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EmmaG@BarrheadTravel

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About EmmaG@BarrheadTravel

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  1. A foodie's guide to Antigua

    Antigua is known for being something of a tropical heaven, full of lush forestry, friendly locals and 365 beaches – one for every day of the year. But did you also know that this slice of Caribbean paradise is also a foodie’s haven? As an island built on sugar plantations and rum distilleries, it comes as no surprise that Antigua is full of culinary delights. The unique cuisine of Antigua is Caribbean fare with a European / American twist, and there are so many options to tickle your taste buds. Here are just a few of our top picks of the cuisine you need to try. Saltfish Traditionally eaten at home with your family at the weekend, this salt-cured white fish is normally eaten with onions, peppers, avocado and eggs. This can also include fungi, a cornmeal dish that is an Antiguan staple. Pairing well with the strongly-seasoned fish, this meal is the perfect way to start your day. TRY IT YOURSELF: ‘Suga Beez’ in St. Johns is known for its home-style Antiguan cuisine and a friendly welcome. With veggie options available, the locals are certainly living up to their welcoming reputation. Conch You can’t go to the Caribbean without experiencing the phenomenal seafood! If you are relaxing on an Antiguan beach and spot some spiral shells washed up on the shire, you have discovered conch. Similar to clams, conch meat is used in curries, chowder and many other delights. TRY IT YOURSELF: Hemmingway’s Caribbean Café, St Johns is raved about by visitors. Try the conch fritters for a true Antiguan foodie experience. Ducana The perfect side dish. Ducana consists of sweet potato and coconut. Wrapped in a banana leaf and steamed into a dumpling, ducana really is a flawless balance of spicy and sweet. TRY IT YOURSELF: Locals rave about The Quay, St Johns. While this is close to where the cruise ships docks, don’t write this place off as a tourist trap – their ducana is raved about as the best on the island. Jerk Chicken Although not strictly Antiguan, you cannot visit the Carribbean without sampling some of this classic comfort food. This Jamaican import is coated in spice and slow cooked over a fire for optimum flavour. Sample it yourself to discover just why it is so popular with the locals. TRY IT YOURSELF: Indulge your senses at Dennis Cocktail Bar and Restaurant. Eat this delicacy on the beach as the sun goes down for an Antiguan experience like no other. Which of these Antiguan cuisines would you like to try first? Let us know in the comments below!
  2. Top 5 American cities to visit for Thanksgiving

    Did you know that more Americans celebrate Thanksgiving every year than Christmas? A national holiday since 1864, Thanksgiving is a day full of food, family and most importantly, giving thanks for all the positive things in your life. While it is traditional to celebrate the holiday at home with your loved ones, you can experience countless different traditions by travelling around the United States. Here’s our top choices for where to spend your Thanksgiving break – from the traditional, to the historical, to the down-right wacky! Waikiki, Hawaii For a tranquil getaway, opt for some sun and take off to Hawaii. While the rest of America is wearing jumpers and scarves, you will be having a ball in Waikiki resting on a hot beach, paddling in crystal clear waters and enjoying the gentle ocean breeze. If you don’t want to miss out on the traditional meal, head to one of the beachfront restaurants for an incredible Thanksgiving buffet with your loved ones. AFTER THE FEAST: Burn off those extra calories by taking part in Waikiki’s ‘Turkey Trot’, a 10km fun run with over 4000 participants each year. Alternatively, show off your artistic talents by taking part in one of the many Christmas themed sand-sculpture competition. New York City, New York New York is probably the most well-known place that you can celebrate the holiday in a traditional sense. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade is one of the most famous and is broadcast nationwide on Thanksgiving morning every year, featuring marching bands, novelty balloons and a giant turkey float. After your front-row view of the parade, take the pressure off cooking a huge meal and dine out at one of The Big Apple’s thousands of restaurants – although some fixed-price menus will be pricy, the quality of the cuisine will always be sublime. AFTER THE FEAST: Every shop in New York will primed and ready for Black Friday the next day, so celebrate the end of the holiday in style and shop til’ you drop. Plymouth, Massachusetts Although a small coastal town rather than a city, Plymouth is where the Thanksgiving tradition began. After watching the annual parade, spend your day at the incomparable Plimoth Plantation. Once a colonist’s village and now a living history museum, interact with Pilgrim actors and Native interpreters to learn the fascinating history of America’s biggest holiday. Join others from around the world to indulge in a traditional New England dinner, featuring native turkey, and giblet gravy. This is a once-in-a lifetime event, and tickets sell fast every year. AFTER THE FEAST: Experience everything America’s hometown has to offer. Enjoy concerts celebrating America’s military history and rich history, or – if you have any room left – sample yet more delicious delights at the Harvest Market and New England Food Festival. San Francisco, California Thanksgiving is the perfect time to discover The City by the Bay. Many tourist attractions remain open over the holiday, but if you want to celebrate like a local, spend the day on the water. Our recommendation? Take in a sunset cruise around the California coastline after your meal. For an incredible alternative activity, join the ‘Indigenous People's Sunrise Gathering at Alcatraz’ in the early hours of the morning, featuring traditional dancing, singing and other performances. AFTER THE FEAST: Make sure you stick around for the unmissable Macy’s ‘Annual Tree Lighting Festival’ in Union Square the next day. Choir performances and a special visit from Santa make for the perfect family day out. New Orleans, Louisiana For all-American festivities with a twist, head to the Deep South. New Orleans enjoy their own parade in the form of the Bayou Classic Thanksgiving Parade - the most alternative part of your Thanksgiving will be the cuisine. Try some New Orleans classics including deep-fried turkey and the aptly-named ‘Turducken’. Consisting of a chicken stuffed inside a duck, stuffed inside a turkey, this delicacy is a meat-lover’s paradise. AFTER THE FEAST: Hang around in New Orleans to experience the spectacular ‘Celebration of the Oaks’ the next day. Join 165,000 others in City Park for breath-taking light displays throughout the 25-acre grounds. Where would you love to celebrate Thanksgiving this year? Let us know in the comments below!
  3. Top 5 winter warmer escapes

