29 Sep 2015

10 Awesome Travel Instagram Accounts To Follow

"Instagram, or it didn't happen", right? 

With 400 million monthly active users, Instagram is where the action is at. 

I got on to the bandwagon a bit late, having always preferred Twitter as my main social media platform. 

But now that I'm on Instagram, I am hooked! I find myself scrolling through gorgeous photos from all over the world, pausing frequently to 'double-tap', or to leave a comment once in a while. 

My timeline is full of wanderlust-inducing travel photos and drool-worthy food pix. So I thought I'd do a little round-up of some of my favourite travel Instagram accounts, and share the awesomeness! Have a look and maybe give them a follow :) 

25 Sep 2015

What to see and do in Copenhagen, Denmark - A Photo-essay

Copenhagen, Denmark, is said to be the happiest city in the world, and it's no wonder that I am on a happy high after last week! I spent 4 days in the city, exploring the waterways and parks, getting an eyeful of the famed Danish design, plus a couple of fun experiences and of course plenty of Nordic cuisine! Here's my pick of the top things to do in Copenhagen; a photo-guide to a beautiful and world-class city. 

The Canals & Waterfronts

Christianshavn Canal is one of most picturesque places in Copenhagen. From the canal, the freetown of Christiania is a short walk. It's what I imagine Woodstock would have looked like. No pix, as photography is not allowed inside, you will just have to take my word for it! 

On the way to Christiania, drop by at the Church of Our Saviour, with its iconic spire and the spiral staircase hugging it from the outside. Climb the 400 steps to the top for a fantastic view of the city. 

9 Sep 2015

Did you know there's a Gelato Museum in Italy?

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream! 

The sweltering Mumbai heat has had me reaching for the cold comfort of ice cream, kulfi and gelato. 

But every time I eat gelato in Mumbai, I'm reminded of the excellent gelato I have had all over Italy, and it makes me a little sad... 

The decadence of pistacchio, the tart, citrusy hit of limone, the deep, dark delights of cioccolato, the custardy goodness of zabaglione...

However, the best gelato I have had in Italy was fragola (strawberry) at the Gelato Museum near Bologna. Yes, there's a gelato museum in Italy! Not just a museum, but it's also a university where you can learn the art of gelato making from the masters. 

I visited the museum couple of years ago, and wrote about it for National Geographic Traveller. 

Here's the unedited version of the feature. 

4 Sep 2015

A Weekend Getaway to Courtyard by Marriott at Chakan, Pune

The weekend's nearly here! So have you planned a getaway yet? If you are in Mumbai (or Pune or Nashik), and have already 'done' all the nearby weekend spots, here's a wonderful monsoon getaway for you. The husband and I recently spent some time at Courtyard by Marriott at Chakan, about 35 kms from Pune. 

Our weekend started early, on a Friday morning, and the drive from Mumbai to Chakan was fairly quick - just 2.5 hours to cover the 150 kms. It was a lovely, rainy day and the drive passed by in a blur of green. 

We arrived to a warm welcome in form of this cute edible art creation --->

Our room was large & well-appointed. The French windows let in a lot of light and its ledge was my favourite reading place. There was also a convenient settee next to the window to lounge about on. The bed was comfy and the hotel has thoughtfully provided reading lights. There's ample storage space and a safe is available as well. 

A word about the Wi-Fi at the hotel - it's super-fast & very reliable! And at Rs. 500 per day, it's a fantastic deal, especially if you (like me) spend weekends working ;) 

Since the hotel is located in an industrial area, there were sporadic sounds from the neighbouring  factories, but nothing too loud or very disruptive. 

24 Aug 2015

Wisk, Mumbai's new baking studio, and a meeting with Janice Wong

One of the best pastry chefs in the world, a spanking new baking studio in the city and the opportunity to not just watch an artist in action, but also a chance to eat one of her edible art creations - that's what I was up to last week. 

Janice Wong has been named Asia's Best Pastry Chef for two years in a row (2013 & 2014) by San Pellegrino sponsored "Asia's 50 Best Restaurants" Awards. Wong owns one of Singapore's best pastry shops, the 2am:dessertbar. She was specially brought down to Mumbai to inaugurate the gorgeous baking studio, Wisk. I was invited for the media launch last week and Thursday evening found me in Kala Ghoda in South Mumbai, excited about checking out the newest studio kitchen in town, and getting a first-hand look at edible art in the making. 

Image courtesy Wisk by Cakesmiths

Janice Wong
Vrinda Jatia
Wisk is located on the second floor of Jatia Chambers, a pretty white building in the lane going down from Rhythm House. I walked up the wide, old-fashioned staircase of the building, and into a kitchen wonderland straight out of one of those fancy TV cooking shows! The studio has cute touches here & there - pretty crockery, inspiring cookbooks and lust-worthy baking paraphernalia. Wisk is the brainchild of Vrinda Jatia, an entrepreneur who launched Cakesmiths in 2014 - an online platform where you can buy high-end baking supplies. Encouraged by the response to her venture, she then decided to open this beautifully-appointed baking studio, which simulates the experience of a professional bakery. The state-of-the-art baking studio is aimed both at professional bakers and serious home bakers. I loved the clean, slightly minimalist decor of the studio, fully stocked with some of the best baking equipment.