Dining at Riley’s Fish Shack in Tynemouth

It’s a place that has managed to generate a buzz. “What? You’ve never eaten there?” was invariably the response if I admitted I hadn’t dined at Riley’s Fish Shack. I could tell that people were looking at me, judging, probably thinking something along the lines of “you can’t really be from the north-east of England and interested in good food without having been there.”

Asparagus liqueur from the Netherlands

The distillery is named after the kingfisher, a bird that was rarely seen on the waterways of Limburg a quarter of a century ago. These days, though, the colourful birds can be spotted frequently, sitting on overhanging branches and darting into streams while hunting prey. The company logo depicts one of the birds perched on a branch.

Sunderland Restaurant Week: 17 – 25 March 2018

The first Sunderland Restaurant Week of 2018 takes place from 17 to 25 March. More than 40 cafés and restaurants will participate. Diners can take advantage of two- or three-course menus costing £10 or 15 respectively. During the daytime, participating cafes will feature £5 offers. This is the third Sunderland Restaurant Week. Since the previous event, held during September 2017, a handful of new dining establishments have opened in and around the city centre.

Wendy Papadopoulos: New Brunswick’s female brewmaster

“When I first started in the industry I was 24-years-old and there were, I think, six other female brewers in North America. I’d get mistaken for the marketing person and whatever. Now that I’m in my niche, in my province and home, I know all of the brewers: I’m just another one of the guys. It’s changed a lot but I’ve really established myself. I’m part of community that takes me as a brewer and not as a woman,” says Wendy.

Wine from the Titanic at Živanović Winery in Serbia

The Živanović Winery is in the town of Sremski Karlovci, about 80 kilometres north-west of Belgrade. It’s one of around 60 wineries in the Fruška Gora region of the country. The region’s spiced, sweet Bermet wine was drank by members of the Austro-Hungarian court. It’s said that Maria-Theresa, the Habsburg empress, decreed that the region’s young men were not permitted to marry without proof they’d planted a vine.

Going vegan for Veganuary

“I would get online support. There are Facebook groups out there…you can ask advice. You can talk to people who are in a similar situation. The Veganuary one is particularly good for that. People will say things like ‘I fell off the wagon’ and it's good for things like that. It provides moral support,” suggested Chef Day Radley, including at times when vegans are faced with unsupportive people around them.

Soljanka and the Christmas market in Dresden, Germany

One of my favourite dishes on the menu is Soljanka, a soup with Russian origins. Friends tell me that occupying Soviet troops introduced the soup to eastern Germany. To most residents of Saxony it proved more palatable than the presence of a foreign military power. Soljanka has remained popular following German reunification.