Farewell to Hogwarts

Dearest D.R.A.G.O.N.S.,

Unfortunately, your friendly neighborhood Muggle Foodies must announce that our time together has come to an end. For the foreseeable future, at least. We are each moving on to new endeavors in new places far from our beloved castle.

A quick update on what’s happened since our last post:

We never made it to Harry Potter World, because the blizzard caused our flight to be canceled. We named the owl Neptune, after the storm.

We made…

Apple Cider Pie with Oatmeal Cookie Crumble, for Pi(e) Day

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Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

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Dark Chocolate Espresso Trail Mix Cookies

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Dark Chocolate Espresso Trail Mix Cookies

and we barbecued!

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and, perhaps most importantly, we graduated!

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Thanks for accompanying us on our muggle food adventures so far! Our posts will look a bit different from now on, as we’ll be posting individually from our separate locations (and hopefully having occasional reunions). But we will continue to cook, eat, pin, and blog…and live-snapchat Harry Potter Weekend…

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And we’ll never really be apart. After all…

Blizzardy Baking

Hello D.R.A.G.O.N.S.,

We hope you’re staying warm this wild winter.

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What do you do when stuck inside during a blizzard?

You can guess what we do…

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We’ve made:

Pear rum pecan custard pie (adapted from David Lebovitz’s Pear Tart with Brown Butter, Rum and Pecans in his cookbook Ready for Dessert)

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Ganache and Salted Rum-Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie (adapted from Half Baked Harvest’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Bottomed Salted Rum Caramel Tart with Toasted Marshmallow)

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Mocha Pudding Cake (from David Lebovitz’s The Great Book of Chocolate)

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Chocolate Chip Cookie Stuffed Soft Pretzels (from Half Baked Harvest)

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The weather outside is frightful, but the baked goods are so delightful, so since we’ve no place to go*, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! :)

*But, in fantastic news, in just 8 days we will have a place to go! A little bird arrived the other day with a special parcel…

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…from Universal Studios’ Wizarding World of Harry Potter!

Stay tuned for a post about our magical HP World adventures!

P.S. We can’t decide on a name for our new owl friend – we’ve tweeted at J.K. for help, but she receives thousands of tweets from fans so we’re not counting on a response. If anyone has ideas, let us know!

What We’ve Been Up To

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Dearest D.R.A.G.O.N.S.,

Although we have no new recipes to share with you today, we’d like to share a bit of what we’ve been up to. Of course, we’ve mostly been up to studying and working, but that’s not what you’re here to read about. So here’s a glimpse at our foodie life:

Bathilda has been baking…

pumpkin scones (from Joy the Baker)

pumpkin scones (from Joy the Baker)

nutella donuts (from Damn Delicious)

nutella donuts (from Damn Delicious)

Rosmerta has been cooking…

Thai red curry

Thai red curry

whole wheat pasta with balsamic-red pepper-eggplant-garlic sauce and blistered cherry tomatoes

whole wheat pasta with balsamic-red pepper-eggplant-garlic sauce and blistered cherry tomatoes

blueberry rosemary brown butter cake (from local milk)

blueberry rosemary brown butter cake (from local milk)

blueberry plum crumb pie (from The Rosie's Bakery All-Butter, Cream-Filled, Sugar-Packed Baking Book)

blueberry plum crumb pie (from The Rosie’s Bakery All-Butter, Cream-Filled, Sugar-Packed Baking Book)

Together, we’ve made…

chocolate cherry amaretto cake (from The Cake Merchant)

chocolate cherry amaretto cake (from The Cake Merchant)

homemade peanut curry noodles (from Eats Well With Others)

peanut curry noodles (from Eats Well With Others)

crostini with goat cheese and caramelized figs & onions in port reduction

crostini with goat cheese and caramelized figs & onions in port reduction

cherry chocolate chip cookies (inspired by Roxana's Home Baking)

cherry chocolate chip cookies (inspired by Roxana’s Home Baking)

banana blondies with chocolate peanut butter ganache (from How Sweet It Is)

banana blondies with chocolate peanut butter ganache (from How Sweet It Is)

We are also enjoying the Fall, of course…

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We hope you’re enjoying Fall as much as we are, D.R.A.G.O.N.S.!

