Category: Travels

Pintxos, a culinary signature of Basque Country, Spain

I sit in the shared dining space of the stalls of the market place at the Mercado de la Ribera, Bilbao, Basque Country, Spain. The glass of deep burgundy Viña Real Crianza 2014, is a wine made in the region just south of Bilbao.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2017

I resesarched the weather forecast ahead of landing in Bilbao, a city located north of Spain in the autonomous Basque region, Bay of Biscay. It was advised that the days in Bilbao during the RESER 2017 conference would be rainy and I should bring an umbrella. I had not however read up too much on the culinary scene of Basque Country Spain. I assumed it would be plenty of tapas, sangria and wines, perhaps much like that to be found in Barcelona, when I was there for the International Faculty Program (IFP) 2011 program at IESE Business School. I was pleasantly surprised that it was not so much tapas as pintxos to be discovered as a social event with the intention that one could move from eatery to eatery, exploring in one evening, different atmospheres of different places*. If living in Bilbao or Basque Country Spain in general, I would expect to slow down the nomadic pintxos eating, taking one place for one evening at a time, if not making your own creative version at home. And instead of sangria to the food, Txakoli, a very dry white wine produced in the region, was suggested as accompanying drink to pintxos.

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Guernica, Province of Biscay, Basque Country Spain

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Guernica, Basque Country Spain
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2017

About an hour’s train ride away from Bilbao, Spain, is the town of Guernica or Gernika-Lumo. Basque Country outside of the provincial capital influences and its industries is heterogenous. Passing by in a train, a fleeting glance could make one label agricultural Basque region as ‘rural’ or ‘traditional’, termed as such because these places have either remained untouched by urbanisation, with no evident applications of modern technologies and/or have not reached mass consumerism [1]. But a closer study indicates that alongisde a mixed agricultural economy is an impressive inshore fishing sector supported by small and medium enterprises complements local agriculture, whose economic influence is impactful enough to make changes to the daily lifestyles of its people from how they allocate time between work and leisure, and what forms of entertainment they prefer [1].

For Gernika-Lumo, not a hundred years have passed since the Spanish Civil War of the late 1930s. Under the soft drizzle of the late summer’s rain, Guernica, or Gernika which is the Basque spelling, looks very different than anyone more familiar with Picasso’s representation or indeed the old journal films of the late 1930s would have lead anyone to expect.The bombing of Guernica on 26 Apr. 1937 was made on the personal request of Francisco Franco, who at the time enjoyed military support from nazi Germany and fascist Italy. The devastation of Guernica was an experiment and a way to decide in a discussion within the new Nazi Luftwaffe, if an enough horrible attack on defenseless civilians would lead them to give up and surrender, or to just fight harder. This was the first intentional terror bombing of civilians in the history of modern warfare. The torn civilians of Guernica did give up. The lesson was learnt, and this dragon seed led to names of events that we know more of such as Dresden, Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

At the time, the bombing of Guernica created a worldwide uproar and made visible the divide between the power hungry and the artistic, more civilized part of humanity. The latter are best represented by Picasso’s masterpiece Guernica, which in my view, might well also have been the inspiration to the architecture of the Bilbao Guggenheim Museum.

Today, Guernica has become an international symbol of peace [2] due the senseless violence and waste its people endured during the hours of uninterrupted destruction. The onslaught left 70% of the town completely destroyed and most of the rest, seriously damaged. Guernica was in the early 1900s, a small market city with hardly more than 6,000 inhabitants. Some accounts say that almost one third of them perished in the attack that went on in wave after wave with different kinds of bombs, from light to heavy to fire bombs. The central idea was to force people into shelter, and then set fire to the rubble. Today, the city is inhabited with slightly more than 16,000 people.

For someone coming from outside of Spain, I find the beautifully kept surroundings and quiet streets difficult to reconcile with its painful past.

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Strawberry and shrimp

At Brogyllen konditori, Västra Hamngatan, Gothenburg, Sweden.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2017

It might have been as early as 2003 or 2004 during my first years living in Sweden, that I visited Brogyllen. Brogyllen konditori is a bakery-café located at the southwest corner of Hamngatan in the city of Gothenburg. The café opened early, at half past seven in the morning, and my doctoral studies courses usually began at nine. This gave me ample time to sit, have coffee with a Swedish kladdkaka, a sweet, sticky chocolate fudgecake served with whipped cream on top, and watch the trams go by. In a routine sitting, I could almost tell the time by the tram number that went past. From the time I sat down, by three tram no. 2s gone by, it would be about time to leave for university campus grounds.

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Mincemeat pie, a takeaway from Scotland

Mincemeat pie, the savoury kind.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2017

At about midsummer in June this year, I was in Glasgow, Scotland, for the EURAM 2017 conference. During the days in Glasgow, I took the opportunity to explore the city’s eateries and local fare. First thing I had wanted to try when in Scotland was haggis. This, I found already on the first day’s lunch hour whilst exploring the streets closest to the conference venue, which was the University of Strathclyde, the campus nearest George Square.

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Styrsö Uttervik



At Styrsö Uttervik, a seaside bathing spot well-liked by both locals and visitors to the Swedish west coast during the summer months.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2017

There are a number of seaside bathing spots to go to when visiting the harbour city of Gothenburg. Some of the most scenic of swim areas can be found at the southern archipelago islands of Gothenburg, along the Swedish west coast. Styrsö Uttervik, located at the island of Styrsö is one of them.

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A little bit of Italy at Åboulevard, Copenhagen, Denmark

Åboulevard or ‘River’ Boulevard.
Åboulevard is one of the more scenic routes to bike or walk in central Copenhagen, Denmark.
A view from Åboulevard across Peblinge Lake.

Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2017

Most days are gelato days for me, regardless the country or season. After walking around much of central Copenhagen in the evenings for supper, it was still the gelati found at the little Italian shop right next door to the hotel at which I was housed that drew me back to their modest quarters. With walls lined with scenes from southern coastal Italy, it felt like sunshine to walk into the place, even at sundown.

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Stalking Louis Vuitton

Copenhagen, Denmark

An evening walk, summer 2017.
The shutters are already down but works by Jeff Koons in collaboration with Louis Vuitton can be seen on display at Louis Vuitton Copenhagen at Amagertorv 2, 1160 København K, Denmark.

Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2017

Against the muted tones of the city walls of Copenhagen, the works of Jeff Koons draw attention even after shop closing hours. Interpretation and reinterpretation. I find a lot of humour in the 51 piece collection that came out of Jeff Koons collaborating with French luxury house Louis Vuitton. Humour might not however translate as one might expect, depending upon the boundaries to be traversed. In the everyday lives of people, transcendence is pure abstract.

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The Spanish Butcher, Glasgow, Scotland 2017

Dining at The Spanish Butcher, Glasgow, Scotland 2017.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2017

I found myself in late evening near midsummer’s, at a corner of George Square in Glasgow. The temperature outdoors was a friendly 13 deg C, and it was windy. From the discreet dark wood panels lining the entrance to the restaurant, The Spanish Butcher at 80 Miller Street, central Glasgow, Scotland, seemed perfectly alluring for a languid meal after dusk. Stepping inside of the restaurant, I was greeted with more of the same contouring of dark panelled woods. The texture and wood grains were made visible by light play from the soft golden glows of candles placed on the tabletops. Had I a dinner reservation with them, I was asked. My negative reply was greeted with a slight upturn of an eyebrow, a smile, and then with a showing to a table for two. Service was immpeccable, the menu explained most patiently in all manner of details.

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Kristiansand, Norway, summer 2017

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Postcards from Kristiansand, Norway, summer 2017.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2017

The initial expectations of a long and tiring drive north along E18 from Gothenburg, Sweden, to Kristiansand in southernmost part of Norway, via the Bastø Fosen ferry between Horten and Moss turned out to be one that was scenic and comfortable. The comforts of a long drive being provided for in terms of a more than adequate number of rest stops, and eateries dotted along the way.

Kristiansand is Norway’s fifth largest city with the sixth largest municipality. The city has about 90,000 inhabitants. A number that can swell to more than a hundred times its local population during the summer months when tourism is at its peak.

Most houses in the city and in its archipelago are beautifully kept, pristine in detail of wood oak panels, generously coated with linseed oil paint in colours of mostly white or earth yellow for houses, and red for boat houses and barnyards. Some barnyards are so large in comparison to the main house that they looked more like mansions in themselves from a distance. Driving along the coast in southern Norway, the small clusters of houses and villages are breathtakingly beautiful. This drive reminded me of the drive along the coastline of the French Riviera some years ago, the houses here being distinctly Nordic in architecture.

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Culinary Team West of Sweden, Spring Dinner 2017

A dessert of coconut ice-cream with puréed mango, yuzu and roasted pineapple.
Culinary Team West of Sweden [1] and the Swedish Chefs Association [2] present their Spring Dinner 2017 at Ester Mosessons gymnasium, 12 June 2017.

Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2017

Outdoors at Lindholmen harbour in Gothenburg, gusts of spring/summer seawinds threatened to let fly loosely fastened tarpaulin on smaller boats docked rocking in choppy waters. Indoors, at Ester Mossessons gymnasium along Utvecklingsgatan 4, a calmer, more inviting atmosphere beckoned to guests of the Culinary Team West of Sweden’s spring dinner 2017 held on 12 June 2017.

Members of the board of the Swedish Chefs Association stood by the entrance in greeting of friends and associates. We were invited to place our coats in a designated cloak room and thereafter proceed into a room with dining tables that were set with several wine glasses to each person, the table centres lit with black candles. We seemed to lack nothing in terms of how the evening’s event was spatially organized.

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Styrsö Valborg 2017

Valborgsmässoafton with perfect weather along the Swedish west coast for a funfair and playing outdoors.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2017

It is the weekend of the Swedish Valborg in celebration of Saint Walburga. Despite its naming heritage, this festivity has little to do with religion but rather everything to do with the ushering in of spring. Across the land, large bonfires are lit in symbol of cleansing of the past (plus, a fantastic way to getting rid of unwanted wooden furniture) and welcoming the season that sees trees visibly come back to life and flowers blossom. There are few, if hardly any, Swedish festivities that do not in essence celebrate fertility in one form or another. It is only that some festivities have a touch more explicit use of fertility symbols than others.

As indication that globalisation and cultural confluence was already in place thousands of years before scholastic theorising, in Viking folklore the lighting of a bonfire is believed to scare off witches and evil spirits, this night being the night when witches gather on the Brocken, the highest peak in the Harz Mountains in central Germany. Sweden and the Nordic region would be just a swish of a broomstick’s flight away from the woods of central Germany, so one could never be too cautious. The larger the fire, the better. On the practical side, the bonfires also work well in keeping predatory animals such as foxes away from newborn farm animals who are often let out to graze freely from the beginning of May.

On Styrsö, an island located in the southern archipelago of Gothenburg, Valborg is celebrated with a funfair held on the island’s school grounds filled with games, bingo lottery playing and traditional Swedish fika fare such as cinnamon rolls, marzipan filled sugar cakes topped with various fruits and creams. Come evening, a bonfire is lit and neighbours and friends gather around the bonfire in song and dance. Apart from keeping witches away, the presence of a bonfire fills all with anticipation of the long summer nights to come. Nights presumably similarly filled with more drink, song and dance.

