Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Food gifts from all over the world

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)

Efharisto, Stevi!

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!!!


Clivia said...

Yes, too bad we couldn´t meet this time! I even considered taking the car to Nyköping and pick you up (I live quite close) to be able to meet you but had to stay at home packing my bags for the Baltics... Well, until we finally meet I would be happy to sweet-swap with you! Though right now I have all the Estonian chocolate I need thanks to my trip and also meeting Pene this weekend, so you start. What do you want? :-)

Ilva said...

You lucky girl!! I envy you! Just shows that you are nicer than I am, doesn't it? Sigh...

Anonymous said...

I'm glad that you liked the surprise, Pille. I regret that I didn't add more chocolate now when I know that you were hungry :-)

I hope that we'll be able to meet next time instead!

Steve Piercy said...

Yep... lucky girl!

Mmm... sok malinovy... fruity-sweety-raspberry-goodness from Poland. One of the best all-rounder discoveries. Great on deserts, in tea, with water (fizzy, hot, or cold), in beer (yummy), or drizzled over ice-cream.

It all sounds lovely though.

x said...

you are so sweet xx
i'd love to have you here again for more days. We'd go to my favourite restaurants and tavernas.

Anonymous said...

Like Ilva says, it shows how wonderful you are - that's why everyone's so wonderful to you!

Those white chocolate with blueberry bits sounds divine! *wink*

Anonymous said...

Such amazing gifts how lovely!

Andrew said...

You offering free sweets?

Anonymous said...

Wow! Very nice gifts! I need to make friends with your friends. ;-)))


K and S said...

very nice gifts! enjoy!

Valentina said...

Paz,how lovely! In a way it is no surprise as you are a lovely,warm person.; o )

Pille said...

Clivia - it was so nice of you to think of me! I'm sure we'll have a Nordic foodbloggers meeting soon:)

Ilva - nooooo! I bet you're much nicer - I'm just lucky to have v. v. nice friends!

Dagmar- thank you again for such a lovely present. I'll report back when I'll try the rest. And yes, chocolates became very handy that night..

Steve - thanks for all those tips for using the raspberry syrup. Hadn't thought of adding it to beer, but as I like those flavoured Belgian beers, I should really try to 'mix' it myself.

Chloe - next time! I also hope to meet Tülin next time I'm in Greece, but I won't come when it's so hot again! I'll melt(down)!

Mae - I'm blushing. I am privileged to know such lovely people all over the world. Mmmh. White chocolate with blueberries? Let me see what I can do;) (Won't be before September though)

Pam - lovely indeed.

Andrew - did I say that?? I guess so - especially as it seems to pay off so handsomely:)

Paz - oh no - then they will start sending food gifts to you instead of me!!! LOL

K & S - I am enjoying them:)

Valentina - I'm sure Paz is a lovely, warm person, and if she'd live in Europe, she'd have the chance to meet all those lovely foodbloggers I've had the pleasure of meeting so far:)

Shinichi Ito said...

Christmas is forced upon a reluctant and disgusted nation by the shopkeepers and the press; on its own merits it would wither and shrivel in the fiery breath of universal hatred.I love your work! Great job! Thanx, happy holidays guys !

gift to Philippines said...

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