Things to Do in the Basque Country

Things to Do in the Basque Country

The Basque Country is a region in Spain known for its sprawling valleys and rugged mountains. The region attracts millions of tourists every year, as Argia reports that 4.5 million tourists visited in 2015 — a number that is likely to have only grown since then. If you’re planning a trip of your own to this beautiful region, read on for a list of things to add to your itinerary.

Explore the cathedrals

By Dflandre – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16413873

One of the best ways to appreciate the Basque’s unique landscape and architecture is to explore its two most famous cathedrals, the similarly named Saint Mary’s Cathedral and Sainte-Marie Cathédrale. The former, also called the Cathedral of Santa María, is located in Vittoria-Gastéiz, the peaceful capital of the region. The intricate details of the gothic cathedral were chiselled during its construction in the 13th and 14th century. Not too far in Bayonne, Sainte-Marie Cathédrale’s unique infrastructure makes it a popular site to visit, too. The building is made entirely out of locally sourced red and white stones and overlooks two local rivers. Both landmarks have been declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites and host regular tours for their visitors.

Go on a food crawl

The Spanish people have a rich food culture and history — a fact to take advantage of on your trip. An obvious place to start is with staples like paella, ham, and tapas. We’ve personally confirmed that Spain is home to the most mouth-watering tapas, and these are definitely something you shouldn’t miss out on during your visit.

In the Basque Country specifically, the place to look for is La Bretxa in San Sebastian-Donostia, a market known for its fresh and high-quality seafood. The variety of things at the market are from nearby ports, straight from the fishermen.

Visit a gaming centre

Espaldazo [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]

For the complete European experience, you can head over to either of the two available land-based casinos in Bilbao or San Sebastian. Gran Casino Bilbao is an excellent choice if you enjoy classic table games like Blackjack and Roulette. Poker tables for games like Texas Hold ’em are also available in the facility.

Of course, the rise of online gaming portals has been both a boon and bane for land-based casinos like Gran Casino Bilbao. Although foot traffic and revenues have undoubtedly taken a hit because of the emergence of online gaming opportunities, these have also made experiences in gaming centres all the more unique, and introduced more people into the excitement of different casino activities. With this in mind, online gaming and casino magazine Expat Bets continues to provide comprehensive casino guides for expats and travellers from around the world on top of giving them a taste of popular games like Big Bad Wolf and Dragon Dance. That’s because there is much more to enjoy on both sides of the spectrum, which sites like this and Gran Casino Bilbao stand as a testament to. If you plan on dropping by the casino at Bilbao, keep in mind that you can play the slot machines from 10 am until 5 am the next day, while table games run from 5 pm until 5 am.

Learn from the museums

Bilbao is also the home of one of the world’s best museums — The Guggenheim Museum. Filled with contemporary and modern art, this attraction is a must-visit for the artsy tourist. The unique curves and appearance of the building itself is considered a masterpiece designed by architect Frank Gehry, who is known for his unconventional style.

A quainter option is found in Bayonne, in the Musée Basque. It houses over 2,000 artefacts that tell the story of Bayonne and the Basque Country, and is the largest ethnographic museum in the region.

All in all, there are hundreds of things to do for travellers who find themselves in the Basque Country, where enriching one of a kind experiences await at every corner. We love talking about Spain and other famous food destinations here on Dominique Rizzo, because like this breath-taking Spanish region, there is a myriad of places around the world to learn about and explore, sights to see, and food to taste — all just waiting for you to get there.

Cracking the Misconceptions about Escorted Tours

7 reasons why Dominique Rizzo Food and Wine Tours are better than travelling on your own

cracking the misconceptions about escorted tours - Dominique Rizzo food wine tours

That’s what cracking the misconceptions about escorted tours is all about.

  1. Better value for money and flexibility with flights

Cracking the misconceptions that escorted tours are expensive is easy when you weigh up the cost and time taken to book and organise your own itinerary. With an escorted tour, you pay the one price up front, usually outlaying a deposit to secure the booking and then using a payment plan to work within your budget to finalise the remainder of the payments. This is a great way of planning a trip in the future as you can make the deposit a year before the trip begins and you have the whole year to pay it off.

Most tour companies include flights in their price, Dominique Rizzo’s Food and Wine Tours offer a land price only leaving more flexibility for the traveller to tailor the beginning and the end of the tour to suit any extra travelling they wish to do outside of the tour dates. Most travellers have their own preferred airline they like to travel with, and for the frequent flyer, of course, there are the benefits of using your preferred airline taking advantage of your accumulated points.

