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Italy

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Italy has long been a favorite destination for travelers, with cities like Rome, Florence, and Venice drawing huge numbers of visitors every year. However, there’s a wealth of hidden gems waiting to be discovered elsewhere in the country.

Exploring these lesser-known destinations can offer unique experiences and a more immersive experience. But where can you find the country’s best-kept secrets? Well, we’ve pulled together a few of them to help you!

Matera: The city of caves

Located in the southern region of Basilicata, Matera is renowned for its ancient cave dwellings known as “Sassi”. These unique structures are carved into limestone and offer a glimpse into a bygone era. The Sassi di Matera is a UNESCO World Heritage site featuring an intricate network of caves, churches, and monasteries. You can also stay in a cave hotel for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Once you’re done exploring underground, you’ll still be able to enjoy the amenities of a modern town. It’s the perfect blend of past and present.

Sardinia: Unspoiled beaches and rugged landscapes

Sardinia is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean and is home to glorious beaches and imposing mountains. The crystal-clear waters and secluded coves of the Costa Smeralda are a major attraction. Additionally, the ancient nuraghe (stone towers) and impressive archaeological sites provide fascinating insights into the past.

You can enjoy water sports like snorkeling and diving, sample some traditional Sardinian food, or tackle the trails of Gennargentu National Park for an unforgettable and secluded hiking holiday in Italy.

Bologna: A culinary haven

Bologna is a lively city in the Emilia-Romagna region known for its rich culinary heritage and well-preserved medieval architecture. Stroll through the historic Piazza Maggiore, visit the Due Torri, and explore the University of Bologna ­– one of the oldest education institutions in the world.

The city’s food scene is legendary and includes delicacies such as tortellini, mortadella, and ragù alla bolognese. This means that a food tour is a must, and traditional markets like Mercato di Mezzo offer an authentic taste of the region’s cuisine.

Puglia: The heel of Italy

Enjoy a delightful mix of picturesque coastal towns, whitewashed villages, and ancient olive groves on a trip to Puglia.

The Gargano National Park’s dramatic cliffs and forested landscapes make it a must-visit, while the trulli of Alberobello is an incredible example of ancient building practices. You can even stay in a traditional trullo house as you indulge in the area’s famous olive oil and wine. If that’s not enough, the pristine beaches provide a perfect escape.

Umbria: The Green Heart of Italy

The landlocked region of Umbria is home to the charming town of Assisi, which was the birthplace of St. Francis. Meander through the medieval streets of Perugia before relaxing on the shores of Lake Trasimeno or head further afield and connect with nature at the breathtaking waterfalls of Marmore. You can even go hunting for truffles between tours of the phenomenal local vineyards.

Imagine an Italy beyond the postcard-perfect scenes of Venice’s canals and Rome’s ancient ruins. Beyond these famed landmarks lies a treasure trove of hidden gems, each with its own unique story and charm. From the rustic tranquility of countryside villages to the untold secrets of medieval towns, Italys Hidden Treasures offer experiences just as enriching as their famous counterparts, if not more.

This journey invites you to explore Italy’s uncharted territories – where the essence of Italian culture and heritage thrives in its purest form. Prepare to be enchanted by the allure of Italy’s hidden treasures, waiting just off the beaten path.

Puglia’s Rustic Allure

In the heel of Italy’s boot lies Puglia, a region where time seems to stand still amidst olive groves and vineyards. Here, the countryside is dotted with historic trulli – unique, conical-roofed structures made of stone. These whimsical buildings, often set amidst sprawling fields, offer a glimpse into Puglia’s pastoral past.

The region’s charm is accentuated by its rugged coastline, traditional masserias (farmhouses), and quaint, cobblestone villages.

Lake Orta’s Tranquil Beauty

Nestled in the shadows of the Alps, Lake Orta remains one of Italy’s best-kept secrets. A serene oasis away from the bustling tourist centers, its tranquil waters reflect the picturesque medieval villages that line its shores. The lake exudes a sense of peace and untouched elegance, with lush greenery enveloping its banks and the enchanting Isola San Giulio resting at its center. With the perfect road trip planned, this is one of the best pit stops to find!

Comacchio’s Hidden Canals

Comacchio, often described as the ‘Little Venice’ of Emilia-Romagna, is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. This charming town is crisscrossed by a network of canals, bridges, and palaces, reminiscent of Venice but without the crowds. Comacchio’s canals are lined with colorful houses and historic buildings, telling the tale of a rich history that dates back to the Etruscans.

A leisurely boat ride through these waterways offers a unique perspective of the town, revealing hidden corners and reflections of its vibrant past.

Tuscany Wineries: A Secret Wine Paradise

Tuscany, renowned for its rolling hills and artistic heritage, is also home to some of Italy’s most hidden yet exquisite wineries. These Tuscany wineries offer a haven for wine enthusiasts seeking an exclusive tasting experience. Nestled within the picturesque landscape, these vineyards provide a serene escape where one can savor the region’s finest wines. The experience transcends the ordinary, combining the art of winemaking with stunning views and tranquil settings.

Visitors can indulge in intimate tastings, learn about the winemaking process, and even meet the passionate vintners.

Basilicata’s Ghost Towns

Basilicata, a region often overlooked in the standard tourist itinerary, is home to some of Italy’s most evocative ghost towns. These abandoned towns, like the well-known Craco, stand as haunting reminders of past lives and forgotten stories. Perched on hilltops, their empty streets and crumbling buildings create a surreal landscape that captivates the imagination.

