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 Alba International White Truffle Fair in Italy

August 27, 2015 by  

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italy_alba_white-truffle2Some foodie fests are more historic than others: since this is the 84th year for the International Alba White Truffle Fair, it definitely qualifies.

Set your sites on Alba, Italy, between October 11 and November 16, 2015. The fair includes everything from truffle analysis to cooking demonstrations to wine tastings.

The market is, of course, the centerpiece of the event. It’s the place to come to find out everything there is to know about the truffle by immersing yourself in a unique and headily scented atmosphere.

Every truffle on sale at the market has been checked by a special commission before the market opens to the public, and this group of experts will also be available for consultation at the Consumer Help Desk inside the pavilions. The Truffle Market offers visitors the chance to see, touch and smell many, many truffles, sold directly by trustworthy vendors and local truffle hunters.

The Truffle Market is also home to the stands of the AlbaQualità food and wine exhibition. Here you can discover wines from the Langhe and Roero, local artisanal confectionery, cheeses, egg pastas, cured meats and other food products from this area.

Lovers of the Langhe and Roero’s cuisine can also enjoy a bite to eat at the restaurant area within the Fair’s pavilions. Alba white truffles can also be bought from the town’s specialty stores throughout the autumn.

(Photo courtesy of Alba White Truffle Fair)

The National Lentil Festival in Pullman Washington

August 20, 2015 by  

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washington_pullman_lentilThe 27th annual National Lentil Festival is set for August 21 and 22, 2015, in Pullman, Washington.

The festival kicks off Friday evening with free lentil chili for everyone at the World’s Largest Bowl of Lentil Chili sponsored by Emmanuel Baptist Church.

Local and regional vendors are featured in the Lentil Lane Food Court and are as enthusiastic about the famed legume as the festival-goers themselves. The Lentil Lane Food Court is open from 5pm – 10pm on Friday and 11am – 5pm on Saturday. All the vendors will have at least one lentil item on their menus.

Of course, no lentil festival would be complete without a Legendary Lentil Cook-off, sponsored by USA Dry Pea & Lentil Council. The top five finalists will come to the festival and prepare their recipes for a panel of celebrity judges Saturday afternoon. Those top five dishes will also be available for 100 lucky festival goers to sample and vote on the People’s Choice Award.

It’s all presented by the Pullman Chamber of Commerce, City of Pullman and Washington State University.

Complementing the weekend is the Taste of Lentil Fest. Now through August 15, 2015, several Pullman and Moscow restaurants will feature a lentil dish on their menus.

(Photo courtesy of National Lentil Festival)

10 Days of Cooking in Copenhagen Denmark

August 12, 2015 by  

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denmark_copenhagen_cookingDenmark’s capital city has become quite the foodie mecca recently, and some of the reasons are showcased at Copenhagen Cooking, a 10-day extravaganza of everything from culinary adventures to street dinners to cooking classes.

Here’s a sampling:

New Nordic Beer paired with traditional Nordic open-faced sandwiches (pictured, above)
Taste the Magic of Love (a dinner just for couples)
A Taste of Historical Copenhagen
Risotto World Championship
Be a Honey Thief for a Day
A Taste of Chengdhu in Copenhagen
Whisky Tasting on the Isle of Hven

No wonder more than 100,000 are expected to attend the various Copenhagen Cooking events.

(Photo courtesy of Copenhagen Cooking)

The Annual New York City Wine and Food Festival

August 12, 2015 by  

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newyork_nycwff-2015The eighth annual New York City Wine and Food Festival takes place October 15 through 18, 2015.

It takes place all around town. Presenters for the more than 100 events include everyone from Nedal Ahmad to Andrew Zimmern.

Sponsored by the Food Network, the event has raised more than $7 million for Food Bank for New York City and Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign.

(Photo courtesy of NYCWFF)

10 Great Dishes in Ireland For Your Must Try List

July 9, 2015 by  

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Quality ingredients, ingenious creations and reinvented classics can all be found in Dublin and Belfast’s coolest foodie hubs. You’ve got to start somewhere, so start by trying these ten traditional Irish foods.

Coddle: Eat it at The Woollen Mills, Dublin

Perched on the edge of the River Liffey, overlooking the iconic arc of the Ha’penny Bridge, the Woollen Mills has a light, modern-industrial interior – a great counterpoint to a dish that dates back to the 1770′s, Dublin coddle. Grab a seat upstairs at the window, look out on the rippling river, and enjoy a no-nonsense bowl of bacon, sausages, onion and potato. Honest, hearty and very Dublin.

Home-Smoked Salmon: Eat it at Delahunt, Dublin

Bring on one of the best fish dishes in Dublin. This is a thing of brains and beauty: lapsang souchong home-smoked salmon, served in the incredible surroundings of a converted Victorian building on Dublin’s Camden Street. It’s the very essence of contemporary Irish cooking – creative, fresh AND delicious.

Seafood Chowder: Eat it at Canteen at the MAC Belfast

In the super-cool open-brick surrounds of Belfast’s premier arts venue, MAC, you can enjoy one of Ireland’s most popular seafood dishes: seafood chowder. MAC’s version uses sustainable fish, and comes with Guinness and treacle bread. Come for the art, stay for the chowder.

Cockles and Mussels: Eat it at The Exchequer, Dublin

Fever-ridden Molly Malone wheeled her wheelbarrow around the Dublin streets selling these fresh local molluscs. But to dine on the cooked combination, you need to check out the Exchequer gastro pub and its gourmet version with spiced sausage, Bulmers cider and homemade bread. 3 foods to look out for.