Building relationships with local guides/hotels/restaurants and local suppliers mean that we are able to negotiate special rates and our experience in the industry means that our escorted tours are crafted to maximise the efficiency of time and cost for the traveller. Often people look at the price of an escorted tour thinking it is higher than other trips but in reality, an escorted tour is perfectly pre-packaged, designed to take all the planning out, so the only decision you have to make on tour is what to wear.

  1. You have the best of both worlds…Your own leisure time and escorted tours by local insightful guides

People often think that escorted tours leave you no time for yourself to just wander around and explore, which is part of why we all love travelling. Dominique Rizzo’s Food tours offer bespoke itineraries with action-packed days ensuring you get to see, taste and experience as much of a region as possible, but you do have the option to do as little or as much as you like. Often it’s great to get a guided tour of a city from one of our local guides first, for you to get your bearings of the city, understand the culture, history and the importance of the specific sites and monuments and to work out where it is in relation to the hotel. You can then head out on your own for shopping, wandering or just taking in the atmosphere and really make the most of your free time.

  1. All your transportation is taken care of in private, comfortable, airconditioned comfort booked only for tour guests.

There is nothing worse than seeing large bus loads of tourists pulling up to then get ferried onto trains, boats and planes all dragging their own luggage behind them. Dominique Rizzo’s Escorted Tours are small group tours with 12 – 14 people. We travel in comfortable, private, modern, airconditioned small busses for the flexibility of getting onto those small off the beaten-track roads, and narrow cobbled streets often found in Europe. We usually have the one driver for the whole journey who often becomes part of the fun of the tour. Time spent on the bus is minimal in comparison to the rest of the tour, and you are able to leave your belongings on the bus safely when hoping off for lunch or rest stops. Having small group tours means we can accommodate each individual personally, stopping to take photos, bathroom stops and spontaneous places of interest is very easy without fuss or hassle.

 

  1. The most exciting and fun aspect of travel is often what happens spontaneously, meeting and mixing with the locals and discovering unique experiences that are off the beaten track taking you into the true culture of a region.

Travelling on your own whether you are driving or by public transport, you often will play it safe sticking to guide book routes and recommendations. It’s only when you get out of the big cities and meet people “in the know” that you discover the true essence of a region, its people and their culture. This doesn’t often happen on mass-produced tours as they tend to stick to a repetitious itinerary with “made for tourist” experiences. Dominique Rizzo’s Food Tours are all about offering you unique experiences. Building relationships with local guides who are always on the lookout for diverse and interesting local activities mean that on Dominique’s tours you get to really be part of and feel the European culture in the raw. Visiting the families, who make award-winning sausages and salami, walking amongst their black pigs and enjoying some of their products right in the heart of the Spanish hills; meeting and having lunch on their property in Sicily with the family who owns the sheep farm and seeing them in action making fresh ricotta; kneading the dough with the baker in their ancient bakery handed down through generations; enjoying a true Sicily family lunch, cooking with the family, playing cards, is experiencing a culture that has stood the test of time. This is what travelling is all about. After you have seen all the sights, taken a thousand pictures of monuments and churches, it’s the memories of the people you meet, the relationships you make, the laughter, the inclusion that sticks in your mind. It is these unique experiences that we are always on the lookout for, so our tours are always flexible and changing.

cracking the misconceptions about escorted tours - Dominique Rizzo food wine tours

  1. Dominique is a qualified Chef and restaurateur who personally ensures your food and wine experiences are a highlight on the tour

We would all have to agree that trying new cuisines while travelling is one of the biggest highlights. We cringe at the sight of a “tourist menu” on blackboards, menu boards or menus and we do our best to stay away from eateries who predominately cater for tourists. Also quite often large travel companies aren’t so concerned that restaurants tend to all serve the same regional specials or a slight variation of them. Dominique Rizzo’s Food Tours ensure you enjoy a wide selection of a region’s cuisine, guaranteeing that you are not eating the same dishes over and over again. We focus on hand selecting venues for their quality, location, zero food miles and attention to the “Slow Food” movement, taking great care to maintain their regionality, traditions and diversity, resulting in experiences of the sea, mountain, country and city. Most of the meals and beverages are included on Dominique Rizzo’s Food Tours and where we do give you free time to wander and eat on your own, then our lunch or dinner on that day are of bountiful abundance. The main comment on most of our Food Tours is there was “too much” food. We have designed each day to include activities that include tastings of food and or wine-focused around lunch or dinner or both. As well as our hand-selected A La Carte dinners, shared table banquet dining, long lunches, and lavish dinners, we also offer relaxed dining at some of the noted wineries and enotecas or speciality pizza restaurants and also give you the opportunity to practice your language skills, ordering whatever you would like to eat.