Donated Flee market bargains for the benefit of the 5th Year annual School outings.

Face painting.

Flee market bargain hunting. Both sad and a blessing that you can now have printed books for next to nothing.
I haven’t decided yet if I should be sad about this or just dig in and carry home the loot…

– That’s a monstrosity of a barbecue grill! Who would want such a thing in their garden? – Who wouldn’t?
At this time the highest bid was about $50 USD. I certainly hope they got much more for it at the end of the day. Imagine how quick you could become the happy owner of something you didn’t knew existed just a few minutes earlier. Flee markets are plain dangerous.

In that sense, books are much safer.

Not too far from the funfair grounds is this sheep farm, the quiet of which is punctuated with the occasional bleats of the tiniest of bouncing balls of black, tight ringlet wool.

The sweetest. This one took the time to come say hello to us.

Pretending not to be curious this soon to be mother of a lamb, nibbled its way towards us on the sparse fresh grass strands.

We had an instant connect with her. So amazingly alive and so closely related to us humans.

Located center of the funfair grounds, a café tent pitched and ready for guests with traditional Swedish fika items such as these cinnamon knots.

Carrot cake cupcakes topped with cream cheese frosting, and chocolate swiss rolls in the background topped with fresh strawberries.

Passion för Mat 2017, Gothenburg, Sweden

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Highlights from Passion för Mat 2017, Gothenburg, Sweden.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2017

Gothenburg’s annual culinary fair (24-26 Feb. 2017) is one of my absolute trade fairs to visit, not only because the trade fair grounds at Eriksbergshallen provides a meeting place for the small network of culinary experts that I have gotten to know over the years, but it provides a fantastic opportunity to meet with new traders with new expertise and experiences to share. The fair’s Kitchen School that informs the public on food processes, best recipes and best methods of cooking was progressing at full speed when we arrived on scene, where the crowd looked genuinely interested and enthusiastic. Making our rounds, this post brings you some pictures and highlights of Passion för Mat 2017.

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Kafferostare Per Nordby, Passion för Mat 2017, Gothenburg, Sweden

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Kafferostare Per Nordby, Passion för Mat 2017.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2017

A fox, with a pipe attached to its mouth. It was by far one of the more sophisticated logos hanging upon an exhibition stand at the expansive Erikbergshallen food fair, Passion för Mat 2017. For the love of clean lines, grey tones and empty space in the midst of a Saturday evening crowd at Gothenburg’s annual culinary trade fair, I approached the stall to find Per Nordby, owner and entrepreneur to globally sourced single coffee bean plantations, grinding some coffee beans. A couple of minutes later, he turned around and grinned broadly in our direction. Anything we wanted? Coffee perhaps? Sure.

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Torggummans Ägg, Passion för Mat 2014-2017

Passion för Mat 2017

The chickens that laid these eggs have a mandatory company rule to follow – they must spend half of their time in a year roaming free, outdoors.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro E Jacobsson 2017

Fettisdagen is just about two days away, which means, a long way to Easter yet. Still, these eggs sitting so happy in the basket as they were couldn’t help but make me put shades of striped pastels and polka dots on them in view of Easter. Continue reading “Torggummans Ägg, Passion för Mat 2014-2017”

Ayutthaya, the coastal-hinterland kingdom of Siam 1351-1767

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Ayutthaya, Thailand.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2017

In the swelter of the tropical heat, I stood watching two women carefully position themselves by a banana tree. Placing their arms around the clusters of unripened bananas growing low tipped with a blossom, they readied themselves for a wefie. “Are you Thai?” came the high-pitched holler in my direction from the lady sitting behind the ticketing booth at the entrance of an ancient-modern park in Ayutthaya. I turned to look at her, my expression blank. “Are you Thai?” she repeated. Within two seconds of capturing my continued state of lack of expression, “Fifty baht please!”, was the clubbed reply to the final, full entrance fee to be paid. I stepped up to the ticketing booth and handed over fifty baht and thanked her. It seemed almost everywhere I went in Bangkok, Thailand, people thought I was Thai, except on the occasions of paying for entrance fees.

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On a Swedish winters day, Styrsö Halsvik

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Styrsö Halsvik 2017
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2017

“A thing is right when it embraces the stability and beauty of the total ecosystem. It is wrong when it damages it.” Marjorie Kelly, quoting Stephan Harding (Kelly in Capra & Luisi 2014:402). Continue reading “On a Swedish winters day, Styrsö Halsvik”

Tjolöholm Christmas 2016

At Tjolöholm Castle for a Swedish yuletide table sitting, 2016.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

“Upon first reading A Christmas Carol there appears little evidence of anxiety. The protagonist, Ebenezer Scrooge would seem to be the least anxious person imaginable. A belligerent, spiteful man, he seems strikingly sure of himself. However, a closer reading of the text from an existential standpoint shows that this is hardly the case. Scrooge, from the outset, is a cold, nasty and mean-spirited character. As the story opens, he turns down his nephew’s invitation to Christmas dinner; begrudges his clerk’s only holiday in the year; refuses to contribute to charity; frightens a carol singer; and violently claims that “every idiot who goes about with ‘Merry Christmas’ on his lips should be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart” (48). Where is anxiety to be found in such a stance? Everywhere, I suggest.” [1:744]

A Christmas Carol is a story I grew up with, having first watched Walt Disney’s version Mickey’s Christmas Carol in 1983. The Charles Dickens read came later. A characteristic of narratives by Dickens is how I’ve found to be able to revisit protagonists and characters presented in his novels from various perspectives. Continue reading “Tjolöholm Christmas 2016”

Milo-kopi espoir

Singapore east in the heartlands, 2016.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

It was a moment to look forward to, and an opportunity only to be had when Janice was back in Singapore. The quality of the food at the eatery was certainly consistent, the reason so many natives and tourists alike, have fallen in love with just the culinary creations served at the eatery, especially before mid-morning. It was a place to recommend on detour. After surveying the eatery, Janice took her seat at the given table, at the far end of the eatery, diagonally across the dining hall from the eatery’s reception counter. She had placed orders for the eatery’s most famous dishes and was not surprised at how promptly her orders had arrived. Consistent timeliness in service was a much appreciated factor at the eatery.

