WelshVegan Fest – May 19 to May 20

It’s been almost a year since I moved to Wales, and I am always excited to find super cool, enviromentally friendly and humane events in Wales, such as the Welsh Vegan Fest!

You all know by now how I love all things Welsh! So this event hits all the marks, I mean Welsh + food + vegan! Don’t mind if I do. The event takes place over two days: the 19th and 20th May, 2018. Standard entry is £3 per day from 10:30A.M to 17:00. VIP tickets are also available for £15 which include early 10:00A.M entry for both days and a goodie bag made up of donations we have received from stallholders and businesses.

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Photo courtesy of Thw Welsh Vegan Festival

There will be over 60 stalls for both days with plenty of hot food for people to choose. But if you are more of a snack kind of person, they are also having sweet treat stalls. Also (the fun doesn’t stop there) there will be vegan friendly cosmetic brands, sustainable clothing and many animal loving, super cool vibes humans around. It is a good chance to meet more people who wont look at you funny when you order the pizza sans the cheese lol.

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Photo courtesy of The Wesh Vegan Festival – The Ice Green

Speaking of animal loving humans, all of the proceedings from the event are going to Farplace Animal Rescue (charity) which is based in Weardale but rescues animals from all over the UK, many of which may never be rehomed due to their health.

So are you convinced yet? See you there! Cardiff, Tramshed May 19th – 20th

To buy tickets or to learn more about the event, visit: http://www.welshveganfestival.com

xoxo

J


The Festival is organised by Farplace Animal Rescue. We are a UK animal rescue who help specialist cases like FIV+ cats and have helped many such cases in need from across the UK. All the profits from the festival will directly help animals

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Discover Britain: Stonehenge & Wow I am 36 years old now!

Where does the time go? is there a time-consuming black hole conspiracy happening at the moment? lol May 2018, guys, May! can you believe it? This year is flying by, but they do say time flies when you are having fun which is my 2018 motto “Have fun with yourself” life is way too short for complications, negative thoughts and boring political debates (sorry, if this is your thing and its fun for you, then YAY YOU! but definitely not my cup of tea)

Anyway, May means that my 36 (gulp) birthday has come and gone already, I love celebrating birthdays. I see birthdays as milestones, as an opportunity to celebrate life and everything you embody. Be you, unapologetically and embrace the beauty of age. With age comes wisdom and with wisdom comes enjoyment.

My 36 years on earth have been filled with ups and downs, with achievements and failures, with beautiful and ugly people (on the inside – not referring to looks) and with experiencing different cultures.  I have been lucky enough to live in different continents and different countries which has definitely expanded my views and has given me a taste for an eclectic combination of foods, lol. This year, 2018, my first birthday since I came back to the UK and my first birthday with my thoughtful Welsh half who made my birthday magical and unforgettable.

He surprised me with a trip to Stonehenge, Wiltshire ❤ and Salisbury!

Stonehenge is one of those places I always wanted to visit, on my top 5 bucket list destinations since I was very young.

Walk in the footsteps of your Neolithic ancestors at Stonehenge – one of the wonders of the world and the best-known prehistoric monument in Europe.

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I absolutely loved it! Although I always thought the stone circle would be bigger than what it actually is, the historic meaning of the place makes the trip worth it. As you enter Stonehenge you have access to a small Neolithic museum area with an exhibition of instruments, bones, and artifacts found in the surrounding areas. You can also roam around some Neolithic houses that represent a small village of the time (4,500 years ago).

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Fun Fact: Stonehenge stones come from West Wales! According to the established wisdom for some 90 years, many of the smaller rocks making up Stonehenge come from the Preseli Hills in Pembrokeshire, Wales.

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Stone Circle

Stonehenge Stone Circle is a prehistoric monument in Wiltshire, England. It consists of a ring of standing stones, with each standing stone around 13 feet (4.0 m) high, 7 feet (2.1 m) wide and weighing around 25 tons. 

Archaeologists believe it was constructed from 3000 BC to 2000 BC. The surrounding circular earth bank and ditch, which constitute the earliest phase of the monument, have been dated to about 3100 BC. Radiocarbon dating suggests that the first bluestones were raised between 2400 and 2200 BC. 

