Paris, je t'aime

The Louvre
Versailles Chateau
Centre Pompidou
Musee d'Orsay (They were on strike!)
Eiffel Tower at night
See the city by bike

Paris is such a magical city, alive with colours and rushing people at all hours of the day. I went there for a five-day holiday with a general idea of what I wanted to cover during my stay. My friend and I were able to pack loads of stuff into our short visit, and by the end we boarded our train with pastries, completely exhausted. From Renaissance art and graffiti, to cathedrals and towers, to giant meringues and Canadian pubs, to shopping shopping shopping we did it all.

My first Laduree experience was in London actually, where I tried Pistachio, which remains one of my favourites. I also tasted salted caramel, rose petal, and orange blossom all of which were exquisite.

But now I had 5 days in Paris and on my list of must-sees: Laduree.

There are 3 Ladurees in Paris and we decided to go to the one that was in walking distance of us. Thank goodness we didn’t go to the main, large one because there had just been a huge fire there the day before and it was closed! Mon Dieu! I would have been heartbroken if I had turned up there.
This Laduree we visited was packed with two things: people and desserts. With their large variety of macarons and list of new flavours it was very difficult to choose but I finally settled on a few boxes and headed to the Seine to taste test.
I had been dying to taste the new green apple, which was such a strange flavour for a macaron. I liked it but I felt like I was eating a candy.

One of my favourite new flavours was the violette cassis, which was fruity and you could still taste the floral hints.
The Colombian chocolate was very rich, with an indulgent ganache. I wasn’t a huge fan though.
I loved the praline and coconut, both were fantastic and I savoured them while enjoying the view of the riverbank painted in the late afternoon colours.
Paris is an amazing city, I don’t really know what else to say. It’s massive and just overflowing with art, museums, restaurants, churches, shops, boulangeries, bars, parks, stunning architecture (and unfortunately tourists). A city where you could never be bored, and living there all your life you would never run out of new discoveries.

Apparently New York is the next city to be hit with a Laduree. Only a matter of time until they migrate to Canada. Maybe by the time I return home (if I ever do) Toronto will have one.
Also when I was in Paris, I discovered the best pain au chocolat. It was the most perfect one I have yet to taste, buttery and flakey and filled with lines of soft chocolate mmmmm. I wonder if I could order some and have them shipped to my door…


Marbled Chocolate Chunk Banana Muffins

Finally a recipe post woohoo!

Today I am very excited to present my first guest post. And it is brought to you by none other than two of my favourite ladies: Anna and Megan, my housemates from university. I don’t like how negative ex-housemates sounds, so I will refuse to say it. Besides I prefer to think of them as my housemates even though we moved out in April after our 3 years together. If you’ve read this blog before then you know I tend to talk about them a lot… we are all a bunch of food enthusiasts. And as you may have noticed, Anna is quite a frequent visitor, commenting on almost every post :)

So Anna and Megan had a little baking extravaganza in Toronto a little while ago and they have requested I post their delicious recipe: Marbled Chocolate Chunk Banana Muffins

MMM don’t they sound amazing? They look it too! If only I wasn’t in France right now, I would have loved to sneak a muffin… or 5. Too bad that darn ocean got in the way.

Their variety of ingredients leads to very moist and flavourful muffins, and they’re also dairy-free!

You should probably make these muffins. I know I certainly will. Especially because banana muffins/bread is apparently a North American thing… the French don’t seem to bake this wonder. It’s time to enlighten them I think!

Thank you Anna and Megan for this fantastic recipe!

