About Susan McKee

Susan McKee

Susan McKee is an independent scholar and freelance journalist specializing in history, culture and travel. She honed her craft as a general assignment reporter for more than a decade at a major metropolitan daily newspaper before fleeing corporate journalism for the peripatetic life of a freelancer.

Susan writes for a wide variety of publications, both print and online. Bylines have appeared in Global Traveler USA, JaxFax, HGTV's Front Door, Global Foodie and Road Trips for Foodies.

Latest Posts by Susan McKee

The Spilberk Food Festival in the Czech Republic

December 17, 2014 by  



czech-rep_spilberk_food-festIf you’re looking to taste something different might consider a trip to the Czech Republic next June for the Spilberk Food Festival.

Celebrating its fourth year, the event is set for June 5 through 7, 2014, in the Spilberk Castle (Hrad Špilberk) in Brno, Czech Republic.

Expect a varied program full of unusual dishes, new gourmet specialties and classic dining. Visitors will taste wines and spirits, coffee and beer and check out culinary exhibitions. Chefs from in and around Brno will offer what is typical for their locations.

The Spilberk Food Festival also includes bartending and cooking school.

(Photo courtesy of Czech Tourism)

The First Global Forum on Gastro-Tourism in San Sebastian Spain

December 16, 2014 by  



tourism-logoThe World Tourism Organization (WTO) and The Basque Culinary Center (BCC) are planning a Global Forum on Gastro-tourism.

The event, the first of its kind, will be held in San Sebastian, Spain, April 27 and 28, 2015. The objectives are to advance the professional development of the sector, to exchange ideas and to identify good practices on a global level.

The event’s technical committee is made up of eight people from the organization and its partners. There will be other Basque organizations participating alongside the WTO and the BCC, as well as Basquetour, the Gipuzkoa provincial council, and San Sebastian’s local government.

The assembly, which will take place at BCC headquarters, will bring together experts in gastro-tourism to consider the sector’s current state of affairs, the goals of the sector in each area of expertise, consumer tendencies, management and the development of events and communication.

The Spices of the Caribbean Food Festival in St. Lucia

December 10, 2014 by  



st-lucia_jade_spiceDreaming of warmer climes this month? The “Spices of the Caribbean Food Festival” takes place December 12 through 16, 2014, at Jade Mountain Resort in Soufriere, St. Lucia.

The five-day event will highlight the flavors of Caribbean cuisine. Friday starts the weekend off with a cocktail party of spiced rum and zesty finger foods, while Saturday morning brings a tour of the Emerald Gardens and cooking classes.

There will also be a specially prepared five-course dinner using local fish and seafood, organically grown produce and of course, spices.

Everything’s under the direction of Chef Allen Susser and his Jade Mountain culinary team.

(Photo courtesy of Jade Mountain)

The 12th Annual Hong Kong Food Festival

December 1, 2014 by  


Heading to Hong Kong between Christmas and New Year’s? Here’s an event a foodie shouldn’t miss.

The Hong Kong Food Festival will be held December 25 through 29, 2014, in Hall 3 of the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center.

This year, the 12th annual fest has expanded to five days. Exhibitors come from all corners of the world, providing a chance to try signature delicacies from Hong Kong, Macau, China, Taiwan, India, Singapore, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand and Korea.

Hours are 10 a.m.m ti 9 p.m. December 25 through 28, and `0 a.m. to 7 p.m. December 29. Admission is HKD$20 per person.

Held annually during Christmas, this is one of the largest indoor food festival in Hong Kong. This year’s various food zones include Hong Kong Delicacies, New Year Food, Dried Seafood, Taste of Korea and much more. A must for all food lovers!

(Image courtesy of Discover Hong Kong)

The Annual Indio International Tamale Festival in Southern California

November 30, 2014 by  


Love Tamales? If you’re a foodie, head down to Southern California in early December? Consider a stop at the International Tamale Festival in the Old Indio section of Indio, California. Always held the first full weekend in December, the dates for the 23rd annual festival are December 6 and 7, 2014.

Think you make the best tamale in the world? Consider entering the contest. Tamales will be judged on flavor, texture of masa, appearance, filling and aroma, with the winners announced at noon December 6, 2014. In addition to tamales, you’ll find the usual: live entertainment, carnival rides, a parade and a car show.

It all started in 1992 with an idea by Dave Hernandez, a member of the Downtown Indio Merchants Association. The rich heritage of the tamale, consistent community support and hard working tamale makers have created the festival’s tremendous success. Recently, the Food Network-TV ranked the Indio International Tamale Festival in the top 10 “All-American Food Festivals” in the nation!