  1. Quality, comfort, luxury, style and experience

Dominique’s Food Tours focus on giving her clients personalised, professional service throughout the whole tour, from booking the tour right through to saying goodbye. We personally select all accommodation with 4 and 5-star ratings, often with Spa experiences available to give you maximum opportunity to relax and enjoy your stay in that particular region. Our aim is to give you a feel of contrasting horizons, vistas, scenery and emotional connection to the land. From modern city style hotels to historic, converted stone convents, caves and farmhouses in the country and mountains, cliff side rooms with sea views, small-town traditional boutique hotels, and family run Agriturismo. All of the accommodations are unique in their own style; some are quirky, some are perhaps not what we are used to, although all have the modern facilities you need to make you feel at home and are well located giving you the opportunity to head out to explore on your own. This diverse collection makes up the bespoke experiences that come with a Dominique Rizzo Tour.

cracking the misconceptions about escorted tours - Dominique Rizzo Food Wine Tours

  1. Dominique Rizzo Food Tours are for everyone

There is such a stigma that Personally Escorted Tours are only for the retirees. Dominique Rizzo’s clients range from 18 – 70+, retirees, professionals, businessmen and women, couples, single women, single men, mothers and daughters, mothers and sons, siblings. Dominique’s small group tours are for everyone and are an amazing way to meet new and interesting people with the same passion and curiosity about the world. Often the tours are a melting pot of people from all different walks of life. Some clients meeting on tour have forged long friendships, often planning their next holiday with Dominique’s Food Tours to travel together. For people who may not be able-bodied as others, we do have small amounts of walking on the tour and can accommodate those who find large amounts of walking difficult. In essence, Dominique’s Food Tours are perfect for anyone wanting to just sit back, relax, take in the moment and just have a wonderful time. Let all the organising, bookings and logistics of a unique tour be taken care of for you. Book One of Dominique’s Food Tours today.

 

 

 

 

Ice Cream in the Chef’s Playground

Writing recipes is an everyday occurrence in the life of restaurateur Chef Dominique Rizzo. Adding a fresh take on ice cream, taking it out of its dessert comfort zone and dropping it into the entree menu is a walk with a difference for ice cream in the Chef’s Playground.

ice cream in Chef's playground - Phillip Johnson, William Wallace, Ben Williamson, Dominique Rizzo

 

And so it was that four of Brisbane’s renowned chefs came together at the “Chef’s Playground” at the Brisbane Ice Cream Festival at West End to present their bespoke “ice cream” dishes to guests in the art and food precinct of West Village on the site of the iconic Peters Ice Cream Factory.

ice cream in Chef's playground - The Bromley Room

What did each course of ice cream in the Chef’s Playground look like? 

Take a look behind the scenes at each chef’s signature dish starting with –

Phillip Johnson’s Tomato & basil sorbet, charcoal cone, crisp prosciutto, parmesan snow 

ice cream in Chef's playground Phillip Johnson's Ice cream - Charcoal cone

Dominique Rizzo’s Handmade potato and herb gnocchi, smoked truss tomato sugo, grana padano and ricotta gelato (Gluten free)

ice cream in Chef's playground - Dominique Rizzo Handmade potato and herb gnocchi, smoked truss tomato sugo, grana padano and ricotta gelato

Ben Williamson’s Hand filleted anchovies, wood-roasted pepper sorbet and crispy sourdough

ice cream in Chef's playground - Ben Williamson's Hand filleted anchovies, wood-roasted pepper sorbet and crispy sourdough

These 2 amazing dishes were paired with a very fine 2017 Fiano (Italian Varietal) from Jericho Wines, Adelaide Hills.

William Wallace’s Lamb collar, ice cream, crispy carrot and mustard leaf’

Paired with 2017 Manos Libre Organic Tempranillo Blend.

ice cream in Chef's playground -William Wallace's Lamb collar, ice cream, crispy carrot and mustard leaf'

Phillip Johnson’s Iced goats’ cheese & leatherwood honey parfait, candied walnuts, fresh fig,

Accompanied by the smooth 2018 Souma Brachetto, Tranquillo still dessert wine from the Yarra Valley. ice cream in Chef's playground - Phillip Johnsons' iced goats' cheese

For a grand finale, Dominique presented her Sicilian Cassata gelati cannoli cups, pistachio, dark chocolate, Galliano soaked raisins

Ice Cream in the chef's playground - Dominique Rizzo's dessert Putia Pure Food Kitchen

and entertained her guests with the story behind her creation.ice cream in Chef's playground - Dominique speaking at the Chef's Playground dinner.