 Marbled Chocolate Chunk Banana Muffins


1 cup mashed very ripe banana
3/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/3 cup almond milk (or your preferred non-dairy milk)
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
6 tablespoons boiling water, divided

Prepare boiling water, no need to measure yet. Also, preheat oven to 350 F.
Mash the banana in a large mixing bowl until relatively smooth. It should take 3 average sized ones, but spoon the mashed ‘nanas into a measuring cup to make sure, then return to the mixing bowl. Beat in the sugar, canola oil, milk and vanilla.
Now add the flour, baking soda and salt and gently mix just to incorporate. It’s okay if there is some flour still visible, just be careful not to overmix at this point.
Scoop one cup of the batter up and transfer it to a separate mixing bowl. Now, in a small tea cup mix the cocoa powder with 3 tablespoons boiling water and stir vigorously with a fork until the chocolate is dissolved. Add this chocolate mixture to the one cup of banana and mix until the chocolate is thoroughly smooth and incorporated.
Now back to the original plain banana batter; add 3 tablespoons of boiling water and mix the batter just until relatively smooth.
Here comes the fun part, it’s time to marble! Lightly grease an 8×4 loaf pan. Scoop alternate 1/2 cupfuls of chocolate/banana batter into the loaf pan. Nothing has to be precise here, in fact, the more random, the better. Once all of the batter is in, take a butter knife and swirl it through the batter in circular directions for about 10 seconds.
Bake for 55 minutes. Use a butter knife to test for doneness. Let cool and enjoy!


Italian Eats

 The most expensive vinegar I've ever had

 I had such a wonderful experience with food while in Bologna. I stayed with a friend there for a week, who I had met in Australia, and he insisted on cooking for me everyday. Okay, I think I can live with that!

After dragging myself off the plane and onto the bus to his apartment, all I could think about was taking a nap (I slept a full 20 minutes the night of my flight from Madrid to Bologna). After a much needed sleep I woke up to a delicious lunch waiting for me. He had prepared this pasta dish, which was topped with 300€ balsamic vinegar. No that's not a typo.

It was divine.

Whether it was for lunch or dinner, we ate pasta every single day. I learned so much from my friend as he cooked for me a few of his favourite pasta dishes, risotto, and warm and toasty piadinas (mmm I could go for one topped heavily with mozzarella and rocket right about now). It was all so delicious and full of flavour, and we ate so much of everything. Possibly a little too much. It's a good thing I was spending everyday walking miles around various cities to even out the calorie intake.

One night we had Beef Carpaccio, which I have never had before. For those of you who aren't familiar with the dish, it consists of thin slices of raw beef, and can be topped with arugula and parmesan cheese. It is covered with lemon juice and left in the fridge so that the lemon can 'cook' the meat. 

And last but not least: GELATO

I ate so much of this creamy cold stuff while wandering the streets of Florence, Roma and Belogna. Gotta get my fix while I can right?

This was my friend's favourite Gelateria in Bologna, and in his opinion some of the best. Here I tried gelato with marscapone and figs, and also crema Bolognese. Both were so so very good, and definitely my favourite while in Italy. We also visited the famous Vivoli in Florence, where they claim to make the best gelato in the city, and argue for one of the top spots in Italy. Here I tried both blueberry and coconut, both of which were very nice.

Ahh posting about all this Italian food is making me hungry.

On the menu tonight: spaghetti carbonara, recipe courtesy of my Italian chef :)


The best Panna Cotta I ever had

Trastevere is definitely my favourite part of Rome. Just across the river, it is a lovely little neighborhood, removed from the clouds of tourists that swarm the main hubs. I love the Italian architecture, with the yellow and pink facades draped in foliage, lining the small, cobblestone streets. I actually got a little lost trying to find Santa Maria there.

On my last day in Rome and last evening in Italy, I scouted the streets of Trastevere for a place to indulge in one last dinner. This area of the city is known for its many great restaurants and cafes. What I was really craving was a good dessert so I picked my menu based on that (are you surprised?). Finally I discovered a place that was serving a choice of panna cotta. 


This was by far the best panna cotta I have ever had. It was vanilla, topped with caramel, and simply delicious. It had such a wonderful, thick and creamy texture, and it wasn’t so heavy on the gelatin, which I really liked. 

Mmmm I don’t think I can eat panna cotta anywhere but in Italy ever again.


Chocolate con churros

Don’t you love weekends in Spain? I know I do

Last weekend I decided to take a spur-of-the-moment trip to Zaragoza and Madrid. I only live about two hours from the Spanish border so why not? It’s just a quick hop over the mountains to Zaragoza. It was the perfect weekend to go because a few of the friends that I lived with in Australia, the same who I traveled with during our summer tour in Spain, were going to be in Madrid. I couldn’t NOT go.