If you’d like to see what’s inspiring us on a regular basis, visit our Room of Requirement on Pinterest! We pin lots of drool-worthy recipes and the occasional Harry Potter-related item. Feel free to follow us!

A Toast to Our Return

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DSC_0670Hello, D.R.A.G.O.N.S.!

We have finally returned to Hogwarts (no longer living in the castle, but nearby). Reunited at last, and cooking more than ever!

Today, we went to the farmer’s market seeking fresh produce and a french toast-worthy bread. All of the breads were pre-sliced too thinly… except for a beautiful and mysterious apple pie bread. What the heck, we thought, let’s try it.

DSC_0677Little did we know, we had stumbled upon brilliance.

We cut thick slices, mixed up an egg and milk mixture to dip them in…

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DSC_0651Bathilda had some wonderful port sitting around…

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Then we washed some fresh berries from the market and put them on the french toast.

DSC_0662Dusted a bit of powdered sugar on top…

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Made some coffee, and brunch was served.

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It was a revelation. Slight crunch of the toast, soft on the inside, with pockets of syrupy apple-cinnamon filling, sweet acidity of the port reduction, and tartness of the fresh berries, all in perfect harmony.

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As we’ve mentioned before, magic happens when you visit the farmer’s market. We recommend visiting yours, stat. Explore your own french toast combinations!

Bathilda thinks that this french toast would be good with crumbled goat cheese. If anyone tries this, let us know!

Here’s our recipe:

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Apple Cinnamon French Toast with Berries and Port Reduction

Ingredients:

  • half a loaf of apple pie bread (challah or brioche would be a good substitution)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • a pat of butter
  • 3/4 to 1 cup port
  • 1 Tbsp. maple syrup, or to taste
  • fresh berries
  • powdered sugar (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Make the port reduction: Bring port to a boil in a small saucepan over  medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat and let cool. Stir in maple syrup.
  2. Slice bread thickly (about 1 inch slices). Heat a small sauté pan over medium heat, melting the pat of butter to cover the bottom of the pan.
  3. Whisk eggs and milk together and pour into a shallow dish. Dredge bread slices in egg mixture. Place in sauté pan and cook. Flip to brown both sides.
  4. Place toast on plates, top with berries, dust with powdered sugar if desired, and drizzle port reduction on top.
  5. Eat!

 

Stay tuned, D.R.A.G.O.N.S! We’re back in the kitchen and back to blogging! More magic is on its way.

Quick, Easy, Veggie-fied Mac & Cheese

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Some days you come home from a long day, thinking about what you could possibly cook from what’s left in your pantry, and you fixate on mac & cheese.

But you don’t just want the average, plain ole mac & cheese. You want something more flavorful and complex. And (if you’re me) you are also craving vegetables. Because you’re weird like that.

Enter: kale and sweet potato mac & cheese.

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Complex, satisfying and, like, totally healthy.

And it’s quick and easy! Gourmet muggle food.

Here’s how to make it…

Kale and Sweet Potato Mac & Cheese

  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add macaroni, cook according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, chop sweet potato and kale into bite-size pieces. Heat a small amount (1-2 Tbsp.) of olive oil or butter in a sauté pan, add 1 or 2 cloves of garlic (minced) for a minute or so, until aromatic. Add sweet potato and cook until just tender. Add kale and cook until wilted.DSCN5763
  3. Drain macaroni and return to the pot (removed from heat) or put directly into your bowl. Add vegetables and gently toss together.DSCN5768
  4. Add cheese — I used some Mexican cheese blend and some parmesan because that’s what I had on hand, but I imagine that any combination of cheddar, mozzarella, fontina, gruyere, and/or parmesan would work. Stir until melted and well-mixed.DSCN5771DSCN5773
  5. Enjoy!DSCN5797

Note: this keeps fairly well as leftovers if you put the noodles and vegetables in a container without the cheese and refrigerate it. You can add cheese before reheating it (in my case, I just put a few flakes of parmesan on top and it was less rich but still delicious).

