East Village E20 Cheese and Craft Beer Market

East Village E20 is best known as the neighbourhood where the athletes lived from the momentous 2012 London Olympics. Nearby to Westfield Stratford and easy to reach on the central line or overground train, this area has become a buzzy place to live or spend a day out in London.

East Village E20 Cheese and Craft Beer MarketEast Village E20 Cheese and Craft Beer Market

Last weekend I was invited to the East Village E20 Cheese and Craft Beer Market, a celebration of artisan products. When we arrived at the start of the day the sun was out and the market was already full of foodies and craft beer enthusiasts. Families and friends alike were snacking on toasted cheese sandwiches and sampling unique beers. Alongside the cheese and beer there were other cuisines to choose from, vegan options and dessert stalls, should you desire something sweet.

East Village E20 Cheese and Craft Beer MarketEast Village E20 Cheese and Craft Beer Market

We headed straight for the main marketplace where cheese expert Ned Palmer was giving a talk on the history of cheese and how it can be enjoyed. It was fascinating to learn how it had initially been a poisonous product, and he explained how it became the addictive, wonderful product that it is today! Interestingly Ned also told us that cheese is lactose free making it suitable for those with some dietary restrictions, a fact I’d never been aware of. It was brilliant to witness Ned’s infectious enthusiasm for the topic while trying a range of tasty cheeses he’d bought along for us to try, the crowd grew and grew over the course of the talk!

East Village E20 Cheese and Craft Beer MarketEast Village E20 Cheese and Craft Beer Market

Feeling full from the cheese feast we wandered round the market in search of a refreshing pint. There were so many great independent craft beers to choose from, my favourites included The Kernal pale ale brewed in London and the Portobello Brewing Co’s range of drinks from lagers to ales.

East Village E20 Cheese and Craft Beer Market

It was great fun to explore this new neighbourhood and learn something new at the Cheese and Beer market, I can’t wait to see what pops up next in this exciting part of town.

More information on the Cheese & Beer Market and upcoming foodie events, including their upcoming sensory supper club series, head to: www.eastvillagelondon.co.uk

This is a sponsored post in collaboration with East Village E20.

Villa Barranco, Lima, Peru

Located in the heart of Barranco, Lima’s most artistic and cultural neighbourhood, Villa Barranco is a beautifully restored former colonial mansion house. This nine-bedroom boutique hotel opened in March 2017 and immediately grabbed the attention of travellers and the travel industry alike, including being named on Conde Nast’s Hot List of 2018.

Villa Barranco

The villa has been tastefully decorated in muted shades with antique wooden furniture and vintage ornaments. As well as the nine bedrooms, Villa Barranco has a communal dining/sitting room, ground-floor patio for al fresco breakfasts, and a peaceful rooftop bar. Guests can borrow the villa’s bikes to explore the local area and staff are knowledgeable about the best things to see, do and eat nearby.

Villa Barranco

Our ground floor junior suite (room number 1) featured a comfy king-size bed, an Art Deco daybed-cum-armchair, and antique wardrobe and writing desk. The ensuite bathroom centred around a deep freestanding bath and was flooded with natural light. Our junior suite also included a small, private outdoor terrace, as do all bedrooms on the ground floor.

Villa Barranco

Each room in the villa is unique and they differ in size and layout. Many rooms can be presented as either twin or double, and there are conjoined rooms available for groups or families larger than two people. Some of my favourite rooms were Room 8 – with its hanging square light above the bed – and the Master Suite (room 9) which is spread across two floors with a 2nd bed on the mezzanine, a private rooftop terrace and a pyramid rooflight that bathes the bathroom with daylight.

Villa Barranco

Breakfast is served either in the communal dining room or, in nicer weather, on the patio outdoors. The food is simple but well executed; hot options include omelettes made to order, eggs as you like, and waffles or pancakes with a range of toppings and sides. The basic buffet comprises bread and pastries, jams and spreads, cereals and granolas, fresh juices and a coffee machine. Guests can also have lunch and dinner at the house, with a simple “home-style” menu on offer.

Villa Barranco

Villa Barranco is part of the up-and-coming Ananay Hotel group who have grand ambitions for transforming the offering of boutique hotels in Peru. They have three properties in Cusco and openings planned in other locations. A refurbishment of the neighbouring house to Villa Barranco is also underway, which will transform the property into hosting 18 rooms in total.

More information and book a room at Villa Barranco here.

Belmond Villa Sant’Andrea, Taormina, Sicily

Taormina is a picturesque hilltop town on the east coast of Sicily, and though it may not be the easiest destination to reach, the beauty of its location more than makes up for the journey. Belmond’s two hotels here, Villa Sant’Andrea and Grand Hotel Timeo, are the most special places in stay in Taormina. Sant’Andrea is perched at the sea’s edge, surrounded by the rippling Mediterranean sea, while Timeo is found in the town next door to the ancient ancient Greco-­Roman amphitheatre with impressive views of the actively smoking volcano, Mount Etna.

Sicily

We spent a couple of days at Villa Sant’Andrea, enjoying the Sicilian way of life and visiting nearby towns in search of the best pasta and granita! Unfortunately, the weather was unusually wet for mid-September but the air was still warm and the landscape equally beautiful.

Sicily

There are 71 rooms to choose from at Villa Sant’Andrea, each is decorated in a bright contemporary style with a fresh pale blue and beige palette. In our spacious Junior Suite the big windows opened out onto a balcony that offered stunning views of the sea and town. The relaxed living area, with Matisse-inspired prints, was a pleasant place to enjoy breakfast, while our table by the window had a delicious offering of fresh fruit and Sicilian Almond wine.

Sicily

The plush King-sized bed was extremely comfortable, topped with a cashmere blanket and the softest cotton sheets, ensuring a restful night’s sleep. The large bathroom – complete with bath, shower, dual sinks and separate toilet – featured generous bottles of Ortigia toiletries, a range that is inspired by the Sicilian flora and fauna. My only annoyance in the bathroom was the overly complicated geometric tap system, which we found to be a bit of a challenge to master!

Sicily

Leave plenty of time for breakfast, it is a feast of local delicacies and international wonders. We feasted on courgette flower & ricotta omelette, fresh juices, and granita with brioche and whipped cream. It was all absolutely delicious.

Sicily

There are plenty of perks to enjoy on site at Villa Sant’Andrea, including a complimentary two hour boat tour to see the nearby islands and secluded coves. You can also hire a beach cabana for the day, with a stocked minibar, dedicated service and your own extra luxe sunloungers. There is a complimentary shuttle service between Belmond’s Villa Sant’Andrea and Grand Hotel Timeo hotels so you can hop between the two for mealtimes and experiences.

SicilySicily

If you have a spare day and fancy venturing further afield I highly recommend spending a day exploring the nearby towns… Noto is particularly beautiful and the famous Caffe Sicilia is a must for foodies and gelato-lovers. If you are in need of a comforting Italian meal in Noto head to Manna for unmissable classic pasta dishes. The quaint island of Ortigia is also lovely for an afternoon of strolling and sightseeing.

Sicily

Even after just a few days Sicily captured my heart, it is such a beautiful island with a strong culinary culture and some of the most brilliant architecture I have ever seen. For a luxury getaway in the sun, Belmond Villa Sant’Andrea will look after your every need, ensuring you get the most of your Mediterranean minibreak.

I was a guest of Belmond Villa Sant’Andrea, more information here.