Bellabondi’s Guide to Bordeaux – Europe Series

Bordeaux Marie Antoinette building

My Europe series continues with my current obsession for all things French with an outline of my short stay in Bordeaux. Well, I can’t wait to get back there as I barely scratched the surface and tasted all the wines on offer!!!

Chateau Haut Lafitte wine barrels5 filter

I chose Bordeaux as I was planning to stay in San Sebastian in Spain and it is a short jump to Bordeaux from there, so I drove up with my hubby after Barcelona as this wine region was calling our name.

We stayed at Les Sources de Caudalie which was an amazing hotel and we stayed in their location just away from the main building which is called Chateau de Thil. It seemed the whole of McLaren was staying there with all their drive cars. Unfortunately, due to this we were unable to get into their Michelin star restaurant and other restaurants and bars as I wasn’t organised and booked ahead, oh well, c’est la vie! But we were OK with that as there were so many other places I wanted to try in town so it gave us the incentive to tackle everything that Bordeaux central had on offer.

Pool - Les Sources de Caudalie
The indoor pool at Les Sources de Caudalie
The first night we went to Belle Campagne, a slow food restaurant specialising in local produce which was an amazing introduction to the region. The tartare de poisson (fish tartare) and the house gnocchi with fennel were fantastic entrees. Then to top it off, we had this amazing milk fed veal for 2 which was huge and we couldn’t look at dessert even though I am addicted to french style desserts.

Belle Campagne Bordeaux fish tartare Dish
Tartare de poisson entree from Belle Campagne
Belle Campagne Bordeaux Veal Dish2
Veal for two at Belle Campagne
Breakfast at Chateau de Thil was out of this WORLD with my favourite thing ever – croissants…it was hard to stop at 2 each morning!!

Chateau de Thil croissants1
Give me all of the CROISSANTS!!

 

 

 

We then headed out to explore the streets of Bordeaux and see the Bordeaux Cathedral and get an Italian style espresso (Black List cafe) and then it was off to a long lunch in town at Garopapilles.

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Amuse-bouche at Garopapilles Restaurant
This was perfection, a local restaurant full of Bordeaux locals and no menu you just decide how many courses you feel like and depending on what is in season, the chef builds the menu around that. This was stupendous and they have a bottle shop out the front so after lunch we were able to pick up a bottle to take back to our chateau (ha!) and the lovely staff also recommended a fromagerie (Tout un Fromage) close by to pick up some snacks for an aperitif later that evening as we knew we couldn’t manage dinner as well, after so many beautiful courses.

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Seared tuna masterpiece from Garopapilles
Early evening after the beautiful lunch at Garopapilles, we organised a tour of the winery that is adjacent to Les Sources de Caudile which was so interesting with some highlights outside of the wine being that they have their own cooper (barrel maker) onsite and the fantastic sculptures throughout the vineyards including their centrepiece of a rabbit by English sculptor Barry Flanagan. Also, we got a exclusive look at their private cellar which was AMAZEBALLS! We went back to our room in the Chateau and had fromage and a white wine from Chateau Haut Lafitte with some red vino that we bought with us and watched the sun go down over the beautiful gardens of Chateau de Thil. A perfect day really!!

Chateau de Thil Hallway2
#chateaulife at Chateau de Thil
Let me know what your French obsessions are in the comments lovelies. Merci beaucoup!!

Garopapilles Cherry meringue dessert2
Cherry and meringue dessert from Garopapilles – SO GOOD!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Garopapilles Fish main with mushrooms asparagus4 with wine & hands

Chateau de Thil croissants4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

STAY:

  • Les Sources de Caudalie
  • Chateau de Thil

EAT:

  • Garopapilles
  • Belle Campagne
  • Black List Cafe
  • Tout un Fromage

DRINK:

  • Wine tasting at Chateau Haut Lafitte
  • Le Wine Bar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bellabondi’s Guide to Lisbon – Europe Series

Bellabondi Qantas Business Lounge Shot

I recently returned from a fabulous trip to Europe refreshed and ready to face reality (not!).