If it is too long to wait for next year’s Chef’s Playground event, you can experience Dominique’s gnocchi at her restaurant Putia Pure Food Kitchen, where it is served with a different delicious authentic Italian sauce every day.  Meanwhile, if you have a special occasion coming up and you want to have something different, something outstanding,  did you know that you can create your own event with bespoke recipes written by Dominique, especially for the theme of your celebration?  Just ask her.

Images provided by Kylie Lang and Amelia Miletic.

4 Cities For Foodies In New Zealand

New Zealand is not a country that’s necessarily known for its cuisine, in part because there’s so much else to like about it. More than anything else, it’s known for its sensational beauty, featuring striking coastline and otherworldly landscapes that have only been made all the more alluring by their association with the fictional land of “Middle Earth” from the film adaptations of JRR Tolkien’s “Lord Of The Rings” fantasy. Given the natural beauty of the country, however, and all of the interesting culture to be found there, it can also be a surprisingly appealing destination for foodies. Like most countries, really, if you know where to go, you’re in for some excellent meals as you explore New Zealand.

We’re highlighting four cities to explore if you’re ever headed to this beautiful country and concerned with the food options.

Wellington
4 Cities For Foodies In New Zealand
One of what we might call the three or four “main” cities of New Zealand, or at least the biggest – and the capital, in fact – Wellington is a place you may well wind up seeing in the course of your travels anyway. And it happens to be by some estimations the very best place on the multi-island nation for food. National Geographic, in fact, included Wellington on a list of just six locations in the entire world it dubbed as being an “unexpected” destination for a food lover. As part of that listing, Nat Geo highlighted the neighbourhood around Cuba Street as having some of the best restaurants in town, and also noted various places for “beach eats” and even some markets for street food and snacks with which you can assemble your own meal. A few restaurants we’d join them in highlighting include Logan Brown, a contemporary restaurant in a converted bank; Olive, a high-end Mediterranean establishment; and Maranui Café, a seaside spot with light, modern fare and fresh seafood.

Hamilton

4 Cities For Foodies In New Zealand

Hamilton is another place you may pass through on your travels fairly naturally, not because it’s a particularly huge city or one packed with attractions, but because of its close proximity to Rotorua, which is a very popular place for tourists. The town is perhaps best known for its gardens celebrating multiple influences from different cultural groups and histories. But don’t sleep on the dining scene here. Palate is one of the most respected restaurants in the country, perched atop the Waikato River and offering fabulous modern cuisine, with menu items including fresh fish and oysters, venison, grilled quail, and all manner of other tasty delights. Chim Choo Ree offers another refined, modern menu, though in a slightly more casual atmosphere (and with a renowned five-course tasting menu option). And you’ll also find delightful gastropubs (such as Foundation Bar Kitchen Lounge) and some of the country’s better Asian-inspired cuisine (at Three Leg Frog).

Auckland
4 Cities For Foodies In New Zealand
Auckland is the biggest city in New Zealand, and thus shouldn’t be a surprising inclusion here. There are all kinds of incredible restaurants of all shapes and sizes around the city, from authentic Japanese establishments (Masu and Cocoro) to modern fine dining (Cazador or the Depot oyster bar), to wholly unique options like the 10-course dining experience at Pasture. Also not to be forgotten are the Sky Tower and SKYCITY casino facility in town. Though the word “casino” casts a certain light over a place like this, the gaming options don’t always take centre stage, particularly as they become eclipsed by other, better options online. PokieSource gives us some idea that not just in general but specifically in New Zealand, many of the best gaming options from casino facilities are now accessible electronically, rendering the real-life facilities less necessary. As a direct result, however, other aspects of these facilities have been highlighted more, and those include dining options. Orbit 360 Dining in Sky Tower may be the most striking restaurant in town, and The Grill by Sean Connolly is one of the country’s most elegant and impressive steakhouses.

Nelson
4 Cities For Foodies In New Zealand
Nelson is a somewhat smaller city on New Zealand’s South Island, but one that some visitors pass through en route to some of the country’s vaunted wine regions. Accordingly, it’s built up something of a reputation for culinary delights as well, having featured numerous times on Honey Travel’s list of features that make the South Island a foodie’s dream. In keeping with a theme you may have noticed, there’s no shortage of fresh seafood or oyster bars in Nelson, and both can be among your very best options. However, there are also some more unique eateries to try out in this city. The Kitchen has become trendy among those who gravitate toward whole, natural, healthy ingredients; the place just radiates freshness through simple sandwiches, juices and smoothies, and its own coffee. And there are also some almost inexplicably special establishments such as Hopgoods, known for everything from its brick patio seating to its lamb and filet options, to its sensational dessert menu. Really, there’s a bit of everything in Nelson if you care to look about!