The eerie beauty of these places is a stark contrast to Italy’s bustling cities, offering a poignant reflection on the passage of time and the resilience of nature.

Sardinia’s Secret Beaches

Sardinia, a jewel in the Mediterranean, is famed not just for its crystal-clear waters but also for its hidden beaches that offer serene escapes. Away from the more popular spots, Sardinia’s secret beaches are like private paradises with soft white sands and turquoise waters. These secluded shores provide a perfect setting for those seeking tranquility, away from the crowds.

Whether it’s the coves of Costa Smeralda or the unspoiled beauty of Spiaggia di Tuerredda, these beaches are ideal for sunbathing, swimming, or simply unwinding in nature’s lap, offering a slice of heaven for beach lovers and solitude seekers alike.

The Magical Forests of Sila, Calabria

The Sila plateau in Calabria is a hidden gem, boasting magical forests that seem straight out of a fairy tale. This expansive area of natural beauty is characterized by thick woods, pristine lakes, and a diverse range of wildlife. Trekking through the Sila National Park, visitors are immersed in an atmosphere of peace and wilderness.

The park is a haven for nature enthusiasts, offering opportunities to spot rare species, enjoy leisurely picnics by lakeside, or simply breathe in the fresh, pine-scented air.

The Medieval Charm of Umbria

Umbria, often overshadowed by its more famous neighbor Tuscany, is a treasure trove of medieval charm. This region, heartland of Italy, is dotted with ancient hill towns where time seems to have stood still. Walking through towns like Assisi, Spoleto, and Gubbio, one is transported back to the Middle Ages, with well-preserved buildings, narrow streets, and majestic cathedrals.

The artistic heritage here is rich, highlighted by the works of masters like Giotto and Perugino. Umbria’s serene countryside, with its rolling hills and vineyards, complements its historical towns, making it a must-visit for those seeking a blend of art, history, and natural beauty.

The Colorful Traditions of Sicily’s Small Towns

Sicily, a melting pot of cultures and histories, is not just about its major cities; it’s the small towns that offer some of the most authentic and vibrant experiences. These towns are bursting with life, especially during local festivals, where centuries-old traditions come alive with modern fervor. From the famous Tarantella dance to the unique religious processions and lively street fairs, these festivals are a deep dive into Sicilian culture and decadent platters.

Each town has its own set of traditions, often tied to local folklore and history, offering a kaleidoscope of experiences.

The Alpine Wonders of the Aosta Valley

The Aosta Valley, nestled in Italy’s northwestern corner, is a paradise for lovers of alpine scenery and adventure. This region, bordered by some of Europe’s highest peaks, including Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn, offers breathtaking landscapes. In winter, it transforms into a premier ski destination, while summer reveals hiking trails through verdant valleys and along pristine lakes.

Final Word

Italy, with its popular landmarks and celebrated cities, is a well-trodden tourist destination. But beyond these lies a world of undiscovered beauty and charm in its hidden corners. From the rustic allure of Puglia’s countryside to the alpine wonders of the Aosta Valley, Italy is a mosaic of unique experiences waiting to be explored. These lesser-known locales invite travelers to venture off the beaten path and discover a different side of Italy, rich in history, culture, and natural beauty. Embark on a journey to these hidden gems and let Italy reveal its lesser-known wonders to you, promising an adventure that’s both enchanting and unforgettable.

The RealReal offers gently used luxury fashion, and the whole concept is becoming a real trend. The company is becoming popular among luxury and fashion buyers and consigners who seek out luxury goods at discounted prices.
It is predicted that the total resale retail market may reach up to $41 billion by the year 2022. Other studies have shown the used merchandise market to be one of the fastest-growing sectors with online companies like ThredUp and TheRealReal thriving in the market.
TheRealReal started as an online business and has two physical stores. One location is in New York’s SoHo neighborhood, and the other is in Los Angeles on Melrose Avenue. The reasoning for the physical stores is that luxury shoppers often spend double on consignments than what they spend online. It is an effective marketing strategy because they also receive lots of high-quality consignments as well.
The RealReal’s Passion for Fashion
A lot of the retail consignment market are older affluent customers who enjoy shopping secondhand and have been doing so for years. It’s because they enjoy getting a bargain and appreciate the excellent value in quality goods.
Millennial shoppers also enjoy the treasure hunting experience of secondhand shopping.
The fashion tastes of American shoppers are changing. They are not wanting the same old fashion pieces that everyone else is wearing. Shoppers are embracing originality with clothing and accessories that match their unique style.
With secondhand luxury items, you can mix and match with other more contemporary styles for a more individual and authentic feel. Luxury secondhand goods at affordable prices is where The RealReal delivers. They offer luxury goods at a more affordable price for people looking for value.
They find that most of their shoppers will buy newer items from the website, use them for a few months, and sell them on consignment. They are then free to use the money to purchase other things again.
People have a passion for fashion, and this is the allure of The RealReal. Some people love to collect fashion, while others love to have a few key fashionable pieces in their closet. If they browse the website, chances are they will see items they saw in magazines like Vogue or on the runways of Paris or Milan. The key is that they will want to have that item.
The RealReal’s Top Selling Brands
Some of their top-selling luxury brands include Gucci, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, and Cartier. Some of the more original items that are having a moment include Kanye West’s Yeezy X Adidas shoes, dad-style Hawaiian shirts, fanny packs, and ball caps.
The company’s website has over two million visitors, and many of them spend time browsing through merchandise highly engaged and averaging at least ten pages per visit. It is also interesting to note that most of their traffic comes through organic search with only 8% in paid search traffic. People know what they want to buy when they visit the site.
The site is trendy among affluent millennials, with one-third of visitors ages 24 to 34. The company has been online for about seven years and is enjoying more success due to the younger generation’s love of fashion.
Check out more about them here.
PLEASE EMBED THIS VIDEO INTO THE ARTICLE:

Chiccheria Brand was founded in 2016 by German designer and fashion entrepreneur Joerg Beitzel and it stands for luxurious and cool streetwear fashion, accessories and leather goods. Mainly inspired by the lifestyle of the beach communities of southern California and the glam look of the west coast metropole Los Angeles, combined with the incredible elegance and quality of Italian tailoring. A brand that fits in nicely with our love of travel here at House of Coco magazine.