Janice had ordered two dishes to begin with and she surveyed the dishes as they were presented at the table. On one small red dish, the culinary creation was stacked and neatly sliced. On another likewise small red dish, the even tones of the rounded ovals of the eggs was something to be marvelled at – such a feat of nature! Janice was awestruck at how the culinary creations were presented as bonsai works of art, each creation having its own signature small dish, the food meticulously arranged. The food looked beautiful and tempting. Continue reading “Milo-kopi espoir”

Ellenborough Market Café and a narrative of a prestiged banquet, Singapore 2016

At the Ellenborough Market Café at Swissotel Merchant Court, Singapore, 2016.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

[narrative of a prestiged banquet]

In a white resplendent European designed wedding gown that emphasised her tiny waist, the gown’s flowing hemline trimmed with delicate lace imported from France, Gina Chen, now Mrs Gina Phua strode arm in arm with her husband, Mr Tom Phua, as they entered the dining hall to their wedding dinner banquet. The hall was decked out in various shades of red and gold, symbolising prosperity and happiness for the newlyweds. Mrs Phua’s eyes swept the room and noted with pride that all other eyes were on her that evening. The French lace trimming to her gown that she had insisted Mr Phua pay for, is now paying off. She felt rich, and more than beautiful. Her father’s country club membership application, where members of the club were mostly Europeans living in Singapore for work purposes, finally came through two days prior to the wedding day. The Chen family had waited more than a month for the club membership approval and Mrs Phua felt that she finally belonged to the European inner circle that her father had tried so hard to place her. With the country club membership approved, and with the newfound freedom of marriage of not having to be under constant watch by her own mother, Mrs Phua looked forward to lazier afternoons. She was also in the position of having the Chen family fortune behind her, ensuring that she need not stay with her in-laws. She sighed a small breath Continue reading “Ellenborough Market Café and a narrative of a prestiged banquet, Singapore 2016”

Circle Market, east Singapore 2016

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Circle Market, east Singapore 2016.

At the Circle Market located in the east of Singapore, 2016.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

I love marketing. From Barcelona, Spain to Bali, Indonesia and in in this post, the east of Singapore, I think having time to market is a privilege. Often times, the market place is combined with places for eating, where one can sample the people’s street foods. Located in the eastern part of Singapore in Tampines neighbourhood is the Circle Market (Tampines Round Market and Food Centre). This place comes alive from the break of dawn and winds down just at about noon each day, with its most festive days being the weekends. On weekends, marketers are greeted by a flea market carrying an array of eclectic goods in makeshift stalls that frill the outmost circle of the market place. The combined amenities of eateries, market stalls and flea market activities resonate as a heartbeat of the neighbourhood. If cooking at home, one is most likely to be able to bag most ingredients to grandmother’s dishes here.

The wet markets in Singapore are attractive socio-economic spaces for the community. On a recent visit (2 Dec. 2016) to Singapore by Myanmar state counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi toured Ghim Moh Market and Food Centre the morning, hosted by Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan [1]. Continue reading “Circle Market, east Singapore 2016”

Enclave Catalunya, Sentosa, Singapore 2016

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At FOC Sentosa, Tanjong Beach, Sentosa, Singapore 2016.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

I had planned to visit Palawan Beach at Sentosa, and when in a car, it was only to follow the road signs. Turning mostly left when on Sentosa, we were greeted by a female peacock crossing the street. She looked pretty in mid-morning, just doing her own thing. Turning into the carpark to what I thought was Palawan Beach, I hesitated getting out of the car when greeted by what seemed to be an ongoing student orientation activity taking place by the beach. Crowded and loud, I wanted away from crowd. But I got out of the car in either case, and walked further on, farthest I could from the noise and activities. Continue reading “Enclave Catalunya, Sentosa, Singapore 2016”

Raindance Godiva

Pluviophile, Singapore 2016.

Tropical raindance, a pluviophile’s dream. November, in Singapore 2016.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

A tropical storm raged just out from under the hawker centre night shades. Within the compounds of the hawker centre in a small enough area, an elderly male busker had put on the most upbeat of ’80s dance tunes. He stood just beside a flattened cap he had placed on the ground, moving energetically to the beat.

“You should go out in the rain, and dance!” said a voice that stood to my right.

I looked to my right, caught a pair of sparkling eyes that belonged to that familiar voice, and smiled. I wanted to. I’d be soaked through to the skin in warm rain, something I could never do in the Nordics.

“This is your kind of weather” the voice encouraged, “go dance!”

