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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

DEVOUR IN WOLFVILLE
28 AUG 2017: Faced every year with a seasonal slowdown late October and November at his restaurant Tempest in Wolfville Nova Scotia, Chef Michael Howell decided to tackle the issue with creativity. Devour! The Food Film Fest now in its seventh year, brought ten thousand people to the city last year with 13,000 expected this October 25 to 29.   MORE

IN MY BACKYARD
14 AUG 2017: Most of the time I travel far afield to search out great culinary and cultural destinations. This summer to celebrate Canada 150, along with several trips to other provinces, I mostly explored within a two hour drive of Toronto. What I found in my own backyard delighted me.   MORE

SASSY SASKATOON
31 JUL 2017: The question should not be why go to Saskatoon but when. This lively city which straddles a bend in the South Saskatchewan River is hopping with great restaurants, breweries, spirit makers, live music venues and artisans. On banks of the river which boasts 80 kilometres of urban parkland trails, sits the most compelling reason to visit this fall. What it is will surprise you.   MORE

FLYING HIGH AND HAPPY
17 JUL 2017: This at least takes the sting out of flying in tight quarters. This summer a couple of distillers partnered with airline industries to pour passengers a complimentary shot of whisky. Porter Airlines hooked up with Aberlour to offer the 12-year-old Highland single malt during its complimentary food and beverage service. Walsh Whiskey Distillery took it a step further and brought a virtual reality tour of their estate to Dublin Airport that ends with an actual drink.   MORE

FOOD ISLAND CANADA
04 JUL 2017: Prince Edward Island has positioned itself as Canada’s Food Island and rightly so. Its primary industries are farming and fishing so fresh is practically a guarantee and the “100 mile diet” is more likely the 10 mile diet on P.E.I. A hands-on foodie experience is around every corner.   MORE

GLOBAL FOOD TRENDS 2017
19 JUN 2017:. Unique culinary experiences continue to be a force that motivates people to travel. In 2017 emerging trends include edible artwork installations, brightly coloured Instagram ready foods, ever increasing food festivals, multisensory dining events and food journeys through hotels, cities and regions.   MORE

SOMETHING FISHY
05 JUN 2017: The Magdalen Islands (Les Iles-de-la-Madeleine), shaped like a fish hook in the middle of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, have a long, fascinating history. For centuries they were a seasonal destination for Mi’kmaqs in search of walrus meat. Jacques Cartier visited them in 1534, Acadians settled in them in the 1700s and a segment of the population are descendants of survivors of the more than 400 shipwrecks in the area. It’s no wonder a visit here is quirky and fun with abundant tastes of the sea.   MORE

MEMORABLE MEALS IN MOROCCO
23 MAY 2017: Dar Ahlam in Skoura, Morocco is unlike any luxury hotel I’ve ever experienced. There’s no reception desk or lobby, no restaurants, no room keys (or even numbers or names on the doors), no room service and no phones or televisions in the guest rooms. And yet it is a five-star hotel that delivers a truly magical experience. MORE

MOROCCAN FLAVOURS IN VOGUE
08 MAY 2017: Here I am in Morocco getting emails about new places opening up in North American focusing on Moroccan flavours. Chef Doug Penfold of Cava and Chabrol fame just launched Atlas in Toronto with dishes inspired from Marrakesh and other parts of the country. In New York the new bar at the Lowell Hotel, Jacques, is serving up Moroccan inspired cocktails. Lucky me to be where the trendy spicing for this year originated.   MORE

WINE PATHS
24 APR 2017: Organizing a visit to a wine region can be time consuming and difficult. Wine Paths, the first digital platform for wine lovers, aims to make it easy for epicurean travellers to plan a great itinerary. The online guide which lists outstanding establishments in the leading winegrowing regions of the world just launched this spring.   MORE

LED BY THE BELLY IN CHINA
10 APR 2017: The dining experience has become the hook for the whole trip for ever more travellers. One of the best countries for varied, vast and in-depth food culture is China. It’s been said, “The Chinese eat everything with four legs, except tables, and everything that flies, except airplanes.” MORE

SUMMER OF LOVE
27 MAR 2017: With San Francisco celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Summer of Love, there’s more reason than ever to visit the Golden City this year. More than 60 events and activities are planned and of course there’s always the latest trendy restaurants to check out and cool new hotels. MORE

NO HALF MEASURES AT HALF MOON
13 MAR 2017: Half Moon, named after its crescent-shaped Sunset Beach, is a beloved old Jamaican property, first opened in 1954. Its storied visitors have included many celebrities, royalty, and heads of governments. No matter how good however, no resort can rest on its laurels and now Half Moon is posed to up its game even more with a culinary programme that takes full advantage of the earthly bounty that’s Jamaican. MORE