Stonehenge is one of the most famous landmarks in the UK, regarded as a British cultural icon. Definitely, a must see. Just know that access to the stone circles is somewhat restricted and you are not able to get up and close to touch the stones.  This is understandable due to the nature of the place. Also, keep in mind there is a charge for entry and it can be a little expensive for large families to visit considering there isn’t much more there to see apart from the stone circle itself, the Neolithic houses and the small museum area. There is also a cafe and a gift shop with lots of nick-nacks to commemorate your visit.

for more info visit: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/stonehenge/things-to-do/#Section1 

Shoutout to my Welsh half for surprising me with a roadtrip to one of the must beautiful, historical and magic place ever! ❤

On a separate post I will talk about the town of Salisbury, its history, places to go and my favorite location there.

 

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Get Dirty! Cardiff’s Best Martinis

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.

My first official night out, since I moved to Cardiff, happened last Friday! (thanks, once again, to the Taffy who made it happen)

The night started with a bang thanks to Dirty Martini. You see Dirty Martini knows how to make an impression on a girl, by inviting her (and companion) for a few drinks!

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Dirty Martini, located on Imperial Gate, St Mary Street, is the perfect place for a chic avant-garde evening. Sophisticated yet laid-back, elegant yet not pretentious and filled with hundreds of delicious cocktails. Whether you want to impress a girl on a date or have a fancy girls night out this is the place for you.

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The decor has an elegant and funky vintage flair, with pops of colour and clean lines.

The experience started by making an online booking a few days before our visit, it is easy to do and gives you the peace of mind that you will have a table upon arrival. Once we arrived, we were greeted and taken to our table. The staff was extremely knowledgeable on the martini and cocktail front, which was very handy because we didn’t know much. A short consultation to find out more about our tastes lead to recommendations, which we took without hesitation.

Minutes later our taste buds were delighted.

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The first round of drinks was spot on, and an explosion of flavours, colours and aromas invaded our senses. Our bartender for the night has to be the best bartender I’ve ever had. Not only impeccable service but because he knew and understood the flavours and more importantly our tastes.

The Spring Peach & Hibiscus Martini was a perfect match for me. Slightly sweet, girly and mysterious, this cloudy martini accented by a hibiscus flower is everything a girl can hope for in a glass.

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The Rum Forest Rum was very tropical, and wouldn’t you be if you were made of Ciroc Pineapple vodka and Captain Morgan Spiced Rum? If you want to be transported into a magical tropical island without having to leave the not-so-exotic country of Wales, I do recommend you drink this one.

Between rounds of drinks, our bartender served us water to clean out palates before trying the next cocktail… added points for professionalism.

 

Then things went to girly and spicy to robust and dark with The Bee Hive, an exotic combination of Patron Cafe Tequila and Mezcal that would make my Mayan brothers proud. If you like the sensual tones of coffee, honey and almond, this is your drink.

So, if you are ever in town, and fancy something more than a pint, I strongly recommend you visit Dirty Martini. Hint, hint! Happy Hour 4 pm – 10 pm Monday to Thursday, 9 pm Friday.

Xoxo

Jihane

Bristol, Explore England

Hello UK!
So as you might all know I am now living and loving Wales and ALL things Welsh 😉 However last week I had the opportunity to visit Bristol across the border into my “homeland” (I have a few homes, I am a citizen of the world)

I went to Bristol for a fantastic magic-filled day of walks along the Avon river, small little cobblestone roads, old pubs, hip grubs and stunning architecture. It was beautiful! even if my “tour guide” got lost a few times, lol, I got to experience a day in a new-to-me city. So shoutout out to the taffy who made this happen. Thank you!

Speaking of The River Avon, and Welsh things. Some say the river also known as the Bristol Avon, has it the name “Avon” as a cognate of the Welsh word afon, “river”.

