Traveling Through Time: Down the Danube Narrows to Weltenburg Abbey

Weltenburg Abbey was more than four centuries old before the monks first began brewing ale—or at least ale worth noting–in 1050. Now vying for the title of the oldest monastic brewery in the world (Weihenstephan Abbey also claims the honor), they set their claim on maintaining the original brewing process. Like the beer, much is as it was remains at the Abbey, the somewhat plain exterior of the cathedral opens onto an elaborately ornate and gilded interior. Services are still held regularly, and monks still live and work on the premises. And just as abbeys were places for gatherings for a millennium and more, Weltenburg also remains a destination. Located 25 miles west of the charming Bavarian city of Regensburg, a UNESCO World Heritage City and just three miles from Kelheim, it is accessible by car. But I totally like immersing myself in history and my goal today is to replicate—as much as I can—the 1050 experience.

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Long Wall and St. Nepomuk

On the ferry from Kelheim, I watch as the boat’s wake cuts through waters reflecting the dark greens of dense woods and whites of limestone rocks of the Fränkische Alb mountains, some rising 300-feet high. Winds, water and time have carved caves and nooks in the limestone and in one of these crannies on an expansive stretch of stone called the Long Wall someone has tucked a statue of St. Nepomuk, the patron saint of water and bridges who was drowned when he refused to reveal the confessions made to him by the Queen of Bavaria. Her husband must have really wanted to know what she was up to.

The Danube Narrows

Today it will take 40 minutes to travel the Danube Narrows, an ancient waterway to and from Weltenburg Abbey or if you want to be really German about it, Weltenburger Klosterbrauerei, a sprawling complex of Baroque stone buildings surrounded by the lush rural beauty of Southern Bavaria.

There are times when the river is a lively place with small boats passing by and bicyclists and hikers making their way along the riverbank. Then suddenly, navigating a bend, it’s all calm waters and quiet.  I imagine this is how it was when pilgrims and tradesmen (and hopefully tradeswomen as well) came to the abbey to retreat from the world, rest or conduct business. It was a time when travel was mainly by water as roads barely existed and their trip would have taken much longer without our gas powered engines. But the sight they saw when making the final curve is much the same as today—Weltenburg’s blue tower roof and the washed pink walls.

Weltenburger Klosterbrauerei

The abbey sits on a bend of the river and in front is a small sandy beach and shallow waters where people play. It’s hot today—a heat wave is moving across Europe—and I envy them as the water looks cool and refreshing. But history calls and instead I move up the walk leading from the dock to the entrance already awed by the size and beauty of the place.

There are always hard choices and today I need to decide whether to tour first (there are self-guided and guided tours available) or take a seat in the sun at the biergarten, It appears that most people have chosen the latter and rather than wait for a table or sit inside the restaurant, I enter the church.

St. Georg Church

We’re talking seriously rococo inside, an overdrive of theatrical flourishes mixed with more Gothic elements. Paintings date back to the 1300s, a statue of the church’s namesake St. George or St. Georg as its spelled here, sculpted in smooth, sleek marble, rides his horse most likely on his way to slay the dragon. The main room, its ceiling 65-feet high, has alcoves off to the sides, each one just as ornate. It’s hard to take in everything at once, the artistry, pageantry and craftsmanship are so amazing.  Standing near a group tour, I hear phrases like “eight ionic columns, Weltenburg marble and gold fresco” and hurriedly write the words down as it helps sort out this wonderment of riches.

Bavarian Fare

Back outside, I spot an empty table and grab it. Addicted to German fare (yes, really), I order pigs’ knuckle known as schweinshaxe, schnitzel and even though I’m in Bavarian and not the Black Forest (hey, it’s nearby) the famous cake from that region. Of course, I need a glass of their Kloster Barock Dunkel—an almost black in color ale which is still made on site in a rock cave and then sent by pipeline to the monastery taps. Also available—to drink or take home, there is a gift store of course–are other brews and such medicinal spirits as their Weltenburg monastery bitters and liqueurs. And if you want to go full abbey, there’s their klosterkas and monastery sausage both based on ancient Weltenburg recipes.

Maybe I shouldn’t have eaten that last schnitzel and definitely not the cake. To assuage my conscience, I climb the mountain path as it winds past the Stations of the Cross. It’s steep but the gaps in the woods offer commanding views of the valley, abbey and gorge below. I briefly contemplate spending the night at the St. Georg Guest House to be able to walk the abbey grounds late at night when all the visitors are gone but I don’t have a reservation. Next time for sure.

The Oldest Wheat Beer Brewery in Bavaria

          Returning to Kelheim isn’t exactly like entering the 21st century. In the old town I wander the narrow streets snapping photos of perfectly maintained Medieval-era buildings just a short walk from the docks and on the way to where I parked my car, I let my friends talk me into stopping at Weisses Bauhaus Kelheim.

It’s a beautiful place, all wood, vaulted ceilings and archways leading from room to room. Outside we sit in, yes another beer garden, this one next to a small stream, and order a round of their wheat beer. Really, I had to since they’ve been brewing beer here since 1607, making the Weisses Brauhaus the oldest wheat beer brewery in Bavaria.

 

I’m not typically a beer lover but both the Kloster Barock Dunkel at the abbey and the TAP7 here, made from the original 1872 recipe, are robust and flavorful without bitterness or an overly hoppy taste. I’m driving so instead of more beer, I listen to the live music, enjoy the myriad of colorful blooms cascading from window boxes, baskets and containers and contemplate how I’ve spent the day moving through history and only now have reached the 17th century.

The Guardian: Restoring Hawaii’s ancient food forests

The Guardian: The farmers restoring Hawaii’s ancient food forests that once fed an island | Hawaii. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/jun/17/hawaii-traditional-farming-methods-ancient-food-forests

Our community has been using their skills and creativity to pivot, fill food system gaps, and serve Hawaiʻi’s nutritional needs during this unprecedented time.

Through thoughtful interviews and photographic portraiture, we spotlight the necessity of a collective commitment needed to sustain our emerging system of resiliency, of a self-sufficient Hawaiʻi. From Feeding Hawai’i.

Trip Stack Trend: Charming small Midwest towns make great summer destinations

Bloomington, Indiana. Photo courtesy of Visit Bloomington.

With many eager to use those unused vacation days and ready to travel again, travelers are turning towards trip stacking: booking several trips and experiences over a set of vacation days. And one of the best ways to do this? With a classic American road trip, of course.

Photo courtesy of Visit Indiana.

