delicious

I’m Youth I’m Joy

“Pan, who and what art thou?” he cried huskily.
“I’m youth, I’m joy,” Peter answered at a venture, “I’m a little bird that has broken out of the egg.” ~J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan
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Not your typical he surprised me by making me a romantic breakfast picture. He made me breakfast because it’s been one hell of a challenging time figuring out our lives together and how we’re going to make this work with all the crazy distance – which made it that much more delicious. There’s always two sides to everything, and to a picture. I hope we can all rise above the tests and difficulties we encounter and to keep strong our faith. On a lighter note, he is the sweetest.
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Outfit of the day: green-stone necklace form NZ, top, skirt and bag from Osaka, Japan. $8 shoes from H&M in Nashville, USA because my regular sandals had given me super painful blisters. Ring from a chain clothing store in France and watch from my sister and brother-in-law (NZ) as a thank-you gift for having hosted them in Japan last year. image-2-png-5
Sunflower Cafe.
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Such a delicious burger! I love vegetarian.
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It’s a small world. This is the epic Persian (and vegetarian) food spread lovingly prepared by my father’s first cousin who happened to read here that I am in Nashville and invited me and my host-family over for dinner. I am so happy I was able to meet her, her husband and her beautiful daughter.
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Pumpkin cheesecake and chocolate sea-salt. Worth every single calorie. From Five Daughters Bakery.

Dinner at the Dazzis

As promised, Daddy Dazzi’s famous lasagna then Daddy Dazzi’s famous risotto. Washed down with Mama Dazzi’s humble desserts, mocked aplenty by Daddy Dazzi for their simplicity (hehe). Hashtagmarriage. Hashtagdelicious. Hashtagfoodbaby.

Is it an oxymoron if I vow to start my diet in America?
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What even is vegan? Just kidding. Just wanted to express how incredibly flavoursome this was. Wish you could have tasted it, mama! And daddy and Deli and Andy, too.
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Four cheese risotto (very Italian). Curried vegetables (not Italian as the Dazzis specifically pointed out, still V delicious).
Processed with VSCO with c3 presetSorry mama, I’m gonna give your secret away. This is basically a store-bought fall spiced cake, sliced then towered with fresh raspberries, raspberry jam and yoghurt! Could have fooled me!

In The Time French People Sing Hello, A Kiwi Has Told A Whole Story.

So. If you haven’t been keeping up and you don’t know, I am staying in Antibes, in the south of France, in the old town, in an apartment all to my own. The apartment belongs to Anita’s mother’s sister-in-law. Or Anita’s father’s sister.

Anita, is the most beautiful, hard-working and driven Italian girl you’ll ever know. I met her when she started worked for Cafe Valentino. I was her trainer. I still remember sitting her and another young man (Bryn) down and taking them through the menu. “What’s capsicum?” “What’s bacon? “What’s…?” “What’s…?” she mused as Bryn became more and more impatient. The next day, Anita had memorised the entire menu! So, it was no wonder for any of us when she became the restaurant MANAGER so soon. Yes, my boss! But I trained her! My oh my how we joked. And shared pizzas. And talked boys. And ate tiramisu.

Now, I am spending my days with her parents and I love them as I do my own. They are so generous, loving and natural. Daddy Dazzi loves food just as I do, and mama Dazzi knows exactly what to say to make my heart glow.

I really don’t know how I am going to leave. I have fallen in love with Antibes.
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(Pizza for entree and pizza for main.)

On my first evening here, Daddy Dazzi treated us to real French Bouillabaisse, a traditional Provençal fish stew originating from the port city of Marseille. The restaurant Daddy had chosen was by far, the most expensive I’ve ever been to. I felt like a queen and my tongue was on fire. I wish you could have tasted it too.
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(Daddy’s thumb photography.)
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Yesterday, I spent a whole day in Nice with mama. The weather was wonderful and so was she, as per usual. She held my hands, gave me kisses, and loving advice on relationships, marriage, children, and so forth. In between, she gave me a quick French lesson where she taught me to sing my words. She said: in the time a French person sings hello, a Kiwi has told a whole story. Which is so true because the French stretch their words almost as long as the Thai do, and true Kiwis speak without pause.
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(Photos of me are low-quality because they’re taken by Mama Dazzi’s phone.)
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(Behind the scenes food photography)
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(Mama Dazzi working the cheese, olive tapenade and fresh basil like a pro.) This is lunch at Le Pin Parasol. If you find yourself in Antibes, this little brasserie is a definite must-go. It is not everyday you feel this much passion in the taste and presentation of a meal. Click HERE for more info.