If you love the rock and roll lifestyle, this is the brand for you. Think rock vibes mixed with elegance and a fashionable twist and you won’t be far wrong. Joerg is constantly changing the mould and we love everything he does. Here, we chat with him to find out more about his plans for the brand and so much more..

Tell us about the journey that leads you to launch Chiccheria Brand…

I‘ve always liked the typical Los Angeles sunset strip rock style with vintage jeans, boots and flannel shirts. That means street style but with a luxurious touch. I’ve been an entrepreneur for almost 14 years: I used to develop sportswear and had a production company for TV and film. But at some point, the time had come to focus completely on my own brand.

The brand is all about living a rock and roll lifestyle but still having a touch of luxury. Why do you think that is important?

Many of our customers identify with a rebellious rock’n’roll style but also like quality and exclusivity. That means: a key piece like a bandana is not available in cotton but in super fine Italian silk. So many of our items are designed in L.A. but produced in Italy by small luxury manufacturers, specialized in certain products for generations and therefore deliver inimitably good quality.

I love that some of your clothes are inspired by California, why this destination?

California and especially Los Angeles is not only the place where most of the ideas for the collections come from and many of our key pieces are designed, but it is also the place where I always feel comfortable. I like the California lifestyle, the friendly people, the wideness of the country …

What are your plans for the brand in 2024?

Work hard to make the next collection better than the previous one. We also plan to launch our first shoe collection on the market in 2024 and are currently expanding our range of accessories.

Who’s your dream customer?

Every customer who is satisfied with our pieces is a dream customer.

Outside of the brand, what do you do for fun?

have to admit, I’m a sports junkie. 5 x per week gym, boxing, mountain biking. If I get too little activity, I become insufferable. And of course travelling: even though I travel a lot for work, I love to travel and discover new destinations.

Looking back, since launching the brand, is there anything you would do differently?

Every day consists of many decisions and it is inevitable that mistakes are made every day. As long as the number of right decisions exceeds the number of wrong decisions, that’s ok for me. I never worry about things that I can’t change anymore, I try to avoid mistakes in the future.

Our readers love to travel, what destination is at the top of your bucket list?

This year, Australia is at the top of my bucket list.

For any aspiring entrepreneurs wanting to launch in the fashion industry, what advice would you offer?

Talent alone is not critical. In my opinion, stamina is at least as important as creativity. Reliability and hard work are also pretty helpful.

Find out more…

We are on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest and try to inform our followers promptly about new collections and products.

www.chiccheriabrand.com

Los Angeles is the epitome of what California is all about. The palm-tree lined boulevards of Beverly Hills, the colourful houses of Venice Beach, the art-deco buildings of DTLA, the glitzy shops on Melrose Place, are all parts of what make Los Angeles unique.

One thing about Los Angeles that really stands out, is their passion for health and wellness. Yoga on the beach, organic smoothies, and cold-pressed juices are all the rage in LA, and is probably one of the reasons they live such chilled-out, happy, and healthy lives (that and maybe the perpetually sunny weather too) Team Coco shoes you how to eat your way through LA – in the cleanest and greenest way possible with our top foodie picks in the City of Angels.

Best Girl
Located on the stunning art-deco building of the Ace Hotel DTLA, Best Girl is the perfect spot in the neighbourhood for a power lunch. Best Girl is named after the first film screened in their gothic Spanish theatre way back in 1927. The spectacular interiors serve as the perfect backdrop for their even more spectacular menu. Headed by the Michelin Star Chef Michael Cimarusti, who is known for championing sustainable seafood, Best Girl serves both fresh seasonal fare and also all the classics. Try out their Avocado “Alligator Pear” Toast – which is honestly one of the best Avocado Toasts you’ll have on the West Coast.

Love & Salt
Love & Salt is a fantastic low-key Manhattan Beach restaurant by Chef Michael Fiorelli. Their food philosophy is that food only needs two ingredients to be great — love & salt; and this philosophy can be tasted throughout their gorgeous Italian inspired menu. Their cozy atmosphere, and curated but approachable wine-list, make Love & Salt truly enjoyable culinary experience. No bells and whistles, just good, clean, well-made food. Try their Freehkilicious Salad, a five grain, five herb salad that became my instant favourite; and also the California Endive Salad. Yummy food — without all the empty calories!

Cafe Gratitude
Located on the super cool Venice Beach, Cafe Gratitude is all about serving earnestly good Vegan fare. Everything on the menu is named after a positive affirmation. The Kale Cesar said is called “Dazzling,” the Raw Pesto Kelp Noodles is called “Liberated” while the Daily Dessert Special is called “Remarkable”. You are then invited to order by saying; “I am Dazzling,” “I am Liberated” or “I am Remarkable” – so you leave Cafe Gratitude with both a happy tummy and a happy heart.

visitcalifornia

There aren’t many things that make us happier than food and travel. So when we get to put our two true loves together, as you can imagine, we are a bunch of happy folk here at House of Coco.

