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Best in Hospitality

The Homestay Experience

Global Immersions Recruiting - Monday, October 24, 2016

Living in a Homestay is a truly unique experience and the only way to really  learn about another culture and develop foreign language skills. Homestay is a full immersion in a new culture and therefore has certain advantages that private accommodations, such as an apartment or home rental, cannot provide. Such benefits include an insight into the daily life of a local family, an opportunity to practice a second language, and a chance to try typical foods of another culture.

A host attending a tailgate at Gillette Stadium with her Danish students

Global Immersions stands out as Boston's leading Homestay specialist, because we pride ourselves on ensuring that our visitors experience all of these opportunities that Homestay has to offer . In comparison to larger Homestay corporations, Global Immersions  is able to deliver a more personal experience, fostering a closer relationship with our hosts and clients. We strive for quality, and take more aspects into account when matching a visitor with a host family.  We want our visitors to have a full cultural immersion, which is why we certify that no other speakers of the visitor's native language live in the Homestay and require our hosts to communicate with their visitors in English. We take into consideration our visitor's preferences regarding conditions such as allergies, dietary restrictions, pets, smoking, heath needs, and location. We aim to make successful visitor placements by pairing visitors with hosts that share similar hobbies, interests, or personality traits. Global Immersions stands out from other Homestay specialists, because we work actively to help our visitors assimilate into a new culture and have a positive Homestay experience. Upon arrival we provide our visitors with the materials they need to be prepared to live in the home of another family. We offer group orientation sessions where we talk about the cultural differences the visitors will face in an American home and discuss what they should and should not expect of their Homestay and host family.

A host playing a game at home with her family and Danish visitors 

Our main focus as a Homestay provider is on our visitors Homestay experience. This means that we want our visitors to feel completely included in their host's daily life and totally integrated into the family as a whole. This fall, we were pleased to welcome over 163 Danish visitors from five different schools. These students from, Handelsgymnasiet Aalborg SaxogadeAalborg Handelsskole Haderslev Hadelsskole Viborg Gymnasium, and Ringkøbing Handelsskole, were in Boston attending classes at Bunker Hill community College and learning about American culture through their time in Homestay. Our hosts involved the Danish students in dozens of different activities, providing them  with countless memorable experiences and learning opportunities.

 

Danish students attending a hot yoga class with their host father


 Here are some fun moments that our hosts and Danish students shared together: 

  • We enjoyed American football games on TV, and listening to music together. We went to my sister's house in Winchester for dinners and had board game nights with everyone.
  • I took them to the Watertown Yankees Candle and I treated them all to frappes at Wild Willies. I also drove them to school three days.

  • We watched The Presidential Debate together

  • We had a great times together easting out at a restaurant and we also went to a children fundraiser at the Masonic Lodge in Melrose. They had a lot of fun with my kids.