Looking at the elderly male busker grooving to his own chosen ’80s dance tracks, he had by now asked his female companion to join him in the show. I shook my head in reply. “It’s not polite if I outdid them.” I said. “Worse still is if people just stared at me, and didn’t throw me any money… Continue reading “Raindance Godiva”

Personalised kampong spaces, Singapore 2016

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Singapore 2016

In a 1970s design crochet bell-sleeved top made by my mother, Rita Yong Cordeiro. A small, high-gloss finish wood table with two accompanying chairs standing in the lift landing area of this HDB corridor was what caught my eye. On the table, a tiny glass vase filled with plastic carnations in red.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

I remember his hands firmly gripping me around my ribcage, under my arms, then lifting me decidedly over two square tiles. He landed me unceremoniously unto a tidied space in the apartment and then went about working again. I was about four years old, and wondered how come he could not just have asked me to hop over two square tiles. The man was a construction worker who was at the time, halfway through tiling the floor to the living room. That was one of the earliest memories I have of watching my parents’ new home, their first Singapore government built HDB (Housing and Development Board) flat come to life. Although not literally the “final stage of [their] housing ladder” [1:195] it was however, a confirmation of a fairly secure economic status reached for our small family, Continue reading “Personalised kampong spaces, Singapore 2016”

Food along the east coast, Singapore

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Singapore 2016

At the East Coast Lagoon Food Village, Singapore.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

I had not known that sun ripened fresh cut fruits served with ice drizzled over them was a concept dish until I had moved out of Singapore to live in Sweden. In the nordic countries, a ‘fruit salad’ was what you might find as a type of side dish to the cheese platter, by which the fruit bit might be cut pears and/or green grapes. Perhaps marmalade as the fruit bit is also possible. So you’ll end up with having a fruit salad of different tiny jars of artisan marmalades, to the cheese platter. Different.

But it would be a day of any weather that living in the east of Singapore close to the beach, I would find myself encountering a mixed fruit platter as part of my favourite things to eat at the hawker centres located in this area. I liked in particular, to have a fruit platter at the East Coast Lagoon Food Village, which I had only all my life known as Lagoon. Continue reading “Food along the east coast, Singapore”

Street food, Bangkok, Thailand 2016

Bangkok, Thailand 2016

Chinatown at after five, Bangkok, Thailand.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

I had not often come across a decline in request to a destination, especially one in which tourists are encouraged to visit, but the tuk-tuk driver absolutely declined to drop us off at Chinatown in mid-morning in Bangkok, Thailand. “There is nothing there to see now. After five p.m. okay. But if you really want to go, I can drop you off at the corner 7-11 shop and you can walk from there.” He spoke to us through the rear view mirror of the tuk-tuk, his eyes meeting ours. After some contemplation, I asked, “Where would you recommend we go now? What is open?” His eyes lit up with a smile, “I bring you river tour! But first, I bring you to tailor shop? Very good suits for you, Sir!” He had already brought us to two other tailor shops, plus a jewellery outlet. So we kindly agreed to the river tour, but we didn’t want any more tailor visits. It was our turn to decline. “Only five minutes!” he intervened, “Very fast! You just go in spend five minutes, and then I get free petrol. Free petrol. You help me?” he said, unabashedly, with a big smile. He was already off to his designated shop. I turned to look at Sir and said, “I’ll probably find another cheongsam to tailor with Thai silk.” Continue reading “Street food, Bangkok, Thailand 2016”

On the slopes of Mount Vesuvius

Azienda Vinicola Sorrentino, Mount Vesuvius, Naples, Italy 2016

A commanding view that belongs to Mount Vesuvius.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

Lush, with a hint of aridity in the air, is what I would describe the climate that surrounds the undulating lands around Mount Vesuvius just about this time of year. That, and a certain solemnity and silence that blankets the surroundings. But this solemnity is permeating, because I have felt this sense of quiet even in the heart of the city of Naples when walking along the Gulf of Naples. We walk around the vineyard with our guide who knows the grounds well. The landscape reminds me somewhat of the landscape found in southeastern France.

It was about lunch hour when we strolled about the grounds where we were introduced to the various grape varieties planted, as well as other friendly vegetables complementing. Walking with a few steps between us in distance, our guide suddenly turned to us and said, “You know, I’m training running”, with a nod in the direction of Vesuvius. Continue reading “On the slopes of Mount Vesuvius”

Pompeii, Campania, Italy 2016

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Pompeii, Campania, Italy 2016

At the Forum, the central area in the ancient ruins of the city of Pompeii, Campania, Italy 2016.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

I developed an interest in archaeology as a hobby read from when I was about fourteen years old. Having read about Pompeii, and followed its archaeological uncoverings through my teenage years since the early 1990s, I visit this UNESCO World Heritage site in 2016 with mixed feelings.

Located across the Bay from the city of Naples in southern Italy, you seem never allowed to lose your bearing to Mount Vesuvius. Gaping at the top where in ancient paintings it was once capped, Vesuvius dominates the horizon. It stands in statement of the events that took place in 79 AD. As a reminder of its last large outbreak in 1944, it is still 95 centigrade warm a few meters under the ground. That is a hair’s breath from boiling. But for now, on the surface, the fire mountain slumbers.

The region around Vesuvius today hosts some three million inhabitants that would need to be evacuated immediately when, not if, Vesuvius wakes up again. Inhabiting the area could possibly be human optimism, else, more pragmatically, the fertile soils of the land afforded by the very fire mountain itself gives the possibility of good trade (thus good living), especially in wine. Continue reading “Pompeii, Campania, Italy 2016”

Gelato, gelato, gelato

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Capri, Italy 2016.

Bar Corallo, Capri, Italy 2016.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

Just a few days prior to landing in southern Italy, I walked out of a little gelateria, Gelato Da Luca, in Gothenburg, Sweden. Newly located in the heart of Gothenburg’s older marketing district where cobbled streets were set out in grid format, I had in hand from this gelateria, a paper cup of two generous scoops of Italian made ice-cream. Caffè and cioccolato fondente (extra dark chocolate).

