About Marie Gewirtz

Marie Gewirtz passionately advocates sustainability as a way of life for current and future generations. For three decades, through her company, Marie Gewirtz Public Relations & Marketing, she has helped clients in the Wine Industry identify their core message and translate their individuality into highly effective marketing and PR campaigns. Marie is currently traveling throughout Europe,and this blog is a result of her visits to Scotland, Turkey, Greece and France.

Eating my way through Paros, Greece

For twenty glorious days, I ate my way through Paros. My favorite restaurant was Kopanni. It is near Tango Beach and where I first discovered grilled sardines, which became my comfort food for the duration of my stay on Paros. Everything at Kopanni is fresh, local and delicious and their specialty is, of course, fish.0. Sardines02. Greece landscape

Levantis offered the most elegant food of my adventure in Paros prepared by Chef Georgios Mavridis. A husband/ wife team owns and beautifully manages this small, elegant, delicious restaurant located in the central market street of Parikia.

Il Susuro del Pino is a garden restaurant with absolutely delicious fish and other Greek specialties. With all seating outside, it offers a delightful environment, especially if one is fond of cats.

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Niatsa Estiatorio is an Italian restaurant in the quaint town square of Naoussa. Luciano and I bicycled the 15+ kilometers from Parikia to Naoussa, stopping to swim and sight see along the way, so we were well rewarded upon reaching Niatsa.  

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Ouzeri-Tavern in the Port of Alyki on Paros was one of my favorite dining experiences. After Yoga, I enjoyed a sumptuous white fish dish baked in parchment paper with assorted vegetables. It was exquisitely prepared and the afternoon was memorable with a gorgeous view of the Aegean, children playing in the sea, and fisherman returning to the port.06. FoodAlykiVivason a small cobbled-stone street in Antiparos, was perhaps the greatest culinary surprise of my stay on Paros. Most of the restaurants were closed for the season by the middle of October when Nico and I took the ferry from Parikia to Antiparos. We were delighted to taste authentic Greek dishes expertly prepared from local products.IMG_326609. Nico08.

My favorite vendor was a woman by the name of Chrysoula Kazakidou. Although she offered wellness services such as Reiki, craniosacral and relaxing massage, which I unfortunately found out about too late for my visit, it was her shop with all local products from cheese to wine to Greek olive oil based Shea butters that initially caught my attention.  She was even so kind as to pick wild thyme from her garden for me to send to my cousin Susie….Chrysoula’s shop is right on the port across from where the ferries come and go… x.kazakidou@gmail.com

Wine, Words and Wonderful Living in Paros, Greece

I asked Colin, the co-owner of the Greek Cafe, where he bought his wine, and he sent me to the island wine broker, Yannakos Mourlas. It turns out Yannakos’ warehouse was merely a short bike ride from my house. Yannakos welcomed me with a lengthy conversation, as he pointed out his favorite Greek wines. Mind you this was quite a task, as he has between 800 – 900 bottles of Greek wines on his shelves.

A few shelves from Yannakos' warehouse

A few shelves from Yannakos’ warehouse

You can only imagine the fun I had tasting through some of these wines. Fortunately, I had brought with me Tara Q. Thomas’ review from Wine & Spirits August 2013 issue of “Year’s Best Greece.” Yannakos was quite impressed with her reviews, so I recommend that you defer to Tara for Greek wine selections. Here are some photos of Yannakos’ favorites. 

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As for weather, today I’m sitting outside wearing two wool sweaters and a cashmere scarf braving the elements because I don’t wish to be inside in Greece in the beginning of October.Postcards from Paros 1The place I am staying is lovely — centrally located and small, with one double bed, tiny bathroom and a second room with convenience kitchen, couch, table et al. No view of the sea, but moments away on foot. One by one, many of the resorts are closing for the season and today the weather is windy and cold, and I am delighted. I am being kept company by the paper mache ax man and the colorful guy in the corner, and of course the incredible books that grace the shelves at Connie and Rod’s house in Parikia. Susie had recommended that I read, “My Name is Red,” by Orhan Pamuk, a talented Turkish author, as I was headed to Istanbul from Scotland. Alas, there it was on the shelf.

Exquisite Quiet

The Paros Paradise of this journey in many ways in the most glorious silent retreat. Day after day, there is exquisite quiet and no one with whom I am interacting regularly.