Attendees can relax while enjoying a variety of dancing shows including traditional Folklorico dancing and line dancing as well as Cheer Groups. Visitors can also enjoy live music on five stages, new to the Festival this year… two Community Stages for more opportunities to view local talent!

Factoid for those who collect them: tTe World’s largest Tamale-over 1 foot in diameter and 40 feet in length was from December 4, 1999.  The World’s largest tamale festival-with 120,000 in attendance was December 2-3, 2000.

Photo credit: DiscoverIndio Website.

Cancún-Riviera Maya Wine and Food Festival & Private Cooking Classes

November 18, 2014 by  



mexico_cancun_wine-food_2015The fourth annual Cancún-Riviera Maya Wine and Food Festival takes place March 12 through 15, 2015, in several venues on the coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.

It will include two dozen events featuring Mexican, Spanish and other world gastronomy.

Honored chefs include Spanish legends Juan Mari Arzak, Joan Roca and Eneko Atxa. Chefs Bruno Oteiza, Mikel Alonso and Rafael Zafra will accompany the trio to prepare five-course meals paired with Spanish wines in a dinner held March 13, 2015, at Live Aqua Cancún.

The festival will also showcase the top 10 female Mexican chefs in a five-course “Divas of Mexican Cuisine” Gala Dinner on March 14 at Secrets The Vine, home to a wine wall that holds as many as 3,000 varieties of wine. The dinner will be paired with Mexican wines for a celebration of Mexican cuisine (included on UNESCO’s list of the world’s Intangible Cultural Heritage).

The Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort will host the Gourmet Tasting Village, which will feature not only food, but tastes from more than 35 Mexican and international wineries.

Other festival events includes a tribute to French cuisine with the “Barefoot Elegance: a taste of France and world DJ” event, held at the Ritz Carlton Cancun. The Fiesta Americana Grand Coral Beach will host the Star Chefs Dinner, showcasing 25 chefs from Mexico and around the world.

Private cooking classes (capped at 24 students) will be held March 15 in the El Dorado Royale, led by chefs including Patricia Quintana, Martha Ortiz, Mikel Alonso, Bruno Oteiza and Aquiles Chavéz.

(Photo courtesy of Cancún-Riviera Maya Wine and Food Festival)

Indianapolis’ Annual International Festival

November 18, 2014 by  


More than 50 ethnic and cultural groups have banded together to stage the annual International Festival in Indianapolis, Indiana, since 1976.

You can munch their way around the world, sampling traditional foods from close to two dozen culinary traditions, including Indonesia, Mexico, Germany, Taiwan, Italy and more.

Of course there’s also continuous entertainment, an international marketplace, a Naturalization Ceremony, Parade of Nations, cultural booths and games.

It all takes place starting on November 21 weekend in the West Pavilion of the Indiana State Fairgrounds, 1202 East 38th Street, Indianapolis, Indiana.

Public hours are 2 to 9 p.m. tomorrow (November 21, 2014), 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday (November 22, 2014) and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday (November 23, 2014).

Photo: Indie.gov.

Bordeaux Under One Roof in NYC & Los Angeles

November 15, 2014 by  



bordeaux-logoThere will be two Bordeaux Under One Roof events in the United States this year. The fourth annual New York City event is November 13, 2014. The new Bordeaux Under One Roof event will be in Los Angeles November 18, 2014.

Both events, arranged by the Bordeaux Wine Council, will offer trade and consumer sessions. Attendees will be able to taste a large and diverse selection of Bordeaux wines as well as meet with local importers and winemakers.

The trade session of the New York City event will offer a Bordeaux Master Class with Patrick Cappiello. Shelby Ledgerwood, CWE, Wine Educator and accredited Bordeaux Wine Tutor will lead the Los Angeles Master Class.

During the consumer tasting, the wines will be organized by the geography of the Bordeaux Appellations (i.e. left bank vs. right bank) for easy navigation. Proceeds from all consumer ticket sales in New York will directly benefit City Harvest, the food rescue organization dedicated to helping feed more than 1.4 million New Yorkers facing hunger. L.A. proceeds will go to the California Art Club, established in 1909, whose mission is to promote and support contemporary-traditional fine art. During the LA consumer portion, Signature Artists of the California Art Club will demonstrate their expertise in oil painting as guests enjoy their wine.

Bordeaux Under One Roof NY will be held at Industria Superstudios, 775 Washington Street, New York, New York. Te L.A. edition will be held at The W Hollywood Hotel, 6250 Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood, California. The trade sessions will run from noon to 4 p.m., and the consumer session will run from 7 to 10 p.m. at both locations.

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