We’ve put together our roundup of the best foodie hotspots to inspire your inner piglet to hop on a flight…

Denver, Colorado – www.colorado.com
From green chile synonymous with Colorado’s ancient Pueblo communities to buffalo in the Old West, Colorado’s culinary scene has been integrated into the culture of the state for centuries. For those looking for a quirkier dining location, Linger an ‘eatery’, is set in a former mortuary, whilst Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox serves American food in a former brothel.

Taste of Denver: For a real taste of Denver, a three hour walking food tour will give visitors an insight into the ever expanding food scene of this vibrant city. Sample Zoo Ma Ma’s infamous noodles which are inspired by her mother’s home cooking and then wander down to the Wynkoop Brewery for a tipple at the oldest brewery in Denver, finished off with a trip to Milk Box, one of the most popular ice-cream creameries in the city.

Greater Palm Springs, California – www.visitgreaterpalmsprings.com

The Greater Palm Springs area is a burgeoning foodie destination plating up for Hollywood A-listers and being home to the largest date growing region in the US. Creative chef-driven restaurants and gourmet stores serving local specialities such as Date Shakes are driving more food lovers to the area. Thanks to the ideal farming conditions in Greater Palm Springs, the popularity of farm-to-table restaurants is increasing, with La Spiga and Workshop Kitchen & Bar offering the freshest dishes, whilst making use of the best local produce.

Desert Tasty tours: Visitors can take a walking food tour through the desert and experience the best food Greater Palm Springs has to offer, whilst also learning unique insights about the history of the area from an expert guide. Choose to explore El Paseo or Palm Canyon Drive over the course of three hours and expect many tasty dishes, from award winning Bill’s Pizza to nationally acclaimed toffee and popcorn shop, Brandini Toffee.

Newport Beach, California – www.visitnewportbeach.com

While Newport Beach is mainly known for its beautiful coastline, there are many tasty restaurants to be found around the area with freshly caught seafood and scenic waterfront dining. As locals in Newport Beach have one of the highest average incomes in the area, the food options tend to match their high standards.

Dock and Dine: Eat like a local and experience a classic Newport Beach dining experience. Choose from over a dozen restaurants and enjoy a dinner cruise whilst docked in the marina, sampling the best food, food truck catering and stunning views on offer. Cannery Seafood of the Pacific is a favourite with the locals and offers visitors a menu packed with freshly caught local seafood to complement their impressive award-winning wine list.

Portland, Oregon – www.travelportland.com

Portland is globally renowned for its gastronomy scene. Home to over 700 street food trucks, food festivals, food specific walking tours, farm to fork concept dining and an ever expanding vegan offering. Portland is the place for foodies to head to this year, as Delta have confirmed a seasonal direct flight from London Heathrow, operating 4th May – 26th October.

Hands-on culinary experiences include:

Tea Tasting Appointment at Smith Teamakers: Coffee or beer might come to mind when you think of Portland’s craft beverage scene, but tea is also on the rise. Founded in 2009, Smith Teamakers blend and pack teas and botanicals in very small batches from the world’s best producing regions. Take a guided tasting in their new tasting room in SE Portland which has unique, artisanal, and highly curated range of products.

Tasting at Teutonic Wines Urban Winery: Local wine geeks have fallen hard for Teutonic’s Swiss-German-style wines since Barnaby and Olga Tuttle debuted their pinot noir in 2008. Since then, Teutonic has sold out vintage after vintage. The Tuttles’ wine is unique, including a few, like silvaner and chasselas, that practically no one else in Oregon makes. The Tuttles aim to introduce their bottles to a wider audience with an urban winery and tasting room in Southeast Portland.

Sacramento, California – www.visitsacramento.com

Sacramento is known as the Farm to Fork capital of the US AKA foodie heaven, with the lower rent prices and ideal climate, the city has seen an influx of Bay Area chefs as it is much easier to set up shop here and with the easy access to all the organic produce they come up with the tastiest menu offerings. 96 percent of the country’s tomatoes come from within 250 miles of Sacramento, as well as 95 percent of California’s sushi rice, exported in mass to huge sushi industries such as Japan.

Get hands on with a local cookery class at Sacramento Natural Food Co-Op: From udon noodles to Indian street food or entertainment with cheese, the Co-Op offers something for everyone with the opportunity to get hands on in the cookery class. They also offer wellness seminars and gardening workshops, helping to make connections about important food, health and environmental issues in support of local family farms.

San Diego, California – www.sandiego.org

Renowned for its unique flavours and a collaboration of chefs from both sides of the border, Mexico’s Baja-Med scene combines California’s emphasis on fresh and local ingredients to create a delicious and unique new menu, fondly known to the locals as ‘Cali-Baja’. Fish tacos and grilled octopus on a tostada are amongst the favourites. This Mexican heritage also influences art, culture, music and architecture.

Taco making at Galaxy Taco: Trey Foshee’s Galaxy Taco is a celebration of the culture and cuisine of Mexico, where you’ll find simple foods done well. A casual Mexican restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating, Galaxy Taco grind their own masa from non-GMO heirloom corn to make their tortillas. The lunch menu is an interpretation of Mexican street food, with an emphasis on seafood and tacos and the dinner menu has additional family style offerings.

