Learning The top destinations of 2015: A new approach to listicles by Jason Clampet on Dec 4, 2014 Robert Reid is one of my favorite travel experts in print or in person, even if he rarely manages to ever stay true to the title of his “76-Second Travel Show.” Last year he wrote a story for our big sister site Skift about the trends driving different publications’ picks for their respective 2014 top destinations lists. It boiled down to three main angles: The most popular pick for editors is a place linked to a specific event, anniversary or news-related topic, like the World Cup or the 100th anniversary of WWI (almost half of the total). Next are secondary destinations that appear overdue for a shout-out (over a quarter of the total, including destinations like Nicaragua’s Little Corn Islands, or Puglia, Italy). Last is almost destination-agnostic, lists of new hotel sites or tours to plan a trip around (25% of the picks, including all of AFAR’s list). Yesterday he ..
Books Travel Links We Like for 12/12 by Jason Clampet on Dec 12, 2014 We don’t like to think that collecting links to stories we liked this week is lazy blogging, we like to think it helps justify all the online reading we did while we were meant to be working on something else. We also like to think it will help you discover something you’ll like too. So here’s our soon-to-be weekly roundup of Travel Links We Like. Notable Travel Books of 2014, by Andrew McCarthy McCarthy begins his roundup with the admission that travel writing is complicated these days: “in our Google Maps world, even once sleepy places like poor Provence have become hackneyed and played out.” He still manages to find five titles — three titles about exploring the world and two compilations of stories — to recommend. There are some familiar names in the roundup, including Gadling contributor Pico Iyer and former features editor Don George, who wrote and edited, respectively, two of the titles. Head..
Gadling Gear Review / Gear A holiday travel gift guide that doesn’t stink by Jason Clampet on Dec 15, 2014 Ed. Note: This time of year we see lots of gift guides, almost always filled entirely with free products that companies sent editors so that they’d be included in their gift guides. Since all the stuff people offered to send us was rather lousy, we turned to someone who knows how to pick a good gift, my wife. Her gifting has become legendary, and not just because she once kidnapped me for a Tokyo escape on my 30th birthday (but that’s a pretty good example). She finds little things that others ignore, and pulls a package together in ways you can’t always imagine. So in a move that combines both nepotism and public service, we turned to her for holiday travel gift guide advice. You last-minute shoppers can direct your thanks to her Twitter account. –Jason Clampet You’re making a list and checking it twice. Your peeps love to travel and you want to get them some..
Austria / Food and Drink Austria in 6 Cakes: The Kaiser’s Favorite Guglhupf by Pam Mandel on Mar 10, 2015 The Austrian town of Bad Ischl hit the spa scene in the early 19th century, but it became the Next Big Destination when Kaiser Franz Josef started using the location as his summer retreat. When Vienna’s weather became too oppressive in the summer time, the Kaiser and all his hangers on would pull up stakes for the cooler alpine climes of Austria’s Salzkammergut. The Kaiser’s entourage included his companion, the actress Katharina Schratt. It’s said there was a secret path between the Kaiser’s summer place and Villa Schratt, the country home the Kaiser purchased for his lady friend. It can’t have been so secret if morning Kaiser sightings made the phrase, “Oh, the Kaiser’s had his guglhupf!” part of the vernacular. It was also common knowledge that Ms. Schratt greeted the Kaiser’s regular visits with a freshly baked guglhupf, or bundt cake. Classic Guglhupf via Wik..
Austria / Food and Drink Austria in 6 Cakes: Gingerbread Translated, Twice by Pam Mandel on Mar 14, 2015 “Lebkuchen” gets translated from German as “gingerbread,” but that’s not quite right. The word “gingerbread” sets expectations for it being the kind of stuff you’d build a house out of, though that variety does get used in edible architecture. There are also those ubiquitous gingerbread hearts, decorated in icing sugar with your sweetheart’s name and a swooping script that says “Ich liebe dich” — I love you — or maybe just “Greetings from this twee Germanic town.” The stuff used to deliver messages or act as culinary sheetrock is all fine and well. But more interesting is a cakey sort of cookie packed with honey and spices and baked on top of what’s essentially a communion wafer — in much earlier days, baking gingerbread was the provenance of nuns and they found that a communion wafer kept the cookies from sticking to the pan. This style of “lebkuchen” is translat..
