Family, Tradition, and Modena’s Black Gold: Everything You Didn’t Know You Wanted to Know About Balsamic Vinegar

A long, narrow driveway leads straight into fields of freshly tilled soil. At the end, there's an enormous lemon-yellow house with green trim. Two giant, all-white sheepdogs fall over themselves to greet you. There's a friendly donkey named Lola who roams around the backyard garden full of flowers, a fountain with goldfish, and fruit trees … Continue reading Family, Tradition, and Modena’s Black Gold: Everything You Didn’t Know You Wanted to Know About Balsamic Vinegar

Organic and Biodynamic Winemaking: Lessons from Two Weeks WWOOFing on a Vineyard in Tuscany

“Careful of the intestines,” my Italian co-worker called out casually over his shoulder as he swept broken glass into a spade. I peered into the dark shed, which we’d been asked (sentenced?) to clean and organize one afternoon in the 95-degree heat. The dust alone suggested that the shed had been all but forgotten. I … Continue reading Organic and Biodynamic Winemaking: Lessons from Two Weeks WWOOFing on a Vineyard in Tuscany

Hecho en Venezuela: Storytelling with Chef Valentín

“He loves talking to people about his food,” another MFR volunteer told me as I arrived to Saturday’s brunch event at Restaurante Elektra. “He has a story for every different type of arepa.” Chef José Valentín was standing behind the buffet table on Elektra’s shady terrace, serving a wide variety of his favorite dishes: a … Continue reading Hecho en Venezuela: Storytelling with Chef Valentín

Cross-Cultural Collaboration with Wesal: Syrian-Basque Fusion!

Walking through the doors at Barrutia y El 9 feels special. It’s the kind of picturesque, old-school Spanish bar that’s becoming more and more difficult to find in Madrid. The walls are covered with ornate tiles and the bar itself, while small, features all of the basic necessities: cold beer and herbed olives waiting to … Continue reading Cross-Cultural Collaboration with Wesal: Syrian-Basque Fusion!

Embracing Diversity at Amicis with Chef Noor

Amicis restaurant, tucked away in the maze of cobblestone streets near Plaza Mayor in the center of Madrid, was a welcoming refuge from the hot sun yesterday afternoon. Amicis is described as a place “to share food and drinks in a great environment with good friends,” and after spending only a few short minutes in … Continue reading Embracing Diversity at Amicis with Chef Noor

Opening Night of Madrid’s Refugee Food Festival with Pierre!

At 10 pm last night, chef Pierre T. was still warmly greeting his guests, shaking their hands, and answering questions about various features of the dishes he had crafted for them. It had been a long day starting with an early morning ACNUR conference where he delivered a speech (and met Jesús Vazquez!), multiple interviews … Continue reading Opening Night of Madrid’s Refugee Food Festival with Pierre!

Representation, Integration, Kebabization: Unpacking Europe’s “Favourite Drunk Food”

Representation As an American newly living in Europe, there was nothing more enchanting to me during my first few months in Spain than doner kebab (this might be a slight exaggeration but not really). I’d seen these little shops all over the place while traveling throughout Spain, Bulgaria, and Ireland and found the sheer number … Continue reading Representation, Integration, Kebabization: Unpacking Europe’s “Favourite Drunk Food”

On Individualism, Work-Life Balance, and Coffee Culture in Madrid

One afternoon during my first month in Madrid, I was walking through my new neighborhood with my laptop in search of a café where I could get cozy, caffeinate, and bust out some work. I had a spot in mind, a café on the corner of the next street over from my apartment that seemed … Continue reading On Individualism, Work-Life Balance, and Coffee Culture in Madrid