San Francisco, California – www.sftravel.com

With the huge production of fruits, vegetables, seafood and livestock surrounding San Francisco in California, chefs are able to create fresh authentic meals that are enjoyed by both locals and tourists. San Francisco is home to an array of restaurants offering a wide selection of foods, including the Mission District, the city’s exuberant hipster neighbourhood with Latino roots where restaurants like La Taqueria serving up one of the best burritos in the area. Home to the largest Chinatown outside of Asia, any trip to San Francisco must include a taste of the Asian cuisine, including dumplings from Yank Sing or noodles from M.Y. China, prepared right in front of your eyes.

San Francisco visitors can test their own culinary skills by taking part of one of the many culinary classes within this diverse city. The Wok Shop, located in San Francisco’s Chinatown, host ‘Wok Wednesday’s’ for visitors to develop their Stir Fry Skills learning from advanced ‘wokers’.

Santa Barbara, California – www.santabarbaraca.com

Foodies in Santa Barbara can take a Famers’ Market Foodie Stroll with Bouchon’s executive chef, Greg Murphy, for a true ‘farm to fork’ wine country cuisine experience. After perusing the fresh produce with the chefs at the Santa Barbara Food Market to select ingredients, diners can see the fresh food transformed into a three-course dinner paired with local wines. A market tour and three course dinner with wine costs $95 per person. For budding photographers, Eat This Shoot That! offer food or wine tours with an interactive photography element. The Funk Zone Food & Photo Tour explores the food of Santa Barbara’s newest neighbourhood, with eight tasting locations, spanning 3.5 hours. Visitors can learn foodie photo tips and tricks using a smartphone, with backdrops of hidden graffiti art and galleries. $99 adults, $89 children.

Setouchi, Japan – setouchitrip.com

With the ever increasing popularity of Asian food around the world and the increase in Japanese restaurants throughout the UK, including the opening of Japan Centre in central London, Japanese food has never been so hot. What better way to taste the Japanese delicacies than to travel to Japan’s Inland Sea, Setouchi, and try its fresh produce for yourself.

Udon Taxi Tour: Foodies rejoice, as Takamatsu, Kagawa Prefecture, is the Udon capital of Japan. Here visitors can watch the dough being hand-stretched and noodles boiled over a wood fire. Big time Udon lovers can even hail an Udon Taxi that will take them to explore famous Udon spots across the prefecture – easily spotted thanks to the giant replica of a bowl of Udon attached to the car roofs.

Sonoma County, California – www.sonomacounty.com

Visitors to Sonoma can enjoy an array of culinary experiences, including the Sonoma Marin Cheese Trail or the Farm Trail. A year-round cornucopia of fresh produce is available even in the most remote corners of this fertile region, contributing to an abundance of award-winning restaurants and wineries.

For a hands-on experience, visitors to Sonoma can join a cookery class at Ramekins, where they capture the essence of Wine Country living with fresh foods, fabulous wines and good company. Hands on classes are hosted throughout the year, with a huge range of cookery options on offer. Whether it’s learning to cook a favourite seafood dish or perfecting Italian pasta, these cookery classes will complement every taste bud.

The Islands of Tahiti www.tahititourisme.uk/en-gb/

French Polynesia benefits from amazing weather all year round. It’s a virtual Garden of Eden, where exuberance and abundance go hand in hand. Farmers grow a wide variety of fruits, spices and vegetables, combining aromatic qualities with nutritional benefits.

Guests to The Islands of Tahiti can take their hand in the kitchen and learn the traditional culinary arts, including at some of the large hotels where the chefs organise culinary workshops. Every Tuesday and Thursday, guests at Le Meridien Tahiti are introduced to the techniques used by the chef, to understand the blend of exotic Asian and Western flavours using the freshest and finest of locally grown and caught produce.

Camille Defago might only be 21 years old, but this girl is one to watch. Born and raised in Lima, Peru she is passionate about fashion. Her mission as a designer is to empower creativity in to everyone that wears her clothes and she offers something original, vivid, and extrovert with her designs. Think bold and bright, Camille Defago is the brand that will brighten up even the darkest of days.

Entrepreneurial from a young age, Camille was always destined for greatness. We spent some time with her to find out more about her, the brand and her plans for the future…

Tell us about the journey that lead you to Camille Defago the brand… Oh my god I’ve been through so much, hahaha. When I was 15 I started designing collages but didn’t have the confidence to publish them or show them. When I moved to Buenos Aires I decided to create a Instagram account with a fake name and started posting my collages. I started getting lots of engagement and reactions so I decided to change the name to By Camille Defago. Then I moved back to Lima and printed my collages on big frames, I sold every single one of them. This encouraged me to create my first brand called Viva la Vida, it was a brand of men’s swimwear that were printed with my colorful collages. I had such a terrible experience making my first summer campaign for Viva la Vida (because of the photography and video team) that when I sold every swim short I decided to leave the brand aside and not continue with it. I didn’t want people to know me as a random brand, I wanted people to know me by my name, Camille. This is when I decided to launch myself as a designer and started creating pieces under my name as a designer. You want your customers to feel empowered when wearing your designs, how do you achieve this? I achieve this by offering extrovert, colorful, joyful designs. Each collage has a story and great memories behind them. People highlight from the rest each time they use my clothing because of the color. I don’t want them to feel ashamed about standing out from the croud, from breaking boundaries, for being different and original, I want them to feel empowered, GREAT. Achieving this through strong and bold collages. Bright, colourful and bold, your designs make a statement. Who is your dream customer? My dream customer would definitely be top celebrities. I would love someday to dress Chiara Ferragni, Alexa Chung, Bella Hadid and other jet setters. But my actual dream customer is a girl who is confident of herself, who loves everything about her, LOVES to travel and spend her summer’s in Mykonos or on the beautiful beaches of France. She is confident, strong, bold, she is light and definitely stands from the crowd. She doesn’t care what people think about herself, she is true to herself and to her personal essence.