Boxty: Eat it at O’Holohan’s on the Barge, Belfast

Like the sound of expertly prepared Irish food in a gorgeous environment? Then climb on board O’Holohan’s, moored at the Belfast Waterfront. This restaurant-on-a-barge is famed for its boxty: a traditional potato pancake, which it serves with pan-fried hake, organic veg and shellfish cream.

Ulster Fry: Eat it at St George’s Market, Belfast

The pinnacle of fried breakfasts, head to the St George’s Market Bar and Grill in the city centre to taste an award-winning plate of sausages, bacon, potato farl, tomatoes, black and white pudding, and eggs. The secret? It’s all cooked in the same pan to let the flavours run riot. A winner, every time.

Slaney River Slow-roasted Lamb: Eat it at The Vintage Kitchen, Dublin

Snuggled into beside Mulligan’s pub on Poolbeg Street is the Vintage Kitchen, a veritable mecca for Dublin’s foodies (such is its popularity, you must book well in advance for a weekend sitting). Bring along your own booze, bring along your own vinyl and enjoy an exemplary dish of Slaney River slow-roasted lamb. Delicious.

Oysters: Eat them the Mourne Seafood Bar, Belfast

Traditionally served with pints of Guinness, sample some of the finest at the Mourne Seafood Bar in Belfast. In this relaxed informal space, seafood takes centre stage. Try local oysters three ways: au naturel, Japanese-style or Rockefeller. Either way, they’re delicious, so get shucking.

oysters

Fish Dinner: Eat it at John Long’s, Belfast

A philosophy of simple but impeccable fish and chips runs through this Belfast institution, which has been described by the Belfast Telegraph as “the holiest of holy culinary shrines”. Grab a space at a Formica table, order a cup of tea, and wait for some of the best fish and chips you’re ever likely to taste.

The Waterford Blaa: Eat it at Hatch & Sons, Dublin

Waterford locals love their ‘blaa’ – a soft bread roll introduced by the French Huguenots in the 17th century. Paired with dry-cured bacon, it’s a real delight. To try one in Dublin, head to the Georgian kitchen-café of Hatch & Sons on St Stephen’s Green. Go old school with rashers (strips of bacon), or take it upscale with spiced beef, rapeseed mayo, Coolea cheese and onion relish.

(Coddle from Food.com, Potato photo credit chow.com, Oyster Photo courtesy of Neil Gould and contributed by Tourism Island)

The Music City Hot Chicken Festival on July 4

June 16, 2015 by  

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tennessee_nashville_hot-chickenYou haven’t experienced chicken if he or she hasn’t tried Nashville Hot Chicken (and there’s been an annual festival since 2007 just to prove the point).

The Music City Hot Chicken Festival is held in East Park, 700 Woodland Street, Nashville, Tennessee, July 4, 2015. The event begins at 11 a.m. with a parade of fire trucks and free Hot Chicken samples to the first 500 people in line. All day long, visitors can enjoy Hot Chicken from Nashville’s best Hot Chicken establishments, cold beer from Yazoo and other edibles from local vendors.

Of course there’ll be music by local bands and an Amateur Cooking Competition.

According to the sponsors, Nashville Hot Chicken has three components: bread, chicken and pickle.
*Bread: Authentic Nashville Hot Chicken uses simple white bread – 1-2 slices placed under the Hot Chicken to absorb the juices and flavor.
*Chicken: While each Nashville Hot Chicken restaurant may have their own secret blend of spices, many note that it’s not just an intense amount of heat that makes it authentic, it’s that heat and flavor. The chicken is fried and coated in these seasonings, most typically in a “dry” sauce – often made with a base of lard or oil. The use of a “wet” sauce (such as Buffalo-style chicken) is NOT Nashville Hot Chicken.
*Pickle: Authentic Nashville Hot Chicken places a few slices of dill pickles atop the cooked chicken. While some folks may want to experiment with bread & butter pickles, this is not the authentic way.

The Hot Chicken Festival is a “rain or shine” event.

The Annual Vermont Cheesemakers’ Festival in mid-July

June 14, 2015 by  

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vermont_shelburne_cheesemakersSince Vermont has the highest number of cheesemakers per capital, those of you who are cheese lovers have already booked tickets for the annual Cheesemakers’ Festival, set for July 19, 2015, in the Coach Barn at Shelburne Farms in Shelburne, Vermont.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for checking out the seminars, cooking and cheesemaking demos and cruising the marketplace. Tickets are $50 and include the workshops, cooking and cheesemaking demonstrations.

The Vermont Cheesemakers’ Festival is organized and presented by the Vermont Cheese Council.

(Photo courtesy of Vermont Cheesemakers’ Festival)

The Annual Seafood Festival in Dorset in July

June 1, 2015 by  

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england_dorset_weymouth_seafoodHeading across the pond? The eighth Dorset Seafood Festival takes place around the harbor at Weymouth, Dorset, England, July 11 and 12, 2015.

Needless to say, there’ll be plenty of seafood on offer in the more than 100 food stalls, but you’ll also be able to find Weird Fish’s latest clothing, kitchen utensils, bakery, pancakes, fine art, fishy-themed gifts and more.

The emphasis on responsibly sourced seafood from the region, and the fest raises money for the Fishermen’s Mission charity.

(Photo courtesy of Dorset Seafood Festival)

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