I've been one lucky girl recently, as I've been a recipient of various culinary gifts from foodbloggers across the world. Here you are:
Food Gift Number One: from Stevi of Bread & Butter (Athens, Greece)
I met up with Stevi upon returning from the wedding on Santorini to Athens back in June. She was wonderful - as my ferry from Santorini was delayed (hmm? Delayed? In Greece?), I didn't arrive at her place until after 2am. Despite this ungodly hour, she welcomed me at her home with some delicious food served on the balcony and gave me this delightful goodie bag just before I rushed off to the airport next morning:
* some chewing gum with natural Chios Mastic from Sarantis Lifedrops company
* a packet of barley rusks, so I can make my own dakos salad
* a packet of poppy seed fettucini from Mylelia Water Mill , a 250-year old water mill on the Greek island of Lesvos. This pasta is made in small quantities from fresh durum wheat flour and is air-dried the traditional way on the island.
* a jar of home-made orange marmalade (not on the picture)
Food Gift Number Two: from Dagmar of A Cat in the Kitchen (Stockholm, Sweden)
I flew RyanAir from Glasgow Prestwick to Stockholm Skavsta to attend my friend Annika's wedding there in early July. Anyone familiar with this particular no-frills airline knows that their airports are located in the middle of nowhere (as I already realised when flying to a dinner party in Germany in October 2005) . Which means that when I finally arrived at my hotel just before midnight (Nordic Sea Hotel, the home for Absolute Icebar, which I sadly didn't manage to visit this time) , I was rather exhausted and sleepy. Rather hungry as well. Imagine my surprise and confusion then when the receptionist suddenly told me that there is a packet waiting for me and rushed off to his office behind the counter, leaving me totally baffled. A packet? For me? From whom? What? I wasn't expecting a packet. Yet, he brought me a beautiful paper bag filled with various goodies and my name written on it. This wondrous surprise packet turned out to be from Dagmar! I ate the chocolates as soon as I got into my room, and hid the rest of the goodies at home in Estonia. I will be enjoying them when I go back in early September - and I cannot wait!
* A bottle of Polish raspberry syrop
* handbaked crispbread
* some chocolate
* a can of preserved chantarelles
* a glass of dried mushrooms picked and dried by Dagmar's mom and dad
* a jar of hot mustard with whisky and saffron
* various Swedish chocolates that I finished then and there before collapsing on my hotel bed
Tack så mycket, Dagmar!
Also - note that when I finally made it to Stockholm and was looking forward to meeting up with the three bloggers writing in English based there, then Anne was in London, Kristina in Estonia and Dagmar on the Swedish islands. Did somebody warn them that I was coming and they decided to flee??? Oh well, better luck next time...
Food Gift Number Three: from Eden over at eGullet (Seattle, WA, USA)
This chocolate-filled parcel was waiting for me when I got back from my latest trip to Estonia.
* Liberty Orchards Aplets & Cotlets: Apple and Apricot Confections with Crunchy Walnuts - these reminded me of Turkish Delight and were indeed, rather delightful
* Fran's Chocolates, Ltd Smoked Salt Caramels: Soft butter caramels sprinkled with pure sea salt smoked over Welsh oak, handmade with 40% deep milk chocolate
* Fran's Coconut Gold Bar. I'm not a great fan of coconut bars - I'd only choose a Bounty from a sweet counter if NOTHING else is available and even Raffaellos leave me rather cold - but this "perfect combination of creamy white chocolate ganache, coconut, whole toasted almonds and Fran's custom blend of dark chocolate" was lovely.
* Chukar Cherry Company, Inc. Milk Chocolate Bing Cherry: premium dried Bing Cherries dipped in savoury milk chocolate with a topcoat of rich, burgundy colored chocolate - bliss!
All of them were nice, though I was especially blown away by those smoked salt caramels - so soft and chewy and flavoursome. I'm already looking forward to my next encounter with these divine creatues, thou sadly I don't know when that would be just yet. And note that I received all this in return for a bar of kama 'chocolate' and white chocolate with blueberry pieces, both from the Estonian company 'Kalev'. Lucky me! Anyone else out there keen to try these Estonian sweets?
Thanks again, Eden!!!