Boosting Tuesdays

Your next Food Hotspot covered

Why Avotaco is the place to be (eat)

Whenever I come to Malta between my work assignements, I always love it. Firstly, because it’s my home country and it’s an awesome place to be in, and secondly, because there are always a lot of new restaurants, hangouts, bars and cafes that open, that I like to go and checkout. I like to taste the variety of foods, new dishes, lovely cool decor, trends and their service and friendliness. Avotaco hit all of these.

I had never been to their Food truck before, so I didn’t know exactly what to expect. Situated in a great location, I quickly found parking and headed over inside to order. I love salads and opted for that, with a side of guac and chips. Mmmmm yummy! And yummy it was. The food is so fresh, it was as if they had just picked up the veg that very moment. My friend had the burrito and it was spectacular and extremely filling.

I went at a relatively calm time, but because you check the menu and go to order at the counter, its extremely easy and fast. And no cash. Love it. No wasting time finding your cash, waiting for the change… who has time for that nowadays. Only Cards are accepted at Avotaco and it’s genius. More and more restaurants should follow today’s trend, were everything is on card.

The management and the staff were all so welcoming and friendly and genuinely happy that we were eating and enjoying our time there. Even the chef came out to play, and the sombrero came out! yayayaayay!!

Whether you go for lunch and order for your colleagues, just yourself, eat there for dinner or order so that you don’t need to cook, Avotaco sure comes in handy and delicious. If you wanna eat where there are positive vibes, smiles all around, and everyone gulping down their beautiful dish, then Avotaco is the place to be. Well done guys on your initiative to take it to the next level and I will surely visit again when I’m back on the rock!

Have an avotalicious day peeps!

Ciao for now

Captain Falzon

Wine Wednesdays

Wine Wednesdays

An awesome time at the Vineyards of Torres Wines

The Long tradition of wine making from the Torres Family

While in Barcelona for a few days on work, I was invited to go on a wine tasting tour at La Torres Winery. What do you think I responded, when asked if I wanted to go or not? Well of course I said that I would definitely go! Boy was it the most awesome time at their huge and impressive vineyards, vinification center, cellars and wine tasting place!

The train takes you to a few of their vineyards and the wine guide explains in a lot of detail, certain processes, climate, temperature, topography and so much more. Their vineyards have been spanning through a lot of different areas in Spain, which has given them the amazing amount of different flavors and wine textures.

Established in 1870 by Jaime Torres, the 5th generation of the Torres family now takes great care of the huge and successful wine company that they have created. Torres wines are extremely popular around Europe, and wether you are a wine connoiseur or someone that enjoys wine while eating at a restaurant, you have for sure come across wines from Torres.

That was one of the few reasons I was excited to visit them, as Torres wines were a few of my first wines that I had grabbed hold of at home in Malta.

The cellars and the vinification systems were stupendous, and the undergound cellar was spectacular. I wanted to set a desk and a bed right there, so that I could work and sleep in front of that gorgeous view.

However, it was time for our wine tasting, and the venue and the view did not disappoint again. We started with the whites.

There were 3 whites, but the Las Mulas stood out for me with its rich taste. It could fo very well with most fish dishes amd lean white meat. I loved it, just as I loved their rose wine. It was so fresh and had a great berry taste.

Next, was 4 red wines. Yesss!! Red is my favorite, and I could say that they were all my favorite. There uniques taste were all do satisfying to the palatte. The Rioja wines were amazing and Celeste was a team favorite.

It was time to leave this beautiful place, but I wouldn’t think twice to going again and experience it all over again.

Happy Wednesday!

Cheers!

Boosting Tuesdays

Boosting Tuesdays

A visit to the highly recommended Adelphi Restaurant

A beautiful evening with beautiful people and food

On a very quick visit to Malta, 2 days to be precise, I was invited to go to Adelphi restaurant in Rabat, Malta. I had already heard great things about it, so I was excited to go. Situated in a large passageway in the heart of Rabat’s centre, it is a perfect location for Rabat residents, Maltese coming from outside of Rabat, and tourists alike, to go and enjoy some mouthwatering dishes.

Upon entering, I got a sense of comfort, friendliness and very family oriented, which suited me well as I was there with my immediate family, ready to enjoy what Adelphi had to offer. After ordering a bottle of wine and talking to some of the waitresses, I was told that it was family run; from the owners of the restaurants, to the chefs and the waiters. That’s why I got such a homely feeling within seconds of being there!

Talking to KellyMarie, a joint owner of Adelphi along with her husband, she explained how everyone’s involvement is so important and so special to the huge success of Adelphi. Everyone working with detail and with a smile on their face, and I even got to go and meet 2 of the family chefs.