    We all love the beginning of the winter season – nights in by a crackling fire, cosy knitwear and mug after mug of hot chocolate. However, there comes a time when we are all crying out for some well needed sunshine. Luckily, there are plenty of locations around the world that offer opportunities to soak up the rays and starve off the winter blues. Here’s our top picks of places to jet off to for a winter sun escape. Dubai Dubai is a popular destination all year round. Beat the 41-degree summer heat to enjoy more comfortable temperatures in the winter months. Dubai is home to luxurious hotels, the largest shopping mall in the world, waterparks and incredible international cuisine. With countless activities for all ages, Dubai really does have something for all ages. Malta Malta is the perfect destination for a last minute sunny break, located just three hours by plane from the frosty UK. Enjoy this volcanic island’s famous year-round sunshine, without having to share it with hundreds of other tourists. It’s time to ditch the woolly jumpers and pack your bathing suit to spend a few days absorbing Malta’s history, indulging in freshly caught seafood and of course, soaking up some well-earned Vitamin D. Florida Florida is an ideal haven from the chilly winter weather – it is nicknamed the Sunshine State after all. With over 1000 miles of coastline and temperatures lower than thirty degrees, heading to Florida in the winter provides the perfect weather for exploring. Plus, the temperature of the sea will still be around 25 degrees, so go and take a dip! Theme parks, sandy beaches and vibrant cities will complete your trip – Florida really does have something for everyone. Turkey Turkey is a great choice for winter sun – take advantage of the fact that attractions will be much quieter than in the summer months, leaving you with the best views for all your photo ops. Not to mention the fact that Turkey offers incredible value for money, so you can browse markets and bazaars for unique Christmas presents without breaking the bank. With some incredible all-inclusive offers available, you really are spoilt for choice. St Lucia Treat your special someone to the trip of a lifetime and jet off to St. Lucia. Chase away the winter blues in this Caribbean paradise. With tropical scenery, endless sandy stretches and the most phenomenal sunsets, St. Lucia is perfect for any couple looking for some quality time in the sun. How could you resist? Where would you like to go on your winter sun escape? Let us know in the comments below!
  4. Top 5 surprising vegan-friendly cities