With major cities such as Indianapolis and Chicago topping the lists of places to visit in the Midwest, there are several other stop-worthy, under-the-radar cities and destinations that pack a full punch of culture, arts, outdoor experiences, and culinary offerings. Among them, Bloomington, Indiana (3.5 hours from Chicago & 1 hour from Indianapolis) and and Grand Geneva Resort & Spa in Lake Geneva, WI (1.5 hours from Chicago & 45 minutes from Milwaukee).

Photo courtesy Grand Geneva Resort & Spa

While the city of Bloomington and a stop at Grand Geneva Resort & Spa in Lake Geneva, WI are perfect side trips on any Midwest trip, they also warrant their own getaway. But for those trip stacking and making stops, here are a few of the many reasons to add these destinations to your Midwest road trip itinerary:

WHY BLOOMINGTON?

That Lake Life. 

Photo courtesy of Visit Bloomington.

For those looking for a lake vacation, Bloomington is home to the 10,750-acre Monroe Lake, Indiana’s largest land-bound body of water. Monroe Lake offers visitors everything from boating, beaching, biking, fishing, hiking, campgrounds, and more. It’s one of the Midwest’s best kept secrets for lake getaways.

Bloomington is a foodie-destination worth getting in the car for. This small Midwest city has a global dining scene and is home to over 350+ restaurants. Check out Bloomington’s most iconic restaurants here.

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And during the summer, one of the best ways to experience Bloomington’s eclectic atmosphere is dining al fresco on the patio of a local restaurant. With over 100 eateries offering outdoor dining during the warmer months, there are an abundance of choices.

Photo courtesy of Visit Bloomington.

Some of the Midwest’s best art & cultural attractions can be found in Bloomington. From renowned museums, A-list comedy clubs, to historic artwork and artifacts, Bloomington is rich in culture. Check out some of the top attractions here.

For fireworks: Bloomington is one of the best Midwest spots for fireworks and Fourth of July festivities. The city offers several free, public firework displays.

Photo courtesy of Visit Bloomington

Bloomington has a nightlife scene. The bars and restaurants stay open later in Bloomington than most Midwest cities! Check out underground vibes such as The Root Cellar Lounge, one of Bloomington’s best hidden gems, located in the basement of FARMbloomington. 

FARMbloomington

Under the radar wine destination

In addition to being a cool foodie town it’s great for winos as well. It’s home to the award-winning Oliver Winery, Indiana’s largest and oldest winery, which is also celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. 

Bloomington is also home to five breweries, all of which are located in the downtown area. Grab a beer at Function Brewing, The Tap, Switchyard Brewing, Upland Brewpub, or Bloomington Brewing Company (BBC) — for your own beer tasting experience, The Tap, Function, and BBC are all located within a five-block stretch of one-another.

WHY GRAND GENEVA?

Get Outside

Situated on 1,300 acres in the woodlands of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, Grand Geneva is an award-winning AAA Four-Diamond resort located 90 minutes from Chicago and 50 minutes from Milwaukee. The hotel has been welcoming guests for more than 25 years, offering some of the finest facilities, accommodations, and dining experiences in the Midwest. The iconic resort has always offered dynamic recreation for guests looking for an escape (or the perfect pit stop), including outdoor adventures such as hiking, biking, horseback riding, and scooter excursions — in addition to the resort’s two championship 18-hole golf courses, tennis courts, and indoor and outdoor pools. Guests also enjoy the resort’s acclaimed restaurants, award-winning Well Spa + Salon, and expansive fitness center.

For fireworks.

 Every Sunday through Labor Day weekend, resort guests enjoy a dazzling Sunday fireworks display. But for those looking to celebrate July 4, Grand Geneva also offers one of the grandest fireworks shows. Guests who stay in a Lake View room can enjoy the fireworks show from their private balcony or patio, while all resort guests can view the show from the resort’s hillside.

Get golfing

This Lake Geneva golf destination is especially known for its two championship golf courses. At over 7,000 yards featuring massive sand traps and prominent water features, the magnificent Brute course is one of the most challenging layouts in the Midwest is considered one of Wisconsin’s best golf courses. 

The Highlands is a Scottish-inspired, links-style course, complete with a beautiful landscape of scenic hills, wide open fairways, trickling creeks and lush foliage. This Lake Geneva golf course was originally designed by Pete Dye and Jack Nicklaus and transformed in 1996 by Bob Cupp. Need to brush up on skills? The resort launched new weekly clinics this year.

Privacy with the perks of a hotel.

For guests seeking a more private getaway, The Villas at Grand Geneva offer luxury vacation rentals with spacious living areas, separate bedrooms, and kitchens. Guests have access to additional resort amenities, including a pool and an outdoor fire pit area reserved for the exclusive use of Villa guests.

A culinary hotspot

Grand Geneva Resort & Spa is home to several award-winning restaurants and cafes. Guests enjoy several different dining experiences including Wisconsin steak dinners, seafood boils, over the top brunches, and more. 

And there’s a waterpark

Nestled within the sprawling resort campus, is Grand Geneva’s sister-property, Timber Ridge Lodge & Waterpark – an all-suite family resort featuring one of the Midwest’s top waterparks. 

While in Lake Geneva

Grand Geneva’s concierge can help arrange some of the city’s best experiences such as Lake Geneva Cruise Line, Lake Geneva Balloon CompanyLake Geneva Ziplines & Adventures and more. The resort also offers discounts for guests on select local attractions.

Visit Lake Geneva

Grub Street: 2022 James Beard Award Winners: The Full List

Grub Street: 2022 James Beard Award Winners: The Full List. https://www.grubstreet.com/2022/06/2022-james-beard-chef-and-restaurant-award-winners-full-list.html

In 2022, the Cultural City of Dresden Hosts Special Exhibitions in Saxony’s State of the Arts

Celebrate arts and culture in Dresden in 2022.

Special exhibitions include Gerhard Richter at 90 with selections by the artist and Bernardo Bellotto, at 300, with his extraordinary cityscapes. Dresden also celebrates the father of its classical music lineage: Heinrich Schütz.  

Baroque Spendor

Restored now to its original baroque splendor, Dresden’s gleaming buildings, including the Royal Palace, the cathedral, the opera, the Brühlsche Terrasse among others, along the banks of the Elbe are a sight to behold. And, inside these buildings are arguably some of the world’s finest treasures. There are many exhibitions in 2022 and Dresden artists, Gerhard Richter and Bernardo Bellotto, lead the way. 

