Domes Miramare, Corfu

Domes Miramare shows off the best of Corfu all within one immaculate, stylish hotel. Situated on the island’s eastern coast, the elegant establishment was originally built for the Onassis family in the 1960s and was only recently renovated and reopened.

Domes Miramare

Domes Miramare is without a doubt the most luxurious hotel on the island and the grand entrance offers the perfect introduction. When we arrived we were stunned by the views, the dramatic architecture (designed around the existing ancient trees) and the lovely twinkling of a baby grand piano.

Domes Miramare

Each room is more dramatic than the next and I particularly loved this room, for enjoying a coffee or snack. Every area of the hotel very much has its own character and atmosphere thanks to the careful curation of furniture and artwork.

Domes Miramare

There is a wide range of room options to suit every need and budget. Double rooms start from £232 but you can indulge in a top Pavilion Suite or even a Private Villa which have more space, privacy and also give you access to an exclusive lounge with food, drinks and private sun loungers.

Domes Miramare

We were very comfortable in our Emerald retreat sea view room. The pristine white room felt very in tune with the surroundings, with some touches of contrasting blue and green. In the bedroom there was a King sized bed, decadently large tv and a small table (kindly complete with a bottle of chilled champagne).

The bathroom was small but well designed, with a powerful shower and great toiletries from cult Swedish brand Byredo.

Domes MiramareDomes Miramare

The tranquil Soma spa is tucked away in a quieter area of the property. The spa uses Elemis products for their revitalising and relaxing treatments, and we experienced the wonderful effects of these with a full body massage. The hotel also runs fitness classes in the olive groves for guests most mornings.

Domes Miramare

When it’s time to pull yourself away from the pool for a bite to eat there are plenty of tempting options. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served every day at Makris, the main restaurant, but guests can also enjoy sushi and sake at the Raw Bar or meze snacks at the beach bar.

Domes Miramare

The food is inspired by Corfiot cuisine and I was very impressed by the sophisticated finesse and high standard, considering the casual style of food you find elsewhere on the island. Both nights we indulged in three courses from the extensive a la carte menu which included treats like Feta stuffed courgette flowers and Local lamb with delicately cooked vegetables.

Domes Miramare

Most guests spend their days enjoying the peace by the sea or beautiful hotel pool, but if you do feel like venturing out, I can highly recommend a trip on the hotel’s boat, Miramaretta. The boat goes to and from Corfu old town port four times a day and is the perfect excuse to go and see some charming Venetian architecture in this UNESCO World Heritage city.

Domes MiramareDomes Miramare

Domes Miramare illustrates all the wonder and serenity of the most special parts of Corfu, while also offering guests all the luxurious amenities they could wish for on an indulgent and special holiday.

Book a stay at Domes Miramare with Mr & Mrs Smith here.

I was a guest of Domes Miramare.

Marbella Nido Suite Hotel & Villas, Corfu

As Autumn arrives in London, summer is still in full swing over on the idyllic Greek islands. Last week I had the pleasure of visiting Corfu, where balmy weather and an easy going lifestyle are the norm.

Marbella Nido

My first stop was Marbella Nido Suite Hotel & Villas, a newly renovated, adults-only boutique hotel in the south of the island, not far from the airport. The all suite hotel is a tranquil and luxurious place to stay away from the hustle and bustle of Corfu old town.

Marbella Nido

We were staying in a smart Junior Suite with private whirlpool. It was fresh and airy with subtle accents of colour and stylish patterned tiles. The bed dominated the room, with a bright purple velvet armchair in one corner and a small bathroom tucked away at the front.

Marbella Nido

On the first morning we were treated to breakfast on our terrace. The charming terracotta-hued terrace was a glorious sun trap, annoyingly also a favourite for the persistent Corfu wasps! A lavish breakfast set-up included the sweetest freshly squeezed orange juice, delicious pastries and a tropical fruit platter.

Marbella Nido

There are several restaurants and bars to choose from; the main San Giovanni eatery serves a buffet breakfast and dinner, while guests wishing for a more special experience can book the a la carte Apaggio terrace restaurant, with endless azure sea views.