I could always do gelato, the sequence being caffè and cioccolato fondente, then cioccolato fondente and pistacchio. If there was no caffè or pistacchio, then it will be nocciola. I was only too happy to know that the owner, who had come to Sweden from Rome, had decided to open a second outlet in Gothenburg, both outlets being equidistant to the Business School at the University of Gothenburg.

Already then, I had decided that when in southern Italy, or Italy at all, I would gelato.

And that, I did. That, and cioccolata calda, a smooth, thick hot chocolate concoction that rivals Granja M. Viader xocolata calenta in Barcelona, Spain.

Swapping different types of cobbled stones from Gothenburg to southern Italy, I was beyond delighted to once again, gelato. Continue reading “Gelato, gelato, gelato”

Styrsö Sandvik, 2016

Mermaid in distress

Styrsö Sandvik guest harbour [1], Sweden, summer 2016.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

Styrsö Sandvik was one of the best sandy beaches that the old summer resort Styrsö ever had in the 19th century. But landscapes evolve and eventually, modern times caught up with even this small part of the world when the local fishing fleet decided they needed a current and better protected harbour. So it was that the long sandy beach so much appreciated by the locals as well as the city slanker* (as they were called at the time by the locals in local dialect), were no more.

Now in the current millennium the tide is turning again and the tourist, service and “experience” industry is reclaiming territory. The novelty and charm of harbours such as this for visitors for the moment is to get to experience first hand, island life and island living. Docked in this harbour are larger fishing boats, and in neat piles by dockside are lobster and crab nets for when it is season.

The fish harbour shares its space as guest harbour for pleasure yachts complete with harbour café, neat bathing facilities, a children’s playground and a barbecue pit for the occasional older children who might want spare ribs and a beer. Continue reading “Styrsö Sandvik, 2016”

Skärhamn – A Swedish west coast fishing village in the 21st century, Sweden 2016

Flying into Sweden on an aerial view before landing, I continue to marvel at how green the country is. More green than I have ever seen before even if I was born in equatorial tropical rainforest region, this Scandinavian landscape far north of the globe has its green interspersed with water fills of varying dimensions. The first few years of my being here which is now more than a decade ago, I thought nothing much of it. There was nothing to see, just green. Today, the sight of the Nordic tree tops interspersed with water, as far as the eye takes you, is a treasured moment of aerial encounter. And contrary to my initial impression, there is a lot to see.

Skärhamn, Tjörn, Sweden 2016

Skärhamn, Tjörn, Sweden, summer 2016.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

Most of Sweden is very scenic. The panoramic terrains from Skåne in the South of Sweden to Lappland, way north of the arctic circle, is distinct and different.

The west coast of Sweden is the country’s own riviera. Besides facing the North Sea and the Atlantic, it is kept warmer than the rest of Sweden by the Gulf Stream that passes just outside its coast. The west coast goes from long sandy beaches in the South until you hit the old Viking territories, around Gothenburg. From there and up north, the terrain becomes rocky and the coast is cut into hundreds of large and small islands, separated by steep cliffs and deep fjords.

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Skärhamn, Tjörn, Sweden 2016 Continue reading “Skärhamn – A Swedish west coast fishing village in the 21st century, Sweden 2016”

Latticework for little gherkins

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro

Latticing cucumbers in the garden patch, summer 2016.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

One of the fun things to discover in Sweden is that small cucumbers, originally an Asian fruit, are easy to grow here once you have some land available in a warm corner of the garden. They do like warm weather and are actually very picky with that. Below 15 degrees centigrade in the soil and you can as well save yourself the trouble of even planting them.

Swedish summers are not always tropical warm. You can likewise experience 10 degrees centigrade at Midsummer’s as on New Year’s Eve. So usually, it is from middle (to late) in the summer season here that the gherkins suddenly decide life is worth living after all and start growing leaves. They stretch upwards and throw out small lassos to use for climbing. You know that they’re doing fine when small star-shaped flowers that are a vibrant yellow begin to light up the spaces among all the large green leaves.

Looking at the tiny tendrils, you’ll also know when it is time to give them a little direction in life – upwards – or they will end up in a big entangled mass. We have noticed that they have no qualms using each other for climb support, so given enough space they might probably be fine growing directly on the ground. But we prefer that each has its own climb support and giving them a string each skywards enables you to see them in their full sunny disposition once they start bearing fruit. Continue reading “Latticework for little gherkins”

In essence of revealing: Schloss Nymphenburg, Munich 2016

Schloss Nymphenburg 2016

In the style of a Japanese Imari baluster vase with lid ca. 1720, Schloss Nymphenburg, Munich , Germany 2016.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

One of the most torturous things you can do to an academic mind with an eager disposition is suggest threads of thought tangent to the current context of dialogue. This however, is what one experiences when reading Martin Heidegger’s The Question Concerning Technology [1]. As commentary on Heidegger’s essay on Heidegger’s claim that the essence of technology is itself nothing technical, Mahon O’Brien wrote in footnote in a 2004 conference paper,

“One should be warned however, that Heidegger will not simply introduce his problematic and then present the solution, one has to follow the path which he weaves on the way toward coming to grips with the problem. Following this path is a rather arduous task and involves a significant level of patience and commitment from the reader. A number of thinkers have resisted what they see as this recurring ‘errant’ method in Heidegger’s philosophy, not least, Ernst Tugendhat who dismisses Heidegger’s technique as merely “evocative” and thereby groundless. This is a serious charge but one which Heidegger himself was not unaware of.” [2:1]

For Heidegger, technology is not merely means, but it is a way of revealing, an unfolding from the essence of technology. In quotation below, are some paragraphs from Heidegger’s essay that perhaps caused Tugendhat and others of like mind to label Heidgger’s writings as evocative: Continue reading “In essence of revealing: Schloss Nymphenburg, Munich 2016”

Viktualienmarkt travel in time, Munich , Germany 2016

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Viktualienmarkt, München 2016

A tall glass of coffee ice-cream and whipped cream from Chocolaterie Beluga is a decadent excuse to being in the corner under the shade at Viktualienmarket, Munich , Germany 2016.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

Noting St. Peter’s Church located at the Marienplatz in Munich as a point of interest to visit, where it is the district’s oldest church, it was not long before I found myself headed towards the medieval city center of Munich.