Starting off the year with a contemporary flare, is the Gerhard Richter exhibition celebrating the 90th birthday of this special Dresden citizen. Not only was Richter born in Dresden but he also has a special professional connection to the city as his archive is housed at the Dresden State Art Collections. The exhibition, “GERHARD RICHTER. Portraits. Glass. Abstractions” will run from February 5 to May 1 in three rooms of the upper floor of the Albertinum, also a part of the Dresden State Art Collections. Richter picked the pieces for the exhibition from his private collection as well as from the archive while additional of his works are lent by other international institutions.

Bernardo Bellotto’s 300th Birthday

Next up is the exhibition on Bernardo Bellotto, the nephew of the Canaletto, and often referred to as Canaletto the Younger or also just Canaletto. His 300th birthday is an enormous cause célèbre in the Elbe city as he painted extraordinary landscapes that depicted Dresden as it was in its golden age in the mid1700s.

From May 21 to August 28, the Dresden State Art Collections will be showing the exhibition “Enchantingly Real: Bernardo Bellotto at the Court of Saxony” where there will be paintings from the Dresden State Art Collections as well as from other institutions. Bellotto became famous as the court painter for the elector of Saxony, Frederick Augustus II. His famous works are breath- taking depictions of the city and its environs, most measuring over eight feet in width. Dresden and the nearby Pirna will be celebrating the anniversary especially during the Dresden City Festival from August 19 to 21. 

Dresden: Musical City

Dresden is also a musical city and one of the most important musicians in setting this foundation is Heinrich Schütz, the royal organist and music director of the Royal Palace in the mid1600s. His work will be celebrated and played at the ‘Barock.Musik.Fest’ from May 2 to May 8 in the Royal Palace as well as from October 7 to 17 during the eponymous festival dedicated to the musician. Schütz is known for writing vocal solos, duets and choir works with and without instruments. He was strongly influenced by Italian composers of the time and yet created a strong German choral tradition that is still lively in the city today.

German Hygiene Museum Dresden

 A daring exhibition will take place at the German Hygiene Museum Dresden from April 2, 2022 to January 2, 2023: ‘Artful Intelligence. Machine Learning Human Dreams’ highlights the extent that artificial intelligence can be used in our lives even in such intimate topics about how to realize whether a person is lying, even to him or herself, and what criteria AI is using to make decisions.

Pillnitz Castle

“Plant Fever” is a multifaceted exhibition that will be displayed in Pillnitz Castle, the erstwhile summer palace of Augustus the Strong. Pillnitz is only 20 minutes from Dresden by a very pleasant river boat ride that will take you past beautiful villas and palaces from the 1700s. Designers, scientists, technology experts and plant enthusiasts will be interested in this project that will showcase 50 international projects from April 29 to November 6.

Meissen Porcelain

Blick auf die Albrechtsburg / Dom zu Meißen. Foto Tommy Halfter (DML-BY) // View of Albrechtsburg Castle / Meissen Cathedral! Photo: Tommy Halfter (DML-BY)

Close by will be the Meissen Porcelain Manufactory and showroom with some of the most beautiful porcelain pieces in the world. A special exhibition, called “Johann,” after Johann Boettger, the alchemist who was after gold but ended up with porcelain, or white gold, will be located in the Albrechtsburg (fortress close to the manufactory) for people interested in international and contemporary porcelain. It will run from April 16 to July 2022.

Celebrate the Outdoors

If you are planning a trip to Dresden for spring and summer especially, Dresden has many outdoor cultural events, including film nights on the banks of the Elbe, daily classes at the Japanese Palace, walking and bicycle tours throughout the city and the region. One special way to enjoy and experience the Elbe region is to ride along the Elbe Wine Road from Pirna to Dirnbar-Seusslitz. August 27 and 28 and September 23 and 25 are the local wine festivals in Radebeul and Meissen respectively. Although it is technically Germany’s smallest and most northern wine region, the wines are popular while the landscape and wineries are beautiful places to visit and enjoy a meal. 

Dramatic History Comes Alive

Foto: Michael R. Hennig (DML-BY)

In the past year, two excellent permanent exhibitions, the “Zwinger Xperience,” and the “Festung Xperience,” were created to make Dresden’s dramatic history come alive. These 3-D presentations show battles, art, and the people of Dresden’s past. You stand inside Dresden’s fortress underground and in the Zwinger Museum while images and films are projected against the walls and tell deeds of conquests, battles and romance.

State Arts Collection Dresden

Die Prager Straße Dresden. Foto: Tommy Halfter (DML-BY)

There are a number of other exhibitions at the State Art Collections Dresden as well as in the region that are worth visiting throughout the year. Dresden is a cultural jewel on the Elbe so make sure when you come to arrange for walking tours to see the architectures and the landscapes as well as to secure tickets for the museums and the collections. You will be overjoyed at the cultural wealth at every corner at all times of the day.

Foto: Michael R. Hennig

For further information, please contact Victoria Larson, USA Press Representative, State Tourist Board of Saxony at Victoria@vklarsoncommunications.com

The Unofficial Bridgerton Cookbook

         Didn’t receive an invitation to dinner at Lady Granville’s nor to Lady Danbury’s party? They must be lost in the mail. And no, you didn’t enjoy the bonbons at the Grand Buffet. That’s because no one asked you to attend. How infuriating not to be able to taste all those luscious foods while mixing with dukes and lords at fancy parties like on Bridgerton, the award winning costume series on Netflix series.

         Unfortunately I have some bad news for you. Odds are almost 100% you’ll never get an invitation to any of the grand homes in Grosvenor Square like those you see on Bridgerton. Without an invitation, there goes you chance of snagging a duke or a duchess, but as for the food, well you can still dine like the characters on the show.

         That’s because Lex Taylor has written The Unofficial Bridgerton Cookbook: From The Viscount’s Mushroom Miniatures and The Royal Wedding Oysters to Debutante Punch and The Duke’s Favorite … 100 Dazzling Recipes Inspired by Bridgerton (Adams Media; $21.99). It’s a very pretty book with lots of photos and drawings, all to make you want to put on your best tiara and low cut ballroom gown (or if you’re a man, your cutaway tuxedo and top hat) and dine on Taylor’s recipes for Spice Trade Biscuits and Lady Varley’s Special Chicken. Unfortunately though you’ll have to cook the dishes yourself as well and clean up afterwards. How unfair not to have a butler.

