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Traditional Apple Frangipane Flan

Featured Recipes

Travel

Bruges, Belgium

One of the most beautiful cities in Europe, Bruges in Belgium is considered as the Venice of the North and is the most popular tourist destination in Belgium. The medieval city is perfectly preserved and evokes a world long gone. Renovated to maintain its medieval appearance, Bruges feels like a trip back in time with its clock towers, canals, and cobblestone streets, although a lot of the architecture was only built in the 19th and 20th centuries so it feels more like a fairy tale than a real historical past. 
Besides the sights and usual tourist attractions, Bruges is in recent years becoming known for its food and 21st century avant-garde cuisine. There are a lot of Michelin star restaurants and chefs in the city and plenty of traditional pubs, bistros and restaurants that serve local favorites like beer-based Flemish pie or stew, mussels and frites or fricadellen (frites with mayonnaise), fried goose liver serve on top of apple tarte, and vol-au-vents. Classic French dishes and French haute cuisine are also excellent here. A lot of the restaurants and food joints do not open until six in the late noon. 
The Central market place, the Grote Markt, and the Burg Square is where most tourists go to eat but you can find better places and experiences if you wander off the beaten track.  Avoid the restaurants in the historic old town where prices are exorbitant and choose a local favorite where the menu is only in Dutch and the chef or stadd are happy to translate for you or recommend the specials. Make sure to pass by the numerous creative chocolate shops that stock confections by experimental chocolatiers and the local beer pubs that offer a wide selection of rare Belgian beers from the regions breweries.     
Head off to the street market on ât Zand square first thing in the morning and shop for Belgian cheeses, freshly baked loaves, smoked herring, and mini-boterwafels, and sweet butter waffles.
Bruges, Belgium
Toulon, France

The base for the French navyâs Mediterranean fleet and the second-largest naval port in France after Brest, Toulon is a city in Southern France located in the Provence-Alpes-Cote-dâAzur region and a capital of the Var department in the former province of Provence. An eventful history and a diverse architectural landscape make Toulon a worthwhile visit.
When former French government minister Hubert Falco became mayor of Toulon in 2002, he revitalized the city and since then it has developed in a busy place buzzing with bars and restaurants. The historical quarter is one of the main attractions of the town with its romantic pink, yellow, ochre houses and narrow winding streets. The Provencal food market is a great place to buy fresh and local produce. Opéra de Toulon, designed by Charles Garnier in 1862, is newly restored.
Located north of the harbor, the historical center was built in the middle ages and is called â vieille villeâ (old town) or âbasse villeâ low town because it is the lowest point of the city. Explore the small intricate streets and wide streets, notably the Rue dâAlgier and Cours Lafayette streets. Numerous shops border these two main streets and can get overcrowded every Saturday. In the harbor and the promenade, you will find a lot of coffee shops, fish restaurants, and souvenir shops. At the entry of the naval base is a monumental clock, Tour de lâhorloge, which used to ring at the beginning and end of the working day.         
The new town called âHaute ville,â also known as the high town, is located north of the historical center and consists of many interesting structures built in the style of the late 19th century. This is where the Opera House and Place de la liberté (liberty plaza) is located. During the winter season, a skating rink is installed in the liberty plaza and a Christmas market features products from all over France for most of December.
Toulon, France
Montreux, Switzerland

The âPearl of the Swiss Riviera,â Montreaux is located on the shore of Lake Geneva and is known for being a town of music, primarily because of the Montreux Jazz festival held for a stretch of 20 days every July and attracts some 250,000 visitors. Not only jazz musicians are invited to play but also popular musicians like Beck or David Bowie.   
Montreux is also home to the most extraordinary and most visited castle in Switzerland, the Château de Chillon, an island castle that dates back to the 12th century made popular by the Lord Byron in his poem âThe Prisoner of Chillonâ written in 1816. The castle is also one of the settings in Henry Jamesâs novella Daisy Miller written in 1878. Three major periods influenced the history of Chillon, including the Savoy Period, the Bernese Period, and the Vaudois Period.    
Montreux has long been an inspiration to artists, writers, and musicians throughout the centuries and until the present. Ernest Hemingway, Lord Byron, and the Shelleys were one-time residents. In 1971, while Frank Zappa was playing in the Montreux casino, the building caught fire and cast a pall of smoke over Lake Geneva, inspiring Deep Purpleâs classic rock single, âSmoke on the Water.â Freddie Mercury and Igor Stravinsky are also frequent visitors.       
Montreux has a breathtaking landscape composed of palm trees, Lake Geneva, the Alps, vineyards, and a glacier within a short distance. The favorable Mediterranean microclimate and easy access from the Geneva International Airport also makes it a favorite getaway at every time of the year.
Besides the famous Chillon castle, there is also an Alpine garden, an animal park called Marmottes Paradis, and Mongolian yurts for spending the night in. The Christmas market is also a huge event, held a month before Christmas, and features a wide array of culinary tastings, gifts, and chalets. For the best hiking experience, head off to Hauts de Montreux.
Montreux, Switzerland
Le Château d'Eza - La Vignette Haute, Auribeaus/Siagne, France