Adelphi offers several dishes from pasta, meat, pizza, fish, kids menu and so much more. I settled for the pizza since I hadn’t had pizza for quite a while, but I could also smell the meat and fish dishes on my table. With a huge apetite, I started eating my pizza and continuing to slowly sip on my red wine, while enjoying the company of my family, the ambiance and the friendliness of our waitress.

Upon more talking, I was informed that years ago (not years of my existence), it uded to be a cinema. Wow. This must be a treat for those that used to go there to watch a movie back in the day. Chatting away with our waitress, we were also informed that there will also be a boutique hotel, right above the restaurant. It forms part of the Quaint hotels in Gozo and will be the first one in Malta. As soon as this opens later this year, Adelphi will also be serving Breakfast and Lunch too.

What a great evening it was! I will definitely go back while on the island again. For all those tourists that go to Rabat and Mdina, be sure to go to Adelphi for some serious food and that good old Maltese style, local service with a smile! Bon Apetit!

Wine Wednesdays

Wine Wednesdays

Wine and Pizza? Yep.. Wine and Pizza

Wine Pairing with Pizza

There are hundreds of different pizzas and thousands of different wines. Wine is the best with pizza. Better than beer or liquor. What wine is best for your pizza?

The majority of the different styles of pizza go much better with red wine, and the type of red wine that is quite strong, full bodied and a strong taste. The only pizzas that also go great with white wine, rose or a less strong red wine, is the White pizza (meaning, more cheese and no red sauce), Hawain and Margarita. Pizzas with red sauce are higher in acidity, so the wine becomes more important with having an also strong taste, and have a full body like a Syrah and a Grenache. 


The classic Pepperoni goes well with Sangiovese or Cabernet Franc. These types of very strong wines are important since the fat from the pepperoni has a very strong flavor and it spreads its flavor on the cheese. These wines are great to counterbalance its strong flavor. If you opt for the simple Margarita, then you need a dry Rose. The ingredients are light, so a heavy and full body wine will not go too well with your Margarita. 


White Pizza is on the rise, and has become the first choice instead of the traditional (red sauce) pizza. White pizza is actually my favorite. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir love cream, and go extremely well with white Pizza. It depends if you prefer white or red wine. I always prefer the red, so Pinot does it for me.
Whichever Pizza you prefer, just remember that there is a wine that will enhance your experience. Many pizzerias, in the Mediterranean especially, also have their own House wine. It’s normally very good, but don’t hesitate to ask them what type of wine it is, so that you have an excellent Pizza and wine experience!

Cheers!

Wine Wednesdays

Wine Wednesdays

Mulled Wine

It’s that time of the year were your wine should be served HOT!

Wine is celebrated everywhere and all the time for many different occasions, celebrations and events. There is never a moment were you go to any of those events and wine is not there. Wine is my drink of choice 99% of the time, and since it is only a few days before Christmas, and many events and family and friends parties are already underway, I wanted to share with you a personal favorite for this time of the year, which is Mulled Wine.

What is Mulled Wine?

Mulled wine is more than simply wine that has been heated. The ingredients that make up the Mulled Wine can vary between 1 recipe to the other, but they all have a few of the same ingredients. I love to make the one by Jamie Oliver. I love his food and his take on food and drink. This is what I put into my Mulled wine that me and many of my family and friends love to drink.


*2 bottles of rich red wine (preferably a blend, chianti, shiraz)

*1 lemon, 1 lime & 2 clementines (some also use oranges)

*200g caster sugar (you can always use sweetner for less calories)

*6 whole cloves, 1 cinnamon stick, 2 star anise

*3 fresh bay leaves

*1 whole nutmeg (for grating)


Start with the fruit first – the lemon, lime, clementines or oranges. Then continue with the cloves, cinnamon, star anise and bay leaves. After you simmer and they are already getting quite hot, and the smell is already amazing, pour the wines and the sugar. Keep on tasting it while stirring and blending everything. Don’t forget the nutmeg and grate it while you are stirring. Make sure everything is well blended and that it is hot enough.


Get a few mugs and cozy up with your freshly made Mulled wine, sip it slow and drink in moderation! Enjoy!

Cheers and Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!


Managing Mondays

Wine Wednesdays

Cashew Wine

A Different Kind of Wine

On a brief visit to Roatan Honduras, a port of call that the ship I was working on was visiting, I decided to visit one of the resorts. On our way there, which was early in the morning, the guide on the bus was pointing out the many floras and faunas they have. All their exotic fruits he was mentioning, and the cashew wine that they produce. mmmm. Wait. What? Cashew Wine? What is this I said to myself? But he wasn’t elobarating so much, so I wanted to ask. What was this Cashew Wine from Honduras? 

