An intrepid troop of 'Tenina Foodies', followed me north to the sunshine in the middle of our Aussie winter for a foodie trip like no other. Not for us the trekking through Kuta markets. We did it in style, leaving no fine dining opportunity unvisited, no new taste, untasted, and no luxurious spa treatment, ummm...un spa-ed....no feet, unrubbed.
We had been planning this for a while. And in a heartbeat, we came, we ate, we ate some more, and most of us left. (There was the little matter of an erupting volcano!) I started writing this poolside. In my amazing villa that expelled me at high noon. A sacrifice. But home beckoned. As much as I would have loved to remain, I think the lovely people, the hand and foot (rub) service, the weather, the incredible and very affordable food would probably just get old after, oh, a couple of years. (Sigh.)
Rather than give you a blow by blow account, or bite by bite as it were, I thought I would give you my top ten foodie ideas for your next Bali trip. In no particular order...
What can I say. I was so inspired as were the rest of the group. I cannot tell you how amazing this experience was. They do offer some standard classes you can join, but should you wish to see a Thermomix Master class, you are going to need to join us in 2016. But as a teaser, how does this menu sound?
TWO: Bali Food Safari.
Such a great night out, do-able with or without a group and with several easy options. You can choose Ubud, Jimbaran or Seminyak as destinations and also choose between 3 or 4 venues. So after quite an early pick up from your hotel (which is included in the price) you get to the first destination in time for a cocktail or wine at sunset. This sets the tone basically for a fantastic journey through the best that your selected area has to offer. A great way to start a holiday as you then have some amazing restaurants to choose from for the rest of your trip.
A few pics below, left to right. TOP The group with James at Mozaic. The Cuca Egg dessert. That is a mango passionfruit sphere atop a frozen coconut cream with a crumb base. The ‘yolk' explodes with flavour as you dip in. Sarah finishing off the Truffle cappuccino.
BOTTOM: Kerry and Colette go colonial. The Tents entry. Home Sweet Home, the Peppers Resort in Seminyak.
THREE: Cuca tasting menu.
Not going to lie. This should be on everyone’s list. A warning; You need to fast for the entire day first so that you will have all the stomach real estate possible....(and ask to sit at the bar next to the kitchen as then you can see the team at work.) Inspirational moleculer gastronomy, with creativity and flair and all on beautiful plates (I want some). Don’t be scared that you will not get enough to eat, which can often be the case with this type of cuisine. There is a happy marriage going on between creativity and real food. My favourite dish of the night? (Do I have to pick just one?) Potentially the Cuban baby corn, roasted then smothered with parmesan, and some secret herbs and spices, you could get a bit of an idea from my recipe for Elote here. But it could have been the taste bomb, fairy floss with chicken roasting herbs and spices that melted in your mouth and just got you primed and ready for what was to come. Sweet, salty, ying, yang. Genius.
And don’t start me on Cuca desserts. Check out the pics or the menu. Let the drooling begin.
Now this is a real treat. Totally unique and I still don’t know where the heck we were. There is an amazing venue just outside of Ubud, on a beautiful, clean flowing river, with steep rice paddy fields across the river, with this beautiful very 1920’s canvas tent hotel and restaurant. I felt as though I had stepped back in time. We climbed down to the riverside and had a luxurious foot spa, complete with an umbrella to shield us from the sun. Cue the straw hats, the retro music, reminiscent of old time radio tunes, and of course the gin and tonics.
For dinner we are seated in an amazing indoor/outdoor tent, flaps up, gentle breeze, white linen and silver, vine bedecked hurricane lanterns. So colonial. When the food arrives, we are not disappointed. An endless array of clever, creative Balinese cuisine prepared by the reknowned Diana Von Cranach who comes and visits with us to share her passion for organic and locally grown produce.
I cannot even begin to describe this dining experience. With 180°C views of the Indian Ocean, I probably don’t need to go any further. The view alone is worth the journey. But the food...seriously. Do yourself a flavour. GO THERE.
SIX: Indus and THAT lemon tart.
The very first time I went to Bali I found this iconic hideaway restaurant in Ubud, owned by an expat Aussie, Janet DeNeefe, who is nothing short of amazing and at the forefront of the Ubud Food/Writers Festivals. I have been to Indus every trip since and I have learnt that I always have room for the lemon tart. Don’t skip it...no matter how full you are.
SEVEN: UNESCO rice paddy luncheon
OK, so you have to be part of my group to do this one. It’s not everyday you eat in the middle of this amazing protected heritage landscape. Rice fields as far as the eye can see, it is a man-made, cultural must visit. Local food, on white linen and fine china. Amazing. Unique. (You will be able to book your place for next year soon!)
TOP: The hungry group ready to dine at Ju-Ma-Na. BOTTOM: The ‘picnic’ in the rice fields.
Think white, think calm, think a rice field, think the best bread basket ever, think gentle efficient staff, think amazing French methodology with Asian ingredients grown by the owners. Think seafood, think cool, hip bar. I love this place and its dessert menu is quite extraordinary. We often stop by on our way to the hotel after landing. (I have specific times I like to fly in and out of Bali, and just sayin’ Virgin has the best times. I can arrive at 7.30-ish, and can be eating a mango and coconut pannacotta at Sardine by 9!)
Cheating, three in one, but you should make time to eat at all of these places and compare pork bellies. Quite different atmospheres across all three venues, but all AH-mazing.
TEN: The dessert board at the Mozaic Beach Club
This may only be available for a big group or with a few connections...may I suggest coming along with me in 2016? Words (almost) fail me.
Chocolate, in it’s many forms, melted, jelly, mousse, sauce, frozen, white, milk, dark, and not kidding, TURMERIC sorbet, recipe will be coming to the website soon. IT was by far one of the best things I have ever eaten and it was food theatre at it’s best. All done at the table, with panache and flair and fun.
Oh wait...this is a top ten list, but this must be said.
Fly Virgin, not just for the perfect entry and exit schedules they offer, but did you know that if you fly with Virgin you don’t have to pay the 200,000 rupiah exit tax? Well I didn’t, until this trip. Thank you Virgin! (It’s not a foodie thing, but it gave me an extra $20 to spend in the airport on...well...food!)
This blog article is part of my entry into a competition to win Virgin points, but everything is based on my experiences in Bali over the last week with an amazing bunch of women who accompanied me on the inaugural Bali-Feast. Bring on next year. Check out #teninatravel and #whoscomingnextyear on instagram and facebook for pics from the week that was.
Thanks to Bree Gould for a lot of her lovely pics...she had so many!