  • We have a home in Maine, so we took them for the weekend. We saw the beautiful foliage, and took them to the Fryeburg Fair. We visited my mother's home and went to dinner together when it was my daughter's birthday. We also enjoyed watching TV together and just hanging out.
  • I teach Bikram Hot Yoga and the students came to a couple classes. They mingled with some great people, Doctors, Lawyers, Brain surgeon, cyclists, and the energy level was high. After class, the students and yoga students took a 40 minute long ocean swim. Afterwards, we toured Marblehead and hit Whole Foods for lunch.
  • We had dinner together each night and enjoyed talking about life in the United States and in Denmark. I took them to church with me, and we had brunch at a local restaurant. We went shopping at the South Shore Mall and at the supermarket. They were very helpful in the kitchen and enjoyed my cooking.
  • We attended a soccer game and went grocery shopping together. I also took them to a tailgate at Gillette. We had a blast!
  • We went to Revere beach and North Gate Mall
  • On Sunday, we took the students shopping at Legacy Place in Dedham and the following Saturday, we took them for dinner at Marina Bay in Quincy. They had a good time. Each evening, we shared the day's experience over dinner.
  • I took the girls to my church last Sunday and they were able to enjoy a true Black church experience. It was "Family and Friends Day" at the church and we also honored the women of the church who were 90 years and older. My grandson was also baptized that Sunday. The girls enjoyed my family at the gathering for my grandson at my home. I took the girls to the South Shore Mall and to the supermarket. They were extremely helpful to me in the kitchen. They mingled very well with my family and met three generations of my family members.
  • Went on a walk together to familiarize them with the neighborhood, we also went to the movies with my book club and talked about families, employment & education goals. we enjoyed having discussions about activities during the day, and comparing cultures. We went to grocery store to pick out their favorite foods, and I introduced them to the other foreign student in my home and they  chatted about their school programs.
  • We visited the Museum of Science and saw a film at the Omni 3D Theater.
  • The boys wanted to go to Taco Bell, as they had never been before. We also saw a high school football game at the Everett the football stadium and went to the Assembly Square Mall.
  • I took the girls to an All White Affair Birthday Party
  • We went to Dave and Busters
  • We visited Revere Beach
 
Danish students making sushi with their host family 
                      

It is our goal to create a positive Homestay experience for our hosts as well as our visitors. In order to continuously improve our services, we ask our visitors and hosts to evaluate their experience during the group program.  The feedback we receive shows us where improvements need to be made to enhance our programs and helps us gauge the satisfaction of our visitors. Here is just some of the many positive notes we received from the Danish students of our recent group programs.

"My Homestay helped me understand the culture of the country much better and it created new connections. "

"My overall experience was really fantastic! My family was so nice and helped me with everything. I will be back at [my host] family's house soon! Our friends loved her too! Our friends joined us on trips with the family."

"It was nice to experience new cultures from the inside and my host was the greatest!"

"Homestay is a very good way to learn about another culture. It was an amazing experience and our hosts were so nice."

Danish girls attending a white party with their host mom 

We also received fantastic feedback from the hosts of our Danish groups, who clearly enjoyed the time they spent with the students.

"These kids were great!!!! I loved them!! Great personality, friendly, fun, respectful, well rounded young men. I wish they were here longer!!"

"I really appreciate hosting the Danish students. The experience was a win/win. We both learned and had great continuous conversations about everything. I was very impressed with their interest and knowledge of U.S. Culture, History and politics as well as their concern for the global environment."

"I am thankful to Global Immersions for the great experience of hosting the Danish students. Granted, the Danish students were well mannered, educated, friendly, health conscious and overall positive happy people.   Global Immersions set the tone by competently securing every step of the students stay from arrival to departure. I thank you all at Global Immersions for doing the job correctly."

"Wonderful girls! We thoroughly enjoyed their company! Only complaint is that they couldn't stay longer!"

"We enjoyed the students from Denmark, they were very happy in our home. We all had dinner together and talked and laughed. They were fun."

"We were very, very, happy with the students we had. They were perfect guests, very fun and I miss them already."

"This was my first time have female students, and the experience was quite enjoyable. It was sad to see them go."

 

Danish boys visiting Revere Beach with their host dad     

Global Immersions is the leader in group Homestay programs. If you are interested bringing a group abroad to experience American life through Homestay please contact our coordinator 

                               

Happy Boston Cream Pie Day!