Image from the internet. Not mine

The Cashew nut tree is very prominent in Honduras, especially in the South. This wine is fermented from the juice of fresh Cashew fruits, grown  in the village of Namasigüe in  southern Honduras. It has a rich aroma and embodies the character of its exotic parent tropical fruit. He said that the most prominent is the Acaxú wines, and they are on the dry side, drier than the ones produced in Goa, India and Belize. Oh, so other places make cashew wine too! And then he said that they have been making it for a number of years too! Wow! How come I didn’t know about this!?

The fruit of the cashew tree is an accessory fruit and is called the cashew flower, with a strong sweet taste and smell. In Honduras they have a dry cashew wine, however in Belize for example, it is considered a sweet wine. Either way, it is better served cold. Many also say that it is like a Port wine as it is quite strong in taste. The wine is made from the cashew apple pulp, which is very fruity and juicy, said to have notes of mango, raw green pepper and a little hint of grapefruit. Cahew wine is made through the distilling of the Cashew Apple juice. It was normally crushed with feet for maximum juice extraction, however, there are also new machines that they have now been using, due to the high demand. Fermentation lasts for 3 days, and normally takes place in copper pots.

Image from the Internet. Not mine

It is not as common and popular in the US and Europe and it gets quite expensive to get the licence to distribute, however, if you have a chance to visit Honduras or Belize, be sure to try cashew wine. Taste new flavors of wine, and compare to grape wine. In a time were more and more people are aware of their surroundings, nature, and opting to be vegan, gluten free and so much more, wine like cashew wine offers a great alternative and an even greater taste for those who choose it.

Cashew wine. Who knew?! I was very grateful to have learned something new and interesting, in a place I had never been to. Next time you are eating a handful of cashews, remember where they come from, and that their cashew flower fruit is now a cashew wine! Cheers to you!

Wine Wednesdays

Wine Wednesdays

Wines from New Zealand

The Country Producing Amazing Wines for all of us to Enjoy

New Zealand is fairly new to Wine Production, however, its popularity is getting bigger by the day. There are four main wine-making regions in the country and they are mostly located on the Eastern Coastlines of the North and South islands. By time, they now have distinguished sub-regions as well, to name a few; Nelson, Aukland, Waikato, Waitaki Valley, Gisborne and more. 

The temperate climates of New Zealand allow a wide variety of wine to be produced from Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Syrah, Pino Noir and several amazing Blends. The largest vineyards are no longer than 80 miles, with long sunshine hours and cool nights from the sea breeze. You hear a lot of people ask for New Zealand wines when it comes to White, and their Syrah and Blends are some of the best ones that I have tasted.

Production, because of demand, has increased, and thanks to worldwide shipping and buying, you are able to find several New Zealand wines in stores, wines shops and restaurants. The sustainable Winegrowing program in New Zealand is there to ensure constant improvement and adherance to certain guidelines issued by the International Organization of Vine and Wine (OIV). It ensures that it meets its measures and helping its businesses thrive. Think of certain European countries like France and Italy where they have the DOC and their own regulations for wine in different regions and standards they need to follow and meet. 

In 2002, New Zealand’s Felton Road 1997 Pino Noir was declared one of the top 3 wines during a bling wine tasting. Their Syrah and Chardonnay, follow in their uniqueness and great taste. A brand that is extremely well known around the world is Kim Crawford wines, especially the white ones, as Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blac are extreely popular and exquisite due to the versatility of their grapes. Their top quality Chardonnay can npw be found in every region.

 I urge you to go and try some New Zealand wines and assure you, that you won’t be disappointed! I raise a glass to you. Cheers!

Wine Wednesdays

Wine Wednesdays

Wine Tasting

How Can you Learn from Wine Tasting?

If like me, you like to learn about wine and are always in search of getting to know new wines and flavors, wine tastings are very beneficial.

There are several different styles of wine tasting, however, it is protocol to have a few wine samples provided from the same producer or the same winery, or even different samples of whites, reds, blends and rosés. Wine tasting is the sensory examination and evaluatuon of wine and became more popular after the 14th Century.

There are 4 Stages to Wine Tasting. First is the appearance of the wine, the color and thickness, then, the aroma of the wine in the glass, hence why you smell the wine before you taste. Thirdly is the in mouth sensation; what is the flavor, what hints does it have and how much does it appeal to your pallatte. Lastly, is the after taste. I am a big fan of the after taste. I find it very important that after I drink the first sip, that the after taste is very prominent.