It was quite a complicated affair to get there and back but completely worth it. It was a fantastic reunion and though it was a short visit, it was a great one. I also met a few others that lived in the same residence I did while on exchange in Sydney, but they arrived the semester after I left. Wherever I am in the world I seem to find these incredible people. It’s such a fantastic and never-ending experience.

Of course, being in Spain, I had to take advantage of my weekend and stuff myself with as many tapas as possible. I also got to eat my beloved paella again and of course some sangria and tinto! And for breakfast on the Sunday? Chocolate con churros :)

You can’t leave Spain without having churros and chocolate.

During our summer trip the last city in Spain we hit was Madrid, where one of my travel buddies lived. In the late morning of our last day we visited a chocolateria hidden down an alley before exploring the downtown area. My friend ordered for the two Canadians churros and hot chocolate, apparently one serving was more than enough for two people. And she was right. 

The server brought out a massive plate of churros and large cup of melted chocolate for us to share.
It smelled amazing! The churros were hot and fragrant, mmm who doesn’t love deep fried dough powdered in sugar? The chocolate was outrageously thick and rich; it was hard not to just eat it by the spoonful. We really enjoyed this indulgence on our last day in Spain. It was very heavy though, and left us feeling full for a long time.

It was a great wakeup before walking around the city for the whole day.

A very balanced breakfast if you ask me



Santa Gertrudis

Such a big reputation for such a small place.
The most beautiful beaches I explored this summer belonged to this Mediterranean island.

Ibiza contains two types of life: the crazed, drunken tourists stumbling about Elvissa and the sun kissed hippies who inhabit some of the small inland villages, farms and beach huts.
It was really an advantage having a car (which, did I mention, was a convertible bug?!!) because we could avoid the busy main streets packed with foreigners and bars and escape to the more remote areas of the island. It really is tiny - it only takes about 45 minutes to drive from one side to the other, so we were able to tour all over, testing a variety of beaches and enjoying the landscape.
One village that we were recommended by a local was Santa Gertrudis. We stopped in this quiet area for an afternoon, walking through the small streets lined with white-washed buildings. Of course we couldn’t come to Ibiza and not have a taste of some of their traditional food.

At a small bakery in the village we tried orelletes, which is a pastry shaped like an ear with anise.

We also shared some flao, a tart made of goat’s and sheep’s cheese with herbs and honey. This was my favourite of the two. The cheese filling was sweet and had a really nice texture. If you’re ever in Ibiza, I highly recommend you try some!
After three days of sleeping in our car and living out of tiny backpacks, we were starting to feel like hippies. Just needing to darken our tans a bit and dress in all white, flowing clothes to fully blend in. We were seriously considering finding a beach hut for 3 and extending our stay a while. We could live off fruits and fish and earn a little money selling bracelets at the hippie market.


Famly Lunch in Valencia

After our trip down to beautiful and sweltering Granada, we stopped in Valencia for a much needed day of relaxation. One of my friends who we were traveling with is from Valencia, and his parents live in a gorgeous house just outside the city. We spent a lovely afternoon there lounging by the pool before being invited inside for a magnificent feast.

This meal was just so good - by far the best while I was in Spain - so I just had to share it with you

They ordered a meat and vegetable paella from a nearby restaurant, that they believe makes the best paella around. This was absolutely delicious and bursting with flavour! I think I could eat paella and never get tired of it. It is definitely one of my favourite Spanish dishes and holds a special place in my heart.

Gazpacho soup in the form of shots!

My friend's mother is an incredible cook and prepared so many amazing dishes for us to try: mussels, calamari, prawns, mini empanadas, Russian salad served in avocado halves, smoked salmon boats and a lovely red wine of Valencia. We ate to our hearts' contents and this divine meal left us full for hours.

And if this all wasn't enough, it was followed by fresh fruit and an amazing cake, again prepared by my friend's mother. Such a kind and welcoming family, I am so so lucky to have enjoyed this!

Looking at these pictures brings all those tastes back to my mouth. 
Craving the flavours of Spain!