Austria / Food and Drink Austria in 6 (or More) Cakes: The Pistachio Problem by Pam Mandel on Mar 23, 2015 For reasons that are hard to track down, the Mozart Kugel – Austria’s famous Mozart Ball chocolate – is filled with pistachio marzipan. Theory: Mozart made several journeys to Italy as a young man and while there, he became fond of pistachios which were commonly used in Italian desserts. But. The pistachio has been in trade since biblical times; it was a highly valued crop. So it’s also possible that pistachio is more random choice that relies on the nut’s identity as a luxury item – we’ll use pistachio because it’s fancy! Mozart is fancy! So, Mozart equals pistachio! Maybe. Maybe not. It’s not just about chocolates, it’s also about cake. There are two front runners in the Mozart-something cakes race, the Mozarttorte and the Mozartbombe. Both include that recognizable pistachio green marzipan. “Aida Vienna” by KF via Wikimedia (Creative Commons) The Mozarttor..
Austria Austria in 6 Cakes: The Sachertorte Saga by Pam Mandel on Apr 13, 2015 The Hotel Sacher is a grand old property in Vienna’s first district. The ground floor café has marble topped tables and red upholstery and the wait-staff are attired in black with white aprons. There’s a conservatory that faces the street and in the summer time, it’s transformed into open air seating. The neighborhood is amazing; the Hotel is right across the street from the Opera House. The Hotel opened in 1875 – Grace Kelly stayed here, as did John F. Kennedy and Rudolph Nureyev. The Original Sachertorte The Hotel Sacher is a gorgeous slice of Viennese opulence and sure, if it’s your first trip to Vienna, you should head to the café for a Sachertorte, the property’s namesake cake. Odds are good you’ll share the salon with a busload of Japanese or German tourists, but whatever, the Sacher is a Vienna institution. Unsurprisingly, there’s a litigious back-story behind the Sacher’s cake. Fra..
Austria Austria in 6 Cakes: What a Mess! by Pam Mandel on Apr 20, 2015 “So ein Schmarrn!” is a handy of Austrian German slang for “What a mess!” Schmarrn is also the name of dessert that’s not much more than a scrambled pancake. (Pancake is a kind of cake too, friends!) The Kaiserschmarrn got its “Kaiser” prefix because it was a favorite of Emperor Franz Josef – he of the fondness for Bundt cake. A well made Kaiserschmarrn is dusted with powdered sugar and served warm with a side of current or apricot jam. Serving sizes are absurd and because of that, it’s often the dessert for dinner selection of choice. The trick to making a proper Kaiserschmarrn is lots of fluffy egg whites and plenty of butter in which to brown the pancake as you scramble it in the same pan in which you’ve baked it. Kaiserschmarrn is made when you order; it’s not the kind of thing you select from a dessert case at the cafe. But it’s not hard to find, and in some of the more touristy neighborhoods ..
Austria / Food and Drink Austria in 6 Cakes: Poppy Seeds are Popular by Pam Mandel on Apr 27, 2015 Pakistan is the world’s largest producer of poppy seeds, but the Austrians are no slouches, they produce about 1,000 metric tons, annually. The technical term for that is a whole lotta poppy seeds. Poppy seeds show up all over Austria baking – dusting the top of your bread rolls, sprinkled over butter smothered dumplings, and inside your cake. Recently, the EU passed new menu labeling guidelines, allowing diners to understand if their choices contain dairy, nuts, wheat – most of the foods that set off the allergic and intolerant. The labeling guideline includes the current villain of choice, gluten. This hasn’t been as bad as you’d think for the Austria cake landscape. Lots of cakes are made with a nut flour base. (If that’s your allergy, there’s always cheesecake.) And a good mohntorte – poppy seed cake – is made with ground poppy seeds. The basic mohntorte has no flour..
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