A Pie to Remember

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This is a pie worth waiting for.

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Remember seeing this pie in a previous post? It looks so humble, like your standard plain-jane berry pie. But it is so much more. This is Cherry Berry Pie, and it has a story.

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The story begins about 30 years ago, with a family friend of mine and his significant other. She was a baking enthusiast, and often entered pie-baking contests. This one was a winner. It was also his favorite.

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These two eventually broke up. And one day, a few years ago, he started recounting his memories of this special pie.

A graham cracker crust. A cheesecake layer. A sour cherry layer. A fresh raspberry & blackberry layer. A lattice crust on top. This is the stuff of dreams, people. All the best of the pie world, coming together in sweet harmony. I could see why he reminisced so lovingly.

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His birthday was coming up. I started searching for recipes that might help me recreate the mythical Cherry Berry Pie. And then I found it.

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Cooks.com had a Cherry Berry Pie recipe that seemed pretty close to his description. With a few alterations, I hoped it would be close enough.

I went to my trusty Baking Illustrated book for the best crust recipes. I made a few other alterations to the Cooks.com recipe based on his specific recollections, and tried it out.

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When he arrived for his birthday dinner, he was thrilled to see his favorite pie sitting in front of him. I nervously awaited his judgment. One taste and he exclaimed, “You got it!”

It was my “Eureka!” moment.

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The moments when I most love baking are those moments when the people I love are enjoying something I’ve made especially for them.

Since then, I’ve made it every year for his birthday, and he says that it just keeps getting better.

And he swears that it’s just as good, if not better, eaten cold for breakfast the next day. If it lasts that long.

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Cherry-Berry Pie

adapted from http://www.cooks.com/recipe/th2032yr/cherry-berry-pie.html

Graham Cracker Crust: Use your favorite. I use the one in Baking Illustrated, in the Summer Berry Pie recipe. Prebake it slightly.

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Lattice Crust: Again, use your favorite. I use the Baking Illustrated Basic Pie Dough, Lattice Top Variation. I usually make this first, form it into a lattice, and stick it in the freezer while I prepare the rest of the pie.

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Cherry Layer:

  • 16 oz. can pitted tart cherries, drained, but reserve 1/2 c. liquid
  • 1/3 c. sugar
  • 4 tsp. quick cooking tapioca
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

In a medium saucepan, combine cherries, reserved juice, sugar, tapioca, cornstarch and extracts. Cook, stirring, over medium heat, until mixture boils; boil 1 minute (tapioca will not be completely soft yet). Set aside to cool.

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Cream Cheese Layer:

  • 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 c. confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

In medium bowl, stir cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, and flavorings until blended.

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Spread on bottom of pie crust.

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Berry Layer:

  • 1/2 c. fresh raspberries and 1/2 c. fresh blackberries, or any combination of fresh or frozen berries that adds up to about 1 cup
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch

In small bowl, combine berries, sugar and cornstarch; stir gently, trying not to crush the berries; spoon over cream cheese layer.

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Spoon cherry mixture over raspberries.

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Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place lattice crust over pie, and press onto sides of pie plate. Place cut-out pieces of crust around the edge of the pie plate to fill gaps between lattice strips.

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Glaze crust with 1 egg white or 1 Tbsp. melted butter, and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake pie 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees; bake 40 more minutes. Cover edge of crust with foil if it begins to brown too much. Cool before serving.

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Muggle Food and the Order of the Phoenix

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Reunited, and it feels so good!

DSC_0781We finally got together again, this time in Phoenix, Arizona!

