Archive for July, 2011

World Cuisine Wednesday

By 1800FlyEurope in Destination Highlights | on July 27th, 2011

When life hands you lemons, pick up some vodka and make Limoncello! Limoncello is an aperitif (dessert liqueur) which comes from Sorrento, Italy. It is made from the locally grown lemons, which are famously large and sweet. Unfortunately, this tasty treat is not as easy to come by in the United States as it is in Italy, so I will share a recipe with you. It should tide you over until you are able to travel to Italy and bring some of the real stuff back home with you.

In addition to the ingredients listed, you will need cheesecloth and corkable bottles, or bottles that can be tightly capped.

Limoncello

  • 12-14 lemons, scrubbed well (organic lemons are best)
  • 2 bottles (750 ml) good quality vodka (I like SKYY, Ketel One and our locally produced Cold River Vodka)
  • 5 c water
  • 4 ¬Ω c sugar

 

Zest lemons, avoid leaving white pith on the peel. Place zest in a large glass jar, add vodka, cover and store in a dark place at room temperature.

Allow infusion for anywhere from two weeks to two months; the longer it steeps, the better tasting it will be.

After the period of infusion, make the simple syrup by boiling water and sugar over medium high heat until thickened. Allow syrup to cool completely and then add to mixture. Cover and store in darkened room at room temperature for a month.

After thoroughly washing bottles, strain the mixture through cheesecloth to remove peel, then pour into bottles and seal tightly.

Store in a cool place, or better yet, your freezer as limoncello is best served very cold. Enjoy!

Have you been to this lovely little town along the Gulf of Naples? How does my recipe for limoncello compare?

Unique Libraries throughout Europe

By 1800FlyEurope in Destination Highlights | on July 20th, 2011

As you can probably tell by my earlier posts, I love any and all things literature and architecture. That is why today’s blog post is going to be about various libraries throughout Europe.

Strahov Theological Hall – Prague, Czech Republic

Located in the Strahov Monastery in Prague is the Strahov Theological Hall which was built in the 17th century. The library is home to more than 18,000 religious texts and various editions of the Bible in many different languages. Its ornate Baroque architecture is breathtaking, with sculpted ceilings, several frescoes and stucco cartouches.

 

National Library of Belarus – Minsk, Belarus

The National Library of Belarus is located in the country’s capital city, Minsk. It is set in a beautiful location in the park along the river. It is a 22 story modern building, completed in 2006. The shape of the library is very unique: rhombicuboctahedron. It has seating for 2,000 patrons and even has a 500 seat conference hall! The NLB contains the third largest collection of books printed in Russian, after the libraries in Moscow and St. Petersburg. There are nearly 10 million books and documents in the National Library of Belarus.

Danish Royal Library – Copenhagen, Denmark

The Danish Royal Library in Copenhagen was built in 1999 as an extension of the Royal Library on Slotsholmen, an island in the harbor. It is called Black Diamond due to the fact that its façade is comprised of black marble and glass. In addition to housing a huge collection of books, the library is also home to a 600-seat auditorium, a restaurant, photography museum, bookstore and roof deck.

Admont Library – Admont, Austria

In Admont, Austria is the Admont Abbey home to one of the most beautiful libraries I’ve ever seen. It is the world’s largest monastery library and holds more than 200,000 books and documents. The Admont Abbey Library was built in 1776, designed by Joseph Hueber in Baroque style, containing carvings by renowned sculptor Josef Stammel and cupolas decorated with frescoes painted by 80 year old artist, Bartolomeo Altomonte (1694-1783).

 

There are many more unique libraries in Europe and across the globe, too many to list. Which ones have you visited? Tell us about your experience.

World Cuisine Wednesday

By 1800FlyEurope in Destination Highlights | on July 13th, 2011

Before you know it, summer will be over and winter upon us, so let’s enjoy this hot weather while we can! A great treat for these scorching days is Gazpacho, a healthy, cold tomato-based soup. There are many varieties of Gazpacho, which originated in Spain. The history of Gazpacho goes back very far, and like many ancient recipes, theories of its beginning vary a bit, from Roman brigades to Christopher Columbus being the brains behind the recipe.

Gazpacho is widely served in the Andalusia region during summer months and there are a variety of ways it is prepared: chunky, creamy, garden style, gazpacho blanco and traditional. No matter which style you choose to make your Gazpacho, it is simple, delicious, full of antioxidants and takes just a few minutes to make!

Gazpacho

  • 6 tomatoes, diced
  • 3 cucumbers, diced
  • 2 green onions, chopped (white and green parts)
  • ¬º c fresh parsley
  • 3 slices of bread, crusts removed and torn into small pieces
  • ¬º c extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¬º c red wine vinegar

 

Combine all ingredients excluding the bread in a large bowl and mix well.

Pour half of the mixture into a food processor and blend until smooth.

Add puree back to remaining ingredients and stir well. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Chill for at least four hours before serving. Garnish with bread.

Next time you take a trip to Seville or Malaga, stop in one of the many traditional restaurants and try their Gazpacho. It is sure to cool you down while satisfying your hunger.

Happy Birthday to You, Waterloo!

By 1800FlyEurope in Destination Highlights | on July 11th, 2011

On this day in 1848, London’s Waterloo Station was opened. Today, it is the busiest and largest rail station in the United Kingdom. (It is spread across 24.5 acres and handles nearly 90 million passengers annually!)

Waterloo has everything a passenger could ask for. As far as shopping goes, you will find: Paperchase stationery store, Boots Pharmacy, WH Smith Bookstore, the Tie Rack clothing store and much more. There are also more than 20 restaurants and coffee shops located throughout the station, so Waterloo itself could be considered a tourist destination.

The station has been referred to in several songs,¬†one of which is ‚ÄùWaterloo Sunset‚Äù by the Kinks. It was also featured in a number of music videos, such as ‚ÄúWest End Girls‚Äù by Pet Shop Boys. If that doesn’t impress you try this: Waterloo was the setting for several scenes in The Bourne Ultimatum.

Waterloo Station is conveniently located near major attractions including the London Eye, Westminster Abbey and Parliament. I have no doubt that on your next trip to London, you will be in the area. Why not stop by Waterloo and explore this historical station?

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Fare Type Round Trip     One Way
Passengers  Adults
  Children under 11