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Yes, I speak with vendors to buy succulent fruit, colorful vegetables, exotic cheeses and yoghurt that tastes like clouds on the tongue, and I meet along the way other travelers with whom I compare notes and sometimes share a meal. I’ve even found a world-class Iyengar Yoga teacher in Aliki, on the south side of Paros, and Denise, a gracious woman who is the wife Yannakos Mourlas, the island wine broker, picks me up and returns me home to Parikia. Although Oona teaches Yoga in English, just about everyone in the class speaks a different native language and has the ability to speak at least three. Talk about flexibility in body and mind!

Oona of Alyki Yoga School - www.yoga-paros.com

Oona of Alyki Yoga School – http://www.yoga-paros.com

Yet, my favorite people with whom to break the silence are Luci, Luciano and Nico, who live downstairs and who already feel like family.

Nico, Luci and Luciano

Nico, Luci and Luciano

Spending time with Luci and Luciano - Nico was taking our picture.

Spending time with Luci and Luciano – Nico was taking our picture.

Taking Nico for his first visit to the Antiparos Caves, where he climbed as only an 11-year-old boy would do up, down and around the 45 million year old Stalagmite rock formation that rises from the floor of this amazing cave, as a result of accumulation of material deposited on the floor from the ceiling drippings, was a sight to behold.

Nico climbing on the Stalagmite formations in the millions of years old Cave of Antiparos

Nico climbing on the Stalagmite formations in the millions of years old Cave of Antiparos

We descended 411 steps into the heart of the cave, which has a depth in excess of 100 meters. Decades apart in age and having been raised in different cultures, Nico and I shared overwhelming feelings of awe and wonderment. My teacher instincts were brought to the surface as Nico often consulted his brochure, and I felt a deep joy that I had the privilege of introducing this fine young man and myself to one of the great wonders of the world.

Touring with Nico

Touring with Nico

Another adventure took Luciano and me to Naoussa, a charming seaside village about 15 km from Parikia, where we explored by bike the Environmental & Cultural Park of Paros among many other sites. Of course we stopped to swim all along the way…

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Then off to Yoga… and another day to reflect, to be, to read, to write, to marvel at a sunrise, sunset, the ebb and flow of the Aegean Sea, and to witness the change of weather with the wind announcing the coming storm. To be caught off guard without a moment’s notice by the beauty of Paros — it takes my breath away.  Ahhhh Greece!

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Sunset tempest Greece

Postcards from Paros, Greece – October 1 – October 19, 2013

First Day 

Alone in Paros

Alone in Paros and ready for adventures!

Awakened early and followed my feet…

Home Again in Greece at Connie & Rod’s home on Paros

Home Again in Greece at Connie & Rod’s home on Paros

Street in Paros

Street in Paros

I walked and swam and walked and swam and walked and walked until I found myself at the end of the island climbing into the hills, until I could go no further, as I marveled at the coast below – a blue/green unlike any other than the Aegean Sea. I found myself alone with nature, one day after the season in Paros – Greece had ended. Brazilian wood lounge chairs abandoned, tables folded, bars shuttered — alas, my kind of Paradise!

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Parikia, Paros, Greece

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Day One – Ahhhh Greece!

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Another Day in Paradise

I discovered a long dock with a bamboo covering and textured carpet, perfect for Down Dogs and Hero poses.

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Yoga on a deserted dock in Paros

Down Dogs from every possible perspective

Down Dogs from every possible perspective

 

After many inversions in which I examined the sea from many perspectives, I headed for the perfect rock I had noticed on the way in. Slipping from a smooth stone decorated with algae I sank into the velvet of the Aegean Sea, where I remained for what seemed like hours — experiencing the ebb and the flow, allowing the Greek sun to do its magic, while I completely forgot about all things other than the here and now. I remembered the joy of being in a place where it takes all day to do nothing, as my cousin Susie and I experienced 35 years ago together on Hydra, where she lived then. 

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Ahhhh Europe, everyone is speaking a different language and yet we all communicate. It always amuses me how people knowing that they are not using the same language continue to speak using hands and facial expressions, with a pure desire to be understood, louder and slower, speaking over each other with the two languages, and miraculously half of what is said is communicated. I’m so happy!

…Sitting in a small Greek Cafe on a cloudy, windy day talking to German tourists when the music switches to Pachelbel Canon in D minor. My heart literally bursts into feelings — first in remembering my mother and of how happy she would be that I’m back in Greece, a place I love dearly. Then, in remembering my children walking down the aisle on their wedding day to this music. Joy fills my heart as I take another sip of my beetroot, carrot, ginger, and blood orange juice… and continue talking to the Germans in a smattering of languages.