From New Zealand, it’s just a short jump to Norfolk Island and Lord Howe Island, where the sustainable food scene is amazing and not to be missed.

Reconnect with your partner at an Island getaway – Tours to Norfolk Island and Lord Howe Island

Reconnect with your partner at an Island getaway
Food, Wine and Culture Tours to Norfolk Island and Lord Howe Island with Chef Dominique Rizzo as your guide.

Love is in the air this week and as you ponder how to show your loved one what they mean to you, Chef Dominique Rizzo’s Island Tours are the ultimate local destinations to reconnect with your partner at an island getaway.


Norfolk Island and Lord Howe Island are two beautiful remote Island destinations located two hours by Qantaslink flight from Brisbane. Once you land, you will feel the weight of the world drop from your shoulders, with both Islands moving to a slower beat of their own drum. As the fresh sea air hits your skin, you just know you are in for a real treat.


Chef Dominique Rizzo’s Food Wine and Culture Tours take care of everything for you from flights, accommodation, transfers from the airport or car hire (depending on which tour you choose), to local activities, spa treatments breakfasts and dinners.

You will be surrounded by natural beauty that will take you and your partner’s breath away. With white sandy beaches, turquoise waters, sunrises and sunsets like an artist’s palette and a night sky full of stars you can make a year’s worth of wishes on.


There is so much to discover of these beautiful Islands and with Chef Dominque’s Food, Wine and Culture tours, you will get to see and experience the best of these truly amazing local destinations. Individual attention is on hand as you are guided in a small intimate group and have time to explore on your own.

Ideal for the avid photographer, history buff and island getaway enthusiast, these two tours have something for everyone.

If you would like to explore Norfolk Island for 8 days or Lorde Howe Island for 8 days this November with Chef Dominique Rizzo as your guide contact us for a full itinerary to book your unforgettable experience today.

 

How travel and culture has influenced my cooking

How travelling and experiencing different cultures has influenced my cooking – Dominique Rizzo’s Interview by A Taste of Harmony

 

You’ve been running food and wine tours since 2012 now, how has travelling and exploring the cuisines of Sicily, Spain, Greece and Norfolk Island and others, influenced your cooking and recipes?  

How travel and culture has influenced my cooking - Ortigia Sicily with Dominique Rizzo

Everyone would have to agree they are inspired, even just a little by the gastronomic delights they experience when travelling. For me it’s the same, I come back from my tours completely energised and even more inspired to cook more, use more fresh seasonal produce, shop at local markets explore new places, and most importantly what I bring back with me from my travels is the emphasis on keeping things simple and to let the star ingredient shine through.

How travel and culture has influenced my cooking - Arncini with Dominique Rizzo

The simplicity of the street food in Sicily, chickpea panelle arancini, Pane con le milza,sfincioni and croquettes, date back thousands of years, with traditions that have been handed down through generations and techniques and customs passed on through the many different cultures that has stepped upon Sicily’s soil. Romans, the Spanish, Swabians, Greeks, Normans, Arabs and so on have all left their mark on the food here. I used to think that my food was sometimes too simple and then whenever I come back from one of my food tours, I am comfortably confident in what I do and the recipes I come up with. I give them my own twist and flavour but fundamentally I always reflect back to the food I ate on my tours, their way of life and the importance of culture, tradition and community and it always grounds me.

How travel and culture has influenced my cooking - Fresh tomatoes and basil with Dominique Rizzo

My cooking has become a melting pot of them all, combining the flavours, ingredients and methods of cookery. In all honesty, I feel that these cuisines are some of the healthiest ways of cooking. Their cuisine styles are simple and I believe it is with the addition of the exotic spices, fresh herbs, fresh and dried fruits and nuts, that simple 3 or 4 ingredient dishes can sing louder with flavour, and have us drooling more than some of the more lavishly garnished, intricate ingredients and long, complicated dishes we find.

How travel and culture has influenced my cooking - Norfolk Island with Dominique Rizzo

More locally, Norfolk Island has been an amazing food experience and left a definite mark, not only on my cooking, but more so on my philosophy for living and importance in strength of community. Norfolk has this amazing, friendly, wonderful sense of freedom. Its waters and air are pristine, it has a very interesting history and unique flora and fauna. Apart from some pre-packaged items and a couple of fresh ingredients, everything is grown, harvested and produced locally. I absolutely love that. Their traditions and history are really embraced with great pride and respect from the locals, their precious island and its unique lifestyle is embraced by everyone. It is an amazing place to visit for either a quiet relaxed getaway enjoying some amazing wine and food experiences or a wild adventure of fishing, sailing, boating, rock climbing, bush walking and attending the many events and festivals which they have on the island.