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We arrived at Bristol by Temple Meads, where we found a little cosy spot for breakfast at Caffe Gusto. Proper British outing can’t be complete without a bacon sandwich and a cuppa. Ok, let me explain. Yes, I had bacon. No, I do not regret it. I don’t usually do bacon; I don’t because yeah mostly plant based diet. However England it’s not England without a bacon sandwich for breakfast. Also, it had been like seven years since I had a proper bacon sarnie.

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Not far from Temple Meads it’s the beautiful St.Peter’s Church at Castle Park (pictures above and below). The church was bombed during World War II and is now preserved as a memorial surrounded by beautiful gardens. Lovely place for a romantic stroll, or to sit quietly with a book during a nice sunny day.

 

 

Further along, a walk through the historic roads can take you to little corners of delight, from farmer’s markets to street food vendors, old pubs, arcades and churches.

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A bit of history tells us that Iron Age hill forts and Roman villas were built near the confluence of the rivers Frome and Avon, and around the beginning of the 11th century, the settlement was known as Brycgstow (Old English “the place at the bridge”). Bristol received a royal charter in 1155 and was historically divided between Gloucestershire and Somerset until 1373 when it became a county of itself.

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The Llandoger Trow (pictured below) is a historic public house in Bristol, south-west England. Dating from 1664, it is on King Street, between Welsh Back and Queen Charlotte Street, near the old city centre docks. Named by a sailor who owned the pub after Llandogo which built throws, the building was damaged in World War II but remained in sufficiently good condition to be designated grade II* listed building status in 1959. The pub is said to have inspired Robert Louis Stevenson to write of the Admiral Benbow Inn in Treasure Island, and Daniel Defoe supposedly met Alexander Selkirk there, his inspiration for Robinson Crusoe. The pub is also supposedly haunted, with up to 15 ghosts, the best known being a small child whose footsteps can be heard on the top floor.

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So thats my short review of Bristol. I know there are a million things to see and do there. But if you ever feel like visiting an English historic old city, I do recommend you walk away from London and venture into Bristol, even if for a day or two.

Xoxo

OnixJ

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Welsh Back Road.. lol had to take a pic of that

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Picnic Penarth <3 Foodie Heaven in the Welsh Coast

Last weekend was my first foodie event since I arrived back in the UK. And oh boy, do the Welsh know their foodies! I attended Picnic Penarth, in Penarth, Wales.

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Penarth is a town in the Vale of Glamorgan, Wales, 5.2 miles south-west from the city centre of the Welsh capital city of Cardiff and lying on the north shore of the Severn Estuary at the southern end of Cardiff Bay. I am in love with the area and hopefully, if all goes as planned I can move there into a lovely house/flat. But more about that later.

Picnic Penarth is a free, kid and dog-friendly congregation of fantastic local food trucks and restaurants offering delicious food “al fresco” thankfully the Welsh weather was on our side and it allowed everyone to enjoy in the sun (and some clouds now and then, you know, is the UK after all)

IMG_2766I was pleased to see so many dog parents with their furry babies, SO CUTE! the atmosphere was fun, relaxed and vibrant. The aromas emanating from each single corner of the place were amazing! Hard to decide which to try first. The queues were long, I am not gonna lie, I had to wait 20+ minutes for crispy avocado tacos but I promise you it was worth it.

So about those tacos. The Beaded Taco Truck had some Scrumpti-licious food! I went vegetarian with the super fresh, and tangy avocado tacos. Cooked to perfection with the delicate crispy tempura style avocados. No spice tho, but they had sauces you could add if you needed to add some fire to your meal. Two tacos for 6 pounds, perfect street food. LOVE THEM.

Then there is Pizza Pronto Team. These guys are amazing not only at making pizzas but at giving back to the community. (more on that in another blog post soon) Their fun, quirky pizza menu had them at the center of everyone’s (belly’s) attention. That and their giant vintage pizza sign and baby blue car.

Another winner for me (sweet tooth) was Dawn’s Pantry with their stricking looking cakes. I had a slice of heaven with their Strawberry Milkshake cake. The right amount of sweet, moist and tasty. The little sour rainbow gummy was a trip to childhood memories and a zesty bang to an amazing cake.

