Louise is Monaco's leading travel journalist. She has interviewed numerous celebrities for her Lunch with Monaco Life series, while she is best known for her acerbic restaurant reviews in  Monaco Life  which became a viral sensation.  Louise is a food & wine columnist for Monaco’s daily news site and periodical, Hello Monaco. As well as writing about the principality for publications across the globe, she is interviewed regularly about life in Monte Carlo (such as BBC Radio 4 and  CBS Broadcasting with Peter Greenberg).

Monaco’s answer to Giles Coren, Louise is at once erudite and down-to-earth. She has changed the face of the principality’s dining scene with such spellbinding style that readers and restaurateurs alike respect her."

Ian Brodie, Editor-in-Chief @ Monaco Life

Out of Africa and The Power of Now

I welcomed the New Year in the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. I fell in love with the slower pace of life there. I call it ‘SA Time.’ South Africans have an elastic concept of time. Take their version of the word ‘now.’ It means eventually, it means maybe, it means later. When used in iteration, it means soon. It almost never means now.

During my trip, my partner and I explored Stellenbosch in the Cape Winelands. With its undulating lowlands and granite-mountain slopes, Stellenbosch is South Africa’s answer to Napa Valley and home to many of the country’s best-known wines.

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Whisky and the Art of Blending Liquid Sunshine

 “Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough.” It’s a rare thing that draws Mark Twain and Ava Gardner into alignment, but a love of whisky does just that. From tax wars and rebellions to prohibition, few drinks have had such a turbulent history. Whisky or whiskey: even its name is fought over. The battle for global preeminence is waged by whisky superpowers on either side of the Atlantic, while other whisky-producing nations struggle with international appeal: anyone for Taiwanese whisky?  Yet nothing quite compares with a good Scotch, especially in Monte-Carlo where our Prince’s roots are inextricably tied to the Lairds.

Good whisky is a question not only of provenance, but also production. Single malts vie with blended whisky; single grains scorn blended grains. Yet a lot of the nuances of whisky production are lost behind advertising billboards that sell brands above production methods. My own introduction to whisky came at a whisky-fuelled Burns Night at Cambridge University where we toasted the haggis with barrelfuls of blended whisky. 

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The World's Most Expensive Ham

 Hidden in the hills of Southern Italy is a remote farm where the world’s most expensive ham is produced. I don’t know the farm address or even the name. A mysterious Daniele contacted me out of the blue to ask if I’d like to come to Naples to taste his prosciutto di Pietraroja ham.  By coincidence, my partner and I were planning a trip to the Amalfi Coast so my curiosity got the better of me and I said yes.  Daniele sent instructions by email about how we should meet on the edge of a motorway near Casertano. We ignored this presage of a B-movie Mafia plot with the rationale that neither of us was important enough to kidnap.

She or as it turned out he (my rudimentary Italian didn’t stretch to realizing that Daniele was a boy’s name) met us in a battered Fiat Uno. We followed his car down a dizzying wild-goose chase of country roads. He might as well have taken us blindfold, because we’d never be able to find the farm again. 

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To Screw or Not to Screw

 “What contemptible scoundrel stole the cork from my lunch?”

Sitting down to write about corks vs. screw caps, I think of this infamous line from WC Fields. The cork polemic is often simplified into an Old-World vs. New-World wine debate. While us Europeans have clung to the tradition of cork since Greek and Roman times, our New World counterparts have embraced screw caps. Australia and New Zealand have led the charge with even top-end wines at £100 per bottle under screw cap.

The screw cap is undoubtedly a user-friendly option that eliminates bottle variation, premature oxidation and cork taint, as well as allowing bottles to be stored standing up. Meanwhile, the trouble with cork is that not all cork is born equal. The cork market varies from high-quality natural cork to low-end, often contaminated cork. 

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