Sunday sopa de llenties, a moment Barcelona

Spanish lentil soup – sopa de llenties. Seems to be a Sunday favourite. A serving of which has a certain petite madeleine effect on me, that takes me back to Barcelona.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2017

I haven’t a clue why it is that we often cook this dish on a Sunday, though path dependency could well provide a theory. In this case, the inherent (perceived) languidity of the day would also provide a buttressing argument for the theory as to why Spanish lentil soup on Sundays. This soup inevitably brings me right back to my stay in Barcelona just about six years ago. Perhaps in my case Proust’s petite madeleine moment should be renamed simply, the sopa de llenties moment, no? But, no. If there was a defining culinary moment to remember in Barcelona for me, it would have be Restaurant Los Caracoles, located in Barrio Gótico, just off tangent to La Ram­bla, the city’s main artery for activities. Within that restaurant, its inferno heart of a kitchen with hot glowing coals readied for the evening’s cooking is a sight to remember. That, and their signature buns served in the shape of a snail. That restaurant provides too cozy an atmosphere to decline any evening’s invite.

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Orange almond cake, petite madeleine Escribà Barcelona

Orange Cake 091a 598

Spanish orange almond cake: a variation of the sémola bizcocho de almendras.
Text & Photo © CM Cordeiro 2014

It was the search for that perfect xocolata calenta in Barcelona 2011 on a weekday morning that found me wandering the streets of El Raval in the neighbourhood of Ciutat Vella, also known as Barrio Xinès or Barrio Chino, close to the quarters of Barri Gòtic, that landed me tasting the most wonderful variation of the Eurasian semolina almond cake, infused with orange.

Working on the batter of this cake, I can’t help but return to the words of the protagonist in Proust’s Swann’s Way, the first of seven volumes to À la recherche du temps perdu (published between 1913-1927), on when the petite madeleine, crumb soaked in tea, touched his lips: Continue reading “Orange almond cake, petite madeleine Escribà Barcelona”

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BARCELONA

Timelapse of Barcelona by Alexandr Kravtsov. Just beautiful.

As David Bickley wrote, of A.Kravtsov’s 480gb of images:

“What’s even more impressive is what Alexandr went through to make this piece. In his words it took “a broken camera, lost flash drive, near 100 subway rides, 24 000 photos, endless hours of post production and rendering and 480 gigabytes of material.” That’s insane!”

BARCELONA. MOTION TIMELAPSE from Alexandr Kravtsov on Vimeo.

La Cremeria Toscana | Barcelona

Cremeria Toscana 4399 600

La Cremeria Toscana.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2011-2013

I’ve always loved ice-cream. More accurately, it would be, gelato. Richer, denser and more flavourful, summers would not be complete without a myriad of gelati flavours even in Sweden. And in Barcelona, the gelaterias seldom disappoint.
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At Los Caracoles Casa Bofarull, Barcelona, Spain

At Casa Bofarull, Los Caracoles Barcelona, Spain.
Text and Photo © JE Nilsson and CM Cordeiro 2012

If you hear that this restaurant is a challenge to find, that would be an accurate observation, especially if you don’t turn at just that left exit along La Rambla that leads you minutes down the lane to the restaurant, when walking from Plaça de Catalunya towards Rambla del Mar, but instead navigate from within the Gothic quarters of the city, or elsewhere.
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Visit to Montserrat, Barcelona, Spain

Rosa d’abril.
Text and Photo © CM Cordeiro 2012

Mare de Déu de Montserrat or Moreneta, the Virgin of Montserrat, is a Romanesque sculpture in wood from the late 12th century. The hym to the Virgin of Montserrat begins with the words “Rosa d’abril, Morena de la serra…”, “April rose, dusky lady of the mountain chain”. It is for this reason that the Virgin is also known as “Rosa d’abril”. In her hand, she holds the globe of the world.
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Finding your way in Barcelona

At La Boqueria in Barcelona.
Text and Photo © JE Nilsson and CM Cordeiro 2012

Even if briefly visiting a new country, one of my most absolute favourite things to do is to go shopping for groceries at the local wet market, from fresh baked breads to cheese, eggs and various types of fruit both fresh and preserved. And while in Europe, the concept of ‘wet markets’ would differ from those in Asia, the spirit of trading at the break of dawn and the buzz of activities at a local focal meeting point would still be the fundamental connecting points in these entities.
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Morning in La Roca Village, Barcelona, Spain

Morning coffee at La Roca shopping outlet Village, Barcelona
Text and Photo © JE Nilsson and CM Cordeiro 2012

A few years ago when visiting Italy, I had the pleasure of going “outlet shopping” at a large shopping centre just outside of Florence. It was more or less an entire village that was built just for the purpose of offering branded goods at discount prices. It was last seasons pieces, short series, not so successful colours, odd sizes and a fairly decent discount given to those who took the trouble to search through all this for something they liked. The prices are fine but you will also need to deal with the disappointment of finding a perfect pair of shoes in just that half size smaller model that would make them actually possible to wear on your feet.

