Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Mediterranean Travel: Spain, Andalucia

Heading south from Lisbon, on our way to Morocco for our tour of the Imperial Cities, we decided to delay the road trip for a couple of days and explore a little of Seville and the Andalucía countryside.

We drove through the North Alentejo region of Portugal entering Spain at the Badajoz border and then heading south towards Seville.

Our first stop for the rest of the afternoon and evening was the 16th century hotel on the hills of Cazalla de La Sierra in the heart of the Andalucian countryside.

80 Km North of Seville, the small charm hotel set high in the hills has been the property of Charlotte Scott and her family for over 25 years.

Raved about by magazines and artists that appreciate the privacy and unpretentious setting of the place. The historic home with typical rural architecture is the perfect setting to enjoy the Andalucían countryside.

After breakfast we were eager to head to the city. The last time I had been to Seville was during the 1992 World Expo, and if the city had its moment then it is doing very well in keeping it up.

Seville is one of the most beautiful cities in Spain, full of history and charm, young and vibrant with lots to do. We headed to the historic centre to walk by the city’s main monuments in the Santa Cruz neighborhood: the Cathedral, the Giralda, the Archivo de Indias and the Alcázar, are must see monuments of Seville, but what we enjoyed the most was walking through the old maze of Seville streets and enjoying the city’s old charm and modern vibe.

The city is credited with the invention of Tapas and Seville has more than a thousand bars where the choice of different tapas is virtually unlimited, from seafood to ham, eggs and vegetarian tapas the choice is endless. Sevillians actually make a meal of them, moving from bar to bar and trying one dish at a time. We did not have time for Tapas hopping so we settled by going to the recommended and very modern hotel EME.

Close to the cathedral in the Santa Cruz neighborhood the hotel that has won Interior Design and Architecture awards offers three different restaurants. We chose to try the Tapas Bar Milagritos where the interiors are an amazing combination of Modern and traditional and reflect the Andalucian soul with its bright blood red colors and hanging “Pata Negra” hams.

The hotel is also home to “Santo” restaurant that offers Mediterranean cuisine prepared under the eye and palate of Chef Martín Berasategui. There is also a Japanese restaurant at the hotel.

We thought that maybe on our way back from the Moroccan road trip we could stay at EME hotel for an evening and try Berasategui’s Mediterranean creations and unwind at the hotel’s famous Spa.

Trasierra Hotel
Cazalla de la Sierra
41370 Sevilla
Telephone: +34 600 550 600

EME catedral hotel
Calle Alemanes, 27,
41004, Sevilla
Telephone / fax: +34 954 560 000 / +34 954 561 000

Monday, June 21, 2010

Tomato Gratin

This blog is all about great Mediterranean Food that tastes great and is easy to prepare. Jacques and Claudine Pepin show us in a couple of minutes how to make a Mediterranean Tomato Gratin.

This Mediterranean recipe is quick and easy to make. Great as a side dish to grilled meat, poultry and even fish or as a starter with a salad. Watch this video from Mediterranean Food and Wine magazine now.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Mediterranean Food: Tapenade Recipe

Mediterranean Recipes -
Tapenade Provencale

1 cup black and green olives, drained
4 anchovy filets
2 large garlic clove
3 large tablespoons of capers
2 tablespoons of tuna in olive oil
fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons of good french mustard Dijon or grain
1 tablespoon of fresh thyme, rosemary, oregano or already mixed herbes de Provence
black pepper to taste
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Pit the olives and combine all of the ingredients (except olive oil) in a mortar and mash until smooth adding the olive oil gradually, to create a paste.

Taste the seasoning and serve over toasted artisanal crusty bread.For the best authentic Mediterranean flavour, make sure you pick the best Mediterranean Olives at your local market.
Read our post on french restaraurant La Chassagnette.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Mediterranean Travel - Camargue, France

Late Summer Lunch at La Chassegnette

In the gorgeous Camargue region of southern France, a land of wild horses, rice and salt fields, there is a restaurant owned by chef Armand Arnal called La Chasegnette. A former sheep farm that has been carefully converted into a great restaurant that will treat you to the best that the South of France and Mediterranean Food has to offer. The restaurant has its own certified organic vegetable garden and is very proud of serving only the best most natural and locally grown ingredients.

The inside restaurant is decorated in a simple contemporary way, it is a great space and perfect for dinner. For lunch and if the weather allows ask for a table outside under the vine treluces. order a bottle of Rose, ask for the freshly made tapenade with sourdough bread crostinis and order the chef suggestions.

After lunch make sure you visit the boutique where you can buy local gourmet Mediterranean foods and wines. And walk around the property and gardens.

La Chassagnette is located approximately 8 miles south of Arles, on the road to Le Sambuc. Exit toward Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, then take a left on D36 in direction of Salins-de-Giraud

La Chassagnette
Le Sambuc 13200 ARLES
Closed on Wednesdays
Tel. +33 (0)4 90 97 26 96
Fax +33 (0)4 90 97 26 95

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Med Food and Travel - Aeolian Islands


The Raya hotel on the small Sicilian island of Panarea is renowned as one of the best “cult” hotels in the world. It's the creation of Myriam Beltrami and Paolo Tilche, who moved to Panarea in the 1960's.

The Raya received a 2004 award for “best hotel in the Mediterranean”, and is a prized destination for a small group of informed visitors who keep coming back. It's an informal place, perfect for enjoying nature and relaxing. But there's fun to be had; the hotel has its own private club and boutique, and there are a few restaurants and bars on the island.

Panarea is one of the volcanic Aeolian Islands off the north-east coast of Sicily, and offers delicious seafood, local cuisine and amazing views of the surrounding Aeolian Islands and the active Stromboli volcano.

Getting there is not the easiest thing, but only adds to the charm and ensures that the island does not become a tourist trap. I recommend catching a flight to Naples (which is the nearest airport) and then taking the Hydrofoil from Naples onto Panarea (around 4.30 hours). For more information, visit

Read more about the Aeolian Islands and Panarea at Italy Traveler

(photos by Hotel Raya and Adriano Bacchella)


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