Colin & Stella’s Greek Café – Best juice on the island & Thursday night Quiz Night

Colin & Stella’s Greek Café – Best juice on the island & Thursday night Quiz Night (Colin is English, Stella is Greek)

Ah to be living with such an open heart that is old enough and well-worn enough to take it all in…

Turkey – Saturday Farmers’ Market and Wine Tasting

On to the local Saturday Farmers’ Market.

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Lunch at Kantin – an upscale restaurant that could easily be found in Healdsburg, with farm-to-table food and fresh, simple presentations. It was recommended by an American food critic, and although the food was fresh, simple and delicious, I’m wondering why, with so many authentic, elaborate great Turkish restaurants for foreigners to try, Kantin was rated at the top of the list?

Lunch at Kantin

Lunch at Kantin

Police anticipating trouble, as a soccer game is about to begin…

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Gourmet Breakfast at The Backyard… Great concept, fabulous farm fresh food and on-site bakery.

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With Lynsey at The Backyard

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Poached freshly laid egg and bacon

Yachting with Lynsey’s friends and colleagues. The 5 pm call to prayers serenaded us as we toured the grand houses of Istanbul along the Bosphorus.

Our host Arin Cetin

Our host Arin Cetin

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A perfect choice of wine for yachting

A perfect choice of wine for yachting

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I’m ready to move in…

Unfortunately, these homes are passed down through the ages and only under duress do families sell these regal generational homes, which offer a haven of quiet and clean air.

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The Asian side of the Bosphorus

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The night before, Arin was our host in treating us to a terrace table at Poseidon Fish & Wine Center. The moon was almost full — the food was exquisite, and the service incomparable. Thank you again, Arin!

With Chateau Lafite, Chateau Le Pin, Chateau d’Yquem and other wines on the list, and the most sublime fresh fish caught daily, Poseidon is arguably the best fish restaurant in Istanbul.

The last day in Istanbul was spent shopping for antiquities for Lynsey’s new flat. We purchased a beautiful wooden chest that was delivered on a cart through the cobblestoned streets of Istanbul by the shop owner’s friend, who proceeded to hoist it onto his back and carry it up the three flights of stairs to its new home.

My visit in Istanbul ended with Lynsey hosting a Turkish Wine Tasting at her friend Meryem’s, with a view of the Bosphorus.

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Turkish Wine Tasting

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View over Bosphorus, from Meryem’s apartment

The main wine regions of Turkey are:

  • Marmara
  • Aegean
  • Mediterranean
  • Mid-Southern Anatolia
  • Mid-Northern Anatolia
  • Mid-Eastern Anatolia
  • South East Anatolia

Two popular grape varieties I have never tasted before, that grow abundantly in Turkey are Bogazkere and Kalecik Karasi.

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The line-up for our Turkish wine tasting

The wines we tasted that night were:

2010 Prestige – Bogazkere

2012 Okuzgozu – Yazgan (a blend of Bogazkere & Okuzgozu)

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2010 Selection Kavaklidere (which was the group favorite as the two varieties seemed to meld beautifully together)

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2011 Sarafin – Cabernet Sauvignon

2010 Buyulubag – Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot (this was my favorite as the flavors seemed well balanced and the wine a great example of what Turkey can do with traditional varieties.

2009 Kayra – Bogazkere Collectible Series #8

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2010 Prestige – Bogazkere

2008 Corvus – #5 Blend Cabernet Franc / Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah

In closing, a huge hug to Lynsey for her generosity in sharing her life and allowing me a window into her world of Istanbul. Experiencing foreign lands through the eyes of people who live there offer adventures that are rich beyond measure.

 

A bit of History on Istanbul and the Bosphorus

The 90th anniversary of the new Turkey was just celebrated with the inauguration of the recently opened $4 billion, 8.5 million mile rail tunnel that runs almost 200 feet below the Bosphorus. The Bosphorus is the body of water between the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara, and for centuries has been the path of travelers and also invaders. The significance of the tunnel is that because of its geography, Istanbul has long defined this ancient city as the connection between East and West, where Europe meets Asia and cultures intertwine. The tunnel will not only ease commuter congestion for the city of Istanbul, with its 16 million people, but hopes are that in the future it will facilitate trade between Europe and China.

I have so many stories and photos of Mosques, food, shopping at the Spice Market, the Grand Bazaar, more food, a Sunday afternoon yacht adventure, an evening with International Women of Istanbul at the W Hotel, visit to Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, Topkapi and the Harem, delicious street food adventures as well as dining experiences at top restaurants of the world (honestly the street food is my fav). Then I helped Lynsey to host a Turkish Wine Tasting with Turkish appetizers and cheese at a friend’s home which overlooks the Bosphorus… divine.