Daddy Dazzi is preparing Lasagna for me tomorrow. Apparently, his is the best. You know, seeing as he’s a real Italian and all. Today over lunch, he discussed with his wife, the preparations for tomorrow. They spoke in Italian. They seemed to be arguing. Daddy switched to English: “I am the artist. I am not the worker,” he proclaimed to his wife. What he was referring to, was the shopping for tomorrow’s meal!

So, all I have done this week, has been to eat and eat and eat some more. Which is so bad because I am going to America in a few days and I really wanted to look good…Alas, I have no self control and these two are killing me.

Daddy Dazzi: a little pizza is good for the health. Yeah right. Also gelato, also crepe, also risotto. There is no stopping with Italians and food!

Get this: today, as we worked our way through lunch, Daddy asked his wife (much like my own father asks my mom sometimes) what they would be having for their next meal.

“The next meal?” I screamed.
“Yes the next meal.”
“Nothing for me!”
“What? That’s dangerous,” he warned.

Dangerous. Dangerous! Can you believe it? After eating all of this food! I have never laughed so hard before.

Vegetarian Food In Europe

Apparently California is the place for vegan and vegetarian food but compared to NZ and Japan, Europe is pretty good, too. Mostly Belgium and Switzerland though not so much Spain and France. Here’s a list:

Moon Food (Brussels, Belgium)
This place is completely vegan. There are two buffets, one cooked and one raw. You fill your plate then pay as according to weight. This is also the case for the next two places (Hiltl and Vert). Moon Food was probably my favourite restaurant. The interior is so pretty! Wooden and minimalistic. I wished so bad to be living and working in Brussels just so I could take my lunch breaks here. EVERYDAY. Laura also loved it and she’s not really into vegan.
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Raw pizza. image-164
Raw Lasagna
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Hummus (I can hear Oz singing the hummus song)
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Featuring zoodles (zucchini noodles), raw felafel, guacamole and slaw.
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Hiltl (Zurich, Switzerland)

According to “Guinness World Records” Hiltl is the first vegetarian restaurant in the world. The company was founded in 1898 by Ambrosius Hiltl and is now run by the fourth generation of the Hiltl family. It offers around 500 dishes and includes, in addition to the à la carte restaurant and Hiltl buffet, self-service and takeaway, a bar-lounge, a club, a cooking studio and a shop. The interior is really extravagant. White with hanging chandeliers. Definitely a place to take your mother. Some also do breakfast.
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Featuring edamame salad, dahl, lentil salad, mango and pineapple.

Vert Attitude (Geneva, Switzerland)

Probably the most expensive but rightly so. The food was of the highest quality and delicious. Only problem, the lighting isn’t good for an Instagram-worthy image (hehe)
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(Obvs not my photo – my plate, which is not pretty enough to post here contained broccoli salad, carrot salad, guacamole, lentil salad and dahl dal or dhal)

Greenway (Ghent, Belgium)
Both vegan and vegetarian options: wraps, burgers, salads etc. But it’s a chain so it’s not THAT great. But it’s good still. It has a Subway vibe like it’s cozy and colourful but it’s not a restaurant.
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imburage
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Maison Blunt (Zurich, Switzerland)
Just had a soy chai here but it was goooooood. Also the interior, very moroccan very cute. Free wifi (no password), comfy couches and many vegan and vegetarian options (some meat dishes too shhhh!).
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Others:
These I did not have the time, stomach-space or money to try out. But, they’re on my list. Maybe you’ll get to try them on my behalf:
Qibi (Geneva, Switzerland)
YOGIFOOD – The Power of Raw (Geneva, Switzerland)
Avalon (Ghent, Belgium)
Dolma (Brussels, Belgium)

The Brussels Waffle

I’ve eaten a lot of things this Europe trip. Like, a lot. My jeans can attest to that. But even with the tighter jeans, I am glad and grateful to have been able to consume so much deliciousness. Especially when there are literally billions going without food every day.