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, October 18, 2016

This Sunday (October 23rd) is National Boston Cream Pie Day, and what better way to celebrate than by enjoying this tasty dessert in the city where it was created. Fun fact: Boston cream pie has been distinguished as the official dessert of Massachusetts over Toll House Cookies and Fig Newton.  The first Boston Cream Pie originated at the Omni Parker House in downtown. The first Boston Cream Pie was originally called the Parker house "Chocolate Cream Pie" and was created and served at Parker's Restaurant from the opening of the hotel in October 1856. One of the reasons the dessert became so popular (so popular that it was turned into a Betty Crocker Boxed Mix in the 1990s) was the unique use of chocolate icing. When the restaurant opened chocolate was mainly consumed at home as a beverage or in puddings, so the use of chocolate on the cream pie was a big deal. The original Boston Cream Pie recipe is still served at Omni Parker House today, and you can even try your luck at recreating at home, by following the recipe here

 

Another fun fact: Boston Cream Pie isn't actually even a pie, but a two layer golden cake filled with pastry cream. For the best slice in Boston (in a way more casual setting than Parker's) you can try Mike's Pastry or Flour Bakery . Mike's serves their popular Boston Cream Pie whole or by the slice (it's also homemade - see picture above). Flour's well known take on the classic is made with coffee-soaked sponge cake instead of the traditional vanilla. There are many other ways to get your Boston Cream Pie fix this weekend..perhaps in cupcake or donut form? Here are some places you can get not-so-traditional versions of this traditional Boston treat. 

Boston Cream Pie Donut:  

Union Square Donuts has  a popular Boston Cream Pie Donut on the menu, made fresh daily in Somerville.

Boston Cream Pie Cupcake:

Try a Boston Cream Pie in cupcake form from Sweet Bakery in Back Bay. They are as delicious as they are adorable. 

Vegan Boston Cream Pie: 

If you're a vegan, don't worry there's pie for you too! Veggie Galaxy in Cambridge has a dairy-free versions of this famous dessert on their menu. You can't even taste the difference. 

Boston Cream Pie in a Jar?

The Tap Trail House on Union Street has this hipster version of  Boston Cream Pie on their dessert menu. Same flavors just way way cuter.

Boston Cream Pie a la cart (literally from a cart)


Want your Boston Cream Pie on the go? The Boston Cream Pie Company sells their dessert from a tricycle in the Seaport District. 

Enjoy:)

Fall Fun In The City

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Fall is here! There are so many different festive fall activities that you can enjoy with your visitor. From pumpkin picking to hay rides to apple cider donuts and more! Fall is a really fun season and it is easy to find low cost activities that will allow you to spend time with your visitor while immersing them in American culture. Nothing comes to mind?? We got you covered. Here is a bunch of fun things to do this fall season. Happy Autumn :)

Watch a Sporting Event!

Cheer on a Boston area team at a college or university football game! Many international students come from countries where football is either unpopular or nonexistent (or  its soccer) so taking your student to a game is great way to introduce them to an important aspect of American and Bostonian culture. College football games, such as games at Harvard or Boston College are also generally inexpensive to attend. This month, many schools have their homecoming weeks, which is a uniquely American tradition and it can be very interesting for international visitors to see the large cheering crowds of students in the stands. Don't like football? It's also Hockey and Soccer season! After all, not all schools have football teams (think: Northeastern, BU). You can buy tickets to university sporting events on each school's website! Go Crimson/ Eagles/ Huskies / Terriers!

Tickets to professional sporting events tend to be more pricey, but a fun way to get the experience of a football game without the high cost is by going to a tailgate! Tailgating before a football game is another American tradition and a really fun seasonal activity. Park at Gillette Stadium before a Pats game for the tailgate  and don't forget to bring food and drink from home (or a portable grill and cooler if you have one) ! Tailgating usually starts early so you'll be able to make it home in time to catch the start of the game on TV. For a schedule of home games click here.

Bake Seasonal Treats!

Another fun (also really low cost and easy) fall activity is baking! The whole Autumn season is basically a big excuse to eat everything pumpkin flavored (if you've been to Trader Joe's recently you'll know what I mean - pumpkin everything) and baking fall desserts is a is good (and also delicious) way to bond with your visitor and get in Autumn spirit. This article has recipes of some fall treats, but other easy items include cider donuts, caramel apples, and  pumpkin spice bread or cupcakes.

Visit a Farmers Market!