My First Turkish Bath 

My first Turkish bath or Hamami was quite an experience. When the woman washed me with her ample breasts flopping over my body, I felt like a child relaxing into sleep as she prepared me for the hot marble slab on which I laid with other women from around the world.

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My First Turkish Bath in…

…The Cihangir Neighborhood Hamami

…The Cihangir Neighborhood Hamami

I was thrilled to be in Istanbul and also sad thinking I will have to leave Lynsey. Let it suffice to say that my journey continued to provide adventures beyond my wildest dreams. Each day I awoke with health, optimism, and absolutely no idea of what the day will bring…. what better way to spend a sabbatical?

Must Read while in Istanbul – My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk

Set amid the perils of religious repression in 16th century Istanbul, when the Ottoman Sultans were in control, My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk is a fascinating read while visiting this country steeped in history, art, religion and architecture.

Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia

As I walked off the tram headed to these grand and historical places, it was 5 pm and evening prayers were being called. Again, I was in the right place at the right time. It was an experience unlike any other to descend from that tram to see the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia for the first time, while hearing calls for evening prayers from many different mosques seconds apart — The sounds of reverence were incredible.

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Blue Mosque

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Blue Mosque

Blue Mosque

Blue Mosque

Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia

When the Mosques closed, I rushed back to Lynsey’s to change for an evening at the W Hotel with the International Women of Istanbul and their significant others. Being with these expats from all over the world who have chosen an international lifestyle, I was reminded of my father and his Pan Am years when we traveled the world, and I was envious of people such as these who had chosen to learn new cultures and languages as a way of life. Being with Lynsey, knowing that she was brave enough to be one of these expats, made for a most enjoyable evening.

Spice Market and Grand Bizarre

Although each day in Istanbul has been filled with adventure, this was my favorite day so far. With Lynsey working, I headed to Topkapı Sarayi Muzesi (Palace) & Harem Dairesi (Apartments) to make sure that I fit these in prior to leaving. There are so many rooms that can be visited in the Palace and in the Harem that I felt like I was a guest. I imagined the life so many centuries ago, as I admired the detail and color throughout with mother of pearl inlays and brilliantly colored and meticulously laid tiles. Thank God I am not a woman in 16th century Istanbul! At the very least, I would have had to be the first wife!

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Topkapı Sarayi Muzesi (Palace) & Harem Dairesi (Apartments)

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View from Topkapı Palace

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Topkapı Sarayi Muzesi (Palace) & Harem Dairesi (Apartments)

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Inside Topkapı Sarayi Muzesi (Palace) & Harem Dairesi (Apartments)

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Inside Topkapı Sarayi Muzesi (Palace) & Harem Dairesi (Apartments)

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Mother of pearl inlays at Topkapı Sarayi Muzesi

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Magnificent blue tiles at Topkapı Sarayi Muzesi

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Inside Topkapı Sarayi Muzesi (Palace) & Harem Dairesi (Apartments)

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Inside Topkapı Sarayi Muzesi (Palace) & Harem Dairesi (Apartments)

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Topkapı Sarayi Muzesi (Palace) & Harem Dairesi (Apartments)

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Water fountain at Topkapı Sarayi Muzesi (Palace) & Harem Dairesi (Apartments)

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Topkapı Sarayi Muzesi (Palace) & Harem Dairesi (Apartments)

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Topkapı Sarayi Muzesi (Palace) & Harem Dairesi (Apartments)

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Topkapı Sarayi Muzesi (Palace) & Harem Dairesi (Apartments)

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Topkapı Sarayi Muzesi (Palace) & Harem Dairesi (Apartments)

Later I met Lynsey at Topkapı and we headed to a lunch spot that was near the Spice Market and Grand Bazaar and had the best lamb kabob ever….This was authentic Turkish food at its best.

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Lynsey savoring the moment of her delicious choice for lunch

Lynsey savoring the moment of her delicious choice for lunch

Thinking this lunch couldn’t be topped, Lynsey led us to the Spice Market where I was overwhelmed by the colors, smells and fast pace of the vendors and shoppers.

I will let these photos of the Spice Market speak for themselves. Let it suffice to say that I almost had Lynsey married off to the cashmere scarf salesman, who was relentlessly flirting with her, and that I made great headway with end-of-year Holiday shopping. Thus, too busy haggling to take photos of the Grand Bazaar.