         The cookbook’s release is perfectly timed as the show’s second season is starting and trailers for the series already show this year’s brooding handsome hero and the lovely young ladies whose mothers have told them to make sure they snag a lord or higher. That’s because Bridgerton is set in 1813 during England’s Regency period when marrying up was the equivalent of a woman earning a college degree today.

         Taylor created and adapted recipes that could have graced the tables of the Bridgertons and other families in the series. And that’s surprising given Taylor is the type of guy who’s spent a lot of time fishing and hunting with the Inuit of Baffin Island, foraging for food in the Hudson Valley, immersing himself in cultures that rely on ancestral knowledge for survival, and hanging out in the Sahara and the Atacama deserts and the jungles of Central America and West Africa. His previous book, Grill Fire: 100+ Recipes & Techniques for Mastering the Flame shows, among other things, how to turn your backyard grill into a Brazilian churrascaria and the way to make your own chicken wing racks. He is, he says, “a wilderness- survival-outdoor-chef and barbecue guy.”

         “I never expected that the editors would choose my proposal,” Taylor told me on the phone as I assume, he was on his way to fish with the Inuit, not to a high tea.

         “I was a hundred percent certain that there were a large number of Bridgerton fans who had already published several books with Simon and Schuster and one of them would write the book,” he continues.

         But obviously it worked out differently. Was that a mistake on Simon & Schuster’s part?

         Not at all. Choosing Taylor actually makes a lot of sense. How he lives, is in ways, reflective of life during the Regency. He’s been asked to join the Explorer’s Club because of his extensive travels with their focus on the indigenous people and he loves delving into exploration and research. Indeed, inspired by trips to New Orleans, he won Esquire magazine competition’s “The Next Great Burger” for his meat patty creation using such ingredients as caramelized pears, a saffron aioli, and deep fried beignet bun. He also appeared on “Chopped” and the Food Network and was a judge on “Beat Bobby Flay.”

         2022 may sounds like a different world than London during the Regency which was from 1811 to 1820. But Taylor sees the similarities.

         “The Regency was a time when many of the ships that traveled for English companies were bringing back exotic ingredients and people were completely fascinated by the foods and spices they brought back with them,” he says, noting that he likes to cook wild and crazy stuff as well and stages large dinners in the Hudson Valley region after successful foraging trips. “It’s so me. The food of that time is like what I do—curing and pickling, collaborating with people who fish and hunt and cook with fire and who try new things.”

         Taylor didn’t want his cookbook to be a half-hearted spin-off. That was one of several goals he had when writing—to riff off the foods eaten on the show, ensure the ingredients were readily available and the recipes easy to make. He also wanted to approach the project with a sense of humor. Take his inclusion of lavender as an ingredient.

         “Not only is lavender a beautiful plant that was used for table decorations, but it was also used during the Regency as a perfume and a medicine because it was thought to help with romance and love,” he writes about the lavender drink he created. “Both men and women used considerable amounts of perfume, as bathing was not a major part of their hygienic practice.”

Rumor-Stirring Blueberry Lavender Fizz

SERVES 1

  • 1 teaspoon dried lavender flowers
  • 1 tablespoon blueberry jam
  • 1⁄2 ounce lemon juice
  • 1⁄2 ounce lime juice
  • 1⁄2 ounce heavy cream
  • 1 large egg white, pasteurized
  • 8–12 ounces cooled sparkling water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest

Muddle lavender in a cocktail shaker.

Add remaining ingredients except sparkling water and lemon zest. Shake vigorously until texture changes to a foam, about 10 seconds.

Fill cocktail shaker with ice. Shake 15 seconds or until cocktail is well chilled.

Strain into a Collins glass. Top with sparkling water and garnish with lemon zest.

Lady Featherington’s Society Sponge Cake

For the macerated berries:

  • 1 pound fresh berries, sliced, (dry after rinsing)
  • 1/4 cup Moscato or other sweet wine
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar or amber honey

For the sponge cake:

  • 8 cold large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup canola or other neutral oil
  • 1/3 cup pulp-free orange juice
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup fresh berries
  • 1 teaspoon confectioners’ sugar

Place all the ingredients for the macerated berries in a large bowl and stir gently, cover and refrigerate 24 hours or until the berries are softened. Next line to make sponge cake Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line an 8 inch springform pan with parchment paper.

Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whisk eggs and large bowl until stiff peaks form, about 10 minutes. Turn mixer speed to low and slowly add oil and juice.

On lowest speed, mix in flour and baking powder until just combined. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer immediately to a wire cooling rack, releasing from pan to cool upside down for about one hour.

Flip over so the rounded part is on top and cut into two equal rounds. Spoon macerated berries evenly over one cake round and top with the second cake round. Top with fresh berries and dust with confectioners’ sugar.

         The above recipes are from The Unofficial Bridgerton Cookbook by Lex Taylor. Copyright © 2021 by Alexei Taylor. Photographs by Harper Point Photography. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.

Igloos With a View: Enjoy a Finnish Lapland Journey with Stays in Glass-topped Igloo Cabins That Showcase the Aurora Borealis,

A new six-day tour opens up the skies for the ultimate views of the Aurora. The Stars of Scandinavia tour from Off the Map Travel takes visitors to Kilpisjärvi, Finland and Rovaniemi, Finland, known for their magnificent views of the Aurora. The six-day tour includes uniquely luxe overnight stays in igloo-style, glass-roofed cabins surrounded by the Finnish tundra.

Talk about user friendly. Guests can enjoy a comfy and warm experience luxuriating in queen-sized beds in rooms custom designed views of the night sky above. Special low-level red lighting aids viewers’ eyes in adjusting to the night sky.

The Stars of Scandinavia tour begins in Tromso, Norway and then first travels to Kilpisjärvi, Finland where the new two-story Wow House “igloo” cabins face North for optimal viewing of the Northern Lights. Just 30 miles from the Arctic Ocean, tiny Kilpisjärvi (population just over 100), has virtually no light pollution making it an ultimate aurora and star gazing destination.

Traveling south, second stop is in Rovaniemi, Finland, the capital of Lapland, located right on the Arctic Circle. As an aside Rovaniemi is the official home of Santa Claus though we can’t promise you’ll meet him. The ecologically designed Lappish Kammi Suites combine both pristine viewing of the Aurora as well as sustainable accommodations. The igloo design encompasses full glass domes over the mezzanine level bedrooms for crystal clear night sky gazing.

But it isn’t only stars and dark nights. There’s plenty to do during the day such as quintessential Lapland adventures that shouldn’t be missed. Think dogsledding, fat bike tours over the frozen tundra, and snowmobiling journeys to the Norway-Finland-Sweden border to meet reindeer and indigenous people in an exploration of Sami culture.