Browsing Boston farmer's markets is an enjoyable outdoor activity (that is also free). Farmer's markets can be fun for international visitors because it gives them a little insight into American culture (they see we eat things other than fast food!) as well as the local culture of Boston. Many vendors at the markets will also offer tastes of their products  - and who doesn't like to try free samples?? Union Square in Somerville, Harvard Square in Cambridge, Brookline and Haymarket in Downtown have popular farmers markets that are open through the end of October. You can see a map of farmers market sin the Boston area here. 

Tour Boston's Best Fall Foliage!

New England and the Boston area has some of the most beautiful fall foliage in the United States. You don't have to drive all the way to New Hampshire, Vermont, or Maine to see impressive fall foliage. In fact, you don't even need to leave the city. A relaxing fall activity is to take your visitors on a walking tour of Boston's foliage. Visit local parks, such as Boston Commons, The Public Gardens, The Esplanade, or various Boston neighborhoods. Outside of downtown the Arnold Arboretum near Forrest Hills station is a beautiful place to go walking. Exploring these areas with your visitor lets them admire the Autumn scenery while also sightseeing in and around Boston and having conversations with you! Take a look at some of the best locations to see colorful leaves around Boston here. View a live fall foliage map of the US here.


Your Columbus Day Weekend Schedule

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Happy (almost) Columbus Day weekend! As many of you have the day off from work, this long weekend will be an excellent opportunity to explore the city and participate in the many celebrations happening in Boston. Columbus Day weekend is a lively time in Boston, full of parades, festivals, and other events - and may of them are free! If you're unsure of how you'll spend this (somewhat controversial) holiday, don't worry, here is a list of all the happenings this weekend so you can celebrate the discovery of America right! 

Friday October 7th (through Sunday October 9th): HONK! Street Music Festival 

Where: Davis Square, Somerville 

Time: Varying times 

Cost: FREE


Music appreciation meets activism at the HONK! festival in Davis square. This lively three day event draws brass bands from all over the world to Somerville in celebration of not only music, but the community as a whole. This is event is special because it is organized entirely by volunteers and is already in its tenth year. The festival begins Friday and kicks off with a lantern parade through Davis square neighborhoods followed by a band showcase. On Saturday over twenty five bands will take over Davis Square bringing live music and a dance party! On Sunday, many local community groups join the band members in a large parade from Davis Square to Harvard Square via Mass Ave. These local groups include activists working for extremely important causes such as economic justice, protecting the environment, world peace and ending racism. HONK! Also features a Day of Action, on which bands convene to play on behalf of a cause. For more information including schedule and times click here. 


Sunday, October 9th: East Boston Columbus Day Parade 

Where: East Boston

Time: 1:00pm - 3:00pm

Cost: FREE

The Boston Columbus Day Parade is an old tradition in the North End and East Boston neighborhoods. How old?? Since 1937. The parade celebrates Christopher Columbus's expeditions to the Americas as well as Boston's Italian heritage (in case you didn't know Columbus was from Italy) and the commitment if Massachusetts military units to American freedom. In even numbered years (aka 2016) the parade begins in the Suffolk Downs parking lot in East Boston, marches down Bennington Street and ends at Maverick square near the waterfront. Where to watch? The best viewing spots are along Bennington Street (Blue Line / Maverick). Get there early to claim a good spot! 


Monday, October 10th (aka Columbus Day) : Columbus Park Fall Festival 

Time: 12:00pm - 4:00pm 

Location: Christopher Columbus Park, Boston's North End (100 Atlantic Avenue - next to the Marriott Long Wharf Hotel) 

Public Transportation: Blue Line / Aquarium T stop 

Cost: FREE


I can't think of a more appropriate place to celebrate Columbus Day than at a park named after the explorer himself. This festival, which is sponsored by many local North End and Waterfront businesses, has become an annual event for the city and Columbus Day tradition for many families in the Boston area. The festival begins with a children's parade through the park, followed by a ceremony at the Christopher Columbus statue. There will also be a lot FREE entertainment and games (i.e. magicians, storytellers, musicians) My lunchtime suggestion: Bring a blanket and grab food from one of the nearby North End Italian bakeries or pizza joints, one of the many food stalls at Faneuil Hall Marketplace, or The Boston Public Market.