This day in Barcelona, it wasn’t so much the shopping that we looked forward to, but rather just a reason to get outside of the city centre of Barcelona for a few hours. The La Roca Village (at La Roca del Vallès, Barcelona) was just about a 40 minutes drive from Plaça Catalunya, and this allowed for some indulgence in time to sightsee and catch-up on life whilst window shopping.
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Catalunya Singapore, a touch of Barcelona, Spain at the waterfront

At Catalunya Singapore, The Fullerton Pavilion at Collyer Quay, Singapore.
Text and Photo © CM Cordeiro 2012

If it were not for a kind Samaritan I met along the way who pointed out directions to the Fullerton Pavilion in Singapore, I would have taken much more time before landing at the day’s lunch venue – Catalunya Singapore.

Coming in from the scorch of the mid-day tropical sun, it took a few seconds for the eyes to adjust to the dimmer interior of the bar and restaurant, though the line of sight didn’t need to venture farther than the reception to find a touch of Gaudí’s influence in the gleaming white broken mosaic pieces that clung to the columns of the dining interior. This influence of Gaudí would also continue, as I found, through the dining experience in the shapes and motifs of the plates and utensils on the table. Not two steps into the place, I was surrounded by individuals who spoke Catalan and Spanish, déjà vu and I felt right back in Barcelona again, and felt right at home.

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Barcelona revisited – Sunday sopa de llenties

Spanish lentil soup, a keepsake from Barcelona.
Text and Photo © JE Nilsson and CM Cordeiro 2012

My favorite souvenir to bring back from places I have visited is actually the food.

Not only all the local specialties I can fit into my luggage and hope will survive the trip back, but the smell, the flavours and that particular piece of memory and history they contain, that could so easily be revived over and over again at the stove back home.

This weekend I was thinking about Barcelona, that will always have a special place in my heart.

If you walk down La Rambla from the Placa de Catalunya and resist the temptation to turn left into the Barri Gótic just for once, to get lost in the myriads of picturesque back alleys and squares that endlessly lead you round and around in the search for the perfect xocolata you had yesterday, just somewhere around here … and instead carry on, down past the familiar facade of La Boqueria wet market, and turn right, about there, you will soon find yourself inside the bohemian turned pretty posh quarters of El Raval.

There, immediately before you hit the open area of Rambla del Raval, you will find Casa Leopoldo.
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Enoteca de Paco Pérez, Hotel Arts Barcelona

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Enoteca, Hotel Arts, Barcelona, Spain.

Contemplating art in culinary form, through the Mediterranean perspective of Chef Paco Pérez at Enoteca, Hotel Arts Barcelona.
JE Nilsson and CM Cordeiro Nilsson © 2011

I think Spain is one of the places where you should go today, to refresh the eyes with aspects of art, design and architecture that are cutting edge creative and new.

In the 1910-20s Spain and Barcelona were part of the movement that invented modernism, but when you visit Barcelona today, you realize that they didn’t stop there. They just went on, turning and twisting every rock they met on the road of human artistic expressions. This progression of ideas is most visible in architecture and unexpectedly, in modern culinary art.

It is also obvious that while being sat on by suffocatingly conservative forces like Generalissimo Franco and his likes for the best part of the 20th century, this vital people never stopped expressing themselves and just found new ways of doing exactly what they wanted anyway.

And while contemplating your impressions of the city of Picasso, Miro, Gaudi and Dali I can suggest no better place to sit down and enjoy an avant garde meal, building on these very traditions, than at the Enoteka de Paco Pérez at Hotel Arts in Barcelona.

Maybe enoteca is not an ideal name of the restaurant run by the El Bulli trained chef Paco Pérez, but wine is certainly an important part of the experience.