The current starting price, based on double occupancy, for the six-day/five-night “Stars of Scandinavia” tour is $2454 USD per person includes some meals, all transfers, four-star accommodations in Tromso with four nights in luxury glass-roofed “igloos,” and all activities. Airfare is additional. The tour is available from December 2021 through March 2022.

Developed by travel experts at Off the Map Travel as a way for those wanting an exciting, sustainable, and socially distanced holiday, this trip has it all.

“With two top locations for viewing the Northern Lights, plus a range of outdoor activities, we can offer a trip that’s both fulfilling and safe,” notes Jonny Cooper, founder of Off the Map Travel. “The snowy magic of Lapland makes for a special winter experience.

Here is the full itinerary:

Day 1: Arrive in Tromso in northern Norway, often referred to as the “Paris of the North.” Guests are transferred to a harborside hotel with stunning views of the fjords evening. Next up is a nighttime adventure into the snow-covered wilderness on a husky dogsled looking for the Aurora in the sky above.

Day 2: After breakfast, transfer across the border to Finland. Tonight, after a 3-course dinner, you will sleep in a design-forward igloo cabin with the chance to see the Northern Lights from the comfort of your bed. With little light pollution, the region of Kilpisjärvi provides optimal viewing dark sky opportunities.

Day 3: Enjoy an exhilarating snowmobile experience to where the borders of Finland, Norway and Sweden meet. In the afternoon, fly across the snow and ice while on a fat bike tour. 

Day 4: Continue your Arctic adventure with a transfer south to Rovaniemi for a stay in an igloo-style suite for two nights. Enjoy dinner and sit back to watch the skies.

Day 5: Meet Lapland’s most iconic animal–the reindeer and enjoy a short reindeer sleigh ride. Learn about Sami way of life and enjoy a short reindeer sleigh ride. Hopefully, the Northern Lights will be out, creating the perfect ending for your journey. Enjoy the lights while staying warm and comfortable in your suite as you gaze upward through the sky-view, windowed dome.

Day 6: Check out after breakfast and transfer to airport. 

About Off the Map Travel

The team at Off the Map Travel creates experiences and destinations for guests to explore hidden wonders of our planet. Specializing in Soft Adventure, Off the Map Travel also curates tailor-made holiday itineraries that showcase authentic experiences not offered by many larger travel companies. For more information on Off the Map Travel itineraries visit www.offthemap.travel; call +44 (0) 800 566 8901; email info@offthemap.travel  or join in the conversation on FacebookTwitterInstagramYouTube or

Pinterest.

Fairbanks, Alaska Hosts Annual World Eskimo-Indian Olympics

Fairbanks, Alaska (AK) – The annual World Eskimo-Indian Olympic Games (WEIO) will take place at the Big Dipper in Fairbanks from July 21 through 24, 2021. A four-day series of traditional Alaska Native athletic competitions, WEIO draws Native athletes and dancers from around the state, the United States, Canada and Greenland, as well as visitors, fans and media from around the globe. In addition to athletic competitions, WEIO also offers indigenous dances, authentic arts and crafts for sale, a Miss WEIO pageant and other cultural activities.

The competitions at WEIO give men and women the chance to test their strength, agility and endurance—all qualities that are needed to survive in the circumpolar north. Competitive games include high kick, knuckle hop, ear pull, two-foot high kick and Eskimo stick pull. WEIO offers a chance to meet with old friends and distant relatives, to entertain and be entertained, to challenge one another and to engage in friendly competition. For many competitors, WEIO is a way athletes and artists can showcase their skills and crafts and ensure that their culture is celebrated.

WEIO was created in 1961 in response to the rapidly spreading impact of western culture into rural areas. Two bush pilots, along with village elders and athletes, helped organize the first Olympics, which included a blanket toss, a seal-skinning contest and a Miss Eskimo Olympics Queen contest. The event has since grown to over 50 games with an ever-increasing number of athletes.

In addition to athletic events, WEIO is a time to don parkas, moose hide dresses and vests, mukluks and moccasins to compete in parka and Indian dress contests and to dance and tell stories through songs and motion. Dressed in kuspuks—traditional summer parkas—complete with feathered fans and drums, dancers perform throughout the four-day Olympics. Spectators and participants can browse through booths of authentic Alaska Native crafts and meet the artisans who carved, sewed or beaded the items. WEIO provides visitors the rare chance to experience a culture alongside those who live within it.

The WEIO games are held in Fairbanks on traditional Athabascan land. We respect this truth with the following Land Acknowledgement crafted by Denakkanaaga elders.

“We respectfully acknowledge the Dena people on whose traditional lands we reside. We honor the Dena who have been the stewards of Interior lands and waters for centuries, the elders who lived here before, the Dena people of today, and future generations to come. We also recognize that Alaska Native people would traditionally gather here and harvest Native foods.”

To learn more about the World Eskimo-Indian Olympics, visit weio.org. For more information on Fairbanks, request a free copy of the Fairbanks Visitors Guide and Winter Guide from Explore Fairbanks at 1-800-327-5774 or (907) 456-5774 or by writing to 101 Dunkel Street, Suite 111, Fairbanks, Alaska 99701. You can also order or view the guides online, get information about the aurora borealis and see a robust schedule of events and activities online at www.explorefairbanks.com.

About Explore Fairbanks

Explore Fairbanks is a non-profit destination marketing and management organization whose mission is to be an economic driver in the Fairbanks region by marketing to potential visitors and optimizing the visitor experience. Explore Fairbanks markets Fairbanks as a year-round destination by promoting local events, attractions and activities to independent travelers, group tour operators, travel agents, meeting planners and the media as well as by developing public policy and infrastructure to achieve marketing objectives. Find out more at explorefairbanks.com.

The photos used are courtesy of Explore Fairbanks and credit goes to the following photographers: Michael Dinneen, Sherman Hogue, and Andy Witteman. Archive photos courtesy of World Eskimo Indian Olympics,

What would Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera Eat: Food and Art in Tubac, Arizona

          Past Tucson on the road heading south towards Mexico, we took a detour to look for the home where my brother-in-law’s parents had lived up until 1989.

          “Does this look familiar?” one of the passengers kept asking as we drove through Green Valley.

           “Nothing in Arizona looks the same as it did even last week,” I said, checking Google which informed me that the population in Green Valley had doubled in the last 32 years.

