photo

Margaret Swaine

Margaret is a nationally published wine, spirits, food and travel writer, who has authored well over 2,000 articles on these subjects for magazines and newspapers. She also writes the weekly Forks & the Road travel column for the National Post newspaper.

Margaret's column The Global Gourmet runs on alternate Thursdays.

RECENT ARTICLES


IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF MEGHAN AND HARRY
30 AUG 2018: In the aftermath of the world-celebrated royal wedding in May, of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, visits to Windsor, England are up 25 percent. Over 10,000 visitors now tromp daily through St George’s Chapel and the grand rooms of Windsor Castle where the couple held their reception. I too felt the desire to follow the footsteps of the young royals, with as is my bent, fine meals as my fête. MORE

THE ELECTRIC CITY
Who knew Peterborough had a foodie scene
16 AUG 2018: I never thought of Peterborough as more than a gateway to pass through on my way to Ontario’s bucolic Kawarthas cottage country. That is until my friend Shari called and convinced me to come check out the foodie scene in her hometown. She’d returned there a number of years ago after living abroad and was brimming with excitement about current developments. MORE

MILLIONAIRES DRESSING
02 AUG 2018: The Thousand Islands, comprising of 1,864 islands dotted on both sides of the Canada-US border along the St. Lawrence River, is undoubtedly the world’s only archipelago to have a salad dressing named after it. How that came about is one of the legends of millionaires, smugglers, heartbreak and romance that are the lore of this chain of islands between northern New York state and Ontario. MORE

THE BEST SMALL CITY
19 JUL 2018: Voted the number two Best Small City in the World in 2017 by Conde Nast readers, Victoria charms with its small-town walkability and friendliness while its scenic location, range of great local eats and drinks and awesome activities dazzle. Its transformation from merely quaint to “Best Small” is anchored by the recent $60+ million restoration of the iconic Fairmont Empress. MORE

CAST AWAY IN LUXURY
05 JUL 2018: Up until 1972, The Maldives was an archipelago peopled by fisher-folk eking out a living from fish and coconuts. Fast forward to 2018 and there’s Baros Maldives - named number one in Tripadvisor’s Travelers’ Choice Top 25 Luxury Hotels in the World. It’s a great testament to how far this country has developed over the past decades. MORE

A SPICY DESTINATION
21 JUN 2018: The food is what I remember and miss the most about Sri Lanka. The country has an abundance of all the things I love to eat: spices, curries, seafoods and fresh produce. Some of the spices, such as the real cinnamon, are special to the island. As to the curries, you can have them at breakfast, lunch and dinner. And we did. MORE

SRI LANKAS LITTLE ENGLAND
07 JUN 2018: It was accidental but fortunate planning that I ended up high in the mountains in the heart of Sri Lanka’s prime tea growing district at the end of April. Nuwara Eliya is so high in the hills that its climate is temperate and April is its high season when the heat and humidity has droves of Colombo residents heading for its cool respite. MORE

TEA-RRIFIC SRI LANKA
22 MAY 2018: The tropical island of Sri Lanka has attracted visitors for centuries with its green and lushly fertile natural beauty. Today its popularity is stronger than ever. Almost a decade has passed since the end of its long and bitter civil war, and now lovely boutique and luxury hotels abound, the food is delectable and the people friendly and welcoming. For me there was another compelling reason to visit – a gift from its colonial past that has continued to flourish. MORE

IRISH FOOD TALES
08 MAY 2018: The humble spud continues to be a star of Irish cooking, but its influence is waning. Sure the consumption of potatoes in Ireland is still two and a half times higher than the world average, but compared to the 1990’s, yearly ingestion of the vegetable in the Emerald Isle is about halved. A trip along the country’s food trails today shows just how the diverse and delicious eating has become. MORE

WET YOUR WHISTLE IN IRELAND
23 APR 2018: On my first visit to the Republic of Ireland a couple of decades ago, there were only three Irish whiskey brands generally consumed. People drank Powers, Paddy and for a treat Jameson. How far things have progressed is well illustrated by the Jasmine Bar at Brooks Hotel in Dublin. Ireland’s first “Great Whiskey Bar of the World” has over 140 whiskies, 84 of them Irish. It was a fitting place to start my ‘wet the whistle’ tour. MORE

WINE WOWS IN ONTARIO
09 APR 2018: I’ve been raving about Ontario wine country for decades and thought I had already seen it at its best. However, a recent visit to Niagara to attend the 30th annual Cuvee, a celebration of excellence in winemaking, showed me that the wow factor just keeps growing. MORE

ONE FOR THE ROAD
26 MAR 2018: Wolf in the Fog, which was named Air Canada’s enRoute Best New Restaurant in Canada in 2014, is right on trend with its new programme that promotes local spirit. The Local Legends cocktail programme at this eatery in Tofino on Vancouver Island features classic cocktails made exclusively with BC booze. Cocktails are experiencing a huge renaissance and it makes sense that destinations cash in on the movement. MORE

