A Taste of Travel: The Spice of Life for Fueling Our Creative JuicesOct 29, 2019
Photographs by Christine Moss
A solo adventure to Europe feeds the creativity of Chef Christine Moss in and out of the kitchen — plus a Spanish inspired recipe of spinach with chickpeas for YOU
In the last newsletter I told you I was packing my bags; now I’m un-packing and already daydreaming of my next adventure. Let’s face it, travel feeds the soul.
I recently spent 8 days with camera-in-hand doing what I love most (aside from cooking)…taking pictures. I crave new experiences, flavors and inspirations — they fuel me and always find their way into my food. So, off I went on a quest to refill the creative coffers. And everywhere I looked was beauty that I scrambled to both capture and experience...because I want to share it with you, too.
Andalucia — a place I have always wanted to visit for as long as I can remember, even before my kids, now in college, were born. To say that it did not disappoint is an understatement. Each city, each pueblo blanco (white village) was as beautiful as the next.
Granada, in Spain's Andalucia region
Andalucia is the southern region of Spain known for its olives, olive oil, oranges, pomegranates (‘granada’ is pomegranate in Spanish) and of course, Flamenco. And if you know me…you already know that this was music to my soul! (It is also an area known for its Iberian ham which was absolutely everywhere, but that's not for this newsletter!!)
This adventure was not only my first trip to Europe — it was also my first true solo travel experience, except for my first stop. In Granada I had the good fortune to stay with friends I knew from New York. They showed me around all of the beautiful sights as well as the delicious vegetarian and vegan places they often eat at. It created a gentle entre into my adventure.
The food in Spain is incredible. Orange juice is served freshly squeezed to-order no matter where you go — even in the supermarket you can bottle your own freshly squeezed juice for only two Euros. Imagine that! The olive oil is like liquid gold drizzled over delicious, toasted bread (I’m missing it all as I type this). Service is slow, yet my advice: just go with it. Relax and enjoy the experience and you will find it is the perfect pace in which to truly enjoy a meal.
Fresh fruits & olives abound in Granada
I arrived with a suitcase that was practically empty, as I hoped to fill it little by little in each place I visited. So much for best laid plans. My friends took me to a very special shop filled with herbs, spices, teas and incense — and well, my suitcase was full at my first stop in Spain.
In all of my planning excitement, I had created a rather ambitious itinerary for myself. Hind sight is 20/20, but clearly a few more days in each place would have been nice. However, I got to savor a taste of each locale: Granada, Seville, Tarifa, a day trip to Tangiers Morocco, Ronda and then Malaga. Phew. Traveling alone, I have to say that I felt very safe and comfortable. I noticed many other single women, also traveling alone, enjoying the food and wandering with cameras and an energy of joy. I know it may not be for everyone, but I enjoyed traveling by myself greatly.
But back to you…I want to share some flavors from my trip here with you. Check out this recipe for Espinacas con Garbanzos (spinach with chickpeas) simmered slowly in a smoked paprika sauce. Served as tapas over toasted bread or as a full plate with some rice, it is warm and comforting and a little taste of Spain that aside from pleasing your palate, may just have you daydreaming about your next adventures.
~ By Chef Christine Moss, The Garden Cafe Woodstock
Rooftops in Granada