          We didn’t, as you might have guessed, find the home or even the street. But when we arrived in Tubac, located in a broad valley ridged by the Tumacacori Mountains with their reddish cast to the west and the larger more rugged Santa Rita range to the east, I discovered that I was wrong. Founded in 1752 as a presidio or fortified military settlement on the Spanish Colonial Frontier, Tubac provided protection for the Mission San José de Tumacácori, the remains of which can be seen in nearby Tubac Presidio State Historic Park—Arizona’s first state park. Also on site is the 1885 Old Schoolhouse, the oldest is the schoolhouse in Strawberry, Arizona.

Abandoned and resettled several times, Tubac’s days as an artist colony stretches back to the late 1940s and much of the adobe and dusty roads allure remains in this small village two dozen miles from the Mexico border. Tubac recently was the winner of the Best Small Art Town National Contest.

          It was off-season on a day when temperatures climbed beyond one hundred. Even though the mantra in Arizona is “dry heat,” I can attest that 105 degrees with the hot sun beating down is—well—hot.

The 100 or so shops, art galleries, and museums, many of them made of dried earth, clay, and straw bricks called adobe, were painted in a variety of colors ranging from soft blues, greens, and pinks, to more bold pistachio and red. If it became too toasty perusing the displays of art ranging from  tin javalinas and coyotes to intricately wrought metals, mosaics,  tiles, pottery, and  jewelry on the front patios and side yards of the art galleries and stores—which comprise, along with restaurants, the major businesses in Tubac—the interiors were cool.  

          A little history is called for and Tubac almost 250 years old, certainly has that. It’s current laid back charm as an artist colony belies a bloody wild west history including Apache attacks, Civil War troops, and desperados eager for quick cash litter its history. All to be expected on an outpost along the Spanish Colonial Frontier. Besides being the first European settlement in Arizona with the first newspaper and the first white women, Tubac was also where in 1789 the first school in the state first opened. Of course, it wasn’t a state back then but part of Mexico as it would remain—along with Tucson—until 1853.

        Early times were tough for  Tubaca (or as the friendly O’odham Indians would have pronounced it “s-cuk ba’a” “cu wa”)  meaning place of the dark water or low place. Or at least that’s one story. Marshall Trimble,  Arizona’s official historian and vice president of the  Wild West History Association, writes its name came about based on a clash between bands of Indian. The resulting dead and the searing sun led the Pima to choose the name that translates to  “Where something smelled rotten.”

          Whatever. Since this is ultimately a food and travel story, we’re going to skip any more details like that except to say that it wasn’t quite as dreamy as it is now.

          While Arizona booms—Phoenix is the fastest growing city in the U.S.—there’s a laid back charm to Tubac as if time stopped half-a-century ago.

          The population in 2019 was just under 1400. Though the landscape is far from the verdant greens of the Midwest, the Santa Cruz River runs through here and feeds the stands of mesquite, willows, and the chartreuse-colored cottonwoods that make such a startling contrast against the desert palate of  beiges, browns, and subdued yellows.   

          Creativity at all levels defines Tubac and the restaurants and overnight accommodations showcases great food and luxurious places to summon your inner—and slightly pampered—cowgirl. With no chains, the village’s restaurants are independent and often family-owned.

          The 500-acre Tubac Golf Resort & Spa was once part of the Otero Ranch, settled in 1789 features several levels of dining options including The Stables Ranch Grille and La Cantina.  Shelby’s Bistro serves Southwestern and Mexican cuisine. Both are almost always rated among the village’s top ten but the one that really intrigued me was Elvira’s because of its history having first opened in Nogales, Mexico in 1927 as a take-out joint. Now the place to go for sophisticated Mexican cuisine, owner/chef Ruben Monroy, grandson of the original founder, takes traditional dishes such as moles (they have a large variety), quesadillas, chiles rellenos including one named after Frida Kahlo the Mexican artist known for her use of bold colors, and other Mexican fare and kicks them up several notches.  The drink list features tequila and mezcal, Mexican wines and beers as well as Margaritas made with a variety of fruits such mango, tamarind, and agave honey along with other cocktails such as mojitos and guanabanatinis—a martini made with guanabana, a fruit that grows in Mexico.

From the outside, Elvira’s is attractive with ochre-colored exterior walls, tile and wood accents, pots filled with flowers, and hanging lights made of large metal spheres with cut out stars.

Inside, it’s something else. Monroy earned degrees in graphic arts and interior design before going to culinary school and his training is evident. Blue walls are the backdrop for large-framed mirrors, colorful cascading lights suspended in various heights from the ceiling, a sleek wooden bar, vases and pots, red curtains, candle holders in an array of shapes and sizes, Mexican crafts and art, and so much more that everywhere you look there’s something fascinating to behold. In case you like what you see, there’s a home décor store adjacent to the restaurant’s entrance.

One of the streets in Tubac (and there aren’t many) is named Calle Frida Kahlo (calle is Spanish for street) but I couldn’t find any reference to her having visited the town during her short life. But I know that she was an enthusiastic cook and so I looked up her recipe for  Poblano Chiles Stuffed with Picadillo that was adapted from “Frida’s Fiestas: Recipes and Reminiscences of Life with Frida Kahlo” (Clarkson Potter). The book, written by Guadalupe Rivera and Marie-Pierre Colle, says this dish was served at her wedding to Diego Rivera.

Mexican cuisine can be complicated and if you’re feeling somewhat lazy, you can turn this dish into a casserole using the recipe I included below the one served at Frida and Diego’s wedding. I should note that the marriage didn’t last but their on and off again affair did until she passed away.

Poblano Chiles stuffed with Picadillo

Serves 8

  • 16 poblano chiles, roasted, seeded, and deveined
  • All-purpose flour
  • 5 eggs separated
  • Corn oil or lard
  • 3 lbs. ground pork
  • 1 large white onion, halved
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 6 tablespoons lard or oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 zucchini, finely chopped
  • 1 lb. tomatoes, seeded, chopped
  • 1 cup cabbage, shredded
  • 3/4 cup blanched almonds, chopped
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • Tomato broth ( see recipe below)

Prepare chiles:  Char chiles over an open flame or under the broiler, then place in a plastic bag, seal and let steam for about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from bag and using the back of a spoon peel off skin. 

Make a lengthwise slit in the chile, remove the seed cluster, seeds, and membrane with a knife but leave the stem intact and place on a cookie sheet. Place the poblanos in the freezer as they will easier to fill and batter when cold.  