FLYING KALE AND HEARTY
12 MAR 2018: While cruising on Oceania’s Marina last month, I signed up for a couple of their extra charge La Reserve by Wine Spectator wine and gourmet dinner affairs. I expected some of the wines would be a first for a number of the 24 guests at each meal. What I didn’t expect was the food would be too, such as was the case with the elegant lady in her seventies who announced she had never eaten lobster before. Turns out there are a lot of currently trendy foods boomers haven’t touched.   MORE

COOKING ALONG IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC
26 FEB 2018: It’s the 15th anniversary for Oceania Cruises M/S Marina this year, but the first time the ship has offered their own custom designed culinary adventures in French Polynesia. Thus my husband and I happen to be the very first customers for the new flavour packed tours. Serendipitous to be sure for me, and a unique perspective on the daily life of the locals. MORE

TRAVEL FOR FOOD AND DRINK
12 FEB 2018: At the recent VisitBritain event in Toronto I couldn’t resist having my photo taken holding the sign “I travel for food and drink.” That about says it all for me. I’m not alone. I keep seeing more and more countries and regions promoting what they have to offer on the plate and in the glass. MORE

NOTHING TO BEEF ABOUT
15 JAN 2018: When Canada Beef invited me to Alberta in December to learn what was afoot with beef in our country, I knew there would be much to see. I had heard that Calgary’s Gen Y and Gen X population had transformed Cowtown’s restaurant scene into a vibrant landscape of the cool and trendy. I challenged my hosts to show me the ropes. MORE

CULINARY TRAVEL
Best of 2017
02 JAN 2018: My jaunts around the globe last year in pursuit of great culinary experiences were full of the delightful and delicious. From the exotic spiced cuisine of Morocco and the art filled kilometres of underground wine cellars of the Loire, to the bounty of the Caribbean here are some of the highlights of 2017.   MORE

THE ANGEL'S SPIRIT
18 DEC 2017: After the festivities are done this Christmas, I can think of nothing better than relaxing by a roaring fire with a book and a cognac in hand. Cognac, a prestigious French brandy, comes the region surrounding the medieval city of Cognac. Over the years I've seen the area develop from a sleepy hollow into a tourism destination offering much to the visitor. There's even more to come in 2018.   MORE

LONDON DOCKS
04 DEC 2017: Readers of this column will know that if there’s an eating tour of a city I’m sure to sign up. Often it’s not just to get a good taste of the place but also to explore an area that I might overwise overlook. The Eating London Old Docks tour I recently took opened my eyes to a fascinating neighbourhood full of ghost stories, legends and historic pubs.   MORE

THE TONY SIDE OF MADRID
20 NOV 2017: It takes a mere ten minutes by taxi to go from the Hotel Principal Madrid to the Hotel Único, yet it feels like entering another world. While the former is in the action filled somewhat frenzied heart of the city, the latter housed in a former 19th century palace in the upscale Salamanca district oozes elegance and serenity.   MORE

LATE NIGHTS IN MADRID
06 NOV 2017: We were in Madrid when the vote for Catalan independence and subsequent demonstrations began this fall. However as is often the case with turmoil, no matter how big or consequential, the only danger to us tourists was getting to our reservations late due to road blocks. Sleepless nights were a more substantial risk as we adjusted to Madrid eating hours. MORE

FORKS AND THE ROAD IN KENT
23 OCT 2017: Kent, the oldest county in the country, is known as the Garden of England for its abundance of farms, wineries, beer making from the locally grown hops and fresh from the sea Dover sole and Whitstable oysters. Convenient to London, after an hour or so drive food lovers will find themselves in a bucolic countryside where they are spoilt for choice on dining and drinking options.   MORE

CELLAR DWELLERS AND MEDIEVAL TOWNS
16 OCT 2017: Above ground the Loire Valley in France is dotted with beautiful Chateaux and other limestone dwellings. Below ground are kilometres upon kilometres of limestone tunnels, the spinoff of the extraction of so much building material. These former quarries today house wine cellars containing millions of bottles, restaurants, mushroom farms, and even hotel rooms.   MORE

LOIRE ESCAPADES
25 SEP 2017: Many who travel to the Loire Valley in France go to visit the fabulous royal Chateaux such as Chenonceau, Chambord, Chinon and Villandry with its stunning Renaissance garden. Others seek out the delicious wines that spring from vineyards following the length of the 800 kilometre Loire River. To encourage those visitors over 350 wine cellars have signed up to promote wine tourism. These cellars have come up with ingenious schemes to expand the wine experience beyond the tasting room. MORE

THE SPIRIT OF NORMANDY
12 SEP 2017: It was a bit surreal when I drove into Deauville, France and found myself surrounded by symbols of America. Star-Spangled Banners were flying from poles around the city, posters and photos featuring American film stars were plastered around. Even the place mats where I dined at Chez Miocque were red, white and blue. What was going on?   MORE
logologologologologologo