By evaluating those four steps, by practise and knowledge, you will start being able to establish the complexity and character of the wine, its potential to be suitable for aging or drinking, and any possible faults. During several wine tastings, you will be able to compare the quality of wine and thier price with others, the region and counrty of the wine, their type of fermentation and aging and even any remarkable or unusual characteristics. 

Some more complex wine tastings happen blindly, called Blind tasting, especially when someone is trying to purchase wine for their esytablishement. They might have favorites and in order to not be biased, they will taste them without knowing the making and the winery.

Wine Tastings are definitely beneficial and are provided in every country and region. It helps you grow your wine knowledge and to make great choices when you are choosing your wines. If you are doing it for fun, it is a great social builder and a friend and team builder, however don’t expect to go there and start drinking out of control. It is only a sip or two each wine, so that you can evaluate new and interesting wines.

Go on, try a wine tasting near you and I guarantee you would want to go on more! Cheers!

Fit Fridays

Fit Fridays

Not all Sweet Treats are Bad for You

Fit For You Cupcakes

I really wanted to have a few cupcakes made for a Halloween Party but wanted to keep it extremely healthy. I found Fit For you Cupcakes advertised online and contacted renowned dietician Jessica Borg ghigo. I was immediatey given so many choices; Vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, lactose free and the list went on. All of them were sugar free by the way. I was invited to see her making them after I told her about my interest and my blog, and was advised of certain ingredients that she was using that had the same effects and result as other unhealthier ingredients.

Behold, the Halloween Cupcakes- Vegan and Gluten Free!

I got to know about how the water in the chickpea or broadbeans cans can solidify the same way as eggs, for example. We used vegan protein powder and coconut flour. All the other ingredients were as healthy and as effective, but I will let you ask her to make you some and then you will relaize.

She was making other cupcake orders in the meantime and it was fascinating to see the vast amount of different ingredients and requests. As she put some in the oven, the smell was so inviting, I couldn’t wait to try one! They all looked and smelled delicious.

We all get the urge for something sweet whether once in a while or many times a day. Truth is, that’s fine, as long as you choose your food well. There are always several parties to attend to or host every week, so why not enjoy a treat that will not affect your health and your waistline in a negative way! You can simply find Jessica Borg Ghigo on Facebook and tell her you want to order some delicious cupcakes and exchange numbers. Easy peasy!

Excuse me! But my 24 cupakes are ready, but I’m only taking 23 of them to my party…because one of them has just been devoured!! Mmmmhmmm yummylicious!!

Have a great and healthy weekend! x

Wine Wednesdays

Wine Wednesdays

How Long does it Take to Make Wine?

A little look at the time spent to produce that bottle of wine that you love so much

Wine making is not a simple “I want to make some wine and drink it” type of thing. It can take up to between 3 to 5 years to produce the bottle the wine for you to enjoy. As an example, if you have recently bought a field to fill it with vines, you are not going to be able to profit from it until 3 to 5 years time after you start. Same as when unfortunately vineyards get wrecked from fires or even an infestation of pestes and disease. The winemakers need to start from scratch.

Winemaking is a very creative process and unique to many factors like the winemakers themselves, terroir, climate, grapes and so much more.

The first process is Planting and assessing the soil, climate and also planting smaller amounts of other grape for blending purposes. The vineyard manager needs to decide how to form the rows of vines and their spacing. After that, the winery needs to patiently wait for the first harvest, however during thoses years, the young vines need a lot of attention like protecting them agains pests and pruning.

After about 3 years, comes the dormacy stage. At this time, the vineyard will produce full bunches of grapes. In the winter the vines are dormant and without foliage, but as the roots would have gone deep down into the soil, the vines are feeding on the nutrients needed. As the vines are dormant, it is time to prune. Pruning is highly important in ensuring to produce good quality wine.

As the vines emerge from dormacy, around March, the first buds start to appear. This is called Bud break. Most grapevines self-pollinate and after that fruit set occurs. Diring this time, the workers need to control the amount of sunlight and air that the fruit clusters receive. Some vines will pollinate and some will not. Fruit clusters are also inspected at this time, as well as canopy management.

After that, the green looking grapes turn ino plump juicy grape clusters. This is called Veraison. And after all that comes the Harvest. The warmer the temperatures, the faster the ripening. It is the flavor profile of the grape that determines the pick date. Harvesting normally starts very early in the morning as the air is cooler. We still don’t have the wine by now. What happenes after the grapes are picked? The winemaking process begins; crushing, pressing and primary fermantation are the next steps. After primary fermantation, the wine is taken from the fermantation tank to another one for aging. There are so many differet practises and ways how to do this dependig on the winemaker and the winery. 

The winemakers will taste the wine frequently to ensure the right flavor, and finally, after all those steps, comes the bottling and the drinking!
Cheers! I raise a glass to you!