    Since 1994, International Vegan Month has been celebrated each November and demonstrates how much the plant-based movement has progressed. There are some major cities - such as Berlin and Melbourne - that have had a stellar reputation for vegan food for years. However, demand has resulted in more and more locations around the globe embracing the diet - including some that you wouldn’t expect. Here are just a few of the alternative locations around the world where you can indulge in plant-based delights. Cruelty-free cuisine has never tasted so good. Los Angeles, USA Los Angeles has the most vegan listings of any US city, and its cruelty- conscious inhabitants are leading the way with plant-based cuisine. LA has everything from high-end eateries frequented by the stars to the famous LA juice bars on every street corner. There really is something for everyone – even your meat loving friends. Where to Eat: For the ultimate guilty pleasure, visit Donut Friend. With a huge selection of mouth-watering unique doughnuts, you will be spoiled for choice. Taipei, Taiwan With around 10% of the population opting for a meat-free diet due to their Buddhist practises, Taipei is one of the most vegan-friendly destinations in Asia. Chefs are reinterpreting traditional Taiwanese cuisine with fresh, local ingredients to create the vegan fare of your wildest dreams. From pop-up eateries to gourmet cuisine, you will be spoiled for choice. Where to Eat: Buffets are normally out of the question for vegans, but opt to visit Fruitful Food to fuel up during your trip for plant-based internationally inspired cuisine. (Note: some of the products will include dairy, but the majority of options are vegan!) Warsaw, Poland Although the eruption of vegan restaurants in Warsaw may have looked like just a food fad, their popularity means they are now a permanent feature of the city. With over 30 entirely vegan eateries, you can now sample reinterpretations of traditional Polish cuisine – all cruelty free. The vegan fare in Poland is so good that many meat eaters also frequent the establishments. Where to Eat: Mango Vegan Street Food is situated in the heart of the city, and so is the perfect stop amongst your sightseeing. Don’t forget to try their speciality, mango sticky rice. Chennai, India India is actually considered to be the birthplace of vegetarianism! Around half of India’s population follow a meat-free diet, and the rest of the country has the lowest meat consumption per head in the world. Chennai is seen to be the country’s trailblazer for cruelty-free cuisine, with local delights including rice, pulses and coconut milk. Where to Eat: For a culinary experience to remember, dine in The Royal Vega, one of India’s first vegetarian and vegan-friendly fine dining establishments. London, England For a foodie break slightly closer to home, there is no better option than heading to the capital. London has over 100 plant-based establishments, so you have plenty of choice during this city adventure. London has created vegan versions of some of your favourite comfort food, from fried chicken to doner kebabs! What will you try first? Where to Eat: Itadaki Zan is the first vegan and organic Japanese restaurant in Europe, and has been making waves on the jam-packed foodie scene. Try the tofu spring rolls and ‘kakiage’ tempura for the ultimate treat. Have you ever tried the cuisine in any of these alternative vegan-friendly cities? Let us know in the comments below!
  5. Staff Diaries: Sandals Barbados

    Hi Holly, tell us a bit about yourself and what you do at Barrhead Travel. I have worked for Barrhead Travel for almost two years now and work within the Marketing Department. This is my first job in the travel industry and it is one of the most exciting industries to work in. What was it about Sandals Barbados that made you choose it for your own holiday? I have always dreamed of holidaying in the Caribbean. We wanted to visit somewhere where we could relax and completely switch off, but also experience the local culture - Barbados provides just that. What was your initial thought when you got there? What caught your eye first? When we arrived at the resort after the long journey from Scotland, we were greeted by singing hotel staff and were handed a glass of chilled champagne; from this moment I knew that this was going to be the perfect holiday. We were accompanied to our room with a walk through beautiful well-kept gardens. Our room was everything we could have possibly wished for – and more! I also spotted the French Patisserie right outside our room – fresh coffee and pastries in the morning was the best way to start the day. You were staying in a Caribbean Village Deluxe room - what did you think? What was your favourite part of the room? The room was the perfect size! There was the comfiest four–poster bed, a spacious and stylish bathroom and not to mention some of my favourite products from the Red Lane® Spa. We also had doors which opened fully onto the beautiful tropical gardens. It was great to chill out here before dinner, watching the sun set. Sandals is known for its All-Inclusive water sports and activities – what did you get up to while you were there? We love water-sports so we made sure we booked some trips as soon as we got there. We went on the snorkelling tour to Carlisle Bay twice. I have never snorkelled before and was a little unsure at first, however the divers made me feel completely at ease and ensured I had a fantastic experience. We swam over six ship wrecks and learned about their history. Then it was time for the best part and probably one of the highlights of the holiday - we swam with turtles. There was several of them swimming around us and the water was so clear – definitely a must-do experience! Tell us about the resort and your holiday highlights. The resort was just the right size, as I don’t really like huge, sprawling resorts. We went between two pools; for the first half of the week we were in the main pool looking onto the beach. Here, there is a swim-up bar which was incredible and served premium spirits and delicious cocktails. There’s games and pool volleyball on throughout the afternoon which is great for getting to know other guests. We went between the pool and the beautiful white sand beach laying in the hammocks. The other pool is very chilled-out and is situated next to the spa. And the food? The resort has 11 restaurants. Which one was your favourite? Ok this is a really hard decision as I fell in love with every restaurant. The restaurants all served different food but I have got to say that Butch’s Chophouse was one of the best steak restaurants I have ever visited. Schooners served the tastiest seafood and I still can’t believe there was no supplement for lobster which there usually is. I am a huge sushi lover and ate in the best sushi restaurant and it was even better that I could order as much as I wanted. What did you think of the wider island? Did you wander outside the resort? We planned to get out and about but loved spending time in the dreamy resort so much that we only went out on the Friday night. The place to go on a Friday is Oistins Fish Fry. It is very casual and has a great atmosphere. The place is packed with the island’s chefs cooking delicious fresh fish. You probably will stand in a queue for a while but grab a beer and listen to some of the live music playing. The flying fish was delicious and after dinner, you can wander round and experience Barbados like the locals. What kind of people were on holiday there? Who would you recommend it to? There were couples from all over the UK and America, but particularly a lot of Honeymooners. There was a few weddings on the beach and they looked so beautiful with a stunning back drop. If you are planning a destination wedding I would highly recommend Sandals Barbados. Even better, your Wedding is always free. It is also very romantic so perfect for newlyweds or couples looking for the perfect romantic getaway. Don’t worry though if you do find yourself wanting a little ‘me time’ as there’s plenty of things to do. I took some time to visit the Red Lane® Spa, I had a massage and pedicure and while there treated myself to some of their amazing products. There’s perfectly placed hammocks on the beach to read a good book and soak up the Caribbean sunshine, with a cocktail of course!
  6. Desserts Around The World

