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 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:Wanted: 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 Noble, Harlequin and the Book Depository.