At the Copa … they fell in love

by Elly Osborne on September 17, 2014


Guest blogger Elly Osborne chills out in Copacabana…

When you’re sitting on the shores of Copacabana in Bolivia, it’s hard to believe that you’re looking at a lake and not the ocean. As far as the eye can see, is the mighty Lake Titicaca, the world’s highest navigable lake at 3,800 metres above sea level. The sheer size of Lake Titicaca is something to marvel at, but its beauty is something seriously special.

The town of Copacabana doesn’t boast much other than a museum about ponchos, a grand church and a very unique blessing of the cars ritual, but it is a lovely place to relax. The main reason for visiting Copacabana is to use it as a starting point for a trip to the Island of the Sun and the Island of the Moon in Lake Titicaca. Both of these islands can be visited on a one or two day trip by boat, and are worth visiting for their beauty and some pretty cool Incan ruins as well.
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES It is easy enough to book one of these trips – just walk down the main street and plenty of tour agencies will approach you. The various tour agencies all seem to offer similar trips, though most of them do not include any food for the day on the lake. Most restaurants in town will offer a packed lunch; be sure to bring some snacks.
If you’re lucky enough to get to this incredible part of the world, a stay at Hostal Las Olas is a must. A quirky little place, Las Olas has 7 individual suites such as The Turtle, The Sky and Sea Towers, and a suite shaped like a sea shell. All of the suites boast incredibly cute and quirky decor. To top things off, you’re likely to spot the resident llamas hanging around the place, keeping the grass short. These little guys are pretty friendly so probably won’t spit on you if you approach them – though I wasn’t willing to try my luck.
On my recent visit to Copacabana, I stayed in the Sea Tower suite (the most expensive of the suites, priced at $52 per night for 2 people) which boasts what is probably the best view of Lake Titicaca in the whole town. For $52 a night we had a 3-storey house to ourselves, which had bedding for up to 5 people, 3 different sitting areas and a fireplace, a kitchenette, and an outdoor patio complete with hammocks. I definitely could have gotten used to marvelling at Lake Titicaca from the comfort of a hammock on the third storey of the Sea Tower.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES
The only downside to staying at Las Olas is a somewhat cumbersome booking process, with bookings only being held until 2pm on the day of arrival. In spite of this, booking a suite at Las Olas is definitely worth it. If you aren’t able to get a room at Las Olas, there is another hotel next door run by the same owners which is said to be cute, though not as luxurious as your own little suite. The neighbouring hotel, La Cupula, does however have a great restaurant where you can get a 3 course breakfast for around $5. As one of the top restaurants in Copacabana, I would definitely recommend having a meal there while you fall in love with Copacabana – do yourself a favour and order the moussaka.


Friday Food Tip #72

by Christine Salins on September 12, 2014

FoodLogoWrap beetroot in foil with some olive oil, salt and ground cumin, then roast until soft.

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Help Kickstart the Fonte ‘Tough Love’ cast iron pan

by Christine Salins on September 9, 2014

Fonte Tough Love cast iron pan

Mark Henry is a man on a mission. I first got to know him years ago when he launched his Füri knives onto the market. They’re still among my favourite knives and have really stood the test of time. Always an innovator, Mark has now created a cast iron pan, which he is launching via the crowdfunding site

If you pledge $99 towards the project, you’ll be rewarded with one of the Fonte ‘Tough Love’ pans, shipped free in Australia. This is the same price the pans will sell for when they are released onto the market, and you’ll have the added bonus that they will have “First Edition” and the casting date stamped on the bottom.

You’ll also have the satisfaction of knowing that you’ve helped get the project off the ground. But you’ll have to hurry as the Kickstarter appeal has a deadline of September 21. (I should stress here that this is NOT a sponsored post. I’m just happy to be spreading the word as I know Mark and admire his work.)

Mark HenryMark is the founder and engineer behind the well-known Füri knives business, which he sold in 2008. After decades of making knives and equipment for chefs in Australia, the USA and France, and exporting them all around the world, he has turned to creating cast iron pans.

While living in the USA, he found it interesting to see that American cooks had a long tradition of using cast iron pans. In recent years, there has been a huge rebirth of interest in cast iron cooking there as people seek a more natural alternative to non-stick polymer coatings.

Mark hopes that with his innovative new version of old technology, Aussie cooks might also embrace the cast iron revival.

Mark wanted to keep “all the good stuff” and improve on the traditional weaknesses of cast iron cookware. “I wanted to retain the best natural properties of cast iron pans, like their even heating and high temperature searing ability, and their famous multi-century durability,” he said. “If you can trust the source of the iron they are also the safest material to cook on, with no non-stick chemicals, just natural oil seasoning.”

The Fonte ‘Tough Love’ pans have been given a graceful French shape like a Lyonnaise sauteuse pan. (It is said that rounded-walled pans best for the sauté toss originated in Lyon, France.

Although cute, the racy love handles of the Fonte ‘Tough Love’ pans, long ergonomic handles with heart-shaped palm pads, are not a gimmick. “They’re carefully engineered for more comfort, control and less heat transfer up the handle – for high performance for chefs. It was about time someone did something about those uncomfortable, hot, stubby little handles on cast iron pans.”

Fonte Tough Love cast iron pans

For food safety, Mark wanted super-clean and trustworthy Australian cast iron. He is proudly manufacturing in Australia, even though he is under no illusion as to the inevitably higher cost.

Fonte Tough Love cast iron pans

The only way to get hold of the Fonte pan initially will be through Once the project is off the ground, the pans will be distributed through retail outlets. The Fonte pan is the first in a long line of innovations that Mark expects will come from his new company, Solidteknics.

“We have three very interesting patents pending for other kitchenware innovations, so if Kickstarter really works for Fonte Tough Love pans in Australia, we may launch the other new products in the same way,” Mark said.

Here’s a link to the Kickstarter appeal if you’d like to become involved.

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