A Great Year of Food, Drink and Travel: the Compass & Fork 2016 Year in Review
I have always found it a useful exercise to do the year in review and have a think about the New Year. When I was younger this used to happen twice a year, once before the start of the school year and then at the end of the calendar year. I must admit it is a rhythm that continues to this day despite the fact I have been out of school for a long, long time. I use the changing of the seasons, to have a bit of a check in and think about if things are still on course, where I’ve been and where I am going.
At the end of 2015, we published our optimistic look at places we hoped we might visit throughout the course of 2016. Well, as you would expect it didn’t quite turn out the way we planned. Here are the places we intended to visit:
- Spain and Portugal
- Sri Lanka
And as you can probably guess, the only place we did visit was Tasmania. For one reason or another, we were not able travel to any other countries listed above. It sounds like an epic fail, but instead we visited a bunch of other countries that were just as interesting.
But enough of idle chatter, the point of this post is to have a bit of a review of Compass & Fork for 2016. A look at where we’ve been, what worked and what we should do more of, and what perhaps we should leave behind in 2016 rather than drag it kicking and screaming into 2017.
Where We Have Been: Milestones
We launched Compass and Fork in 2015, so 2016 was our first full year. Wow time flies. Here are the countries we visited:
The land of contrasts. We kicked off the year featuring this easy to travel to country in South America. Is there a country that has more climatic zones than Peru? Here you can visit the Amazon jungle, walk the Inca Trail in the magnificent Andes Mountains or maybe visit Arequipa, the self-proclaimed food capital of Peru, where you can experience some of the best fusion cooking in the world.
Some of our most popular posts from Peru:
- How to Make the Most of 2-3 Weeks in Peru, complete with itinerary;
- How to Make a Pisco Sour, a fabulous drink yet to be discovered in the West;
- Lomo Saltado, Peru’s most popular dish is a South American stir fry.
The land of smiles is everything it is cracked up to be. There is a reason Thailand is consistently up the top of countries to visit. Friendly people, magnificent resort beaches and islands, great street food at ridiculously cheap prices, temples and buildings of great cultural significance.
If Thailand is on your bucket list, then go. You won’t regret it. Some of our most popular posts from Thailand:
- Thai Spring Rolls, crunchy and full of great tasting, beautifully spiced morsels;
- Tom Yum Soup is loved throughout the world. Find out why;
- First time visitors guide to the Best Temples in Thailand.
March and April, Greece, The Greek Islands and Cyprus
From the best of Asia, we journeyed to Greece and Cyprus. Talk about a contrast! Full of history with the Parthenon a highlight in Athens. Then there are the sunny and relaxing Greek Islands. What a lovely place to experience a long, lazy lunch at a Greek Island taverna by the seaside sipping wine and enjoying freshly-caught fish. Not to be outdone, Cyprus also has its share of beautiful beaches, sites of historical significance and food, enhanced by the impact of Greek and Turkish influences.
Some of your favorite Greek and Cypriot posts:
- Why Naxos is the Best of the Greek Islands. Great scenery and food and quieter than the tourist hubs of Mykonos and Santorini.
- Greek Roast Lamb is a favorite all around the world. Find out why.
- Drunken Pork in red wine. We also wander through Naxos Town to discover some good dining options.
May and June, Great Cities and Food of the World
While we feature a destination for a month, there are many other places we travel. In May and June we featured some of these: Paris, Lucerne, what story book scenery, Hong Kong, Buenos Aires, and Denver. Each destination featured a travel article and a food article.
Some of your favorite posts from around the World:
- Find out How to Grill a Steak Like You’re in Argentina
- How to Make Healthy Blue Corn Fish Tacos at Home (from Denver); and
- Coq au Vin. A classic dish from Paris made in the slow cooker.
- 12 of the Most Popular Vegetarian Recipes from Around the World
- 10 of the Most Popular Dinner Recipes from Around the World
- 8 Complete Dinner Party menus from around the world.
If ever a country flies under the travel radar, it is Uruguay. This land of surprises deserves your attention. Safe, generous and friendly people, great food, especially if you are into your steak, and great tourist spots to visit in Punta Arenas, Montevideo and Colonia.
Some of the most popular posts from Uruguay were:
- The Best of Food and Culture in Uruguay, a great summary of what to look out for;
- Enjoy Chivito Sandwich, a steak sandwich with all of the trimmings;
- Provoleta, Grilled Provolone Cheese, is a classic you will find everywhere.
Bulgaria is another country that doesn’t see a lot of mass tourism. Large towns Sofia and Plovdiv have plenty of Roman history and ruins to offer. There is also some magnificent hiking in the Pirin Mountains.
And if you like Greek food the chances are that you will also love Bulgarian food as there are many similarities.
Some of the most popular posts from Bulgaria were:
- Shopska Salad, made from everyday ingredients it is a highlight;
- Stuffed Cabbage Rolls, real comfort food for winter; and
- Tarator Yogurt Soup is a cold summer soup to enjoy.
September and October, Cambodia and Laos
Often ignored by tourists for nearby Thailand and Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia are a little more off the beaten track but offer fantastic highlights with Angkor Wat in Cambodia and Luang Prabang in Laos. Your tourist dollar stretches a long way here and the food is fabulously good.
The most popular posts with you were:
- Golden Banana Fritters; easy and delicious;
- Fish Amok, the national dish of Cambodia is a beautiful, yellow curry; and
- Everything you Need to Know Before Visiting Angkor Wat, the start of a four part guide to plan your trip.
November, Tasmania (Australia)
We explored Tasmania in Australia. An island that has a reputation for the purest water and air in the world. Home to some of Australia’s best hiking, seafood and convict history. It also has some incredible scenery. And one of our own favorite places!
The most popular posts with you were:
- Hobart, everything you need to know for a great weekend escape;
- Spectacular Hiking in the Bay of Fires in Tasmania
- Whisky Ice Cream Plum Pudding is a very popular festive season dessert; and
- Our Tasmanian Dinner Party, featuring easy recipes.
December, USA Road Trip
We are currently in the US, enjoying our road trip across the USA. So far, we have featured travel and recipe posts from Cincinnati, OH and Louisville KY. We also featured a great article and recipe for smoked turkey, just in time for the festive season. Stay tuned in January, as we continue our journey through the American south and feature some more great travel and recipes.
The Wrap Up
So, that is where we went on the Compass & Fork. Our readership, traffic and social media engagement has been growing steadily so thanks to all of you for following on our journey. We hope you continue along in 2017. For a peak at what might be coming Compass and Fork in 2017, read our soon to be published article.
We are going to retain the shopping lists, the shop of hand-picked and curated items from around the world, and the dinner party menus. Our monthly newsletter Coordinates will continue as well. If you do not already subscribe to Coordinates, now is the time as many items, including shopping lists, only go to subscribers. You can subscribe at the bottom of this article.
If you have anything you would like to see in 2017, please leave us a comment below or email us. We love to hear from you.
All the best to you and your families for the 2017!