In Japan, families share traditional New Year food over three days. The dishes are presented in a magnificent lacquered box and are heavily symbolic, promising good health, wealth and academic success.
Chocolate is the delicious result of the transformation of cocoa beans found in the fruit of the cacao tree. Chocolate has its origins in the sacred world of the Mayans and, before becoming a confectionery product, was consumed as a drink offering a host of benefits.
As a small country situated at the heart of Europe, Switzerland is renowned across the world for its chocolate and cheeses named after regions or Alpine valleys: Gruyère, Emmental, Tilsit, Vacherin fribourgeois and Schabziger. The country comprises 26 states offering a wide range of culinary specialities with a multitude of influences.
A string of islands in the Pacific Ocean, with their blue lagoons and fine sandy beaches under palm trees, the Polynesian islands offer a South Sea paradise. Their name comes from Greek and means "many islands", one of the three regions that make up Oceania and include the Samoa Islands, Tonga and French Polynesia and thus Tahiti and Bora-Bora.
Like anywhere in the world, Africa is currently experiencing a change in tastes, with sweet taking precedence over bitter, which is becoming less and less popular. This general trend can also be seen in Madagascar. Luckily however, there are still plenty of traditional Madagascan specialities to discover.
The region is known for its Ankole longhorn cattle, but during my last visit five years ago I had insisted on cooking pork belly for 25 guests. I must have done something right because upon our arrival this time, Auntie Miriam instructed me to prepare pork for dinner the following day.