A medieval village that dates back to the 11th century, Auribeau-sur-Siagne is located between Cannes and Grasse in the Alpes-Maritimes department in the region of Provence-Alpes-Cote dâAzur. The thousand-year old village is perched atop a rocky spur with a height of more than a 1000 feet from sea level, overlooking the Siagne River. Two of the best places to dine and stay here is at the Le Château d'Eza, a 400-year old castle turned into a boutique hotel, and La Vignette Haute, a romantic medieval inn.  
One of the most majestic hotels along the coast of the legendary Cote dâAzur, Le Château d'Eza is built on the mountain peak right along the coast, the castle which the Prince of Sweden inhabited. While the castle is magnificent, it has only limited rooms with some suites carved into the side of the ancient rock in the grand medieval tradition. Oak beams, fireplaces, and stonewalls fill the interior of the hotel. While it remains true to its medieval roots, the hotel has been redecorated and updated to suite contemporary tastes. Stylish bathrooms and lush fabrics give the rooms a luxurious ambiance. The acclaimed Michelin-starred restaurant at the Eza is one of the finest in the region. It serves Mediterranean and French cuisine in an elegant and romantic setting with spectacular views of the French Riviera.           
Not far is La Vignette Haute, which translates to âsmall vineyard on high.â The 17th century Provencal country house is a romantic place to stay and is also a gastronomic destination. The mini paradise includes a sheepfold home to different kinds of animals. In the premises is also scented gardens, outdoor swimming pool in the Roman-style, a medieval museum, and a working farm where some of the fresh ingredients are used in the restaurant-kitchen. As with the rest of the place, the restaurant is elegantly and romantically decorated with a dazzling view of the landscape. Guests can also dine at the tower for a romantic occasion.
Le Château d'Eza - La Vignette Haute,...

Cooking Recipe Videos

There are many ways to improve your cooking skills: reading great cookbooks, taking cooking classes, and good old fashioned practice in the kitchen are traditional methods. But these days, online cooking recipe videos are another excellent resource for aspiring chefs. Here's how to get the most from the cooking videos you encounter.

Find Them

There are lots of cooking recipe videos out there, but not all are created equal. Before you spend time watching any, consider the source. If you want to widen your cooking horizons, videos featuring famous chefs are a must. Such chefs might include television personalities (who may or may not have formal cooking backgrounds), cooking legends (like Julia Child, Graham Kerr, and Wolfgang Puck), or Michelin star-awarded chefs who've impressed the cooking world with their expertise and talent.

Live Demos

Once you find cooking recipe videos by esteemed chefs, you will probably discover you learn the most if you watch the videos more than once. In the first viewing, you'll likely only get the overall picture of what the chef is doing. If you watch the video once or twice more, you may notice and remember details you didn't before.

Bear in mind that you're not just learning how to make a particular recipe. You're also hoping to learn cooking techniques you can rely upon for other dishes. For example, you might see a Michelin chef chop up food in a faster, simpler way than you've ever seen before. Or you might see how a meal is flambéed. Or you might learn a new way to cook meat so it's crisp on the outside and tender and juice on the inside. There is nothing quite like a live demo, to make those techniques stick in your brain and come to life next time you are in the kitchen.

Share it

Although cooking recipe videos are helpful and educational, they're also fun. You can make them even more entertaining by sharing them with friends. What does your best friend think about trying to make a flambéed meal with you? Does she have a funny story to tell about attempting this on her own? Does your work mate drool over gourmet desserts as much as you do? Are you and your friends inspired by a certain video to try a pot luck gourmet party? Let cooking videos be part of you and your friends online entertainment, and you'll have fun while you improve your cooking skills.

Try it Out

After watching cooking recipe videos, it's a great idea to make the recipes in your own kitchen. The best cooking video websites also have printed recipes to go along with their videos. Print one out and give the recipe your best go.

Or, you could just try out one or two techniques you learned by watching a great chef. For example, maybe you've never tried blanching vegetables before. After watching a chef demonstrate this on a video, you can try the technique almost any time you're preparing veggies.

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