Enoteca carries the meaning of a “wine library” or a wine bar where you can try out wines by the glass, and of course the Enoteka de Paco Pérez at Hotel Arts is a little bit beyond that.

The cooking is brilliant but bordering to eccentric and somehow you sense the influences from all the artists that has made Barcelona famous. Personally I would also like to say that this is not where I would bring my friends for a dinner without asking them first what they would want from a night out.

Barcelona is so full of very good tapas bars and rustic Catalonian eateries that a restaurant that might in fact have picked up plenty of inspiration from the surrealist painter Salvador Dalí, might not be a first on your Barcelona bucket list.

The ambiance also adds to the overall experience. This library of wines is reflected in the design of the place. Stacks of bottles of wines replace library books in black shelves that cover the walls.

Enoteca, Hotel Arts, Barcelona.

If you feel like you would like to try this out, the Barcelonians who also frequent this place, like to dine late, so as a jet-lagged tourist you would actually find yourself happily first in the cue in a more or less empty restaurant.

Enoteca, interior.

The dark wood and dim orange tint from the lighting of the interior of the restaurant gives a feeling of being swept away into your very own corner of the world, a comfortable cocoon of space and time, where in the next couple of hours, you’re left to explore at will, any culinary whim and fancy that the restaurant can offer!

With so much passion and wide eyed wonder at what goes on in the kitchen as was explained to us during our sitting, it was difficult for us to keep a cool front and not bounce from our table straight into the kitchen to get a glimpse first hand on how all of this was orchestrated.

Our pictures are in no way representative of what an evening here can offer but just a few random samples we don’t mind sharing.

Enoteca Tasting Menu I.

Some bread, just for a start.

Enoteca Tasting Menu II.

Besides that the presentations of the dishes were on the whole different and ingeniously combined for each dish, the ambition was as I see it, focused on bringing out the inner soul of fairly common ingredients and actually surprise you with what things you thought you knew could actually taste like.

Enoteca, wines.

The dining experience was softly overseen by your personal sommelier who suggested different wines throughout the dinner that in various ways enhanced or changed how the different dishes came out.

Enoteca Tasting Menu III.

The menu offered many opportunities to get a glimpse of what Paco Pérez’s creative directorship and artistry in the kitchen could create.

Enoteca Tasting Menu IV.

If you care to ask anyone of the friendly staff, that probably had marveled at the same thing as you did, you might find them well prepared to explain what went on in the kitchen, how each dish was put together and the techniques behind the making and presenting of the food.

Enoteca Tasting Menu V.

A dinner here takes time, interest and a sense of humour. Why humour you might say, well, ultimately food is there to be enjoyed and sometimes maybe the imaginative efforts of this extraordinary kitchen is stretched just a tiny bit too hard. The food is good, it really is good, but hey – come on – some of the dishes are there just to make you smile.

To come up with a single recommendation regarding Enoteca de Paco Pérez, I can do no better than to suggest to take the evening off and dine with the broadest of mindsets, expecting the unexpected. Sit back and enjoy the ride from beginning to end and focus on selecting your favourite wines together with the amicable help of the restaurant’s sommelier.

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Mies van der Rohe Pavilion, in Barcelona, more or less

Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain.

The Mies van der Rohe Pavilion is but a short walk downhill from the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, or the MNAC. It’s situated at the foot of the Montjuïc hill. The outdoor café outside the Museu Nacional offers a much needed refreshment.
JE Nilsson and CM Cordeiro Nilsson © 2011

Just below the Museu National on Montjuïc, towards the Placa d’Espanya and on its original site lies the newly rebuilt Mies van der Rohe Pavilion, originally the German Pavilion, built for the 1929 world exhibition held here in Barcelona.

The Pavilion is to me, a fundamental architectural monument from a time when the hope towards a unified and better Europe prevailed. Even beyond the field of arts history and architecture, the German architect and designer of the early 20th century, Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe (1886-1969) was known for his works being some of the most influential of the time. He was one of the founders of modern architecture and a proponent of simplicity of style.

He coined the phrase “less is more” in referring to clarity of shapes and thoughts. So influential were his ideas from the early 1900s that today, these clean lines are visibly noted in the design of just about every current shopping mall or airport in the world. It could even be argued that the very typography of this blog, looking as it does, could be traced back to him.