But seriously, I wanted to do some blog posts (which are long overdue) covering my travels. I regularly get asked for recommendations from family and friends on where to eat, stay, overseas and back here in Australia. I have decided to do a series for my lovely followers on some favourite spots and will do this on a regular basis for all of you looking for recommendations for travel, restaurant, and drinking tips.

Lisbon Tram

Well, Lisbon blew my mind on all levels! I had so much fun and I cannot wait to go back again. It was my first time in Portugal so I thought I would hit Lisbon first up and stayed for 3 nights which was a perfect introduction to this gorgeous country.

A Cevicheria Octopus
A Cevicheria – the BEST!!

 

 

I did something here that I NEVER do on holidays, I went to the same restaurant twice!! I found this restaurant in the Louis Vuitton City Guide initially and it was on the same street of the hotel we stayed at (Memmo Principe Real) so after a drive in from Spain we did the touristy thing and went to dinner early on the first night. I had heard there can be a bit of a wait as they don’t take reservations and I WAS HUNGRY!!

A Cevicheria Salmon Ceviche
Salmon Ceviche by Chef Kiko at A Cevicheria
A Cevicheria by Chef Kiko (a chef that owns a few restaurants) was beyond words. I was first introduced to ceviche on a trip to Mexico many years ago and have become addicted over the years. I also have the bonus of having a really good friend who’s Peruvian and along with trips to different parts of South America have come to appreciate this dish.

A Cevicheria Octopus dish Lisbon
BBQ Octopus Causa with black mashed potato, padron pepper and pork rind by A Cevicheria

 

 

 

I went there for dinner and then lunch the next day, the produce, staff and the pisco sours were superb and we were looked after like we were locals. It just so happens that the Maitre’d there lived in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney for a few years and met his wife here (who is also from Portugal) and have returned to have their family wedding back home. Also a special shout out to one the wait staff (sorry I don’t have her name), who looked like the Portugese version of Ruby Rose, she alongside all of the staff looked after us and were so professional. I just wished I picked up Chef Kiko’s cookbook. Oh well, another reason to return to Portugal and this fabulous restaurant.

Coffee helps me survive every morning and I make it my priority in every city to find the fab coffee. I found two excellent coffee/breakfast cafes – Fabrica Coffee Roasters (2 locations) and Hello Kristof.

Fabrica roast their own coffee and had fab croissants and amazing Portuguese tarts. Also take home coffee beans (essential) and some great merchandise for gifts. Hello Kristof is a great place to hang out, do some work and have some fab coffee and food. They even had avocado on toast and their pastries were fantastic.

Belcanto dessert Lisbon
The famous “Tangerina” by Chef Jose Avillez of Belcanto
I had to do a Michelin restaurant whilst in Europe, so we decided to hit up Belcanto by Jose Avillez for lunch. This was an experience, it is 2 Michelin star but relaxed and the produce was amazing with some typical Portuguese dishes and ingredients re-worked into works of art. The number of chefs they have to service the number of seats in the restaurant is beyond and you can see the effort they put into the dishes. Jose Avillez has an assortment of restaurants (six in total) and they would be worth checking out based on this experience. We popped into Bairro do Avillez, which is a market (merceria), tavern (taberna) and a seafood restaurant out back in a beautiful open atrium in a casual setting.

Belcanto Pork Belly Dish
Another fabulous dish at lunch at Belcanto
Some other fab places to visit:

  • Tapisco for lunch or dinner for a combination of Spanish tapas and Portuguese Petiscos.
  • The Time Out Market – got to try some dishes from Seame and renown Portuguese chef, Marlene Viera and take in their fantastic produce market.
  • Roof top bars – As Lisbon has fantastic panoramic views this is a must. Silk Bar, Park Bar and the The Colonial at Memmo Principe Real (hotel where I stayed at)
  • By the Wine – amazing wine bar

Belcanto Prawn Dish
Amazing prawns with rosemary ash at Belcanto
It was a short stay in this beautiful city and I cannot wait to go back and discover more!  Let me know your favourite spots in Portugal and what part of Europe you might want my next travel series to feature.

