Moravia - Valtice - Salon of Czech Republic Wines

Czech Impressions: Moravian Wine

Wait, Czech Republic makes wine, not just beer and neon-green booze? Yes! So let’s start with a quick primer on Czech wine. There are two wine regions in Czech Republic: Bohemia and Moravia (coarsely speaking, the western and eastern halves of the country, respectively). The vast majority of the vineyards are located in southern Moravia, […]

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Absinthe Tasting

Czech Impressions: Absinthe, Part 4

As we’ve previously discussed, there is a long tradition of herbal spirits in Czech Republic, and absinthe has been a subset of that tradition for well over a century. We’ve visited the world’s oldest distillery turned Czech alcohol heavyweight, and the rural beekeeper obsessed with the Green Fairy. Now comes the moment of truth: what are […]

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Czech Republic - Žufánek Distillery

Czech Impressions: Absinthe, Part 3

Let’s continue our visit of Moravian absinthe distilleries and head to Boršice. What, you aren’t familiar with Boršice? Population 2,255, firmly anchored in the middle of nowhere, a one-hour drive from Brno? Brno, which you may know from the cult Czech film, Boredom in Brno? Well, you should be, because it’s the home of the Žufánek […]

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Czech Republic - U Zeleného Stromu Distillery

Czech Impressions: Absinthe, Part 2

Search for lists of the world’s oldest distilleries still in operation, and you’ll see a few names coming back over and over. Of course, several Scottish whiskies go back to the late 18th century. Buffalo Trace in Kentucky, dating from 1775, is America’s oldest. Further south, Jose Cuervo was first granted a permit to produce tequila in Jalisco, Mexico in […]

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Czech Absinth

Czech Impressions: Absinthe, Part 1

Absinthe in Czech Republic, really? Yes! Unbeknownst to most, the country has a substantial and long-standing absinthe tradition. This shouldn’t be all that surprising, considering Central Europe’s taste for funky herbal liqueurs (recall, for example, Becherovka). There is evidence that absinthe was produced in Czech Republic as early as the second half of the 19th century, […]

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Dushanbe - Shah Mansur Bazaar

Tajik Adventures, Part 6: Dushanbe, Shah Mansur Bazaar

Now that we’ve explored Dushanbe’s cultural attractions, we’ll head to the central market. Shah Mansur Bazaar, also called the Green Bazaar, is easy to find: it’s a bona fide landmark, alongside club Port Saïd and the beer factory. “The heartbeat of Dushanbe trade,” says Lonely Planet. In a city literally named after a market, expectations are high. […]

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Dushanbe - Shaftoluzor Restaurant

Tajik Adventures, Part 5: Dushanbe, Chateau Loser

Dushanbe, population 778,500, capital city of Tajikistan. Our final stop on a journey that didn’t quite go as planned, before we cross the border back to Uzbekistan. “Dushanbe” means Monday in Tajik, allegedly because it started as a small village hosting a popular market on Mondays. When the Tajik Soviet Socialist Republic was created in 1929, the metonymy was replaced […]

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Road to Dushanbe - Khushekat

Tajik Adventures, Part 4: The Painful Road to Dushanbe

At the close of my survival guide for Tajikistan, I promised you the world’s worst hotel. A place that puts to shame all of the first-world problems you might have encountered in the West, such as inadequate climate control, capricious hot water in the bathroom, or unresponsive TV — it offers none of those three luxuries. This place has […]

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Green Market - HAlmaty Green Market - Horse Meatorse Meat

Kazakh Adventures, Part 2: Impressions from Almaty

Just as I did for beshbarmak, I’d like to interrupt my Tajik Adventures series to give a little bit of background about my recent horse steak post. So let’s head to Almaty, the former capital of the former Kazakhstan Social Socialist Republic. And let’s start with a former Soviet landmark, Café Ldinka. I say former, because it burned […]

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