…Let’s not forget the Greek food truck, that although I did not try their food I saw many many satisfied fellow picnic goers finger licking and devouring their meaty treats.

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And these fellows… with a burst of flavour and exotic spice…

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Overall Picnic Penarth was an amazing foodie experience, filled with tasty treats, yummy food and a fantastic atmosphere. I am sure next year will be a blast too!

Do you know of any other foodie events around Cardiff? Let me know! (If vegetarian options available even better)

Until next time

xoxo

Jihane

Hello Wales! Where is Cardiff & Why is it so Great?

HELLO CAERDYDD!

It’s been two weeks since I landed in Welsh lands and oh boy I am in love. There is so much to this city I don’t even know where to start. Let’s cover a bit of the basics. First and foremost, Helo Cymru.

 

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Cardiff Bay

 

Cardiff, or Caerdydd in Welsh, is the Capital of Wales. Wales is part of the U.K but it is not England – it’s Wales. The story of Wales begins with the Celts. The Celts began migrating from their central European homeland around 1000 BC. The recorded history of Wales begins with the arrival of the Romans on Welsh borders. At that time people spoke a Celtic language – Brythonic, the language that would eventually evolve into Welsh.

The Normans invade England. Wales proves resistant to the Normans’ power and the Welsh rise in revolt. Ah! feisty! By 1100 the Normans had been driven out of Gwynedd, Ceredigion and most of Powys. Fast forward to 1955, Cardiff is officially declared capital of Wales. Cardiff is Europe’s youngest capital city. Oh and you can see it and feel it. Cardiff is vibrant and full of energy but also holds so much historic wisdom. Cardiff its sort of like a young wild wise lady dressed with the scales of a dragon and the spirit of fire.

Fun fact: Neanderthals lived in what is now Wales, or Cymru in Welsh, at least 230,000 years ago, while Homo sapiens arrived by about 31,000 BC. … A number of kingdoms formed in present-day Wales in the post-Roman period.

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Bute Park, Cardiff

 

I love how the city balances green space and city life. It is surrounded by many green well maintain parks and green areas. The city, now in the spring, is buzzing with the bright colors of flowers.  Also, so far everyone has been so friendly and welcoming. I have met a few people thanks to online groups like meetup.com and everyone is lovely and polite. I love it! Diolch everyone! (that means, thank you)

Not far from the city center many suburbs hold hidden treasures, little time capsules. One of my favorite places so far is Radyr. The Parish of Radyr came into existence soon after the Norman Conquest of Wales around the beginning of the 12th century. The area had had a long history before the Conquest. Archaeological findings suggest that the Lesser Garth Cave (behind the Ty Nant Inn) was inhabited from the Stone Age onwards. The place is magical surrounded by forest and historic facts. It’s uphills aligned with colorful houses and it’s air fresh and crisp.

Penarth, I feel deeply in love with. Putting it out there for the universe to hear me. I want to settle in Penarth. Near the sea yet close to Cardiff, this place is my dream. I will dedicate a whole post to Penarth in the next few weeks as I dig into its history and roots. But in the meanwhile, I’ll leave one picture here.

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Penarth Historic Pier

 

Another fun fact about Cardiff? The 2017 Football Champions League Final will be celebrated here, this June! Exciting!

Wanna know more about Wales, follow me on Instagram and Snapchat @onixjihane

xoxo

Jihane

Gypsy Heart :: Moving to Another Land

I often choose to start with a blank page.

Why are we so scared of beginnings?

Some of us have that nomad gene dormant in our subconscious perhaps? I was born in one country, moved to another, then another, then lived my childhood in one place, but always traveling, tasting and exploring (thanks, mum & dad).
Then I became a young adult, and I went back to my place of birth. Became an adult and found myself falling headfirst against the ground of adulthood reality. I moved again. I moved again to heal, to find myself, and to grow internally and as a person. I’ve accomplished my mission and I am now ready to go.