Because of this, it is a little mind boggling that I found myself in the very building that in architectural form, presented this new ideology to the world, considering too that this was the fruitful result of a flow of ideas between the Russian constructivists, the Bauhaus design school in Berlin and the De Stijl group in the Netherlands, who no doubt also fetched energy and ideas from the modernists here in Barcelona.
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Culinary Paradiso at Los Caracoles, Barcelona

Los Caracoles, the restaurant

The outdoor dining culture of Barcelona is vibrant and not easily outdone. The competition between food outlets is fierce and the variety of food offered in this city is staggering. People are spoiled for choice when it comes to eating out, and it would take more than a lifetimes’s living here to fully discover all interesting restaurants, tapas bars and cafés.

One interesting restaurant sits on Carrer Dels Escudellers, just off Barcelona’s most famous boulevard – La Rambla – in the Barri Gothic quarters of the city. Founded in the early 19th century by the Bofarull family, this interesting restaurant is serving authentic Catalonian cuisine.

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro Nilsson, Los Caracoles, Barcelona.

At Table 2, Los Caracoles. The restaurant has split level floors for seating for more than a hundred persons, discovered only after you walk past the short and narrow bar at the front of the restaurant. The walls of the restaurant are lined with photographs of previous patrons of fame.
Photo: JE Nilsson and C M Cordeiro-Nilsson © 2011

There were many curiosities about this restaurant that caught our attention on our visit. Their signature dish of Snails, prepared quite differently from the French escargot, got the restaurant so locally renowned in the early 1900s that the owners threw out their own last names in favour of the name of the dish calling the restaurant eventually, Los Caracoles or “The Snails”.

Many regular patrons will also tell of how you can’t possibly mistake finding the place because they fry their chickens rotisserie style outdoors on the actual road crossing. The combined visual effect of dancing vermilion flames on the street corner licking at chicken that is gradually turning golden brown, and the enticing aroma of the gently spiced meat that greet you along this narrow street is in itself an overwhelming experience to those who pass by.

But the entire visit, from beginning to end made us raise our eyebrows, first in curiosity and then with awe, mounting up to an extraordinary dining experience!
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Creps at la Boqueria, Mercat de Sant Josep in Barcelona 2011

Mercat Boqueria, Barcelona, La Rambla.

The entrance to La Boqueria is about midway along the famous Catalonian Boulevard La Rambla in Barcelona. The Boqueria wet market opens up at a side road called Mercat de Sant Josep. This market, that has a history from the early 13th century, is today frequented as much by locals as by tourists alike.
Photo: JE Nilsson and C M Cordeiro-Nilsson © 2011

A lot of things in Barcelona are labelled “touristy” and as a result, sneered at even by the locals just because they are popular with the tourists. But Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria tells a different tale.

La Boqueria, as it has been known since the early 13th century when it was established here in the Old City district, began as a convenient network market located near the old city gate where traders from the nearby towns such as Les Corts and Sarrià (now only a 25 minute bus ride from La Boqueria itself) gathered to trade and sell their produce. The market remained here through the centuries, got a firmer structure in the early 19th century and in 1915, an iron roof with its inset stained, colored glass was added, giving the modernismo touch of the time to the place.
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¡Hola, from Barcelona!

Sangria, in Barcelona

Sangria along La Rambla… there can’t be a warmer hello than this, in Barcelona!
Photo: JE Nilsson and C M Cordeiro-Nilsson © 2011

It’s extremely warm in Barcelona, almost tropical though minus the high humidity.

Below, some pictures taken from La Rambla. Amidst running into the Swedish soccer team who are here in Barcelona for the weekend games, witnessing the protest in the main square and meeting people speaking languages from all corners of the world, you can settle down to a very large glass of Sangria and that favourite gelato, absorbing the central vibe of the city of Barcelona.
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Valentine’s at Graffi Grill Tromsø

Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2019

The roses were brought out in most flower boutiques here in Tromsø on Sunday 10 February 2019. It was in celebration of Mother’s Day in Norway. The Feast of Saint Valentine which falls on 14 February in celebration of love and friendship, seems a fairly understated affair in Norway, and in particular as observed, in this city in the Arctic Circle. In a walkabout the city centre prior to dinner, I came across one of my favourite flower boutiques. There was a significant absence of bouquets of roses for the Feast of St Valentine’s. The shop had for ready-made bouquets, clusters of chrysanthemum and lily blooms. Roses were available but firmly potted. In Gothenburg, I loved to have tulips at this time of year sitting on the kitchen table in a vase. In Tromsø, four metre high snow walls built from clearing snow off the sidewalks and driveways is not encouraging weather for tulips, even in vases. I did however, bring home a new pet plant from that shop, a ficus elastica robusta.