Only 21, you have achieved so much with the brand already. What has been your proudest moment?

I know I have achieved a lot of things by now but I have so much to go through. I have so many projects, visions and idea to take my brand to the next step. My proudest moment was my first fashion show which was this December 2019. We put on a great show: 20 international and national models, we did it at a huge house which was built 50 years ago so it had a renaissance twist to it, my collages were projected on the walls of the house, 150 guests, it was amazing.

Talk us through an average day at the business?

We have a weekly team meeting every Monday in which we talk about each months objectives and each team member’s tasks. Once a month in a week meeting we brainstorm about new ideas and visions that can be added to the brand. In this way I involve my team members and consider their ideas and opinions. I want them to feel as part of the family, part of The C Team. I want them to be as passionate to the brand as I am.

What are your plans for the future? I have changed my mind many times. I wanted to open physical stores in London, Dubai, Japan, New York and others. But learning about the new consumer now a days I have decided to invest 100% on e-commerce. Our consumers are changing into online consumers, not physical. So now my plans for the future is to focus on keep selling worldwide through fashion e-commerce platforms. I also have in my plans making pop up’s in beaches like Mykonos, Ibiza, Majorca, Sardinia, Santorini, Marbella, Corfu and other top destinations. I want to focus also on creating mind-blowing fashion editorials, amazing marketing campaigns, and taking my brand all around the world! My plans for the future and my main goal right now is to have the opportunity to showcase my collections at any fashion week: Paris, London, NYC, Milan. Anyone of them would be great and huge for the brand. Since launching the brand, what has been your highlight?

Definitely having the possibility of being featured on respected fashion magazines. Literally when I started my brand, my long term goal was to be showcased in Vogue. I had less than a year with the brand and I was featured on the most respected fashion magazines in the world: Vogue, Tatler, Vanity Fair, Condé Nast Traveller.

Looking back, is there anything you would do differently? I believe everything I have been through has happened for a reason. I wouldn’t do anything different because it has made me who I am today as a designer, brand and person. I have learned so much in the business, without even studying Fashion Design. (I study communications hahaha). I know all of my experiences will take me somewhere big.

Our readers love to travel, what destination is at the top of your bucket list? 

Definitely, The French Rivera, Mykonos, Amalfi, and Bali.

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Everything is about taking risks, you got to take risks in order to grow.

Don’t worry about stress, its just part of the process. That’s the beauty of it. Enjoy it.

JUST GO FOR IT.

What are your plans for the business in 2020?

My future for this year is to produce a swimwear collection for summer 2020 (Europe & USA), focus on creating mind-blowing editorials, and creating a beautiful campaign that involves my country, Peru. I will take and empower my collages into the three regions of Peru: Coast, Highlands & Jungle..

Find out more… www.camilledefago.comCamille has recently launched a blog on her website to talk about entrepreneurship, culture, fashion, art, and other factors that have made her and the brand what they are today..Instagram:Brand: @wearcamilledefagoPersonal: @camilledefago

It’s hard to know where to begin if you’re after an Indian meal in London. From busy and bustling chains to central-sitting favourites like the Tandoor Chophouse and back-street family run joints, Indian restaurants sprawl the streets of the capital.

READ MORE: London’s Indian Food Offering Goes Old School

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Dinner is served ?? Yum!! ?: @belle.imaging_food . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . #thegutsychutney #indiantapas #indiandinner #southindianchef #londonfoodie #keemabruschetta #hungryaf #dinnertime #hungryallthetime #afterworksnacks #afterworkfood #keemacurry #keemanaan #bruschetta #europeantwist #indianfoodwithatwist #redchillies #lovechillies #spicyfood #lovefood #londonfoodie #instafood #instagood #foodphotography #doubletap #followme #likeforlike

A post shared by The Gutsy Chutney (@thegutsychutney) on Sep 30, 2018 at 9:00am PDT

Indian food has, of course, been massively popular for a long while now (chicken tikka masala was actually invented here in the UK, dontcha know), and we’re the last people to complain. It is the food of Saturday nights, feeding us up, tantalising our taste buds and making us feel right at home.

But the thing is, simply stating ‘Indian’ doesn’t quite seem to cut it anymore. Londoners want to know that their seafood dish is inspired by the ports of Kerala and from which street in Gujarat their vegetarian curry is from. In short, we’re getting a bit picky.

Add this desire for detail to an implosion of street food culture and love for tapas-style feasting, and you’ve opened up a whole new gap in the market. That is, Indian street food with a real story.

Recent years have seen eateries which fall under this niche experience an exponential rocketing. Dishoom and the Masala Zone are high-profile examples, as is Soho’s Darjeeling Express – a restaurant founded by Asma Khan which only employs Indian females, recently featured on Netflix’s The Chef’s Table and now has a waiting list for bookings longer than any other restaurant in its vicinity. Impressive, right?

READ MORE: A Craft Beer Bar with Indian Street Food

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Just in case you needed reminding ? Food is love! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . #southindianfood #indianfood #homemadeindianfood #indiancuisine #indiancooking #loveindian #loveindia #loveindianfood #kerala #keralaindia #indianchef #indianrecipes #traditionalfood #explorenewcultures #trynewfoods #gutsychutney #instagood #londonfoodie #doubletap #foodislove #foodislife #neonsigns #loveneonsigns #neonart

A post shared by The Gutsy Chutney (@thegutsychutney) on Sep 18, 2018 at 10:00am PDT

Move a little out of the spotlight and you’ll see a whole other host of Indian chefs making their mark on the London foodie scene; the latest to jump on the bandwagon is Deepa Nair, host of the Gutsy Chutney.