Prepare the Filling: Cook the pork with the onion halves, garlic and salt and pepper  for about twenty minutes. Drain the liquid and remove onion. Heat the oil or lard in a sauté pan, adding the onion, carrots, and zucchini, cooking until onion is translucent. Add the tomato, cabbage, almonds, raisins and pork and season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer mixture for about twenty minutes until it has thickened, and the tomato is cooked through.

Stuff Chiles: Stuff the chiles with filling, then dust with flour. Beat the 5 egg whites until stiff. Beat the yolks lightly with a pinch of salt and gently fold into the whites to make a batter. Dip the chiles into the batter and fry in very hot oil until golden. Drain on paper. Serve with tomato broth.

Tomato Broth for Stuffed Chiles

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 10 Roma tomatoes, charred, seeded, and chopped
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup queso cotija or ranchero cheese, crumbled

Char the tomatoes using the same method as above for the peppers. Heat the olive oil and sauté the onion and carrots until softened. Add the tomatoes, vinegar, sugar, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the oregano and continue to cook until the broth is rich and flavorful, and the tomatoes cooked through. Ladle broth onto a plate and place the chile on top.  Garnish with queso cotija or ranchero cheese.

Chile Rellenos Casserole

  • 2 large fresh poblano chile peppers or fresh Anaheim chile peppers
  • 1 ½ cups shredded Mexican-style four-cheese blend  or make the Picadillo recipe above
  • ½ cup crumbled Cotija or Ranchero cheese
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • ¼ cup milk
  • ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 1 large can of enchilada sauce or use the Tomato Broth recipe above

Serves 4

1 large can of enchilada sauce or use the Tomato Broth recipe above.

The basic difference here is that instead of stuffing the peppers, then coating them in batter, and frying, roast the peppers according to the first recipe,  slice them lengthwise so the entire pepper can be laid flat.

Grease a casserole dish, add a layer of the sauce, lay the peppers on top and the cover with the desired filling—either the cheese or the picadillo sauce that Frida made.

Top with more sauce, another layer of roasted peppers, filling and sauce. Repeat until all the ingredients are used.  a medium bowl combine eggs and milk. Add flour, baking powder, cayenne pepper, and salt.

Beat egg mixture until smooth. Or if using a food processor or blender,  place in a food processor, cover and process or blend until smooth. Pour mixture over peppers  and filling.

Bake for 15 minutes in a 400°F. or until golden brown.

Mushroom Quesadillas

Makes 6

  • 12 flour tortillas
  • ½ pound mushrooms
  • Butter
  • 1 ½ to 2 cups shredded Mexican cheese mixture
  • 1 Poblano pepper, roasted, seeded and finely chopped
  • Your favorite salsa

Thinly slice mushrooms and place in a skillet with one tablespoon melted butter. Cook until done. Drain any juices left.

Preheat oven to 300°F.

Heat a heavy skillet (cast iron works well) on high. Butter one side of each tortilla. Place as many as the skillet will hold but no more than six. Top each tortilla evenly with mushrooms, diced roasted pepper, cheese, and salsa. Top with the other tortilla, butter side up. Cook until cheese starts to melt, adjusting the heat to make sure the tortillas don’t burn. Flip over and cook until the tortilla is golden brown.

Transfer the quesadillas to a cookie sheet and place in oven. Cook the remaining quesadillas.

Serve with sour cream or Mexican crema and salsa. Can be served whole or cut in half or quarters.

Mango Margarita

From “Love & Lemons Cookbook” by Jeanine Donofrio.

  • 3 cups cubed frozen mango, from about 4 small mangos
  • ¼ cup lime juice, plus lime slices for garnish
  • 3 ounces silver tequila
  • 2 ounces Cointreau
  • 3 handfuls ice cubes
  • Sea salt for the glass rims, optional

Place the mango, lime juice, tequila, and Cointreau in a blender and blend until smooth. Add the ice and blend to the desired consistency. If the mixture is too thick to blend, let it sit and melt for a few minutes.

If desired, use a lime wedge to moisten the rims of the glasses and then dip the rims in a small plate of salt.

Pour the mango mixture into the glasses and garnish with a lime slice.

Art Immersion at 21c Museum Hotel: The Place for Penguins, Bourbon, Southern Cuisine, and Cotton Candy

Photo courtesy of 21c Museum Hotel Louisville.

Much more than a place to lay your head, 21c Museum Hotel with locations in Louisville, Cincinnati, Des Moines, Chicago, St. Louis, Lexington, Kansas City, Oklahoma City, Nashville, Durham, and Bentonville, Arkansas, is a total immersion into art or, maybe better put, it’s a night in the art museum.

Penguin Love. Photo of 21c Museum Hotel Louisville.

In Louisville, it started when I spied a 4-foot penguin at the end of the hall as I headed to my room but 30 minutes later when I opened my door, the rotund red bird was there in front of me. “Don’t worry,” said a man walking by. “They’re always on the move.”

Proof on Main. Photo courtesy of 21c Museum Hotel Louisville.

The migratory birds, sculptures first exhibited at the 2005 Venice Biennale and now part of the collection of 21c Museum Hotel in Louisville add a touch of whimsy. But with 9,000 square feet of gallery space and art in all corridors and rooms, three-fourths coming from the owners’ private collection valued at $10 million, 21c is a serious museum.

Proof on Main. Photo of 21c Museum Hotel Louisville.

Carved out of five former 19th-century bourbon and tobacco warehouses, 21c is both part of the revitalization of Louisville’s delightful downtown and a transformation of art from backdrop into upfront and thought-provoking.

The sleek, minimalist interior — uber-urbanism with linear white walls dividing the main lobby and downstairs gallery into cozy conversational and exhibit spaces — is softened with touches of the buildings’ past using exposed red brick walls and original timber and iron support beams as part of the decor. Named by Travel + Leisure as one of the 500 Best Hotels in the World, 21c is also the first North American museum of 21st-century contemporary art.

Photo courtesy of 21c Museum Hotel Louisville.

I find more whimsy on a plate at Proof on Main, the hotel’s restaurant, when the waiter plops down my bill and a fluff of pink cotton candy — no after-dinner mints here. For more about the cotton candy, see the sidebar below. But the food, a delicious melange of contemporary, American South, and locally grown, will please even the most serious foodinista. It’s all creative without being too over the top. Menu items include charred snap peas tossed with red chermoula on a bed of creamy jalapeno whipped feta,

Bison Burger. Photo and recipe courtesy of 21c Museum Hotel Louisville.