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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, 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.

Continue reading “Guernica, Province of Biscay, Basque Country Spain”

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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.

Continue reading “Culinary Team West of Sweden, Spring Dinner 2017”

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”

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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”

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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”

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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”

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Time in circles, Baden, Switzerland

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Baden, Switzerland

View from the top of the Stein Castle ruin, whose foundations were laid some time before the 1100s.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

It was about a decade ago that I sat in the Singapore regional headquarters office of a Swedish owned multinational enterprise, speaking with its Managing Director. The topic was about the general managing of conflicts within the organisation, when we touched upon the concept of Time, and whether that was viewed in linearity:

$1: what happens if you disagree
$2: well you tell / you tell and eventually you do agree / because all disagreements end with an agreement if you’re lucky / or you become / enemies /
$1: do swedes generally see time as a straight line
$2: well no / i would see it as a circle / my time is a circle / i have no idea what others do / and strangely enough that the year and the day / goes in different directions /
$1: is that [understanding of time] a result of [an understanding of a certain philosophy] or
$2: i have no idea / if christmas is six oclock then april is three oclock / and summer is noon / october is nine oclock / but if you’re asking if we are on time or not / yes we are

Baden is a town with a long history. A history that you are made aware of as you walk its small, winding cobbled streets from the banks of the the river Limmat Continue reading “Time in circles, Baden, Switzerland”

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SWITZERLAND

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Sailing schools with wind in their sails

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Styrsö

A touch of Spain along the Swedish west coast: scarf, from Barri Gòtic in Barcelona 2011.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2014

For the first time in more than a decade, I stayed home during the summer, as in, remaining in Sweden during the warmest part of the year.

These evenings, we are often greeted by the monotonous rumble of high powered pleasure crafts going up and down the western archipelago, of people seeking yet another hip place to spend the night (where there seems to be as many rock festivals lined up along the Swedish west coast as you can anchor), alternatively, an absolutely silent and secluded natural harbour, where you will be lulled to sleep by the soft evening breeze to wake up to the curious pecking of some sea fowls finishing off your evening meal carelessly forgotten out in the open. Continue reading “Sailing schools with wind in their sails”

Reblochon – fromage de dévotion! France Fromage, Passion för Mat 2014

Maria Six, France Fromage

Maria Six, France Fromage, Passion för Mat 2014
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2014

Some things in life, are unexplainably uncanny. Like my first time landing at the airport in Shanghai. As I stepped into the arrival hall, I saw two formally dressed individuals, one of whom held a name card that read, “Cheryl CAMPBELL”. Without pause, I found myself walking right up to them:

“Are you looking for me?” I asked curiously, careful not to mention my last name.

“You from Gothenburg?”

“Yes, from Gothenburg.”

“You, Cheryl Campbell?”

I hesitated a heartbeat, then answered, “Yes, that’s me, Cheryl, from Gothenburg.”

“Ah! Cheryl CAMPBELL! It’s a pleasure meeting you!”

I smiled, returned the warm greeting and said very little thereafter.

Then there were my days in Barcelona in 2011, where depending on which route I took to the IESE Business School, I would find myself every morning, walking past two different monasteries, one was a Carmelite Order, an order devoted to silence, contemplation and reflection, and the other with a heritage in the Order of Saint Clare / the Second Order of St. Francis of Assisi.

At the most superficial of coincidences of my days in Barcelona, my parents had wanted me to become a nun of the Carmelite Order. I also grew up in a convent founded by a Minim Friar, St. Francis of Paola (1416-1507), named in honour after St. Francis of Assisi (1181-1226).

During these days, was that visit to Santa Maria de Montserrat, a Benedictine abbey located on the mountain of Montserrat, about forty-eight kilometres from Barcelona, where I found the most delightful of cheeses crafted by the monks themselves.

So I couldn’t help but muse when for several years in a row at Passion för Mat, whenever I meet with Jacques and Maria Six of France Fromage who specialise in fine cheeses, they seem to place in front of me, specific types of cheeses related to my life’s travels somehow. This year, when Jacques pulled us aside to relate the story of Reblochon, fromage de dévotion, I almost stared at him in disbelief.
Continue reading “Reblochon – fromage de dévotion! France Fromage, Passion för Mat 2014”

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Antonio Gaudí: Casa Batlló and Casa Milà

Barcelona is a city that can truly inspire and touch the soul of a visitor. Not in the least because of its education institutions, of which I especially was taken in by IESE, but rather by looking at what is silently said through its culture, art and architecture.

