From Rioja with love.

My grandmother used to travel and bake a lot after retiring, she had all this time on her hands and filled it with some culinary creativity, and as she was fond of red wine and Spain, she ended up baking but one cake only, her masterpiece, her Rioja cake, commonly and less specifically known as her red wine cake, as in the 1970s, Rioja was quite uncommon a beverage in Germany and she didn’t feel the urge to explain her extravagances to just anybody she had over for tea and sympathy, she was a teacher, the most loved one of her village, her funeral was crowded with former students, she must have been a hell of a teacher, anyway, I, being more into France than into Spain, have always replaced Rioja with some Bordeaux when I made that cake, but now, just to cherish her memory, I opened a bottle of Rioja, the batter takes a quarter of a litre, as well as vast amounts of cocoa, chopped dark chocolate, this one is from Venezuela, quite fitting an origin, it’s a Spanish speaking country after all, anyway, the cake‘s obviously soaked with flavonoids from all that red wine and cocoa, kind of an anti-ageing approach to baking. I think, I’ll have another slice just now.

Vol de nuit.


With all mysteries gone in our world, every place on earth reachable in just a few hours, the experience of a trip reduced to the choice of our luggage purveyor, Goyard, Louis Vuitton or Mandarina Duck, we cannot call ourselves travelers anymore. On planes, we don’t feel the climate changing, the horizon adapting to the geography, the food getting spicier, architecture and customs turning foreign, and the people altering their features and the style of their clothes, all the things that voyagers like W.Somerset Maugham or Alexander von Humboldt experienced while approaching their distant destination old school style. We just beam ourselves up.

But I do call myself a traveler when I light my scented candle by Guerlain on this late summer’s night, I leave my natural habitat within seconds, it fills the air with foreign woody spices, transporting me to les Indes and I can’t even trust my taste buds anymore, this Rioja seems to have changed its character, it tastes oddly oriental all of a sudden.