Opening our Doors Day

Time: 10:00am - 4:00pm 

Where: Multiple locations around the Fenway neighborhood 

Cost: FREE

More information:  Find a complete events schedule for Boston's Fenway neighborhood here 


The Fenway Alliance is inviting Boston residents to participate in the city's biggest single day of free arts, cultural, and educational events. The special festival will feature over sixty different activities, performances, tours, music shows, and games (did I mention for free??) Festivities will begin on the Mass Ave side of the Christian Science Plaza at the intersection of Huntington and Mass Ave with a kids parade (featuring a brass band), many performances, and...FREE CUPCAKES!! Also, as an added plus the event includes free admission into several Fenway museums (think: Museum of Fine Arts, Isabella Stuart Gardner Museum and the Mary Baker Eddy Library Mapparium)


Find more fun things to do this weekend in Boston here and on our facebok page

A Fluff Piece On Fluff

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Last Saturday was the annual "What the Fluff?" festival in Somerville. If you're a New Englander than you probably know what fluff is (think: that marshmallowy sticky spread you can only get in this part of the country) and if you're an international visitor you're probably thinking what the fluff is fluff?!? I always found it amusing to ask non-U.S residents if they know what fluff is and then have them look back at me with a blank stare. If you've never eaten fluff before do yourself a favor : go out, buy some, and eat it on bread with peanut butter (aka a fluffernutter sandwich). You can thank me later.

So why does Somerville even have a festival to celebrate a marshmallow spread? Good question. It's because in 1917 a guy named Archibald Query invented fluff right there in Union Square. Every year the city hosts a festival, complete with musical performances, games, and street vendors, to celebrate this creation.

The festival this year, themed "Fluff U: A Sweet Education" included events like fluff covered musical chairs, fluff jousting, a fluff inspired cooking competition (during which winners were given honorary degrees from the Somerville Mayor, Joe Curtatone) and more. The festival was even MCed by an Archibald Query impersonator. Basically, the whole thing is an big excuse to have fun, be weird, and eat a lot of fluff (what more could you want in an event??)

If you couldn't make the festival this year, MC (fake) Archibald Query made it known that next year is the 100th anniversary of the creation of fluff and therefore the festival will be an even bigger celebration. So big that planning for the festival will begin as early as next month. So save the date! And maybe think up some creative fluff baking ideas...

For other quirky state food fairs check out this article from National Geographic travel!

Autumn Colors Around The World

Global Immersions Recruiting - Monday, September 12, 2016


This month marks the beginning of the Autumn season in Boston. Soon the leaves will change and the air will become colder..even though it was 90 degrees and humid last week (gotta love that New England weather, right?) For me, fall is a season I really enjoy because of things like the excitement of going back to school, upcoming fall festivals, events for Halloween, and of course the beautiful way the trees look when I'm walking around the city.

Thinking about the changing seasons has me wondering what the fall season looks like in other parts of the world ( I've experienced fall abroad before, but I was in Greece and its basically hot there until December) I read an article on Lonley Planet about the world's best places to see Autumn colors and found that many countries also have New England-esque fall foliage.  Here are some highlights. 

Fall in Japan is just as pretty as the spring. Kouyou or Autumn leaves can be seen coloring the whole country, staring in the North and spreading to the South in September. The above photo is from the ancient capital of Nara, where its historical shrines are surrounded by leaves in an array of colors. 

The landscape of Scotland offers some of the finest Autumn scenes in Europe. According to the article, the best place to experience these Autumn hues is Pitlochry, which also hosts an Enchanted Forest each October where the trees are lit up and music is played as residents explore the woods around town.  

