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Posts from the ‘Vineyards of the World’ category

Enjoy a visit to the vineyards of the world!

JNW’s Halloween Challenge: Scary

Ogre Eyes Painted in Waterlogue

Ogre Eyes Painted in Waterlogue

Ogre Eyes Hot Chocolate

MAKES: 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 8 cups milk
  • 1 cup mint chocolate chips
  • 1 cup instant hot cocoa mix
  • 16 large marshmallows
  • 16 Black candies

Directions

  1. In a large saucepan, combine 1 cup milk, chocolate chips and cocoa mix. Cook and stir over low heat until chips are melted. Stir in remaining milk; heat through.
  2. Meanwhile, cut a slit in top of each marshmallow; insert a candy. 
  3. Pour hot cocoa into mugs or cups; place two prepared marshmallows in each cup. Serve immediately. Yield: 8 servings.
If mint chocolate chips are not available, place 2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips and 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract in a plastic bag; seal and toss to coat. Allow chips to stand for 24-48 hours.
Have a spooktacular time with JNW’s Halloween Challenge! Enjoy!

Let the Feast Begin!

The Swan Restaurant at Chapel Down Winery, Kent, UK

The Swan Restaurant at Chapel Down Winery, Kent, UK

Today we are celebrating Thanksgiving with our family, enjoying turkey and all the trimmings! In my last post I talked about the Chapel Down Winery and the beautiful Swan Restaurant. So here is the food you might be eating if you were in the UK today. It’s the traditional Sunday roast and more! Enjoy your day!

The Swan Restaurant, Chapel Down Winery, Kent, UK

The Swan Restaurant, Chapel Down Winery, Kent, UK

There is an area for relaxing and drinking their fine sparkling wines and Curious Beers! A great place to meet up!

The Swan Restaurant, Chapel Down Winery, Kent, UK

The Swan Restaurant, Chapel Down Winery, Kent, UK

There is also the dining room area for eating the tempting meals! So many choices!!!!!

The Swan Restaurant, Chapel Down Winery, Kent, UK

The Swan Restaurant, Chapel Down Winery, Kent, UK

We chose from the gathering menu, which routinely changes during the season! Three courses with different wines served with each! First the appetizer, with wine………….

The Appetizers, The Swan Restaurant, Kent, UK

The Appetizers, The Swan Restaurant, Kent, UK

The Appetizers, The Swan Restaurant, Kent, UK

The Appetizers, The Swan Restaurant, Kent, UK

Then we ordered the Yorkshire Pudding plate because we have never eaten Yorkshire pudding! If you are expecting a crystal, fluted cup with a yummy, creamy, thick, sweet pudding, topped with real whipped cream, you will be quite surprised!  We were!!!!!!!!!! Read about Yorkshire pudding, with recipe, here. The article is quite amusing!!!!!  The mushroom looking bread in the picture is Yorkshire pudding! It is neither a traditional pudding as we know it, or from Yorkshire!!!!!! It was served with a cauliflower gratin!!!!! Yummmmmmy!

THE YORKSHIRE PUDDING!

THE YORKSHIRE PUDDING!

The main course and of course more wine……………..

The Traditional Sunday Roast, The Swan Restaurant, Kent, UK

The Traditional Sunday Roast, The Swan Restaurant, Kent, UK

The Pork, Swan Restaurant, Kent, UK

The Pork Loin, Swan Restaurant, Kent, UK

The Deserts, The Swan Restaurant, Kent, UK

The Deserts, The Swan Restaurant, Kent, UK

The deserts served with………… you guessed it, another glass of sparkly!

The Deserts, The Swan Restaurant, Kent, UK

The Deserts, The Swan Restaurant, Kent, UK

Were those bowler hats used as lighting or was I seeing things?

What are bowler hats exactly?……. I’ve had so much wine, now I am thinking about Bowler hats!!!! Definition: Known as a bob hat, billycock or bobkin, it is made of hard felt with a round crown created for the British soldier in 1849.  Now all I can think about is The Thomas Crown Affair with Pierce Brosnan! Time to go home!!!! I’ve had a really good day! See you soon!

The Swan Restaurant, Chapel Down Winery, Kent, UK

The Swan Restaurant, Chapel Down Winery, Kent, UK

Eat, Drink and Be Merry: Let’s Start with the Drink and Be Merry!