We had a great time in our few days together. The first day, we hosted a birthday dinner for some friends — we made a mixture of artisanal pastas (artichoke pasta and spinach-basil-garlic pasta) with baby bella mushrooms, caramelized onions, and artichoke hearts,

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a salad with pears, goat cheese, dried cranberries, and poppyseed dressing,

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and cherry-berry pie (recipe in next post).

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The next day, we visited the beautiful town of Sedona!

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This time, we actually made it there.

Two years ago, we tried to visit on one of the hottest days of the summer, hoping for a reprieve from the suffocating Phoenix heat.

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It’s about a 2.5 hour drive. About 1.5 hours in, the road starts winding up into the mountains, and there is a sign that says “Turn off air conditioning to avoid overheating.” We saw this sign, laughed, and ignored it.

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Five minutes later, we heard a scary beep and the “overheated” light on the dashboard lit up. Thankfully, there was also a rest stop right there. We waited an hour, started up the car again, and seeing no overheat light continued on our way. Until 5 minutes later when it happened again. We pulled over again, waited another half hour, then gave up and turned back to Phoenix, much slower and minus the air conditioning.

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Needless to say, it was a long, hot, unpleasant day.

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We found out later that someone had put the car’s exhaust fans in backwards, pushing the heat back in instead of pulling it out of the car.

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So now that this little problem has been fixed and the weather is much cooler, we had no trouble getting to our destination.

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the celebratory selfie

We visited the famous Chapel of the Holy Cross,

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and hiked on a trail that starts from just behind the parking lot of the chapel, creatively named Chapel Trail. We came across this plant…. doesn’t it look like it’s defying gravity? Someone must have used wingardium leviosa

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After our hike, we attempted to go to Elote Cafe, a Mexican-inspired restaurant about which we had heard great things, but it is closed on Mondays, so we headed back to Phoenix to a Mexican restaurant called Abuelo’s.

The next day, we spent some time enjoying the sunshine, and then made these quinoa veggie burgers with beer-caramelized onions and sweet potato fries. They took a long time to make but were absolutely worth it.

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We also made these:

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On our last day together, we went to a great cafe in Tempe, called Essence, for brunch. Rosmerta had the white bean soup with a side salad, and Bathilda had a salad with poached pears, candied pecans and bleu grilled cheese.

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We also visited Tempe Town Lake,

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and for dinner went to a great pizza restaurant called Cibo in downtown Phoenix.

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So despite being away from our beloved castle, we enjoyed our little Muggle Food reunion. We hope you enjoyed reading about it! Stay tuned for a post about that deceptively humble pie mentioned above.

Order a Butterbeer at Starbucks!

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Good news, D.R.A.G.O.N.S.!

Someone has discovered how to create hot butterbeer and butterbeer frappuccinos — with or without espresso — at Starbucks! They put the recipe online so that we muggles can order it from our neighborhood baristas (just make sure your barista is up for it, and don’t be that person who holds up the mile-long line at rush hour by asking for a complicated custom drink).

I imagine you could also buy the syrups and make them for yourself at home. Extra customizable, and probably cheaper in the long run if you’ll drink a lot of them.

Go forth and caffeinate!

-Rosmerta

P.S. I write this from a Starbucks in Peru, where unfortunately I don’t think trying to order a butterbeer would go so well, but where a manjar blanco (Peruvian dulce de leche) latte is magical in its own right.

Mistura

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¡Hola! Rosmerta here.

I’m abroad, again. This time in Lima, Peru. And luckily, I’m living less than 10km from the site of the largest food festival in Latin America, which happened September 6-15.

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Due to money and time constraints, I was only able to go one day. But that day was magical.

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The best foods and drinks from all over Peru, all in one big fairground. It was divided into mundos (worlds): Northern Peruvian, Southern Peruvian, food from Lima, Amazonian, Andean, chocolate world, coffee world, etc…

I went with two friends and met up with another friend there. We did as advised by our program director: split up to get in line for different dishes, then share everything.