I ate in Spain, France, Switzerland, and Belgium (Italy and Greece will have to wait for me and my future husband).

Food is just incredible in this continent. This is because, the majority of our favorites derived here: fries, waffles, pizza, crepes, etc.

Though I can write pages upon pages listing the delicacies I gobbled up here, only three of these have actually blown me away. As in, whoosh and into dreamland where my only wish of my sparkling fairy godmother was that my real mother could also taste this or that.

1. Ham, cheese, and lettuce French baguette.

2. Brussels waffle topped with strawberry and Nutella.

3. Handmade pistachio macaroon from a local market.

Forget Spanish churros, Belgian fries or Swiss chocolate. Forget cheese, olives, paella. Godiva? Lindt? Who needs them! My three, those are the ones I vouch to never forget. If I could marry one, well, let’s just say I’d have to first change gender, second religion and third, get used to pampering three women.

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Do we really want to travel in hermetically sealed popemobiles through the rural provinces of France, Mexico and the Far East, eating only in Hard Rock Cafes and McDonalds? Or do we want to eat without fear, tearing into the local stew, the humble taqueria’s mystery meat, the sincerely offered gift of a lightly grilled fish head? I know what I want. I want it all. I want to try everything once. (Anthony Bourdain)

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A Day In Geneva

Thank you Laura for letting me use your computer!

I’m so mad at myself for not having come to Geneva earlier. It is only 40 minutes from my auntie’s place and so so spectacular! Wow. You should have seen me. For the entire day I looked like a smiling idiot. Which is why I’ve decided that I’m definitely a city girl. And you know what, I’ve also decided that there’s nothing wrong with that. So, I can appreciate nature. I DO appreciate nature. I love a little peace and quiet. Fresh air. But, I also LOVE culture. Art galleries, boutique stores, cafes, bakeries, flower-shops, book-shops, parks, park benches, park pigeons, I’m lovin’ it. All of it. When I walk through a city like Geneva, I hear poetry in my ears.

I had an entire day in Geneva before my flight to Belgium so here’s what I did:
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A look at Jet d’Eau (water jet), one of Geneva’s biggest landmarks.
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City strolls.
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BEEP BEEP then went off my foodie sensor! I still don’t know exactly what it was but I can definitely say there was meringue, mousse and chocolate. Bye bye diet.
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For lunch, I had a soy latte (cos I’m hipster like that) and a vegetarian “Paradiso” salad which I’d seen posted several times on Instagram from Paradiso cafe. And though it was yum, I wished I’d gotten their famous avocado toast instead. First world problems. Wish there were money (and calorie) refunds for bad food decisions.
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For dinner, I went to Golestan. A legit Persian restaurant in Geneva’s red light district! I had a Persian favorite: Ghormesabzi with mint and cucumber yoghurt. It was so good, it made me miss my mother. I wish my stomach was larger because I wanted to eat kebab as well. Then, before you think I’m even more of a glutton than I actually am, I walked for 1 hour and 45 minutes to the airport to catch my flight to BELGIUM!
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Such a cool exhibition showing beautiful faces alongside the equally beautiful lake.image-6
Maybe Japanese?
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Lifa, that you?image-2
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United Nations.
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Dessert. Shoosh. I earned it/I’m on holiday… (always).

Comfort Food

I wanted to write a post dedicated to my auntie Pouneh and all of her delicious homemade food.