Marbella Nido

You can enjoy an evening aperitif at the colourful heritage lobby bar, or choose to sip your drink during the day at the dazzling pool bar.

Marbella Nido

At each outlet the staff are welcoming and eager to please, choose a classic cocktail or ask them to make you a creative invention.

Marbella Nido

Life’s troubles seem to melt away at Marbella Nido Suite Hotel & Villas. It is serene and calm, a place to truly relax and soak up the stunning surroundings.

Book a stay at Marbella Nido Suite Hotel & Villas via Mr and Mrs Smith here.

I was a guest of Marbella Nido Suite Hotel & Villas.

A trip to Le Puy-en-Velay to learn about Merchant Gourmet Puy Lentils

Lentils were a staple meal when I went to spend time with family in the South of France as a child, but at home in London I don’t cook them often. I think this must be because of a lack of recipe knowledge, and the length of time they usually take to cook. Although now, discovering the versatile pre-cooked Merchant Gourmet pouches will change all that!

On a recent trip to Le Puy-en-Velay with Merchant Gourmet, a group of fellow foodies and I were introduced to the special region where Puy lentils are from. We visited the farm and factory, learnt about the harvest and tasted some seriously tasty meals utilising these tiny green lentils.

Le Puy en Velay

Le Puy-en-Velay is a beautiful area of central France, a few hours drive from Lyon. The historic city is also known as a start point for the Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage. We arrived in the sleepy town mid-morning after an early start, and our first stop was Sabarot – manufacturers of Merchant Gourmet Puy Lentil and one of the most prestigious family-run lentil and pulse companies in the region. Here we were shown the variety of products that the Sabarot family produce, an amazing array of French pulses, mushrooms and snails, and given an insight into the company’s story over the last 100 years.

Puy lentilsPuy lentils

Lunch was served at the factory , a nutritious and delicious selection of lentil salads, my favourite was an inspired combination of fresh sliced peaches, rocket, mozzarella and lentils.

Puy lentils

Next it was time to visit the factory and fields. Puy lentils are a DOP (Denominazione di Origine Protetta literally “Protected Designation of Origin”) so can only be grown and harvested in this part of the world, under strict growing conditions of no pesticides or irrigation and allow the natural environment to run its course The flavour profile of these special green lentils is more peppery and flinty than other lentils and they have a softer, thinner skin making them cook quicker than your average lentils.

Puy lentilsPuy lentils

The lentil harvest was an eye-opening experience. Prior to the trip I had no idea how these small pulses were grown…

The sunny fields were filled with dry short crop, benefitting from the rich volcanic soil which gives the Puy lentils a unique flavour. A tractor systematically drove through collecting the crop and beginning the sorting process, and the lentils then go to the factory for a more exact sorting and cleaning. It was incredible to witness quite how delicate this crop is, with just one or two tiny lentils housed in each shell.

Puy lentilsPuy lentils

Dinner that night was spectacular… a tented dining room in a Puy lentil field, with dinner cooked on barbecues. It was amazing to sit in such a remote natural landscape while enjoying a refined dinner of lentil inspired dishes, prepared by some of the best chefs from the area.

Puy lentils

Menu highlights included a slow cooked lamb and lentil stew and a dessert which included orange lentil jam! The whole meal was accompanied by carefully selected matching wines from the region.

Puy lentilsLe Puy

Before boarding a flight back to London there was just enough time to have a walking tour of the beautiful town, Le Puy-en-Velay. We wandered around the old cobbled streets, noticing the old fashioned lace shops and fragrant bakeries, before heading up the hill to the astounding Le Puy Cathedral.

After a quick local lunch it was time to return home, with Sabarot lentil flour biscuits in hand! Since visiting Le Puy-en-Velay and the lentil fields I feel inspired by this ingredient again. Many think of Puy lentils as a store cupboard filler, but when you delve into the Puy lentil story, it’s easy to see why this pulse can be the star of a dish, rather than just a supporting act.

Collaboration trip as a guest of Merchant Gourmet.