Chapel Down Winery, Tenterden Kent, UK

Chapel Down Winery, Tenterden Kent, UK

During my English Garden Tour we based in the countryside outside of Tenterden, Kent. It was a wise decision, because it was near the beautiful and busy market town of Tenterden, but we still could enjoy the peace of the countryside. Some of our best finds were found on the small lane that took us out of Tenterden to the Bullein B&B. One find was the Smallhythe Place, country home of Ellen Terry, (see previous posts about that) and right up the lane from the cottage was the Chapel Down Vineyard. What a great surprise that was! It is rated the top vineyard in the UK for sparkling wines, Curious Beers and ciders! So one Sunday afternoon we took it upon ourselves to partake of the vineyard. Poor pitiful Us!  Ha Ha!

Chapel Down Winery is set in a charming and well kept garden surrounded by the vineyards. As the crow flies we could have walked there from the B&B. So, it really was a three fold visit, it had a lovely garden, and an inviting vineyard, wine and specialty food shop. Topping off the day we ate at the fantastic Swan Restaurant on the premises!  I will talk about the The Swan Restaurant in my next post!

First I had to visit the garden!

Chapel Down Winery, Tenterden, Kent, UK

Chapel Down Winery, Tenterden, Kent, UK

Chapel Down Winery, Tenterden, Kent, UK

Chapel Down Winery, Tenterden, Kent, UK

Chapel Down Winery, Tenterden, Kent, UK

Chapel Down Winery, Tenterden, Kent, UK

What a great place for a wedding! Everything you need right here!

Chapel Down Winery, Tenterden, Kent, UK

Chapel Down Winery, Tenterden, Kent, UK

Chapel Down Winery, Tenterden, Kent, UK

Chapel Down Winery, Tenterden, Kent, UK

Chapel Down Winery, Tenterden, Kent, UK

Chapel Down Winery, Tenterden, Kent, UK

Chapel Down Winery, Tenterden, Kent, UK

Chapel Down Winery, Tenterden, Kent, UK

There is the wine tasting  area in the large barn-like building, which features  the award- winning wine along with local cheeses, chutney, hand-made chocolates, and artisan biscuits.  The staff are very helpful and knowledgable. While we were there many people were stocking up with cases and cases of wine!

This is what I learned………..

The Curious Beer, made by the Kent winemaker, has been named one of the world’s best lager’s in the industry. The International Beer Challenge, which has judged the best beers in the world for the past sixteen years, awarded Chapel Down the Gold Medal for the Curious Brew! With over four hundred brew entries Chapel Down had the best of its class! Using East Anglian malt, saaz and cascade hops, they re-ferment the lager using champagne yeast to make a highly drinkable and refreshing lager beer.  The sparkling wines and beers have been served at Buckingham Palace and were featured during the wedding celebrations of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Curious Brew is currently served on draught at Jamie Oliver’s Union Jack restaurants and Jamie’s Italians, The Swan at London’s Globe Theatre, the Royal Opera House, as well as independent pubs in the south east. We were so lucky to stumble across this place! If it’s good enough for the queen it’s good enough for me!

We chose to eat at the Swan Restaurant, (a reservation is highly recommended) and try the different beverages with our meal!  What a lovely day out! Do not miss the Chapel Down Winery and Swan Restaurant in Tenterden!  Now let’s go in The Swan and check out the menu!

Triple Treat in Belgium

Damme, Belgium

Along the Canal at Damme, Belgium

Doesn’t the picture above just convey what you dreamed the Netherlands would look like? It does to me and I was not disappointed! Today we are having a triple treat! We are taking the “Triple Treat Bus Tour,” offered by Quasimodo Tours. The day is overcast with occasional wind gusts and blowing rain, but nothing dampens our tour out into the countryside of Brugge. The Triple Treat Tour  features several country homes, the village of Damme, the oldest gothic buildings in Flanders at the former monastery at Ter Doest, where we will have lunch, a tour of a chocolate factory, and last stop, a beer brewery! We are in for a day of fun which started when the  Quasimodo Guides picked us up at our B&B and took us to the bus waiting for us in the town square.

The bus takes us out into “Burbs” of Brugge. Then down this narrow lane and deep into the wood, passing the grazing cows we come to the moated castle of Tillegem.