 

Your tours involve small groups of 14-16 people, have you found through sharing and learning about food together while on tour you also learn a lot about each other?

How travel and culture has influenced my cooking - Sicilian market with Dominique Rizzo

Yes absolutely, it’s part of the main reason I love running my food tours. I have the greatest honour of meeting so many amazing, passionate and interesting people and as much as I have learnt so much about them, the stories of their lives and how they interact with others, their quirks and why they might do the things they do. I have learnt so much about myself, which I have been so grateful for.

I have always believed that sharing a meal, engaging in a cooking lesson together, tasting wine and enjoying conversation, any means of gathering together around food brings out the best and sometimes the worst in people, but usually the best.

The biggest lesson I have learnt in my life that has been reinforced through running my food tours is never judge or make judgment on others as you never know what is really going on for someone behind closed doors. Until you have sat with them, engaged, connected, communicated and listened to their stories, it’s hard to imagine some of the painful events that people have experienced, which in turn has made them who they are.

I really like to just sit back, ask questions and listen to get to know people and what they like, dislike and I really enjoy asking people about their life. I find the more I know about someone, the more I am able to better understand who they are, their culture, beliefs, and in return they can better understand me and I believe this is the basis to peace and harmony between us as humans.

If you had to pick one experience from your tours that has been a highlight for you so far, what would it be?

How travel and culture has influenced my cooking - Dinner Sicily with Dominique Rizzo

That’s a very difficult question!

It wasn’t necessarily an experience, more like a moment where we were all in the most beautiful moment of laughter, joy and sharing a stunning dinner on the Island of Salina. It was a series of little events, positive outcomes for some of my clients and some wonderful transformations they had simply by being able to just sit back, relax and be guided around on my tour. I design and host my tours because I know what it’s like to organise travel either before you go or while you are on the go and quite frankly it can be exhausting.

Sometimes you come back not rested or relaxed but slightly stressed and underwhelmed at all the places you missed seeing, the restaurants you didn’t get to, the distance you didn’t travel and sights you didn’t see because you were travelling on your own or organising it yourself. It’s a big job. I saw my clients faces lighten up, their smiles grow more frequent, they were glowing, their personalities opened up and on that occasion, we just laughed and laughed.

For me it was one of the most special times I have had on tour.

Why do you think it’s important to celebrate cultural diversity in our workplaces, kitchens and in general?

I personally, am becoming so despondent at the way we as humans are treating each other. It’s frightening and really sad to see and hear the way some people talk to each other, tease, taunt, troll and hurt others. People don’t listen, they refuse to open up and understand. If everyone could just stop and listen, and accept that everyone is different, that we all have different cultures, backgrounds, beliefs, understandings, ways we do things and ways we think., then I believe we would have way less hate and way more harmony.

I really feel that it is beyond important, almost a necessity to celebrate cultural diversity, not only celebrate but we need to be constantly educated and reminded of its importance. Without celebrating cultural diversity, we wouldn’t have half the interesting aspects of our country that now exist. We would not be open to new ideas and ways of doing things.

The more we can celebrate and be open to cultural diversity, the more we will have stronger communities looking out for each other and not just it being mine, yours and theirs. I sincerely hope that in my lifetime we will be celebrating not just one day through A Taste of Harmony and bringing this awareness to cultural diversity on this day, but that it will just be the norm. Acceptance, understanding and freedom for everyone to live their lives embracing their tradition, culture and to embrace everybody else’s’ with the same respect would be my greatest joy.How travel and culture has influenced my cooking - Pasta making class in Ragusa Siciy Dominique Rizzo

Why should workplaces get involved in A Taste of Harmony? 

 

To get involved with Taste of Harmony is to say to your employees, we embrace and accept everyone equally. We see the importance of cultural differences as a benefit to our business and we support and respect it. We welcome different, we welcome diverse and we are open and willing to engage in bridging the gaps and to open the lines of communication. It can only be a good positive outcome for businesses to engage everyone together on an even platform – strength in numbers.

 

Dominique Rizzo is one of Queensland’s leading chefs, author and owner of Putia Pure Food Kitchen. Learn more about Dominique’s Food, Wine & Culture Tours to destinations such as Sicily, Greece, Spain and Norfolk Island here.

 

3 Beautiful BBQ Tips for Christmas on a Budget

3 Beautiful BBQ Tips for Christmas on a Budget

In Australia, Christmas is a perfect time of the year to fire up the BBQ and put some meat and vegetables over coals or on the hot grill! You can really serve up a Christmas feast with beautiful salads or roasted vegetables as suggested in my first Christmas on a Budget – 3 Top Tips to make your meals go further post.