 

 

 

 

STAY:

EAT:

DRINK:

  • Silk Club – R. da Misericordia 14, Edificio Espaco Chiado, Lisbon, Portugal – http://www.silk-club.com
  • Park Bar – Calcada do Combro 58, Lisbon, Portugal
  • The Colonial at Memmo Principe Real, Rua D. Pedro V, 56J, Lisbon, Portugal – http://www.memmohotels.com
  • By the Wine – Rua das Flores 41, Lisbon, Portugal – http://www.jmf.pt

 

 

 

 

Street Art on Bondi Beach Promenade

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One of my favourite things about Bondi Beach, while I am down there exercising, is the everchanging art along the wall of the Promenade. promenade-art15

This initiative by Waverley Council dates back to the 1960s with artworks on the Bondi Wall.  Artists are chosen for cultural diversity and murals are then turned over every six months approximately.promenade-art2

 

 

The murals keep in tune with Bondi’s urban chic vibe and contributes to our unique and vibrant sense of community.

Here’s some examples of the latest offerings. Also, Waverley Council maintains the memorial murals such as “The Girl with a Frangipani in her hair” which memorialises local Chloe Byron killed in the 2002 Bali Bombings and the Anzac Commemorative mural which memorialises the local Bondi diggers killed in the First World War.promenade-art9

 

 

 

 

 

What is your favourite mural or street art along the promenade?promenade-art8

promenade-art1

Andiamo – Opening of Society Di Catania at Potts Point

society-pizza-openign-andiamoIt would be fair to say that I love most things Italian, and especially traditional woodfired pizza from the Southern regions of Italy. I had the pleasure of being invited to the opening of Society Di Catania, the new pizzeria and bar in Potts Point last December by the lovely Vittoria, one of the owners.

I have been eating their yummy pizzas for some time now as they are also based in Bondi, and they are a regular delivery meal to my home as they are the BEST delivered pizzas in Bondi Beach. Continue reading

Leftover Ham from Christmas? Here’s a recipe idea – Bellabondi’s Zucchini Slice

This is a perfect, easy and quick recipe to make over the Holidays that is good for afternoon tea, a snack or a light dinner. Also you can substitute the vegetables with anything you may have laying around the kitchen that you need to use up.

zucchini-slice

Ingredients

5 eggs

1 cup self raising flour, sifted

375g zucchini, grated

1 large onion, finely chopped

200g leftover Christmas Ham or bacon, chopped

1 cup grated cheddar cheese

1/4 cup vegetable oil Continue reading

Bellabondi’s Cafe Guide – Backstreets of Bondi Edition

 

coffee-quote

Now a lot of you lovely people will know from my social media posts that I love coffee and have an addiction that I regularly acknowledge. My home coffee supply is lovingly made by my Bondi Barista (hubby) on this fab Italian Isomac machine we bought from Di Bartoli Coffee in Bondi Junction and we haven’t looked back.

coffee-machine
Di Bartoli Isomac coffee machine and grinder. Love the Italians!!

But addicts need their fix between appointments, meetings and in the early morning to get through life so here are my faves off the beaten path in Bondi Beach where the coffee is strong and the vibe is fantastic (in no particular order): Continue reading

November Dining – Night vibes at The Nine Sydney

the-nine-sydney-dinner1I was recently invited to a pop-up dinner at The Nine Sydney with 121BC and Giorgio da Mario wines. I have been frequenting this chilled establishment for sometime now for lunch, coffee and cocktails, but this was my first opportunity to try it out at night.

Food was by 121BC an amazing enoteca in Surry Hills, and organic natural wines were provided by Giorgio de Maria’s Fun Wines for the night. The Nine had everything I love and enjoy, with a little bit of Italy for the night in Bondi Beach. Continue reading

Hello world!

Bella is an Italian word that translates as beautiful. Bondi is my beautiful home, and an Aboriginal word meaning water breaking over rocks.

This account is inspired by a beautiful life in Bondi Beach, Sydney, Italy and beyond.

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