TGC is yet again different from its Indian counterparts, because it’s a supper club which has been founded to “right the many wrongs” when it came to the way Indian cuisine was being enjoyed and represented in the UK.

Deepa said: “The numerous restaurants serving Indian cuisine never did justice to the phenomenal culinary variety that exists in India, choosing instead to have only the same and more popular dishes on the menu.”

I’m a lover of the informal, homely supper club. Pay a set price, BYOB (often), rock up to a venue (or someone’s home) which you wouldn’t usually visit and enjoy a multiple-course set menu cooked by a passionate cook (who’s also probably spent all day slaving away in an office, a la Deepa). You can’t get much better than that.

It was a rainy Wednesday evening when I went on my way to the latest in TGC’s offerings, and upon arriving at a small pub in the depths of West London, Deepa greeted me warmly.

She had clearly been busy in the kitchen; her scraped back hair and a spice-stained apron which hung from her neck proved that whatever I was about to eat would be a total labour of love.

This latest supper club was to be inspired by the streets of India. How very apt and on-trend. Out in India, every city has its own street food speciality, so Deepa decided to take attendees on a journey.

She started with dahi papdi chaat, a favourite from the state capital Delhi. It is crisp, savoury tarts filled with boiled potato, chickpeas, sauces and sweet yoghurt. It was totally delicious.

Next up Deepa took us over to Eastern Indian with her Momos, a Tibetan take on Chinese dumplings which have now been popularised in Northern and Eastern India as popular street food. They were serving with a seriously fiery chilli sauce, which, as Deepa warned us as it arrived at the table, was very hot. We ate the Momos with chop sticks – a totally authentic experience.

READ MORE: The House of Coco South East Asian Street Food Trail

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Feeling for a @calcuttacanteen keema pau and #masalachai in this freezing weather…little one was asked if he wanted less coriander Chutney on his chicken Kati kebab roll: his response – I am Indian, I can take spicy food ?? #proudfoodiemom #soulfood @darjeelingldn

A post shared by The Gutsy Chutney (@thegutsychutney) on Dec 8, 2018 at 2:35am PST

Before enjoying a delicious main meal of chorizo pao (more on that later), we tucked into Kerala bakery egg puffs. This is apparently one of the most popular snacks that you can find in the bakeries of the region. Flaky and buttery pastry is wrapped around boiled eggs with a spicy Kerala onion sauce. Totally different to anything I’ve tried before, but somehow… it worked.

As mentioned, the main was chorizo pao, a spiced up version of the Pao Recheado com Chourico in Portugal, which is bread stuffed with sausages. This is a Goan street food popular during festivals and celebrations, and could be described to be similar to a chorizo burger in a brioche bun. It has the House of Coco stamp of approval.

The evening was concluded with a traditional dessert – Matka kheer, a dish made of creamy vermicelli and served warm or cold. Comfort food at its finest.

READ MORE: The Best of Italian Street Food

Deepa’s evening was totally fabulous; an experience we would recommend endlessly. We’re rather hoping she’ll open up a restaurant at some point in the near future… but in the meantime? Get yourself booked in for her next Gutsy Chutney event on April 26th. It is set to be as mouth-wateringly delicious as ever and will be raising funds for The Hygeine Bank charity. No excuses.

It’s a long way off yet, but the rumble of the World Cup is never too far away, and the convoy of FIFA fans expected to descend on the buzzing desert metropolises of Doha is enough to accelerate booking plans far in advance. Where to say then, to enjoy the buzz of the games and easily explore this rich desert city? Split between the old Arabia and the new, the several hotels owned by Tivoli across Doha offer ample accommodation for all tastes and budgets.

Souq Al Wakra Hotel Qatar

For those hoping to blend FIFA excitement with a slice of holiday relaxation in the city’s 30-degree winter heat, Souq Al Wakra Hotel by Tivoli is located in the up-an-coming seaside district of Al Wakra.

Located 10 minutes from Hamad International Airport and 20 minutes from central Doha, the hotel is far enough to escape the hordes of football fans but close enough to easily jump into the action. A slick renovation of 17th century heritage buildings, the 101 room complex maintains the original architectural features built by local fishermen and pearl divers from way back when.

Terracotta walls, ambient fountains and minimalist interiors ooze a simple beachy vibe. Though rooms are small due to the structure of the old fishing huts that once stood here, the space is used effectively, with larger suites formed from interconnecting rooms. The surrounding area boasts a beachfront promenade peppered with restaurants, leading to the labyrinth of market stalls within the local Souq – perfect for glimpsing the essence of Qatari life outside of the city.

Souq Waqif Boutique Hotels

For guests yearning to be right in the thick of it, Souq Waqif – Doha’s most famous marketplace gives way to a warren of Tivoli’s boutique hotels that in many ways feel more like an opulent Arabic home than a hotel. Personal touches and rich interiors blend with the ever-present aroma of the Arabic coffee and sweet dates presented to every guest to roll off the street, and into any one of the nine hotel lobby’s peppered through the cobbled streets of the Souq.

