster and stroll around the walls, the resulting city-break guide to York due out this winter — watch this space.

More: Visit York

Oslo street food article for Guardian Travel

Forget hygge. The original Nordic lifestyle trend was all about the ultimate comfort food: hotdogs.

The Syverkiosken [pictured above] is an Oslo landmark. The low-fi, 12 m sq kiosk located near to Alexander Kiellands Plass, has been serving hotdogs every day since 1979.

With prices starting from 20 Krone (£1.90), it’s one of the cheapest snack options in the city.

But there’s more to the Norwegian love of hotdogs than just a cheap snack.

Living history

There were previously more than 40 such kiosks around town but late-opening Syverkiosken is now the last one standing, fending off cheap hotdogs from convenience stores with its family recipes and retro-fashion styling.

“Hotdog kiosks have always been a part of our culture, a place where people from all walks of life stand beside each other,” says hotdog chef Elias Pellicer Ruud.

“For Norwegians, real hotdogs are the taste of nostalgia.”

Owner Erlend Dahlbo recommends using boiled wiener sausages while fried, German-style bratwurst are favored in the west of Norway.

What differentiates these to hotdogs in Denmark or Iceland is the topping, a thin potato pancake to keep your dog toasty.

Taste explosion

Suitably inspired, I order The Special, a hotdog served in a bread roll with potato salad and mushrooms picked fresh that morning in the forest outside of Oslo.

I pair it with a can of Toyen-Cola, a local take on Coke.

The taste is comforting yet deliciously spiced with a particularly fiery brand of mustard and, when it explodes in my hands, smearing my chin with sauce, I wear it as a badge of honor.

Like any self-respecting Osloite, I’m lost in a moment of hotdog heaven.

Maridalsveien 45, Oslo

This story was first published in The Guardian under the headline Hotdog heaven on the streets of Oslo. I’ve updated it to credit the quote to Elias Pellicer Ruud.

It was subsequently picked up by the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten.