Okay, so I say this all the time, but it is so amazingly true –
Food Bloggers are the nicest people in the world! I will stand by this testament. I have proof. I have “met” some of the best people since my introduction to blogging about a year ago. I have shared recipes, stories and laughs with so many new people and I have made some really good friends. I feel very fortunate to know people from practically every continent in the world, and many countries as well. I feel close to people I have never met before and it is an amazing feeling. We all share a love for food and cooking and it has brought us all together. We know things about each others’ lives too, and have budding friendships that span the globe many times over. How cool is that? Roberto and I decided that when we “make it big” we will have to do a world tour so that we can be sure to visit everyone and get the local’s perspective in some of the most interesting, tasty and sometimes exotic (for an American and an Italian) locales the world over. Plus hang out with some of these special people in person – a priceless gift.

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But yesterday we were lucky enough to be the recipients of such a visit – and from a little closer to home.
I have “knownJudy from No Fear Entertaining for a while now. She and I really bonded over posts we were both doing about Farmer’s Markets, eating locally and trying to keep food additives and all kinds of other “food crap” out of our diets. It is something we are both very passionate about. Over many emails and a few phone calls, we found we had a lot of other things in common too, beyond the most obvious thing – we both live in Florida. She helped me learn more about the growing season in FL and taught me a lot about being being a Florida transplant (she is originally from Toronto, Canada, and I am from, well, lots of places, but most recently Vermont). Her friendship and support in food blogging and in life has been a wonderful addition to my life. So yesterday when we finally got to meet her face to face (along with her awesome husband T, and two lovely daughters AND 2 fun and rambunctious dogs) it was great, just as I would have expected. Roberto and I felt like we were with old friends and it was wonderful to meet people who share similar thoughts about the world and values as well as a love for food. We didn’t have much time together because they were on the last leg of their drive home, after 2 weeks away (during which she got to meet another foodie buddy of mine that I have yet to meet in person, Peter from Kalofagas – Judy you sure get around!!!!). So we decided to take a walk in lovely downtown Saint Augustine and take them to our favorite place to get my favorite food – Gelato. It was a sweltering day, and we were all so hot, but the gelato did help to cool us off a bit. I am looking forward to seeing them again in September when it is a bit cooler, when we meet with other Florida Foodies in Orlando! An event that will be sponsored by my friends over at Foodbuzz and that Judy and I are organizing together. :) Thanks you guys for stopping off to visit with us! It was awesome and I hope we can do it many times in the future.

One of the first stops Roberto and I are going to make in our world tour, is going to the home town of my good friend and fellow foodblogger - Dharm from Dad~Baker & Chef in Kuala Lampur, Malaysia. I have known Dharm for quite a while now. He was the inspiration for the first curry I ever made at home, his mum’s famous Kheema. We have shared the trials and tribulations of being Daring Bakers together (he is a much better baker than I am though – quite the dessert creator extraordinare in fact). Dharm is also a moderator on the Leftover Queen/ Foodie Blogroll Forum AND he also hosted the Royal Foodie Joust during the month of April, when I was off getting married. His posts are always delightful and humorous, and he is someone that I can count on when it comes to all things food blog related. But even with all these glowing attributes, Dharm just stepped up a notch in my book. He and his “Lovely Wife” (as he refers to her on his blog) and his two beautiful children sent Roberto and I a package – a wedding present, all the way from Malaysia, filled with hand picked goodies that he knew I would (well we would) enjoy. Not only that, but his sweet children insisted on hand making cards for us. The whole package was beautiful and touched us greatly.

Well I know you all are just dying to hear what is IN the package, so here goes:

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Sambal Belacan – Dharm knows how much I love spicy stuff, namely harrisa, so this is similar but made with prawn paste. Cannot wait to try it!

Sarawak Pepper - a special pepper from the state of Sarawak. Smells like heaven!

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Curry Powder – this is the good stuff

Chili Powder - ditto the good stuff

Cannot wait to make a curry with both!

No wait, there is more!

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Dodol - a coconut based candy that is a specialty of Malaysia. This is by far one of the most amazing things I have ever tasted. The flavor reminds me of toasted coconut, but the texture is jellied. Like taffy, but without sticking in your teeth.
Kacang Tumbuk – ground peanuts covered in a light peanut shell. It is wonderfully crunchy and light. Delicious!

Peanut Biscuit – peanuts covered in caramel.

Thank you so much Dharm, you and your lovely family. We will enjoy these treats and think of you. We look forward to the day that we can meet in person. You know you always have a place to come in the States! :)