Antonio Gaudí is one of the many geniuses of Catalonian descent that have left their unforgettable imprint on the city. His art speaks loudly, but only to those who can listen with their eyes and peek into each wrought iron entanglement and crack of a mosaic, rearranged to a new meaning.

In this post, a walk-through of Casa Batlló and Casa Milà.

Casa Batlló

There’s a constant stream of people to visit these buidlings, so having some quiet time whilst walking around the conserved apartments is not quite possible. Still something fun to do and worth discovering.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2011-2013

Continue reading “Antonio Gaudí: Casa Batlló and Casa Milà”

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Antonio Gaudí: La Sagrada Familia

In construction since 1882, La Sagrada Familia Basilica in Barcelona, Spain,
stands as one of Antonio Gaudí’s most influential and inspiring work.

Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2011-2013

Continue reading “Antonio Gaudí: La Sagrada Familia”

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Capriccio for Carolina – classical notes that rock your soul

It isn’t that my interest in the field of fashion has waned over the years since I began my blog in 2007 thereabouts, but rather, a percolation of ideas had resulted since then with regards to fashion.

In previous years, I would experiment with fashion styles, fabrics and designs, today having perhaps settled into a general theme that evokes a frame of mind in terms of style and dress, I am more intrigued by the innovative processes of design in itself. I have little qualms mixing and matching fabrics and designs according to context of situation, not in the least, accounting for the weather conditions, and am also apt to carry an extra pair of shoes with me if and when possible – an idea I was introduced to as a form of social etiquette for formal Swedish dinner affairs, when people are expected to have proper indoor shoes that haven’t touched the (what I think are charming) cobbles of the streets outside.

So what captures my attention these days in the field of design and fashion is a sense of the creative. To that extent, I’ve been following behind the scenes, the New York and London Fall RTW collections, whilst at the same time, searching for new classical notes for my playlist.

There are a few designers that inspire me, Carolina Herrera being one of them. I’ve been a fan of Herrera’s collections for several years, where in enthusiasm for my summer in Barcelona 2011, I even packed in luggage to Montjuïc El Xalet, a clean pleat, black Carolina Herrera dress for IESE IFP’s closing dinner.

Following-up on her Fall 2013 RTW, I was this time around, floored not just by the clothes (her signature balance between conservative, long elegant lines and sultry femme), but the absolute soul rocking music!
Continue reading “Capriccio for Carolina – classical notes that rock your soul”

The tranquil at W Singapore, Sentosa Cove, Singapore

At W Singapore, Sentosa Cove.
W Hotels Worldwide are known for their luxurious interiors.

Text and Photo © JE Nilsson and CM Cordeiro 2012

Having grown up in Singapore, I’ve had the opportunity to observe Sentosa transform from a relatively quiet and exotic city getaway with accessible beaches that you could drive up to, park and picnic if you so wished, to one filled with attractions today such as Universal Studios alongside Resorts World that have both locals and visitors gather by the hundreds over the weekends for some fun.

This time my curiosity was piqued about the American W Hotels Worldwide’s newly opened W Singapore hotel and residences located at Sentosa Cove. A place targeted as part of the Singapore government’s efforts at building exclusive residential areas, this one in particular being currently the only seaside marina residential area in Singapore.
Continue reading “The tranquil at W Singapore, Sentosa Cove, Singapore”

Weekday chill at Mälar Paviljongen, Stockholm

Mälar Paviljongen, the café and bar, has also its own cozy flower garden filled with various pots of herbs that lightly scent the air.
Text and Photo © CM Cordeiro 2012

Just about 20 minutes walk from Stockholm’s T-Centralen or central station, along Norr Mälarstrand is this cozy, part floating on water café, restaurant and bar that lets you enjoy the sunset in Stockholm to the sounds of cool lounge.
Continue reading “Weekday chill at Mälar Paviljongen, Stockholm”

Sunshine like clockwork…

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro green door 490

In this sunshine, even nautical stripes and tartan seem a likely fit!
Photos JE Nilsson and CM Cordeiro Nilsson © 2011

Along the Swedish west coast, the weather forecast for today was cloudy in the morning and sunshine from noon onwards. And who would’ve thought… they were right. Sunshine like clockwork.
Continue reading “Sunshine like clockwork…”

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“Una xocolata calenta si us plau”

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro at the Museu de la Xocolata, Barcelona, Spain.