Here are my 3 Beautiful BBQ Tips for Christmas on a Budget

  1. You can do your roast in a hooded BBQ, no need to make the kitchen any hotter at Christmas. Using the BBQ is also another option if you are running out of room in the oven if you are cooking for the masses. Check out my 5 Top Budget-Friendly Christmas Roast Tips
  2. If you are a roasting or BBQ family then the cheaper cuts of beef and pork will be great, whip up a sticky marinade and leave the meat in the marinade for at least 24 hours, heat up the BBQ and undoubtedly you will definitely have lunch and left over’s for dinner and possibly the next day.
  3. A lamb chop can be something special marinated with smoked paprika, garlic, lemon and parsley and serve with a wonderful yoghurt and mint dressing.

Check out my recipe for Barbeque Ginger Beer Beef and crispy noodle stir fry salad. It is budget friendly and is perfect for those hot Christmas days!

The next blog for Christmas meals on a budget I will share how to get the most out of your Succulent Summer Seafood.

Subscribe to receive Dominique Rizzo’s FREE Christmas EBook.

This Christmas I have created an Ebook of recipes, which is free when you subscribe. There are seven tasty recipes that will help you save on time and spend Christmas with friends and family, not in the kitchen! SUBSCRIBE NOW!

 

5 Top Budget-Friendly Christmas Roast Tips – Christmas on a Budget

5 Top Budget-Friendly Christmas Roast Tips – Christmas on a Budget

Roasts can be the star or centre piece of the Christmas table. Aside from fresh seafood, it can also be one of the more expensive elements to a Christmas Feast. This is a follow-up post to  Christmas on a Budget, where I shared 3 top tips to get more from your meals this Christmas.

Here are my 5 Top Budget-Friendly Christmas Roast Tips:

    1. Your best buys for beef roasts are rolled rib, rib eye or round and if you are a BBQ fan then a brisket is great for that slow tender pull apart BBQ beef smothered in a smokey homemade marinade. Many less tender cuts of beef are tenderised further when cooking if you use the BBQ  rotisserie.
    2. Dress up the humble and old favourite roast chicken with some wonderful Christmas stuffings using, combinations such as apples, cranberries, sage, apricot, and pistachios or parmesan prosciutto and parsley. If you are buying your chicken from the butcher you could ask them to bone out the chicken, pick up some netting from the butcher and stuff the chicken yourself again the yield will be greater as you can then easily slice the chicken, minimal wastage and also is great cold the next day on sandwiches or with salads.
    3. Instead of the Christmas turkey, purchase turkey breasts with the skin on, they can weigh in at 1-2kg per breast. A couple of these which is enough to feed a family of up to 12 as part of a banquet.
    4. Pork roasts are a winner especially if you get the crackling right and the best cuts for a great pork roast is the pork loin you can also use the leg, shoulder or the belly, make sure that your butcher leaves the skin on and get them to score it for you as well. A 1kg portion will take about 60 minutes.
    5. I love duck but it can be expensive and if you don’t know how to cook it properly it can sometimes come out a little tuff, so the cheats and cheap way of a little duck with dinner is to either create a wonderful salad with duck legs or breast which you can now buy cooked and packaged in the supermarket, cous cous, a couple of fresh figs, peaches, pears or fresh dates sliced, shallots, wild rocket and a wonderful orange dressing, or duck goes great with noodles, with some sliced bok choy, shredded green pawpaw and a simple Asian dressing. Heat the duck in the oven and serve it sliced with your favourite roast vegetables and a wonderful cherry sauce. You can also pick up the wonderful Peking duck in Chinatown, also a great place to shop for cheap Asian greens, herbs, and sauces.

This week, I will be sharing some great tips for Christmas on a budget, how to get the most out of your; Backyard Chrismas BBQ; and Saving on Succulent Summer Seafood.

Subscribe to receive Dominique Rizzo’s FREE Christmas EBook.

This Christmas I have created an Ebook of recipes, which is free when you subscribe. There are seven tasty recipes that will help you save on time and spend Christmas with friends and family, not in the kitchen! SUBSCRIBE NOW!

 

 

Christmas on a Budget – 3 Top Tips to make your meals go further

Christmas on a budget – 3 Top Tips to make your meals go further

Christmas time can be a tough time for people on a limited budget, there are presents to buy and a Christmas feast to be had! Whether you are hosting a meal at your home or taking a plate to family or a friend’s house, my next few blogs will help your dollar go a little further this Christmas.