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I keep moving. My mind and my body feel the need to explore, learn, move. We are not static beings. Our ancestors kept moving in the search for more food, land, and opportunities. It is part of human nature. However, if you chose not to move and to stay in one place that is fine too – if it works for you, it works for you. I personally don’t need to have roots in one place in order to feel whole. I am whole in the wind, in the immense universe of life, in the eternal shining of the stars.

Life is fluid. Is a constant movement of actions, reactions, people, and worlds.

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After spending 9 years in Newcastle, I moved to Houston, Texas. That was a 180-degree change. From the old world into the new. From the small streets to the vast distances of Texas. From the rainy cold afternoons to the hot and humid sunny gatherings.
Texas opened its gigantic doors to me and I embraced it’s cultural diversity, its simplistic pomposity (Hipster style) and its warm long afternoons – although I still think sweet tea is an abomination, sorry not sorry… joking, it’s ok if you hate tea. lol.

My heart is black and white stripes (Newcastle FC) with Catrinas (Mexican, Dia de Los Muertos) and majestic bullhorns (Texas). My heart also waves the Venezuelan flag (Amarillo, Azul y Rojo) and has so much more space waiting to be colored and filled with new experiences, cultures, and faces.

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I am forever grateful to all the things learned during my time in the USA. The truth is, I am a culture junkie. I find eternal happiness in the discovery of new cultures, in the understanding of new traditions, in the tolerance of new ideologies. I am a Third Culture child and my heart aches for knowledge and adventure.

So today, I say Salud! Cheers to new and old places. Cheers to growth and discovery. Cheers to adventure! Cheers to YOU, to ME and to the WORLD.

See you at my next destination – Cymru.

Xoxo

Travel Series: Grand Canyon & Hualapai Nation #Arizona

So it’s been a while since I posted, big changes happening! It was Sprint Break in Texas this past week (yay! Spring! although it feels like Summer here already) We had plans to visit Boston, and I was really looking forward to go to Salem and learn all about the Freedom Trail but Mother Nature had other plans. Huge winter storm canceled out trip and we prepared an impromptu visit to Las Vegas.

I knew Las Vegas wasn’t for me, so I convinced my crew to take a little road trip to Arizona and visit the Grand Canyon West Rim and the Hualapai Native American Reserve. WOW! just wow! I am so glad we did!

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Hualapai Nation

The Hualapai Tribe is a federally recognized Indian Tribe located in northwestern Arizona. “Hualapai” (pronounced Wal-lah-pie) means “People of the Tall Pines.” They are the native people of the Southwest. Traditionally hunter-gatherers, they inhabited an area of more than 5 million acres.

Their homeland stretched from the Grand Canyon southward to the Santa Maria River and from the Black Mountains eastward to the pine forests of the San Francisco peaks. Today, the Hualapai American Indian Reservation, created in 1883, is nearly 1,000,000 acres that includes 108 miles of the Colorado River and Grand Canyon.

The total population of the Hualapai Reservation is about 1,621 of whom 1,353 are tribal members (2000 U.S. Census). Total tribal membership, including members not residing on the reservation, is approximately 2,300. Most people who reside on the reservation live in the capitol town of Peach Springs, which owns its name to the peach trees that historically grew at nearby springs.

The Great Spirit created Man and Woman in his own image. In doing so, both were created as equals. Both depending on each other in order to survive. Great respect was shown for each other, in doing so, happiness and contentment was achieved them as it should be now – Hulapai.

I love everything Native American, I feel their energy is so pure and their roots so in touch with nature.

 

Grand Canyon West Rim

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The west rim is approximately a 2 and a half hour drive from the Vegas Strip. On the way there you can stop to see the Hoover Dam which is a majestic work of engineering. You can also enjoy the Arizona Desert views. Once you get to the Grand Canyon directions are easy to follow and for your ticket, you get to see the Skywalk at Eagle Point (skywalk is located here), Guano Point, and an old cowboy style village. You can eat there too, we had some yummy BBQ chicken, ribs corn bread, beans and rice. There is hardly any phone signal but there is wifi at each station.

The tour guide explained this time of the year is one of the best to go due to the weather (not cold, not too hot).