We started with sandwich world.

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M’s steak and cheese sandwich with a spicy sauce

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D’s shwarma

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my falafel. one of the best I’ve ever had!

We took a break for some pisco sours blended with fresh fruit juice (everyone makes their own fresh juice here, it’s amazing!). D got passion fruit, M got grape, and I got tumbo – an Amazonian fruit similar to passion fruit. Really tasty!

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They had a tumbo cut open in front of the drinks to show what it was — it looks like this!

Then we moved on to the “Gran Mercado” (great market) and stuffed ourselves with free samples of everything from ice cream to coffee to manjar (the Peruvian version of dulce de leche) to coca and stevia leaves to chifles (plantain chips) to ají (Peruvian pepper sauce).

DSCN4756 DSCN4757 DSCN4758Next stop: coffee world. I tried dung coffee, which was okay, but M’s Peruvian coffee was better.

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organic high-altitude coffee “naturally processed” by a Coati… a.k.a. eaten and excreted

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In Southern World, we had to try queso helado — it translates literally to cheese ice cream, or frozen cheese, and we were intrigued. But it is actually an ice cream made from coconut milk and contains no cheese. It was pretty good, but incredibly sweet. They top it with cinnamon and sometimes with strawberries or other fruit.DSCN4765 DSCN4767

After walking off (or sleeping off, for some) a bit of the fullness, we ended up in Amazonian World, where I had a mouthwateringly delectable dish:

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Paiche con casho y hongos, acompañado de arroz con coco. (Paiche with cashew and mushrooms, accompanied by coconut rice.)

This dish consisted of pieces of paiche, a huge Amazonian fish, flavored with a cashew fruit sauce, with onions, peppers, sachaculantro (an herb similar to cilantro), and toasted cashews, along with coconut rice (rice with coconut milk, coconut oil, toasted coconut and green onions). It comes from a restaurant called ámaZ, which luckily happens to be near my home, so I’ll definitely be going there!

We also tried some juanes (top left) and yuca empanadas (top right) from Amazonian World.DSCN4773

Finally, we stopped into Chocolate World, a must.

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It was incredible. And many, many free samples of chocolate. I ended up using my last several tickets (Mistura functions on a ticket system, each ticket equivalent to a number of soles, the national currency of Peru) to buy a bar of chocolate that I had sampled. It’s so good!

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I’m so glad I’m in the home of cacao and coffee beans. I visited the ChocoMuseo awhile ago to learn about chocolate – its origins, its process, etc. – and was thrilled to learn that Peru produces a large portion of the world’s cacao! That explains why the chocolate is so good here…

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I’m also slightly obsessed with La Iberica chocolate – another Peruvian brand.

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Highly recommended if you ever come across it.

So, although I skipped the cuy (guinea pig), roasted alpaca, ceviche, and some other Peruvian delicacies, I’m quite satisfied with my Mistura experience. I only wish I could go back. There were lots of talks and demonstrations that I also missed out on, unfortunately. The festival is held annually, so I’ll definitely try to plan any future visits to Peru so as to coincide with Mistura dates. Someone find me floo powder, please?

Love from Lima, and buen provecho!

European Foodie Adventures

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Bon Soir,  D.R.A.G.O.N.S!

You may have noticed a rather prolonged absence of our presence here on Muggle Food, but we must profess that we have both had extremely busy summers, for part of which we were in Europe, TOGETHER! And as you can imagine, two foodies in foreign lands known for great cuisine made for an amazing couple of weeks full of great food, fun, and spirits. We hope that this post can transport you to the little corner café in Paris with the best ‘pain au chocolat’ all the way to Barcelona to the hustle and bustle of ‘La Boqueria’ so that you can find a piece of Europe to fall in love with too.

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Paris:

ImagePlease note the sign at the bottom right–Notre Dame, composed entirely of chocolate!ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

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