Through the Woods and Down a Narrow Lane!

Through the Woods and Down a Narrow Lane!

The Cows in the Country at Tillegem, Belgium

The Cows in the Country at Tillegem, Belgium

Had to take a picture of the cows! And now for the Castle of Tillegem! Baldwin, the Iron Arm, first count of Flanders, constructed a wooden tower surrounded by battlements where the castle now stands.  Since 1980 the castle and beautiful park has been the property of the province of West Flanders.  I had to take a picture of the castle from every angle!  The castle is not open to visitors.

The Moated Castle of Tillegem, Belgium

The Moated Castle of Tillegem, Belgium

The Moated Castle of Tillegem, Belgium

The Moated Castle of Tillegem, Belgium

The Moated Castle of Tillegem, Belgium

The Moated Castle of Tillegem, Belgium

The Moated Castle of Tillegem, Belgium

The Moated Castle of Tillegem, Belgium

The Moated Castle of Tillegem, Belgium

The Moated Castle of Tillegem, Belgium

Next we drove to the neo-gothic Chateau of Loppem, full of artwork and other treasures! Built between 1859 and 1862 for Baron Charles Van Caloen and his family, the castle’s original architecture and interior decoration is remarkably well preserved.  The park and castle are owned by the Jean van Caloen Foundation and is open to the public. I took so many pictures inside here, but they were dark, fuzzy and not too good.  Trust me when I say this home was a delight to see.

Chateau of Loppem, Belgium

Chateau of Loppem, Belgium

Chateau of Loppem, Belgium

Chateau of Loppem, Belgium

It’s now pouring and really gusty as we get to Ter Doest!

Lambert, Lord of Lissewege, donated land to the Benedictus friers in 1106, to build a priory. In 1270 the Benedictines left and the Cistercienzers Order, who had ties to the Templer Knights, took over. In 1172, Richard, the Lionheart, one of my relatives, was captured by Leopold of Austria on his return from the Crusades. It is said that the abbot of Ter Doest paid the larger part of the ransom in order to get Richard out of prison. It is assumed he came to Ter Doest for a time after his release. He was in fact in Damme, where we are headed later today.

The gothic barn, built around 1280, is the largest remaining barn of its kind, and was used to store crops. In 1308 the barn and abbey were confiscated during protestant religious wars, so the farm we see today was built from the debris of the destroyed abbey. Today a lovely restaurant and B&B also sit on this site! Let’s go have lunch!

The Restaurant at Ter Doest, Belgium

The Restaurant at Ter Doest, Belgium

The Old Barn at Ter Doest, Belgium

The Old Barn and ArtWork at Ter Doest, Belgium

Artwork at Ter Doest, Belgium

Artwork at Ter Doest, Belgium

After our great lunch at Ter Doest, we made our way to Damme.  Situated right along the river Reie, the river has now been canalized into the long , straight, tree-lined and picturesque Damse Vaart Canal from Brugge, just 6 kilometers away, to the Dutch border in Sluis. This makes a great bike trip from the city. Even though it was raining and windy there were bikers doing just that!  We all met up in Damme! What exquisite scenery!

Picure Perfect Along the Canal in Damme, Belgium

Picture Perfect Along the Canal in Damme, Belgium

A Windmill Along the Canal in Damme, Belgium

A Windmill Along the Canal in Damme, Belgium

The town is a favorite venue for eating and a destination for boat trips. It is also known for being a great “book town” with numerous bookshops and regular book fairs! Just so nice to explore too!

The Village of Damme, Belgium

The Village of Damme, Belgium

The Village of Damme, Belgium

The Village of Damme, Belgium

Wrought Iron Sculptured Art in Domme, Belgium

Wrought Iron Sculptured Art in Damme, Belgium

Our next stop was the tour of a Belgium Chocolate factory, but sad to say I was addicted to the Dumon’s Chocolates, and wanted to wait it out until evening to stock up on my favorites. Finally, our last stop back in Brugge, was The Fort Lapin Brewery. There was a variety of Belgium Beers to taste (included in price of tour) but my hand must have been busy holding those pints because I didn’t get any pictures! What a fabulous tour! Be sure to check Quasimodo Tours in Belgium.  Enjoy!

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