“There is no spectacle on earth more appealing than that of a beautiful woman in the act of cooking dinner for someone she loves.” (Thomas Wolfe)
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Persian barberry and saffron rice with tomato vegetable chicken. Top left is potato tahdig. image-152
The beautiful family at Lake Geneva.
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Organic salad with avocado and feta, couscous, grilled fish and green beans.
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Persian loobia polo minus the beef, spiced with turmeric and cinnamon. Green salad and potato tahdig.
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But first…image-146
Mediterranean-style baked fish.
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This is sabzi polo, Persian herbed rice. It is always served with fish. And again, the potato tahdig. image-144
Is it rice? Or is it cake? It’s a rice-cake!image-145
And for dessert, individual chocolate letters for all of us from Harald’s business trip. H for Haifa.
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N for Nura.image-141
A for…

From Hola to Bonjour

Guys, I’m so confused. One day I’m saying gracias to the supermarket clerk, the next day, arigato. Note to self: merci merci merci pardon.

Today I biked to the local market. I said “bonjour” to an elderly passerby. He said: “bonjour mademoiselle,”(just like the movies) and I died.
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The French market in Thonon reminded me very much of the Riccarton Bush market back home (NZ). Unlike the markets in Spain where the fresh produce were displayed organically in fresh piles, the food here were set out decoratively in nice cartons, on pretty table cloths and alongside authentic ornaments.
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He said: “Hey lady try this olive pesto. It’s very fresh.” Then: “but not as fresh as you!” ???
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Delicious oily beignets mmm!
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Okay, NOW I’m French.
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This picture is for Teck Loh, Andy Banks and my father <3
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Herbs for my mama <3
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And last but not least, flowers for my sister.
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Remnants of a French breakfast :O

My First Paella

Danny and Maria’s holiday home is straight out of a Richard Linklater film. It is so unbelievably idyllic. So damn romantic. I just can’t believe I was there.
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Meat prep: rabbit, chicken and fish. Or was it squid, Jose?
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My photos don’t do this place justice. It was truly gorgeous.
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image3Rice.
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Muscles and shrimp.
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The head chef himself! Danny was so funny, when his wife Maria went to check the paella he quickly rushed over. “No, no, no,” he said. It was his project.
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Truly delicious! So flavourful. The white meat, the seafood, the rice, all cooked in saffron and natural juices. Oh mama, how I wish you could have tasted it.
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Sara being sara.image4
A short walk after dessert (Maria’s amazing chocolate cake – not pictured).
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And last but not least, watermelon – myyyyyy favourite.

An Inside Look At A Traditional Galician Bakery

Pictures taken at Bakery Panaderia Mollete Bolleria in Ferrol, Galicia where the owner, Jose’s friend allowed us an exclusive look at how Galician bread is made.
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Since the Spanish eat bread with every meal, bread is a big deal for them. At Mollete, bread is prepared by hand (and love) then baked in a wood-fired oven. The bakers arrive at 2am and continuously bake all day. What blew me away is the price of each baguette. One sells for 0.95Euro (about 1 US dollar). Isn’t that crazy? In New Zealand it would be quadruple the price of that. And apparently, even so, the locals still complain that the bread is too expensive. Can you believe that? Anyways, we bought a cod and raisin empanada. BP. B for bacalao (cod) and P for pasa (raisin). C for carne (meat). Typically, Empanadas are eaten cold so we had ours later in the day for lunch. Guys, I am getting fat.
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“What must you break apart in order to bring a family close together? Bread, of course.”
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“The smell of good bread baking, like the sound of lightly flowing water, is indescribable in its evocation of innocence and delight…[Breadmaking is] one of those almost hypnotic businesses, like a dance from some ancient ceremony. It leaves you filled with one of the world’s sweetest smells… there is no chiropractic treatment, no Yoga exercise, no hour of
meditation in a music-throbbing chapel. that will leave you emptier of bad thoughts than this homely ceremony of making bread.” ― Mary Francis Kennedy Fisher
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“Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; and good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts.” ― James Beard
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“All sorrows are less with bread. ” ― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
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“Let it never be said / there can be a Heaven / without fresh bread.” ― Glenn Logan Reitze
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“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” ― Virginia Woolf
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(Can you see the cut empanadas in the back?)
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“After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one’s own relations.” ― Oscar Wilde