I'm really sad that I don't have a Thanksgiving post today.

Not being in Canada and living without a kitchen (it brings tears to my eyes to even type it) has made celebrating Thanksgiving with a turkey feast impossible. I apologize for the lack of recipes and pictures this weekend. It's especially sad because I dearly LOVE autumn flavours and all the dishes, desserts and ingredients you find at this time of year. Pumpkin, squash, yams... I adore you!

I did have turkey this weekend though... in the form of a sandwich, while camping in the mountains. And tonight I watched the first Friends Thanksgiving episode. Not a bad way to celebrate. I do hope to cook a Thanksgiving dinner next month with the Americans that are over here in the south of France as well.


Hope you're eating twice as much for me at home.

So basically... I love tapas. I mean, how could you not?

You're at a bar, you order some drinks, and along comes a plate of appetizers.

I love having tapas as a meal, it's such an enjoyable way to eat and you get to try so many different dishes in one sitting.

Granada was definitely the cheapest place for tapas - drinks were 1euro and they came with a plate. Of course, the more drinks you ordered, the tastier the tapas became.

One night in Barcelona we went to an all-you-can-eat Tapas bar.... all-you-can-eat tapas are dangerous. I'm a little embarassed to tell you how many plates we shared between the 4 of us. I took pictures of each and so when I counted them all at the end we apparently had tried 17 types of tapas. In my defense, we didn't finish all of them and they were our first tapas in Spain! We were really excited okay?! And hungry... We really got to taste everything, from Albóndigas (meatballs in tomato sauce) to Pimientos de Padrón (fried green peppers)

Mixed salad, Ensaladilla rusa (Russian salad) and calamares


I cannot remember the name of these - deep fried and stuffed with fish, they're pretty tasty

Octopus - yum!


Patatas Bravas

This is a terrible photo but it's the only one I have of empanadas - one of my favourite tapas, and these were made by my friend's mother - delicious!

Writing this post is really making me crave tapas again.

It's a good thing I live only about 3 hours from the Spanish border...


July Wedding Menu

So as you know, I started off my time in Europe with a visit to Bebington, England (and have returned back there now) as a bridesmaid for my cousin's wedding. It was a fantastic day and we couldn't have asked for better weather. The bride was stunning and from the morning preparations to the evening party everything went very smoothly and enjoyably. After a beautiful ceremony in Bebington we were driven to the reception held at a gorgeous hotel in Liverpool where we stayed for the night. We enjoyed such a delicious dinner, I had no choice but to post pictures. The courses just kept coming and coming, and by the time we reached the cheese course I was feeling quite thankful that my dress flowed away from the body.

My favourite course

Such a great idea!

I love weddings, drinks all around!


One Year Old

It was exactly one year ago yesterday that I published my very first blogpost and Sauvignon-Blog was born.

Happy 1st Birthday Sauvignon-Blog!!

Wow, you are growing up so fast, where does the time go?

Thank you to everyone who has ever visited my blog and those of you that have taken the time to leave comments.

And thank you to my followers - you know who you are - and you're the best :)

And while on the subject of birthdays I just wanted to show you something I received earlier this summer for MY birthday. I was so shocked and impressed when I opened it, I just had to post a picture of it so you can all see:

My incredibly talented and patient friend Jane handmade all of these inedible treats! Aren't they amazing?!

I don't know which is my favourite - the strawberry perhaps, or the purple heart - ah I love them all!!

What are the best type of truffles? Everlasting ones of course :)

Thanks Jane


Europe by Food

Hello blogspot, it's been a while. I hope you haven't forgotten about me!

WOW. What a summer it has been! Where do I even start...

For the past five weeks I have been living the life of a backpacker. And it has been unreal.

As you know I started off my trip in Bebington, England with my family. Very soon came August 5th when I jetted off on my first of five Ryanair flights (I should get some sort of discount!) to BARCELONA! I was warmly welcomed by two girlfriends (one Canadian and one Spaniard) who I lived with in Sydney on an exchange program.

