Monday, March 23, 2015

Food Travel! Annie West

I've recently returned from a short overseas trip. It was an absolute treat even if it was work-related. Because, of course, even when you're meeting editors and authors or researching locations for stories, you have to eat, right? And after all, travel is meant to broaden the mind (and the waistline if I'm not too careful) and you learn a lot about other cultures from their food, don't you? So of course you have to try some of the local specialities along the way, don't you? That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it. 
Actually this is one of the joys of travel for me - exploring new tastes in a place as well as sights and sounds and talking to the people. Flavour is often a shortcut for me to remembering a place I've been and so useful when I'm writing about a far away location. If I think about the food, I can place myself there instantly!

So here are just a few of my recent food adventures from my flying visit to London and Venice a couple of months ago. At the top of the page is the top tier (of three) from high tea at a very nice London hotel. The cake on the left is beetroot and orange (and surprisingly yummy). The citrus macaron was fantastic and yes, that is a coffee bean covered in gold leaf on top of the coffee slice! Who'd have thought afternoon tea could be so decadent? Next time I want to have a hero seduce a heroine in full public view I'll have him take her to high tea!

 Of course with food, it's not just the tasting, is it? I came across so many ornate displays that must have taken hours to perfect. The one above is in a room full of sweets in Harrods in London.

And then there was Venice. Fantastic food, especially the seafood. But here are some sweet treats that caught my eye. You probably can't tell from this photo but these were enormous! Too much, in fact for one person. A great excuse to share with a friend.

And the food doesn't even have to be ready prepared for eating. I love wandering around markets and seeing what the fresh produce is like, even if I'm staying somewhere without a kitchen. Naturally I gravitated to the markets in Venice to see what was on offer.

And just to prove that simple foods can be scrumptious, I ended my Italian stay with a tomato, basil and mozzarella pizza at Marco Polo Airport, expecting airport food to be less than appealing. Instead it was packed with flavour and had me eager to return.

How about you? Do you find yourself trying new foods when you're away from home? Or do you always order the same foods? What's the nicest new food you've tried lately?

Right now I'm celebrating the release of THE SHEIKH'S PRINCESS BRIDE, the second of my Desert Vows stories. Though the book starts in Paris, much of it is set in the Middle East and I spent a lot of time drooling over thoughts of delicious skewered meats, pilaf rice, gorgeous vegetable dishes, syrupy desserts and Turkish delight. Sigh. It's a wonder I didn't put on lots of weight as I wrote.
Here's a taste: royal bride and mother 
For Sheikh Tariq of Al-Sarath, one miserable marriage was enough. With a kingdom to rule, he has no time—or wish—to find a bride, but his children need a mother.  
Could Princess Samira of Jazeer be the answer? Samira has sampled passion, and it left a bad taste. With the knowledge she can't have the children she's always wanted, Samira steps into Tariq's ready-made family. Her only condition? No sex! 
Samira thought royal duties and her love for Tariq's children would fill the hole in her heart, but a craving is building that only the sheikh's touch can cure…

You can buy THE SHEIKH'S PRINCESS BRIDE wherever romances are sold. Here are links to it at Amazon, Barnes and NobleHarlequin and the Book Depository.


Anna Campbell said...

Nom, nom, nom. Annie, what brilliant pictures. I remember those chocolate displays in Harrods. Amazing! Actually the whole food hall in Harrod's used to be amazing - I imagine it still is. Fingers crossed my London travel plans for the end of the year work out and I get to see for myself. Congratulations on the release of THE SHEIKH'S PRINCESS BRIDE. What a luscious book - even more luscious than all those great food pics you put up!

Annie West said...

Hey, Anna, nice to see you here. So glad you like the pics. As you can imagine, I had a lovely time taking them. There were more I wanted to add but I was cautious of overloading the page. Yes, Harrods is definitely fun, with amazing displays of food, but I admit it was the food in cafes and bakeries or restaurants that really made this trip outstanding. And of course that amazing high tea in London. Hope you get to enjoy something similar.

Thanks for the congratulations on THE SHEIKH'S PRINCESS BRIDE. I'm chuffed with the wonderful response it's getting with readers so far.

Jan Vanengen said...

I'm very stuck in my ways with food. However my daughter she tries everything even had Haggis when in Scotland. Just had to change a lot of eating habits gone for multi grain breads and sour dough which I love as well as Turkish bread much better for you then to find nice tasting low fat cheese is a challenge but found not a bad one and now have low fat Swiss cheese that doesn't taste like cardboard. Now eat baby spinach leaves instead of lettuce so nice in pita with ham cheese tomatoes and mustard pickle spread. I do love my pates and found some low fat ones duck and orange. Turkey and cranberry. Chicken and champagne one of my favourites as a treat since I don't have cakes, biscuits or slices. That pizza does looks so good and would be fine because of what is the on it also thin sliced.I make my own. Yes I could see a lady been seduced by the a high tea not so sure about him though. ;) Maybe out to impress. Middle Eastern deserts are to die for another thing I can't have :P especially Baklava... all that syrup and nuts. The syrup is the killer and layers and layers of naughtiness ;)

Annie West said...

Hi Jan,

Your comment made me smile! I love good food and the balance between enjoyable and healthy can be a struggle sometimes, can't it? Interesting to hear that Turkish bread is better for you. What about Turkish bread with dried fruit in it? Yu-um! Yes, I hear haggis is freely available in Scotland these days. I've had it a few times, but here in Aus when neighbours put on a big Burns Night feast.

As for baklava - that's one of my faves and I haven't made it in years, however, I have plans for this coming weekend, with help from the family. Stay tuned to FB for a report on how it turns out!

dstoutholcomb said...

loved getting paella in Spain

Jan Vanengen said...

Can't wait. Turkish bread is a heavier bread it the fine flours in white bread and wholemeal bread which is high GI so burn to sugar faster while the heavier bread are lower GI so I am learning. Turkish breads like pitas. Not all there breads are good. Dried fruits so bad....full of sugar. I had to learn all this for Diabetes. Not classified anymore lost weight but still act as if I am so keep to eating the right foods. It's a life change not diet=die with T. and exercise blah Taken up bike riding - inside one. Not harsh on my joints with RA and enjoy it while watching Midsomer murders and all those murders, lol. Did try reading but didn't work and learning Arabic but need book, very visual person... Ricky Martian and his Latin music really gets me pumping. And that cover is to die for... :) All three books are the same!

Annie West said...

Ooh, I love paella but I've never been to Spain. I'm assuming it would be wonderful there.

Annie West said...

Jan, I love the idea of riding while watching a mystery or listening to great latin music. Good on you! Thanks for the food tips too.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Annie, I am drooling in a very unattractive manner at these amazing morsels! My sister and I spent an afternoon in the sweets hall at Harrod's. It was mind-boggling! I do like to try new foods, but I tell you, I can't wait to go back to Holland for a simple serving of fries and mayonnaise. Yum!

Annie West said...

Hi Vanessa, I head you on those frites and mayonnaise. They're sublime! Laughing at the idea of you two spending a whole afternoon among the sweets. Have to say I'm not surprised though. Isn't that place incredible?