Here are 3 Top Tips to make your meals go further:

  1. One rule that I have which I stick to that keeps the costs down at the Christmas table is to have smaller amounts of the specialty items, and add to the table a selection of wonderful salads, sides and vegetable dishes.
  2. Accompany your roasts with spiced baked fruits, summer vegetable salads and introduce some grains like cous cous, cracked wheat, barley and into your salads to add a substantial element. You can spark up your salads and vegetables with nuts, fresh herbs, dressings, cheeses, and freshly baked garlic tossed croutons for a crunch.
  3. Savoury tarts, quiches, and savoury slices are great and inexpensive and can be teamed up with just about any ingredient, homemade relishes, chutneys and sauces are a great way to use up some of the bargain fruit and vegetables you find at the markets and you can double them up as Christmas gifts.

Over the next week, I will be sharing some great tips for Christmas meals on a budget. I will be sharing how to get the most out of your Chrismas roasts, Backyard Chrismas BBQ, and Succulent Summer Seafood.

Subscribe to receive Dominique Rizzo’s FREE Christmas EBook.

This Christmas I have created an Ebook of recipes, which is free when you subscribe. There are seven tasty recipes that will help you save on time and spend Christmas with friends and family, not in the kitchen! SUBSCRIBE NOW!

 

Impossible Conversations – Dominique Rizzo in conversation with Saint Agatha

DOMINIQUE RIZZO IN CONVERSATION WITH SAINT AGATHA (courtesy of the Queensland Performing Arts Centre)

St Agatha

231-251AD
Saint Agatha

Saint Agatha is said to have been martyred in 251AD in Catania in Sicily at the age of fifteen. Her torture is recorded in detail in the earliest martyrology.

She would ask Dominique Rizzo what made her sad.

Dominique Rizzo

Dominique Rizzo has worked as a chef and restaurateur, at Mondo Organics in West End and now in her own Putia Pure Food Kitchen in Banyo on Brisbane’s northside. Born in 1972, Dominique travelled to Italy with her father Vincenzo who was born in Sicily where St Agatha is patron saint.

Dominique would ask Saint Agatha how she endured.

DR: Dear Saint Agatha.

SA: I am. Lord Jesus Christ, you created me, you watched over me from infancy, kept my body from defilement, preserved me from love of the world.

DR: I can’t imagine the courage it took, and the strength of your faith. When my father first took us back to Sicily, I saw how the community honours the saints. I try to picture myself in your shoes. I couldn’t do what you did.

SA: I’m not sure I understood, Dominique. Jesus Christ, Lord of all things, you see my heart, you know my desires. Possess all that I am – you alone. I am your sheep. Make me worthy to overcome the Devil.

DR: Quintianus arrested you because you wouldn’t renounce your promise to God and consent to sin with him. St Agatha, you were a child.

SA: We are all children, Dominique. He arrested me for my faith in Jesus Christ. He arrested me because I would not renounce my vow. They used tongs and then knives. If you threaten me with wild beasts, know that at the Name of Christ they grow tame; if you use fire, from heaven angels will drop healing dew on me.

St Agatha

DR: *sobs* They cut off your breasts.

SA: Just as wheat cannot arrive at the granary before it is cleansed from the chaff, so my soul cannot enter into Paradise if my body, beforehand, is not humbled by tortures. Yes, they did. Also fire and shards.

DR: To me, you are the essence of a young woman of strength believing in yourself and God.

SA: *smiles, beatific* Saint Peter came to my cell and healed me. I am the patron saint of bell-founding.

DR: But also of women who have breast cancer and of rape and violence against women. Given what’s going on in our world today… When I go into churches, I cry, Saint Agatha.

SA: I said to my torturer, on the last day, your words be but wind, your promises be but rain, and your menaces be as rivers that pass.

St Agatha

DR: I was in Sicily for your feast day, and the bakers made minni di virgini in your honour, little rounded cakes filled with ricotta, coated with marzipan, a cherry on top.

SA: Cakes! I love cakes. I’m the patron saint of bakers too, Dominique, and you aspire to pure food so we’re sisters as well as children of God. And also earthquakes and volcanoes because the Lord unleashed them to punish my tormentors who will burn and suffer in Hell for all eternity. All eternity. *smiles, beatific*

DR: You are a martyr.
SA: I am a girl who died at fifteen.

DR: Exactly. I am in awe of you, Saint Agatha.
SA: Blessings, sister.

St Agatha
Dominique has been travelling to and from Sicily since she was a little girl and now she shares her intimate knowledge of Sicilian food and culture with you on her food, wine and cooking tours.  She has Sicilian blood and is passionate about all things Sicilian.  For the chance to experience Sicily through Dominique’s eyes, go to Pure Food Cooking Tours – Latest Tours.