Together, we took Spain by storm as we traveled across the country hopping from city to city. We walked the alleys of Barcelona and had siestas in the beautiful parks. From there we flew to Ibiza which was an entirely different place full of crazed students and colourful hippies. Soaking up the sun, we lazed on the sand savouring the island's gorgeous beaches. In sunny and dry Granada we reunited with two more friends from our residence floor in Australia (an Aussie and another Spaniard). The last time the five of us were all together was on the opposite side of the world, at uni - and now we're in Spain! So surreal... and completely awesome. We explored the small and crooked streets of this beautiful city with its Arabian accents and glittering alhambra. We enjoyed fantastic tapas and tinto in Valencia to salsa dancing in Madrid and everything in between.


Along the way we were introduced to new Spanish friends who guided us around their cities. Every night was a late night (or early morning) and our bodies became accustomed to sleeping 3 or 4 hours. Of course no trip to Spain would be complete without sangria - and by the bucketfull.

The Alhambra by Night - Granada
Spanish food = true true love. I had only been introduced to Spanish food recently so I was extremely excited to taste all that the country had to offer. And I did. From pan con tomate for breakfast, to tapas including empanadas, Russian Salad and frittata, to all the seafood you can imagine (shark?! yep) and all washed down with a few glasses of tinto or sangria. Spanish food includes such a huge variety of dishes that are bursting with flavour and colours.

One dish that I was looking forward to probably the most, and which did not disappoint, was paella. I had it twice and it was just magical. From the way it's prepared to how it's served and devoured, it is an amazing dish that everyone should try at some point in their lives.


Too soon came the day when we all parted our separate ways from Madrid. But the tears were short-lived because I was headed for BOLOGNA! And no time for sleep either - I savoured a full twenty minutes before getting up for my flight to Italy. Ah well, sleep when you're dead right?
View from the Ponte Vecchio - Florence

My time in Italy was quite a bit different from that in Spain. I stayed with another friend from exchange in Bologna, and from there I traveled a lot by myself. I took day trips by train to Verona and Florence, returning back every evening to a fantastic, Italian dish of pasta or pizza, flooded with cheese, cooked by my wonderful chef of a friend. I am so glad I walked each city because the amount of pasta, cheese and gelato I ate is actually ridiculous.

Perseus with the Head of Medusa - Piazza della Signoria

Florence was a dream. It was so surreal visiting the city I had studied for so many years. I walked the pages of my art history texts as I explored this beautiful city bursting with Renaissance art and architecture. The Duomo, Orsanmichele, Uffizi Gallery, Santa Maria Novella and the Boboli Gardens - they were all so magnificent and it was very hard to regretably tear my eyes away from this gorgeous place. I would truly love to live in Florence.

From there I traveled by night to Roma. I spent two full days in the city so I tried to squeeze in as much as I possibly could. I toured the grand Colosseum and Roman Forum, I discovered the Trevi Fountain and sat on the Spanish Steps. On my last day in the city I spent a total of five hours at the Vatican and St. Peter's. What can I say? It's the Vatican! Hello Sistine Chapel - I melted when I entered it. It was incredibly overwhelming, all the art and architecture I tried to soak up - but I loved every minute of it.

The Pantheon - Roma

Honestly, I visited Italy for the art, architecture and food - and my high expectations were met.

It is really hard to put into words how incredible my time in Spain and Italy really was. To show you the pictures and try to describe my experiences is not quite enough. Basically, you have to travel to these places yourself to truly understand these stunning cities and tantalizing flavours. I have seen, tasted, learned and experienced so much on this trip of a lifetime (and it's far from over!). I advise you all to plan holidays to Spain and Italy. Seriously, you need to visit if you never have.

So over the next few days (well let's be honest.. more like weeks) I'll post more about the different foods I've had while traveling: the flavours of Spain, Italy and England. On September 20th I finally leave for my job in France and I'll take you on a tour of the country's delicious and delicate wines, cheeses and pastries. From there I'll travel to as many cities and countries as I can possibly manage (and afford), and of course tell you all about my favourite eats.

My tastebuds are touring the continent, and it's such a delicious adventure.

Now let me show you Europe, by food.