A DATE WITH OMAN
27 FEB 2017:  Flying on Oman Air from Abu Dhabi to Muscat, we already got a sense of the welcoming nature of the country. The flight attendant offered us a date and a coffee – the traditional way to greet a guest in an Omani home. In contrast to the glitz of the flashy mega malls and super skyscrapers of the UAE, Oman’s signature is a rich cultural heritage and warm hospitality. MORE

ARABIAN NIGHTS
13 FEB 2017:Dubai, the largest city in the United Arab Emirates, sits strategically at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa. The discovery of oil in the late sixties put its development on the fast track, though now it's tourism that’s the driving factor. This city with its gigantic malls and iconic skyscrapers is over the top with incredible buildings, hotels and restaurants. MORE

MILE HIGH MEALS
30 JAN 2017: In a distant past dining on airlines was a joy. I still remember the luxury of Wardair’s "Steak & Champagne" flights where food service was a white table cloth affair on Wardair branded Royal Doulton china. With airlines struggling today to bring some semblance of decent food at least to business and first class, economy still is underserved. A number of companies have studied the situation and what follows are their recommendations on what a passenger should order. MORE

175 PARTY TIME IN MONTREAL
16 JAN 2017: Montréal knows how to throw a party better than any other Canadian city and this year on its 375th anniversary there is a whole year of festivities underway with over 175 events. Of course, food and drink feature prominently in Sin City- to call it by its Prohibition days name. MORE

HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE YEAR OF CULINARY TRAVEL
03 JAN 2017: In saying goodbye to 2016, have we also kissed food tourism adieu? Food was declared the travel megatrend of last year. Skift Magazine dubbed it the Bourdain effect. I predict this trend will continue to gather momentum as ever more unique ways to discover a land through its gastronomy are put on the table. Here are some of the highlights from the past year. MORE

SIDEWAYS IN SANTA BARBARA
19 DEC 2016:  Santa Barbara’s just under 150 kilometres from Los Angeles, with the latter part of the drive along roads which hug the scenic Pacific Ocean coastline. A great escape from the frenzy of Hollywood, it also boasts a world class wine country, made famous by the 2004 film Sideways. The title could refer to the direction the film’s stars take or the direction the terrain takes in that part of California. MORE

FOOD PORN IN THE FUNK ZONE
05 DEC 2016:  I meet Tara Jones, the Big Cheese of “Eat This Shoot That!”, in the Funk Zone of Santa Barbara for what I quickly discover was a fun and innovative approach to a foodie tour of a city. The Funk Zone, a 12-square-block mixed-use area near Santa Barbara’s waterfront, transformed from really sketchy to totally hip starting about four years ago. It was the perfect locale for a quirky, tasty tour with photo tips. MORE

KARISMA BEEFS IT UP
21 NOV 216: Most all-inclusives are not foodie destinations. At Karisma Hotels & Resorts, however, their proprietary ‘Gourmet Inclusive’ Experience aims directly at the food lover. From bringing in top chefs from Canada year-round for The Canadian Beef Culinary Series to their 76,000 square foot greenhouse operation and the Five Diamond awarded Le Chique at Azul Sensatori Hotel, Karisma reaches impressive culinary heights. And they sweeten the pot for agents with their Gourmet Inclusive Vacation Consultant reward programme. MORE

ALL THE TEA IN CHINA
07 NOV 2016:  There are so many fascinating facets to China it’s a challenge to know where to go and where to begin. That is unless you are a tea lover like me. The world’s most cherished green tea comes from the hills just outside of Hangzhou. Tea production dates to before the Tang Dynasty (618 CE) in this humid subtropical area and a visit here is steeped in history, beauty and refined tea “eating”. MORE

VERY BRITISH TASTES
24 OCT 2016:  An eclectic trip itinerary can be most stimulating I think. On a recent visit to Britain I combined such traditions as afternoon tea at the Langham and golf at Stoke Park, site of Bond’s epic golfing duel in the 007 movie ‘Goldfinger’, with dinner at a pop up in an emerging area of London and whisky tastings in Dufftown Scotland. MORE

BOLDLY DIFFERENT IN THE KAWARTHAS
11 OCT 2016: Most hotel owners boast about their rooms. Not Ben Samann who bought Viamede Resort in 2010 at the age of 27. People come to the resort for the food, the experience and the views, not the accommodation and he’s okay with that. MORE

A PRINCE OF A COUNTY
26 SEP 2016: Ontario’s Prince Edward County has gone from being virtually unknown a decade or so ago to winning the attention of foodies and wine connoisseurs near and far. The area’s allure in the past had been its giant sand dunes, quaint towns and nature trails. Now chefs and winemakers are flocking here to set up shop and take advantage of The County’s fertile appeal. Fast on their heels are the tourists. MORE
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