Alighting from the U-Bahn at Marienplatz and coming out into the large, spacious city square, I was immediately greeted by the towering Gothic architecture of the Neues Rathaus. Despite summer visits and the ongoing UEFA Euro 2016, I noted with appreciation that the city remained relatively uncluttered of people.

Unter der München Sun

Viktualienmarkt, München

Chocolaterie Beluga, München, Germany 2016.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

– narrative –

After rounding off from St. Peter’s Church, the girls, Gene, Alicia and Patrice, who were on an all-girl European tour for the summer season found the perfect chocolate hot spot to cool down, out from under the München sun.

After placing their orders, the girls settled neatly in the outdoor area overlooking the market square, watching a little bit of marketing life go by. This particular chocolaterie was renowned for its vast hot chocolate choices. Being one who doesn’t quite like sweets per se, Gene was particularly happy she could find a more than 70% cacao content for her hot chocolate. Patrice settled for a chocolate-hazelnut conconction and Alicia who ordered a modest cup of two scoops of ice-cream had already in hand part of her order.

The girls by most Southeast-Asian socio-economic standards could be deemed highly successful in their own right. Each had worked in the top Forbes listed global multinationals in the finance industry for at least two decades. To their academic accolades, they each had their condominium, their convertible in their favourite colour, time enough to spend together on this trip and most important, cash in hand. It was also comfortable that having grown up together in the same convent since they were six years old, the girls knew each other well enough to carry on conversations between themselves smoothly.

Gene surveyed the market scene in front of her, “I love this place! Don’t you think it’s so rustic? Europe is so rustic!” Continue reading “Unter der München Sun”

Zwickl Gastro, München, Germany 2016

If you are looking for the very centre of Munich and where to start your explorations of this interesting city that have its roots at least back into the Roman Empire some two thousand years ago, Marienplatz with the Rathaus-Glockenspiel would certainly be one of the options.

From there, it is just a few steps over well worn cobbled stones to the largest open air wet market, the Viktualienmarkt. Numerous small food stores specializing in their own brands of meat sausages, cheese, pickled olives and wine surround the market square. Here is where where you can have succulent pieces of roast pork and cracklings between generous slices of bread buns, all in the proximity of the Biergarten (the Beer Garden) for which Munich is famed.

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Zwickl München, Germany

Zwickl München 2016.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

Continue reading “Zwickl Gastro, München, Germany 2016”

Stalking Louis Vuitton, Europe

22 Jun. 2016. Munich, Germany.
Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Louis Vuitton,  München Residenzpost, Germany  2016.

Louis Vuitton, München Residenzpost, Germany 2016.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2016

– You know there’s nothing much in Munich if you’re not into beer guzzling or wurst eating.
– I could do pork knuckles.
– Schweinshaxe. No, you don’t.
– No, you’re right, I don’t. And stop swearing at me.

I thought Munich one of the prettiest most liveable cities I’ve thus far visited. From the chimes of the clock tower in the city centre that advise the time of day and task to accomplish before sundown to the historic cathedrals built around the old market square, Munich is anything but nothing much.

I didn’t need to look for it. I knew I would come across it just like so, an old friend along the street. And I did. The Louis Vuitton boutique located along Residenzstraße.

Continue reading “Stalking Louis Vuitton, Europe”

Visiting Abbot Suger’s St. Denis: A visual language of light and architecture

Basilique Saint-Denis, Paris 2016

The choir of Saint-Denis, the birth place of Gothic architecture.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

It is generally thought that Gothic architecture was born when Abbot Suger (c.1081–1151) of the French Royal Abbey of Saint-Denis just north of Paris, undertook the renovation of the then Romanesque style structure of the Saint-Denis, the most sacred shrine in France. The work began in 1140 with the erection of a new western facade, and continued with a new choir at the eastern end, covering as he put it, the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end of the basilica. Time did not let him see the new nave erected as he planned it but the foundation was laid. As the Saint-Denis Basilica Chatedral stands today what remains of Sugers work is the general appearance of the western fascade minus the northern tower, and the very important new choir at the eastern end. The nave is as he envisioned it but was built after his time. Most of the important glass windows was lost over the years or destroyed at the time of the French revolution at the end of the 18th century.

Continue reading “Visiting Abbot Suger’s St. Denis: A visual language of light and architecture”

The latent image

IMG_5432 598

Auguste Rodin, L’aurore (Camille Claudel) c.1885, Musée Rodin, Paris.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

Dionysius the Areopagite

Mystical Theology

Chapter II

How it is necessary to be united with and render praise to Him Who is the cause of all and above all. Unto this Darkness which is beyond Light we pray that we may come, and may attain unto vision through the loss of sight and knowledge, and that in ceasing thus to see or to know we may learn to know that which is beyond all perception and understanding (for this emptying of our faculties is true sight and knowledge), and that we may offer Him that transcends all things the praises of a transcendent hymnody, which we shall do by denying or removing all things that are like as men who, carving a statue out of marble, remove all the impediments that hinder the clear perceptive of the latent image and by this mere removal display the hidden statue itself in its hidden beauty. Continue reading “The latent image”

Une petite cheese shop spectaculaire, Paris 2016

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, French cheeses, Paris 2016

Neatly tucked in between other more imposing shop facades along Rue de Grenelle, equally far away from Musée d’Orsay and Musée Rodin rests one of Paris’ many culinary gems, the Barthélemy cheese boutique, that carries more than 200 varieties of unique and hand crafted French cheeses.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

It is not possible to go to Paris and not step into the myriad small specialist culinary boutiques that cater to almost every whim or fancy. From cheese and wine to artisan chocolates, these boutiques are scattered over the city, making it possible to find your favourite merchant in almost every quarter of the cityscape.