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Please note, the Grand Canyon West is not part of Grand Canyon National Park which is comprised of the South and North Rims. Grand Canyon West is owned by the Hualapai Indian Tribe. We didn’t know that until we got there, I personally though it was all the same park.

Skywalk

The Skywalk is one of the highlights of this tour. It is without a doubt one of the world’s engineering marvels. Walk out on a glass bottom bridge extending 70 feet out from the canyon’s edge into a vast expanse of nothingness. Standing on see-through glass looking 4,000 down to the canyon floor and a small ribbon of the Colorado River will give you a sense of flying. No cameras or phones are allowed at this point but they provide lockers for you free of charge. The view is amazing and it is worth to get the photo package ($65 for a set of 8-12 digital copies)

However, if you have a fear of height, Skywalk is not for you.

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This turned out to be one of the best Spring breaks ever! Nothing like a bit of nature in the mid of chaos to bring you back to peace. Grounded, whole, complete and in tune with myself.

So if you are ever in Nevada or Arizona, I strongly recommend you visit this marvelous place.

xoxo

Jihane

When I say Yummy! You say? Happy #InternationalPieDay

… Not to be confused with Pi Day (pi = 3.15.) that’s in March. 

Pies! yummy pies in your tummy pies! National Pie Day is celebrated annually on January 23rd so go right now and get yourself some pie to celebrate. National Pie Day was created simply to celebrate the grandiosity of the pie.

Pies in the UK and pies in the USA are very different tho. When I first came to the USA I was confused to find savory pies here are not as common as they are there. Also very confused about “pot pies” to me those are just pies, no need for the word “pot” there.

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Chicken “Pot” Pie Basalt, Co.USA.

 

In medieval England, they were called pyes, and instead of being predominantly sweet, they were most often filled with meat — beef, lamb, wild duck, magpie pigeon — spiced with pepper, currants or dates. Historians trace pie’s initial origins to the Greeks, who are thought to be the originators of the pastry shell, which they made by combining water and flour. The wealthy Romans used many different kinds of meats — even mussels and other types of seafood — in their pies. Meat pies were also often part of Roman dessert courses or secundae mensea. Cato the Younger recorded the popularity of this sweet course, and a cheesecake-like dish called Placenta, in his treatise De Agricultura. – A brief History of the Pie (Time.com) 

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Dutch Chocolate Cream, and Bavarian Chocolate pies 

 

A cookbook from 1796 listed only three types of sweet pies; a cookbook written in the late 1800s featured 8 sweet pie varieties; and by  1947 the Modern Encyclopedia of Cooking listed 65 different varieties of sweet pies.

According to British chef, Jamie Oliver, the pie we know and love today has its roots in Northern Europe. Back in the day, olive oil was scarce to nonexistent in the region. Instead, butter and lard were the fats of choice in the harsher and colder climes north of the Mediterranean. The use of these solid fats created a pastry that could be rolled and molded – and so the true pie was born.

Pie Facts: By the American Pie Council

  • There are 231 varieties of apple pie.
  • Pumpkin pie – Contrary to grade school theater productions across the United States, there was no modern-day pie — pumpkin, pecan or otherwise — at the first Thanksgiving celebration in 1621.
  • Pecan pie,  is the third most popular choice in The USA.
  • The first pies appeared around 9500 BC in the Egyptian Neolithic period or New Stone Age.

 

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Apple Pie with Crumble
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Buttermilk Pie

All the sweet scrumptious and yummy pie pictures you see here, I took at House of Pies in Houston, Texas. I went on a little pie eating expedition with some friends (Shout-out to Jess, Jack, and Dennis as well as Ariana for being my pie companions) Sadly they don’t do any savory pies there, however, if it is a sweet pie you are looking for THIS is your place. They have more than 20 different types of pies there!

Anyway,  make sure you celebrate with a yummy slice of your favorite pie, either sweet or savory, American or British. Happy International Pie Day!

Gluten Free Pie Pumpkin Pie Recipe by The Minimalist Baker

Healthier Pie Recipes by Eating Well 

xoxo
Jihane