    No matter who you are or where you’re from, everyone knows about The Great British Bake Off. We love the show because each week, we are introduced us to some of the most incredible pastries and desserts from all over the world, which always leaves us drooling over our TV screens. Think of yourself as a bit of a pudding connoisseur? Inspired by the show, here are some of the countries you should tick off your dessert bucket list. Who knows, maybe after trying all of these, it could be you battling it out in the white tent next… Custard Tarts, Portugal Custard Tarts have been tried and tested on Bake Off. This dessert consists of a pastry crust that is filled with an egg custard and baked, and is one of Portugal’s most popular sweet treats. TRY THEM YOURSELF: The best custard tarts in Lisbon come from ‘Antiga Confeitaria de Belem’. The recipe is almost 200 years old and with 16,000 tarts being made each day, these are a reason to go to Portugal in themselves. Sfogliatelle, Italy Often nicknamed ‘Lobster Tail’ in English, this shell-shaped pastry is made up of small layers that resemble stacked leaves, traditionally filled with orange-flavoured ricotta, almond paste and citron peel. These delicate pastries could be the ultimate technical challenge on Bake Off. TRY IT YOURSELF: ‘Antico Forno delle Sfogliatelle Calde Fratelli Attanasio’ is seen by travellers to be the best bakery in Naples, and is a must for any visitor to the city. Serving hot Sfogliatelle all day, this is the perfect first stop after you touch down at the airport. Nanaimo Bar, Canada This could be the bakers’ chance to go all-out Canadian, by making the Canada’s favourite no-bake dessert. With layers of buttery wafer crumb, a custard-flavoured butter icing and melted chocolate, this treat is low-fuss in the best way possible. TRY IT YOURSELF: To get the best of this iconic Canadian dessert, you have to go to its home, Nanaimo itself. Take their self-guided dessert trail around the city – why try one when you can try them all? Brigadeiro, Brazil This chocolate truffle will make you want to pack your bags and head to Brazil immediately. Since its conception, it has been made from condensed milk, cocoa powder and butter, coated in chocolate sprinkles. With over 50 flavours existing in gourmet shops across Brazil, there is definitely room for the bakers to experiment with flavours. TRY IT YOURSELF: If you can’t make it to Brazil, ‘Maya’s Brigadeiro Brazilian Sweets’ in Los Angeles is seen to be as close to the original as you can get. Head here at the end of your stateside trip to ensure you’re a hit with all your friends at home. Baklava, Turkey Yet another tricky dish that could serve as a technical challenge, Baklava is a rich, sweet delight made with layers of filo pastry, with chopped nuts and either syrup and honey. Said to have been around since the 15th Century, Balkava can be served hot or cold – why not try it both ways? TRY IT YOURSELF: ‘Karakoy Gulluoglu’ is seen to serve the best Baklava in Istanbul, and even provide an educational video on the history and production of their desserts. Be sure to add this as a stop on your next Turkish city break. Which of these desserts is your favourite? Let us know in the comments below!
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