And, of course, the Proof on Main staple since first opening. 8 ounce patty, char grilled to your preferred temp (chef recommended medium rare), served with smoky bacon, extra sharp cheddar and sweet onion jam to compliment the game of the meat nicely. Local Bluegrass bakery makes our delicious brioche buns. The burger comes house hand cut fries. For the ending (but it’s okay if you want to skip everything else and get down to the Butterscotch Pot De Créme, so very luxuriously smooth and rich pot de creme with soft whipped cream and crunchy, salty pecan cookies.

Mangonada at Proof on Main. Photo and recipe courtesy of 21c Museum Hotel Louisville.

House-cured pancetta seasons the baby Brussels sprouts, grown on the restaurant’s 1,000-acre farm. Local is on the drink menu as well with more than 50 regional and seasonal Kentucky bourbons.

A meal like this demands a walk, so I step outside (more art here) on Main, a street of 19th-century cast-iron facades, the second largest collection in the U.S. Once known as Whiskey Row, it’s refined now as Museum Row on Main. To my left, a 120-foot bat leans on the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory, across the street is the Louisville Science Center, and nearby are several more including the Muhammad Ali Center.

Heading east, I take a 15-minute stroll to NuLu, an emerging neighborhood of galleries, restaurants and shops. I’ve come for the Modjeskas, caramel-covered marshmallows created in 1888 in honor of a visiting Polish actress and still made from the original recipe at Muth’s Candies. On the way back to 21c, I detour through Waterfront Park, a vast expanse of greenway on the Ohio River, taking time to bite into a Modjeska and watch boats pass by.

21C MUSEUM HOTEL700 W. Main St., Louisville, Ky., 502-217-6300, 21chotel.com

Pink Cotton Candy for Dessert. Photo courtesy of 21c Museum Hotel Louisville.

As an aside, the idea for the cotton candy originated with co-founder Steve Wilson. Here’s the story, from the restaurant’s blog, Details Matter.
“A memory that sticks with Steve from his younger years is the circus coming to town.  Steve grew up in a small town in far Western Kentucky along the Mississippi River called Wickliffe He distinctly remembers the year the one striped tent was erected on the high school baseball field. Certainly not the large three ringed circus many others may remember, but the elephants, the handsome people in beautiful costumes…they were all there.  When Steve sat through the show he got a glimpse into a fantasy world he didn’t know existed. A departure from reality.  Oftentimes, after his trip to the circus, when he was sad or frustrated, he would daydream about running away to the circus. In fact, he’ll tell you he used to pull the sheets of his bed over his head, prop them up in the middle and pretend to be the ringmaster in his own crazy circus tent!  In his eyes, the circus was where everything was beautiful, and no one would cry.

There’s that darn penguin again. Photo courtesy of 21c Museum Hotel Louisville.

“Fast forward many years later, Steve met Laura Lee Brown at a dinner party in Louisville.  He was immediately smitten and wanted to impress her.  SO naturally one of his first dates was a trip to the circus at the KY Expo Center.  Whether she was impressed or not, it seems to have worked.

“Years later, as Steve and Laura Lee were working on the development of 21c Louisville, they took a trip to Mexico City.  At the end of one particularly memorable dinner, the server ended the meal with pink cotton candy served on a green grass plate.  It was sticky, messy, and immediately brought back memories from Steve’s childhood.  It was a feel good memory he wanted to last.

“Steve often says 21c makes him actually FEEL like the ringmaster in his own circus, so as the restaurant plans were getting finalized, he wanted to incorporate cotton candy as an homage to that feeling.  As we opened up each new restaurant, the cotton candy continued, each time with a color and flavor to match the color of the hotel’s resident penguins.  Eight operating restaurants later, the hope is that each and every diner ends their meal a little sticky, a little messy, and feeling nostalgic about good childhood memories.”

And again! Photo courtesy of 21c Museum Hotel Louisville.

Recipes courtesy of Proof on Main

Buttermilk Biscuits

2 cups self-rising flour

½ tsp kosher salt

1 tbsp light brown sugar

1 cup buttermilk

¼ heavy cream

6 tbsp butter

2 tbsp Crisco

Pre-heat oven to 350F. Grate butter on the coarse side of the grater and put butter in the freezer along with the Crisco. Mix all dry ingredients together in a bowl. Mix cream and buttermilk in a separate bowl. Once butter is very cold combine with the dry ingredients with hands until a coarse meal is made. Add the cold dairy to the mixture and fold until just combined. Roll out dough on a floured clean surface and cut biscuits with a ring mold cutter. Layout on sheet trays 2 inches apart. Bake for 8 minutes and rotate set timer for 8 more minutes. Once out of the oven brush with melted butter.

SMOKED CATFISH DIP

Smoked Catfish Dip. Photo and recipe courtesy of 21c Museum Hotel Louisville.

This recipe makes a lot, but you can easily divide it—or put the extra in a mason jar and give to a friend as a holiday gift.

YIELD: 1 QUART

1 lb. Smoked catfish
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 cup sour cream
3 Tablespoons small diced celery
3 Tablespoons small diced white onion
Juice and Zest of One Lemon
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
2 Tablespoons mayonnaise
Salt and black pepper to taste

TO SERVE

Lemon wedges
Hot sauce
Pretzel crackers
Fresh dill for garnish

Flake the fish with your hands until it is fluffy. Combine the mustard, sour cream, celery, onion, parsley, lemon juice and zest and the mayonnaise together. Combine with the catfish and mix until it is well incorporated. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve cold with fresh dill and lemon wedges, your favorite hot sauce and pretzel crackers.

Mangonada

“This is a slightly complex variation of a margarita, adding smoky mezcal, bright cilantro and tangy mango-tamarind syrup. It was created as a play on the Mexican sweet treat, the Mangonada, with mango, a tamarind candy stick, and Tajin seasoning.” – Proof on Main Beverage Director, Jeff Swoboda.

3/4 oz Banhez
3/4 El Jimador Blanco
1/4 oz Cynar 70
1 oz mango-tamarind syrup
3/4 oz lime juice
big pinch of cilantro

Shake together with ice, strain over fresh ice and garnish with a Tamarrico candy straw.

Proof on Main’s Mint Julep

1 cup mint leaves, plus a sprig or two for garnish

1 ounce sugar syrup

2 ounces bourbon

Crushed ice to fill glass

In a rocks glass, lightly press on mint with a muddler or back of a spoon. Add the sugar syrup. Pack the glass with crushed ice and pour the bourbon over the ice. Garnish with an extra mint sprig.