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One of my favorite meals in Istanbul…..fresh spices, fried fish sandwich, eating on a bench overlooking the Bosphorus on a warm fall evening…yummm

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Colorful, Chaotic Istanbul

Going from serene, respectful, clean and dignified Edinburgh to colorful and chaotic Istanbul has been a bit of a shock for the senses and for the lungs. Ohhh… so much smoke!

And yet, it was amazing to be in this exotic land with Lynsey. She was there at the Istanbul airport to greet me.

Lynsey waiting for me at the airport

Lynsey waiting for me at the airport

My first adventure was riding a bus during rush hour and then walking the busy streets full of food and smells and color and vibrant life, until we reached Lynsey’s apartment located in Cihangir, a tony Istanbul neighborhood.

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Lynsey in her new apartment in the Cihangir neighborhood of Istanbul

We dropped my bags and went off to eat at Privado Café, a small authentic Turkish restaurant where the meal began with superb lentil soup and included a Meda platter, Moussaka and a delicious Georgian red wine.

Day One in Istanbul

Of course we began our first day with a traditional Turkish breakfast including Menemen, topped it off with fresh juice (pomegranate, blood oranges, fresh lemons) from Lynsey’s favorite street vendor, and then Lynsey and I went for a walk on the Bosphorus, where we hopped on a ferry to the Asian side of Istanbul to be met by one of Lynsey’s new friends for a traditional “Donner” lunch of beef kabobs with pita, cucumbers, onions, peppers, ripe tomatoes and yoghurt that tastes like clouds.

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Lynsey’s favorite fruit vendor in Istanbul

It was a day that ended with a glass of Raki at sunset, awaiting the ferry back to the European side of Istanbul. Thank you Chala for your gracious hospitality!

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Wine at sunset on the Asian side of the Bosphorus in Istanbul with Lynsey & Chala

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Mr. Prime Minister you’re not going to stop these two Sonoma gals from buying wine after 10 pm in Istanbul!

 

Le Trou Normand — Journey Cleanser

As this is a food, wine, and travel blog, the nature of my travels made it necessary to insert this journey cleanser, or Le Trou Normand, to be used three weeks into this blog, to allow my initial experiences to settle and linger, so that the next adventures could be enjoyed with a fresh perspective.

After Edinburgh, the trip took off into an entirely different direction and I became absorbed in a whirlwind of color, smells, sights and a whole lot of living. In other words, I cascaded into my travel experiences using all five senses, as I set out to do, and thus merely made notes for my travel blog. Reflections from the rest of the trip will be far less detailed, offering the flavor and overall impressions of my travels in Istanbul, the Greek Island of Paros, my one night in Athens under a full moon, 10 days with my ex-husband and father of my son in Anduze, France, with the finale of the trip, a picture perfect three days in Le Marais, the 3rd arrondissement of Paris.

I’ll be adding posts frequently as I am now back in the US and absorbing the amazing nature of this trip while adjusting to the responsibilities of being home.

Let it suffice to say the two month sabbatical was PERFECT.

From Farm-to-Table at The Gardener’s Cottage in Edinburgh

I felt a bit of déjà vu when speaking with co-owner Chefs Dale Mailley and Edward Murray. It brought me back to the 1980s and my first interview with Sonoma County patriarch Chef John Ash, when they were speaking about, “The commitment of The Gardener’s Cottage to creating and serving excellent food, using the best seasonal, local produce while nurturing sustainable and mutually beneficial relationships with the local community and local producers.” That’s how fresh this mission statement is in Edinburgh. It was a pleasure to interview these young chefs who shared with me their vision and dreams.

Originally trained as an architect, Edward Murray has lived in Edinburgh since his student days. Abandoning architecture for his true calling, Edward has spent the last decade honing his culinary skills. Combining his architectural experience with his love of eating with friends, Edward’s objective was to bring together diners and chefs. The outcome is a simple design that makes the most of the limited space while remaining sensitive to the historical and cultural importance of the cottage.

The restaurant is housed in a historic building located in Royal Terrace Gardens, at the foot of Calton Hill in the heart of Edinburgh World Heritage site. Originally the cottage for the gardener, the building was designed by William Playfair and constructed in 1836. The gardens, planned by Playfair, were originally laid out to include a path for the exiled King of France Charles X to walk along on his way from the Palace of Holyroodhouse to church. One feels this sense of history when walking along the paths.

