The Utopian Newsletter : Eat, Drink & Be Merry Issue August 8, 2018
Eating our way around the world
Santorini wines & eats • Moroccan tagine • Just…Portugal
Vinho Verde sampling in Lisbon, Portugal
It’s all about a good balance
Of course, yoga is our top priority when planning and creating our retreat adventures, but food and drink fall right after accommodations in our list of considerations. We know that our yogis and repeat offenders have decerning palettes and we don’t want to disappoint. Each of our destinations offers an amazing array of treats to tempt the tongue but a few stand out and here’s why :
Santorini wines & eats
There’s no need to split hairs about how well the Greeks know wine. According to Wikipedia, Greece is one of the oldest wine-producing regions in the world and among the first wine-producing territories in Europe. The origins of wine-making in Greece go back 6,500 years where evidence has been found that wine production there is home to the second oldest known grape wine remnants discovered in the world and the world’s earliest evidence of crushed grapes.
When you taste an Assyrtiko wine created from the ground up on the island with the Santorini winds blowing through your hair you’ll believe it without a doubt. There is a sophistication to the body of the wine that only long-time expert winemakers can achieve. What is special about this particular island is the soil and how the irrigation of the plant works. There’s not only one amazing white grape from Greece but many. Check this list of recs from the NY Times and give them a try. To read more about Why We Love Santorini check our blog post about Santorini wines and beyond.
It’s hard to find a bad meal in Greece. They keep it simple with a chargrill, squeeze of lemon, amazing olive oils and choice ingredients that are local, fresh and full of flavor. Selene Restaurant has amazing views and even better food. (Conde Nast Traveler concurs obvs). It is a short walk up the hill from our villa in Pyrgos and known as one of the best restos on the island. We offer an optional cooking demo and dinner during the week with them to learn some tricks and taste the best Santorini salad on the island, among many other things.
But our absolute fave is without a doubt, Mataxy Mas near Kamari in Santorini. This understated little nook tucked into the side of a mountain serves up big flavors, incredible views, and requires a ressie for sure. I’ve probably tried everything on their menu over the years or seen it on the table and nothing disappoints. To boot, they bring amuse bouche, ouzo, and the best dessert you’ve probably tasted to the table on the house. Maybe we’ll go twice this year 😉
Grecian Getaway Yoga Retreat with Sherry Sidoti
September 22-29, 2018 & September 14 – 21, 2019
Spice it up in Morocco
Rooftop lunches of tagine and Moroccan salads in Essaouria.
Any given recipe in Morocco will likely have any amount of the following spices: ground ginger, sweet paprika, turmeric, cumin, S&P, saffron, and a healthy dose of local olive oil and probably some preserved lemon. Some are confused by the term tagine. The tagine is the pot in which a dish is cooked, a self-contained oven of sorts, an automatic braising machine really. An ingenious way of cooking on the go for the true Nomads of the Sahara. The clay pot goes stovetop with a metal diffuser underneath to distribute the heat evenly so as not to crack the base during cooking.
Essaouria is a fishing village on the edge of the Atlantic hours from the bustle of Marrakech. Over the years of travel to Morocco, we are going on seven years running yoga retreats in this charming and complex country, we’ve found that the vibe of this hipster town full of kiteboarders, surfers, musicians, and artists is right up our alley. We tend to find ourselves at Taros for live music, dinner, and drinks on nights out in Essa though our riad is known far and wide for its cuisine and we typically dine in and have our own private feast with Mogador wines and candlelight by a gentle fire.
Needless to say, fresh fish, especially sardines, is abundant and Moroccan wine is surprisingly delicious and free-flowing at most meals. Our accommodations are nothing short of amazing as the riad we’ve chosen for hosting our trips is an old castle right on off the main square. Villa Maroc also has a countryside property where we host our spa day, hammam and massage by the pool anyone? Check these gorgeous pics of the town and the hotel for more.
Yoga + ART Retreat with Dawn Dafgek Oct 6-13, 2018
Yoga Retreats in Morocco March & October 2019
Portugal. Food, Wine, and Landscapes.
Just another epic view from our lunch spot in southern Portugal.
The Portuguese have long been experts in cuisine and wines. Port is one of their oldest and most known specialties but when they finally decided to take advantage of their grape production in the 90s, their wines followed suit. There is an ongoing ‘discussion’ among the people and wine connoisseurs as to which region is best, Douro or Alentejo. In the north you have the Douro river that lends cooler weather and plenty of humidity for sophisticated full-bodied, jammy flavors. Further south you’ll find the Alentejo with brighter, explosive reds. The NYTimes has a strong argument for the Douro reds while CNTraveler is a southern girl. We’ll let you be the judge, but make no mistake, there’s plenty to say ‘Saúde’ (Saw-OO-de ) about in Portugal.
The Portuguese are VERY passionate about their cuisine. Popular favorites include tapas similar to those found in Spain like charred pequeno peppers, jamon serrano, papas bravas, and grilled octopus but they have also created their own dishes in their own rite. Saddle up for a classic Francesinha (meaning Little Frenchie or simply Frenchie in Portuguese) is a Portuguese sandwich originally from Porto, made with bread, wet-cured ham, linguiça, fresh sausage like chipolata, steak or roast meat and covered with melted cheese and a hot thick tomato and beer sauce served with french fries. It’s great for a hangover for if you’re only planning to eat one time per day. And no trip to Portugal is complete without some effervescent Vinho Verde.
The best way to get a taste of Portugal is to explore the little pocket kitchens tucked into the windy streets in any given city along your path. In Lisbon, you will find delectable treats from tinned sardines and mackerel to a classic sour cherry liquor called Ginja. Another favorite resto MUST in the city is Tapisco. Try for a ressie but if you can’t get one see about a spot at the bar and watch the magic happen before your eyes in their small open kitchen. If you don’t have the time to bounce around the city finding treats or you’re looking for a one-stop shop, hit up the Time Out Market Lisboa and go to town! If you’re driving south do yourself a favor and stop at this incredible hole in the wall along the way. It’s about thirty minutes south of the airport and SO worth the stop.
Weaving Magic Yoga Retreat in Portugal
w/ Hillary Acer – September 7-14, 2018
w/ Jen Burk Reynolds – September 7-14, 2019