Facilities are peppered throughout the hotels; the luxurious spa at Al Jasra boasts Doha’s only Moroccan hammam experience, while Al Mirqab is home to the Souq’s only outdoor swimming pool – available to all guests, whichever hotel you’re staying in. Guests can choose from six restaurants, offering a mixture of Indian, Moroccan and Lebanese cuisines amidst rooftop views and opulent dining spaces.

La Piazza at Al Bidda houses the breakfast buffet for all Tivoli hotel guests, where classic continentals and authentic local specialties sit side-by-side, below an azure glass ceiling which glints in the morning sun. Al Shurfa restaurant at Al Jomrok Hotel is the perfect place in old town for a rooftop dining experience. Overlooking Doha’s imposing skyline, the terrace is most beautiful at sunset over platters of hot mezze and Arabic coffee, while its indoor rooftop lounge is a popular shisha haunt for locals and guests alike.

Al Najada

Located in the heart of central Souq Al Najada, the 151 roomed hotel stands as a vast Arabian sanctuary. The lobby boasts high ceilings and immediate indulgence, blending traditional architecture with a contemporary colour palate.

With 3 restaurants, a swimming pool area (and pool bar), fitness centre and an elegant ballroom to boot, Al Najada is particularly popular with European guests for high quality amenities and easy access to the city’s attractions.

Al Baraha Restaurant offers a sprawling daily breakfast buffet, where guests can drink coffee al fresco on the Italian style piazza. Missan is the hotel’s newest addition – a mesmerizing dessert-only restaurant featuring the sweetest gastronomic experiences in the city.

Its summer, it’s hot, and you want to go to the beach and have a nice splash in the sea. Meanwhile, some of us would prefer staying indoors since not every one of us like soaking in the hot and fiery sun. Both would be much more enjoyable with a nice glass of wine in hand, sipping the heat away with our favorite beverage. Most people would opt rosé over red since the weather is starting to heat up, which is understandable.

There is this notion that red wines are more suitable to drink in winter which is understandable. However, if red is your all-time favorite, you shouldn’t choose other wines since there are red wines that are suitable for the summer heat.

In reality, even in summer, as opposed to what a lot of people say, red wines have traits that are suitable even in the hot weather. Red wines are best when chilled at the right temperature, which is excellent if you want to ease the humidity of the air. Along with low tannin and alcohol levels, you could surely indulge a little bit more without getting wasted and missing out on all the fun in the sun.

But still, choosing the best wine would be bothersome and exhausting, after all, there are a lot of them out there, so here are a few suggestions for you to try in Sokolin’s Wine Rating.

Barbera

With black cherry flavors with peppery-licorice flavors, along with a zesty finish, this wine is perfect for outside dining in a summer evening. This wine is also ideal for those people who don’t like fruity wines with a jammy texture.

Beaujolais

Sipping this wine delight is a wonder to behold as its taste would make you think of blueberries, violet atmosphere, with a little bit of loamy sand, enough to make you feel of a luscious garden of berries. Along with an excellent taste and aroma, it could also come as affordable as the average price for a bottle is $20.

Cinsault

Imagine someone throwing in a bunch of red berries in a blender; the outcome would be a red and fruity flavor and texture. The taste of this wine is acidic with a floral aroma that could counter its boisterous cherry flavor.

Frappato

This wine is a real masterpiece that came from Sicily, and still, it is underappreciated. The flavor is a mixture of candied oranges and raspberries with a low tannin level for easy drinking. This wine is a perfect pair for relaxing after having a fun time under the sun.

Nerello Mascalese

Another Sicilian treat with a lot of fruitiness and gritty texture, like the volcano where its grapes grow. This enjoyable delight has a severe tone into it, full with sour cherries, currants, and wild strawberries, this wine would surely be an adventure for you.

Gamay

Typically made from Burgundy, this French wine is used for a well-known autumn wine that is Beaujolais Nouveau. Gamay is light to drink, and it appeals to a lot of aromas such as cherries, black peppercorns, and dried fruit.

Tempranillo

This wine was made from a grape that was once commonly thought as a relative of pinot noir grape. This wonderful grape is often included in the mixture to create Rioja. When used solely to create wine, it produces lean wines and light. Cerro Anon Reserva and Rodei Tinto Rioja are great examples of wine made from the Tempranillo grape.

Nebbiolo

This intensely aromatic wine is created from a wine that is almost exclusively grown in the Piedmont region in Italy. The grape is used to create wines that are rich in flavor and taste like Barolo and also used to create lighter ones with big fruity flavors and spiciness.

Party Malbec

Made by an Argentinian winemaker Matias Riccitelli, this excellent wine was made with an unoaked style that emphasized on violet floral fragrance and black cherry flavors that is perfect with every meal with red meat in it. Summer is no excuse in missing out on the red meats, and what would possibly be a great companion in eating meats but having a great wine of Party Malbec in your glass after an exhausting but fun time on the beach with your friends and family.

Takeaway

Summer is a season of fun and adventure under the hot sun. After all the tiring activities like swimming in the sea, barbecue, road trips or even sunbathing, it would be nice if you have an excellent wineglass in your hand filled with your preferred red wine. Choosing the right wine would require you to do a lot of research and experimentation but at the end of the day, finishing a blissful day filled with fun with a perfect wine in your hands is the best.

Author Bio

Scarlett Wells is a freelance writer and wine enthusiast. She is an active critique examining all levels of wine types so she can produce reviews and articles that will help guide every consumer in selecting the right kind of wine to drink. Aside from that, she wrote a lot of blogs maximizing the real usage of wines. In her free time, she readsa lot about food and beverage pairing in order to help her become an effective mentor inspiring everyone to maintain a fit and fab lifestyle.