Dale Mailley has been a chef since the age of 15, and was most recently the executive head chef at the popular Outsider and The Apartment restaurants in Edinburgh. Dale was also sous chef at The Atrium and worked at Michelin-starred The Kitchin in Leith. His professional stages in London include the two Michelin star The Ledbury and a number of Mark Hix’s restaurants.

It’s certainly been an eventful year, far busier than we could have ever expected. We calculated it would take at least a few years for the business to take off.  Dale and I are literally blown away by the response from our customers and press, as this restaurant launch continues to be a whirlwind for which we are forever grateful,” says Ed. “More than anything, it’s our goal to continue to cook what we wish to cook, always making sure that our restaurant atmosphere offers employees and guests a relaxed fine dining experience. The connection between the food on the plate, the kitchen, garden and staff is the essence of who we are,” continues Ed.

Gardener’s Cottage Co-Owners Dale Mailley and Edward Murray

Gardener’s Cottage Co-Owners Dale Mailley and Edward Murray

We feed over 100 people on a busy day, and the impact is huge from our own gardens. The farm-to-table movement is not new to us. We’ve always cooked with fresh, seasonal food in Scotland although it’s only recently gained momentum with consumers,” says Dale.

Here is the part that humbles me as an American: “The woman from whom we purchase all other fruits and vegetables lives merely moments away and has been one of Edinburgh’s best farmers for more than 20 years. The war had a big effect on the traditional farm-to-table movement, which is now coming back. Cheese is a good example in that Scotland now has more than 100 different cheeses. During WWII, there were merely five-six different varieties of Scottish cheeses. Only in the past 10-20 years has this artisan tradition re-emerged,” continues Ed.

“How lucky we are to have world-class produce — mutton, game, we’re getting deep into hunting season now, which starts in August. There are hares in August, says Dale.

These long time friends appreciate that together they are stronger than the sum of their parts. With all that there is to do with lunch and dinner menus that change daily they are the yin and the yang, taking turns with the many responsibilities they face in keeping this vibrant, popular restaurant on the cutting edge of Edinburgh fine dining. 

Food, Glorious Food!

An elegant, vibrant yet serene, (go figure it’s the UK), sensible, affluent city, Edinburgh has a surprising interest in farm-to-table eating, both at restaurants and in small neighborhood shops. And, as an FYI, in Shetland and in Edinburgh delicious gluten free options abound. They are more prevalently found here on menus than in California.

Since I’m tasting my way through this European adventure, Susie had several friends recommend great restaurants to try. The first night we dined at The Scran & Scallie, Tom and Michaela Kitchin’s third restaurant. Their first,The Kitchin, opened on Edinburgh’s Leith waterfront in 2006. A year later they were awarded a Michelin star followed by numerous other prestigious awards. Tom Kitchin is the most highly acclaimed chef in Edinburgh, so we opted for the less fancy choice of The Scran & Scallie, which not only showcases great Scottish food – or ‘scran’– in a relaxed, cozy setting, but like all the Kitchin restaurants features seasonal cooking from nature to plate. It was delicious, and I’ll tempt you with photos below.

Appetizer - Squash salad with mushrooms, feta, pumpkin seeds and other delicacies

Appetizer – Squash salad with mushrooms, feta, pumpkin seeds and other delicacies

In honor of my Mother, we ordered bone marrow — delicious!

In honor of my Mother, we ordered bone marrow — delicious!

Grilled Celery Root

Grilled Celery Root

Risotto with Pork and Sage

Hogget of Lamb (a farming term that refers to young sheep between 1 and 2 years of age)

A great surprise prior to dining occurred when we visited Raeburn Fine Wines across the street, to find wines made by many of my friends – among them Joseph Swan Pinot Noir made by Rod Berglund.

Raeburn Fine Wines

Raeburn Fine Wines

My favorite dining experience in Edinburgh, however, was The Gardener’s Cottage.

The Gardener's Cottage http://www.thegardenerscottage.co/

The Gardener’s Cottage http://www.thegardenerscottage.co/

The Gardener’s Cottage is a true farm-to-table experience, with their herb and vegetable garden welcoming guests at the entry to the restaurant. Partners Dale Mailey and Edward Murray agreed to a short interview prior to serving us one of their prix fixe dinners, which was fresh, local and scrumptuous.

The menu at The Gardener's Cottage

The menu at The Gardener’s Cottage

Rabbit, beetroot and red currant salad from Gardener’s Cottage

Rabbit, beetroot and red currant salad from Gardener’s Cottage