By Laura Scheiber and Matthew Harris
Photos by Matthew Harris
Crossing the Luangwa River
We arrived at the bank of the Luangwa River, at the end of a game viewing drive in Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park from our previous safari lodge. After loading our luggage into a small boat, we were ferried across the river by one of our hosts, Finlay Hunter. On our arrival at Chinzombo, a luxury safari camp, Finlay and his wife and cohost, Wendy offered us cool washcloths to freshen up, served us fruit cocktail drinks and made us feel at home. It was a sign of things to come. The young, energetic, professional and attentive couple went out of their way to ensure our stay was perfect.
View of the Luangwa River from the dining area of Chinzombo camp
The camp, on the Luangwa riverbank opposite the beautiful South Luangwa National Park, is a one hour drive from Mufwe Airport, which is a quick hour flight to Lusaka. Being close to the national park meant that we were able to enjoy great game viewing drives and walks with our charismatic guide Shaddy Nkoma. With years of guiding experience, he provided fascinating insight into the African bush. He also regaled us with stories of his youth in Zambia including having to swim to school through crocodile infested rivers. One time he even lost his clothes in the process.
Our room with a pool view
The newly opened camp was a joy for us as guests. The architecture was modern with a nod to safari camps of old, with leather, wood and brass fittings. The handsome open bar and dining area also had a section of paraphernalia from the late Norman Carr, a safari industry veteran. In it were some wonderful prints of him with two male lions he raised from cubs.
A giraffe we saw on a drive from Chinzombo camp
Our open fronted luxury tented accommodations with a personal plunge pool and views out onto the Luangwa River were superb. Amenities that made us feel pampered included bathrobes, slippers, hot water bottles the staff placed in our bed during the evening room service, and complimentary drinks in the fridge.
River viewing from the couch
The cuisine at the camp was delicious, fresh and plentiful. We especially enjoyed the sundowners and cakes served on safari drives. It was a wonderful way to watch the sunset. Chinzombo had the feel of a modern luxury boutique hotel with safari influences and access to the amazing African bush at its doorstep. We thoroughly enjoyed our contemporary safari experience.
By Elena del Valle
Photos by Gary Cox
Foley’s Bakery is on the ground floor of an office building
On a crisp, cool fall morning in Portland, Maine we found Foley’s Cakes (Foley’s Cakes, 1 Monument Way, Portland, Maine 04101, + 207-773-CAKE (2253), http://foleyscakes.com), a small bakery and cake shop on the ground floor of an office building in the heart of the city. It was an easy walk from our accommodations. What drew us back regularly in a city with a high ratio of bakeries was the warm welcome from its owners and some treats that quickly became favorites such as the buttery and flaky ham and cheese croissants.
The reverse chocolate chip cookie was a favorite
We also became fans of the extra large cookies. We sampled the chocolate cookies with white chocolate chunks and the peanut butter cookies first. We loved the shop’s wholesome flavors and were especially pleased to discover everything they sold was made fresh from scratch on the premises without any artificial ingredients or preservatives. Increasingly we encounter stores and bakeries that sell products previously frozen or made or premade by someone else. Finding a bakery that sold only fresh products made onsite such as theirs was a pleasure.
Ed and Molly Foley in front of one of the display cases
Pastry chef Ed Foley and his wife Molly were the owners of Foley’s Cakes, a European-style bakery established in 2011. Previous to that they had owned the original Foley’s Bakery also in central Portland from 1997 to 2002. He made all the well presented and appetizing baked goods sold at the shop facing Monument Square.
In a corner on the right side of the shop, there was a refrigerator with cold beverages and next to it a self service hot beverages section. As we sat at one of a half a dozen tables drinking coffee and tea and munching of croissants and cookies, we watched a steady flow of regular customers stream by, many buying baked goods to go. Molly greeted most by name. She seemed to know effortlessly what everyone’s favorites were from the child celebrating her birthday to the business executive with guests. By our second visit she remembered my preference for the white chocolate chunk cookies and my travel partner’s preference for the peanut butter ones.
The tempting display of pastries
On display in two large cases there was a line of pastries, cookies, and cakes made on site. We could see the racks and baking equipment behind the cash register on the left side of the open room. Wedding cakes were also available according to the shop’s website.
“The fact that all of the baked goods are made from scratch plus the baked goods we offer are unique to Foley’s,” Molly said when asked what makes their shop special.
The ham and cheese croissant was a favorite
Chef Foley, with 20 years of experience, trained with European pastry chefs in the United States. Prior to opening his own shop he worked at The Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island, Michigan; Gasparilla Inn & Cottages, Boca Grande, Florida; The Tivoli Restaurant and Pastry Shop, Rosslyn, Virginia; and The Watergate Pastry Shop, Washington, D.C.; and was an instructor at the New England Culinary Institute, Montpelier, Vermont.
The cinnamon swirl
There were so many tempting cakes and pastries in the shop I left without sampling I’m hoping for a second visit to Maine’s largest city. For example, Foley’s best selling cake is the Marble Mousse Cake. It is made of two thin layers of chocolate cake with a thick layer of chocolate mousse, a thick layer of white chocolate mousse and a thin layer of pound cake covered in chocolate ganache.
By Elena del Valle
Photos by Gary Cox
The Wednesday green market in Monument Square
These fall flowers would make a nice display
On a recent visit to Portland, Maine we discovered the city’s farmers markets. Vendors were in attendance from early morning until early afternoon twice weekly. Wednesday it was on Monument Square in the heart of the city, and Saturday it was at Deering Oaks Park, a green corner of Portland.
A wide variety of locally grown vegetables was on display
Cauliflower for sale Saturday
While smaller than some of the farmers markets and green markets we have visited in other locations the ones in Portland stood out for the colorful variety, plentiful quantity and high quality of organic fall produce. In addition, there were dairy products, lamb, pork, poultry, meat and meat products, honey and honey products, herbs, flowers and plants. According to the market’s website (portlandmainefarmersmarket.org) 41 vendors participate regularly.
Small farms brought sheep and goat cheeses and products
Lovely fall flower pots in a variety of colors
The items we sampled onsite or took with us were of high quality and good taste. Examples included purple and green Romanesque cauliflower, broccoli, goat’s milk cajeta (a light brown sweet spread we sampled on a crunchy apple sliver), hard cheese, apples, strawberries, husk cherries, pears, honey, and several types of kale. Vendors, often the farmers themselves, although busy were friendly and helpful. The next time we’re in Portland we plan to return to the farmers markets.