At the Chocolate Museum, just outside the kitchen where the museum holds classes on chocolate confection.
JE Nilsson and CM Cordeiro Nilsson © 2011

Although Spain’s connection with Mexico in the 1500s means that cacao beans and chocolate would be as native to Spain as coconuts and pineapples are to Singapore, I must say that it still took some doing exploring the numerous cafés in Barcelona, before I settled for a favourite place of mine that served my cup of hot chocolate with an added shot of espresso in it!

If you’re a chocolate lover like me, then perhaps nobody can stop you from immediately hitting any café in sight as soon as you get off the plane in Barcelona for a cup of Spanish hot chocolate. At least, that’s what happened to me.

But with that done I brusquely encountered a cultural difference of what a cup of hot chocolate laced with espresso is in Spain.
Continue reading ““Una xocolata calenta si us plau””

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Miró, Miró on the wall …

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From Castell de Montjuic silent large-calibre guns overlooks the sea and port as well as the metropolis of Barcelona itself. On the west side, stands an ornate memorial to General Francisco Franco. An unintentional but vivid commentary on the history of Spain and Barcelona as good as any history book would offer.
JE Nilsson and CM Cordeiro Nilsson © 2011

The headline pun is, of course a play on the words from the English translation by D. L. Ashliman of the definitive edition of the Grimm’s Kinder- und Hausmärchen (Berlin 1857), tale ‘Snow White’, in which the Queen asks her magical mirror “Mirror, mirror on the wall / Who in the land is fairest of all?” The tale takes a dramatic turn when the mirror tells her an unwanted truth.

In a similar manner, the period around the early 1900’s was extraordinarily volatile when it came to artists and architects communication with the public. Many of the art movements that enriched the early 1900’s in Europe were protests against those in power that for their winnings sake drew the world into war. Various kinds of repression caused new ways of commenting on society to appear.
Continue reading “Miró, Miró on the wall …”

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Marmalade from the Garden of Eden

quince_1

Dulce de Membrillo is a traditional Catalan marmalade made from quince, and a perfect addition to the cheese tray. The fruit has a long history. It is divinely fragrant and because of this, the ancient Greeks are said to have offered it to the Goddess Aphrodite, as well as used it themselves in wedding ceremonies amongst mere mortals, where the bride would perfume her kiss with a nibble of quince prior to entering the bridal chamber.
Photo: JE Nilsson and CM Cordeiro Nilsson © 2011

There are more ways to discover your heritage than reading about the country, its national dress, traditions and beliefs. In my case, Quince, an ancient fruit imagined by some to be the forbidden fruit of Eden, referenced in the Song of Songs and written about by the ancient Greeks, turned out to be one of the more interesting discoveries on my visit to Barcelona.

Of course I had met with dulce de membrillo before. However, it took some doing before I recognized this certain red marmalade, being a staple on the breakfast table here and constantly meeting with it in just about every wet market or food store I visited. I eventually got curious enough to enquire after it, and thus re-discovered this long lost acquaintance.
Continue reading “Marmalade from the Garden of Eden”

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Dining with Picasso

Els Quatre Gats, street.

Els Quatre Gats or 4Gats bar, brewery and restaurant. The beautiful façade displays stained glass, ornate lamps, painted numbers on doors, intricately carved wooden door frames and then looking upwards, balconies draped in light swinging vines, filled with potted flowers in bloom.
Photo: JE Nilsson and C M Cordeiro-Nilsson © 2011

It was just about at the right time of the day that we found ourselves outside of Els Quatre Gats restaurant in the labyrinth of winding small roads in Barre Góthic, the late Roman part of Barcelona. From a balcony just above the ‘Four Cats’ restaurant entrance, a friendly dog looked down on us, just as if to confirm the many idiosyncrasies this city is so full of.

For anyone interested in Picasso, this restaurant is a must. Indeed, it is one of those living examples of what the industrialization period about the turn of the century one hundred years ago was all about.

The Modernisme had started earlier, in France as Art Noveau and in Germany and Austria as Jugend, but after the First World War, it was impossible to turn back time again to the dusty and suffocating drapes of romanticism. The time had changed and in all this, Barcelona played an important part.
Continue reading “Dining with Picasso”