Unawares of this scatterings of artisan boutiques, I had in fact, written down a few addresses of cheese boutiques that I wanted to visit in Paris. The other unawares of mine was that some of these small specialist shops in Paris tended to shut down for a mid-day break. The boutiques close at around Swedish lunch time and re-open at about Swedish after lunch fika time.

For a cheese enthusiast, this midi repos was nothing of a deterrent. I simply found a nearby café around the corner and indulged in my other enthusiast culinary staple – a local hot chocolat viennois.

Continue reading “Une petite cheese shop spectaculaire, Paris 2016”

Musée d’Orsay: unbound by gilded frame

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Musée d'Orsay 2016

At the former restaurant of the Hôtel d’Orsay that serve traditional French cuisine.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

There is something about old train stations that takes me to another place, another time. Stepping into the Musée d’Orsay is like stepping into a circle of old friends, in continuance of a conversation of a different time period – which, reminds me of some lines from Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris – from 2011:

“Inez: You’re in love with a fantasy.
Gil: I’m in love with you.”

“Man Ray: A man in love with a woman from a different era. I see a photograph!
Luis Buñuel: I see a film!
Gil: I see insurmountable problem!
Salvador Dalí: I see rhinoceros!” Continue reading “Musée d’Orsay: unbound by gilded frame”

Un chocolat viennois s’il vous plaît

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Paris 2016 café culture

Marie. Starbucks, Paris.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

I had a list of maybe forty-two different restaurants and cafés that I wanted to visit when in Paris. But sometimes the idea of what you’d like to do when visiting a different city stifles the doing in itself. So the eatery list was placed aside and what was left were the serendipitous finds of round the corner cafés and restaurants, closest in proximity usually, to our other list – places of interest.

Paris has a rich café culture to offer, a total joy and treasure of the city.

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Paris 2016 café culture Continue reading “Un chocolat viennois s’il vous plaît”

Food with Identity: Passion för Mat 2016, Gothenburg

Domaine Wines Sweden
Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Passion för Mat 2016

A sample of wines from Domaine Wines Sweden at Passion för Mat 2016 (26-28 Feb.), Gothenburg.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

Just about a decade ago, the idea of using locally produced raw ingredients saw its effects of the pulling together of marketing efforts of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the food and beverage industry. One such marketplace that facilitated the actualisation of the ideology of ‘locally produced’ that in turn helped Sweden rediscover their own culinary heritage that might have even breathed life to the current Nordic cuisine scene is the food trade fair, Passion för Mat that began in 2008 at Eriksbergshallen in Gothenburg.

This year’s theme for the food fair is “Food with Identity”. First that came to my mind on the theme were the lengthy, interesting and sometimes heated Swedish midsummer night debates with friends of the Western Swedish Academy of Gastronomy on the heritage and origins of certain wines and cheeses, particularly from France and Italy. Continue reading “Food with Identity: Passion för Mat 2016, Gothenburg”

January winter 2016, Swedish west coast

Swedish west coast, Styrsö, Sweden, January 2016

– I wanted to see this place in winter. I wanted to know what it looked like with snow all around.
– Well yes, you’re in luck. Here is the Nordic gods boasting of what they can do, tinting the sky in complement to the waters. Would you like your hot chocolate spiked with cinnamon, or vodka?
Swedish west coast

Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

Swedish west coast, Styrsö, Sweden, January 2016

Swedish west coast, Styrsö, Sweden, January 2016 Continue reading “January winter 2016, Swedish west coast”

Winter festive, Göteborg 2015

Winter festive, streets of Gothenburg

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro

On the way to market, eve of Christmas eve, Gothenburg.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

After planning for weeks to explore the festive winter markets whether in Gothenburg or Västerås, I went right ahead and missed every single one of them, in both cities.

This series of miss-events reminded me of what was told of me years ago, “For you, my dear, planning doesn’t work. You might as well give up on planning things altogether.” Perplexed at the woman’s absolute tone of voice, I had asked the woman who seemed so convinced of my stars, “What do you mean ‘planning doesn’t work’? I plan all the time!”, “Exactly what I said” she promptly replied, “And it doesn’t work for you.” I shot her a look of one raised eyebrow, expecting an elaboration on her part. But I received no further elaboration. I watched as she continued to peer with furrowed brows, into the astrological charts she had unfolded on the table in front of her. Continue reading “Winter festive, Göteborg 2015”

Tjolöholm Christmas 2015

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro

At Tjolöholm Castle for a Swedish Jultide Table sitting, 2015.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

I had just voiced the observation that Swedish Christmas table sittings were so much more homogeneous than Singapore Christmas table sittings when I stepped through the heavy carved wooden doors of Tjolöholm Castle and found on the dessert table – Crannachan – a traditional Scottish Christmas dessert made with raspberries, whiskey, cream and oats.

The Crannachan sat right next to the very English Christmas pudding, a close cousin of the dark Christmas fruitcake drenched in rum that the Cordeiros are so fond of during jultide, weddings, baptism, and most any other family designated festive day through the year. Continue reading “Tjolöholm Christmas 2015”