The first time I booked a table with Kobus van der Merwe, he’d just been named Rising Star in the 2014 Eat Out awards, South Africa’s homegrown restaurant accolades. I invited two friends to Oep v Koep with me, both avowed foodies. The day before, Kobus warned us of the road works. Instead of the 3.5-hour round trip from Cape Town, it would take five. For lunch. I recall nervously bickering with my husband as we drove to Paternoster, the West Coast fishing village where Kobus forages and cooks – what if the forager spiel was overhyped? Would we sit through course after course, our friends making polite small talk, the silent reprimand of a wasted Sunday heavy in the air? Instead it was a revelation; every dish an artwork, the textures and flavours fresh and novel. I went home glowing, delighted thank yous ringing in my ears. To continue reading this article Start your free trial of Premium Access all Premium articles Subscriber-only events … [Read more...] about Is South African food the world’s most underrated?
“I promise, you haven’t seen anything like this,” says Nikos Fraskos, a venerable Greek icon designer and restorer, as he struggles with the keys to a chapel’s door. I’m on Chios, a Greek island that has largely escaped the typical tourist trail. It’s not because it lacks beauty, beaches or backstory; she famously boasts Homer as her progeny and guides gleefully lead you to an ancient sanctuary to the north of Chios Town and point at an eroded rock-hewn bench, the “Teacher’s Stone”, supposedly the spot where the poet held court. No, the reason for the relative lack of package holidays is because the island’s wealth isn’t totally dependent on tourism. Chiots have always been well-off, because... Register for free to read this article, or log in to your Telegraph account Register Log in … [Read more...] about The tiny Greek chapel with a controversial secret
Londoners live in each other’s pockets. Greater London, England’s most crowded county, is home to 8.8m people. That works out at 5,618 per square kilometre – hardly conducive to peace and quiet. Residents of Bristol (4,186 people per km²), West Midlands (3,213), Greater Manchester (2,193) and Merseyside (2,190) fare little better. So where can you go for silence and solitude? Below are England’s 10 least crowded counties, plus expert tips on where to enjoy the tranquility. 10. Devon Population: 1,185,500 Area: 6,707 km² 176 people per km² Where to lose yourself It’s hard to beat Dartmoor, the largest area of open country in the south of England, with its ancient woodland, high granite tors and vast tracts of rolling moorland. Visit in spring to see lambs gambolling and hedgerows full of wildflowers, or in summer for lazy picnics and a wild swim. In autumn, heather carpets the hills, while wintry … [Read more...] about England’s 10 quietest counties
It is not immediately clear, at the moment I step through the entrance of the Bless Hotel, that I have walked into a place designed for slumber. The broad thoroughfare of Calle de Velázquez outside, and the refined purr of traffic along it, has confirmed that I am in Madrid – in the well-to-do district of Salamanca, no less, with its chic boutiques, pricey real estate and easy access to the green lung of El Retiro park. But beyond this, in the warmth of what I expected to be the lobby, the visual clues are rather more confusing. Directly in front of me, a circular bar is weighted with bottles of spirits; the ceiling above it adorned with numbers, boxed into alternating squares of red and black. Away to the right, a second bar is similarly stocked for action – although not, in this case, attempting to impersonate an upside-down roulette wheel. And all around me are tables where young urbanites are contentedly picking at plates of picoteas ("nibbles") – … [Read more...] about Come for the food, stay for the night: inside Bless Hotel, Madrid’s latest hipster hang-out
Cooking is taken seriously in Marrakech: where emphasis is placed on fresh produce from local souks and markets, and every multifarious grain of spice counts. Hotels, especially those with destination restaurants, are a popular choice of venue for cookery courses; learning the art of traditional Moroccan cooking from a resident chef is seen as authentic and a skillset you take home. Many of them offer tours around the markets too. From earthy tagines to spicy slow-cooked stews, here are some of the Red City's best hotels in which to hone your culinary skills. Riad Noir d’Ivoire The real show-stopper at this grand sandstone-coloured riad is chef Youssef Jbari’s modern-Moroccan dining menu. In a town that tends to favour heavy meat dishes and spice-filled flavours, his exceptional, unfussy cooking is a revelation, and there’s a 3,000-bottle wine list to match. If you’re feeling inspired you can book one of their private cookery sessions which begins with a trip to … [Read more...] about Spice up your life: 14 of the most authentic cookery courses in Marrakech hotels