Huangshan, or Yellow Mountain, is, according to Lonley Planet, arguably the best place in China for getting the full Autumn effect. The trees covering the mountain turn a bright red throughout October drawing in thousands of tourists from other parts of the country. The foliage is particularly beautiful at sunrise.  

It's no surprise that New England made the list, after all there are so many different destinations (and all equally beautiful in the Fall) to choose from. The New England location that the article decided was the best place in the area (and in the world) to experience Aumtumn was New Hampshire's White Mountains. A hike through the hills in October will surround you with bright red maple leaves and a drive to Silver Casacde Falls in Carroll Country provides a stunning view of the trees next to a gorgeous waterfall. 

If you are looking for ways to experience Fall close to home, we provided a few destinations in last weeks blog post. You can also check out our Facebook page to see what seasonal activities are happening around Boston! 

How Do You Like Them Apples!

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, September 07, 2016

The Autumn season is a great time in Boston to be out doors and admire one of the most beautiful seasons in Massachusetts. A fun activity this time of year is visiting farms around Boston for apple picking, pumpkin picking, hay rides, corn mazes and more...because (although it is delicious) pumpkin spice iced coffee isn't the only way to experience Fall. So put on your best flannel and enjoy the finest foliage (and cider donuts)  that New England has to offer. 

Boston Hill Farm, North Andover MA


Boston Hill Farm is a PYO orchard and farm stand located thirty minutes from the city in the quaint suburb of North Andover. The farm is open for berry picking in the summer and pumpkin and apple picking in the fall. Beginning in mid September through October the Farm hosts Apple Festivals every Saturday and Sunday and offers pumpkin picking until Halloween.  After you've decided on the perfect future Jack o' Lantern you can visit the farm stand for homemade treats like honey, jelly, fudge, and ice cream. 

Connors Farm, Danvers MA


When I looked at the map of Connors Farm is reminded me of an amusement park. There aren't roller coasters or anything like that but it definitely has more entertainment attractions that your average little red barn. In addition to apple picking and a fresh farm stand, Connors Farm is famous for their Giant Corn Maze which opens this year on September 10th - and this year its Charlie Brown themed. During October they open the Hysteria Scream Park (think: Giant Corn Maze but scary) in celebration of Halloween. Like I said before, there's no roller coasters, but there is rides! Hay rides that is....you can take one around the whole farm!

Russell Orchards, Ipswich MA


Russell Orchards might be well known for their apple picking, but the best part about the farm (in my opinion) is definitely their cider donuts. They are well worth the drive from Boston and are freshly made at the store everyday. Actually, one of the things that makes the Orchard's store so special is that everything is made fresh and all of the produce they see is grown right there on the farm. Right now, the store also features produce, honey, and eggs. My other favorite part about Russell Orchards is the animals :) You can visit all of the barnyard animals and even feed them too. If you don't visit for the cider donuts at least come for the bunnies. 

Labor Day Weekend!

Global Immersions Recruiting - Monday, August 29, 2016

Next Monday, September 5th, is Labor Day in the U.S. You may only know Labor Day as that Monday in September where you don't have to work, or if you're a student, it's that day in the beginning of the school year when you don't have class. But what does Labor Day really mean? Why do we have this holiday?



Labor Day is a public holiday that honors the American Labor movement and celebrates the contributions that workers have made to better the country. Labor Day has its origins in the labor union movement, specifically the eight-hour day movement, which advocated eight hours for work, eight hours for recreation, and eight hours for rest.

For many countries, Labor Day is synonymous with, International Workers' Day, which occurs on May 1st (you might also know this as May Day). For other countries, Labor Day is celebrated on a different date, often one with special significance for the labor movement in that country. (hint: ask you visitor about Labor Day celebrations in their country)


Labor Day in Canada and the United States is also considered the unofficial end of Summer (*sad face* ) as it is celebrated on the first Monday of September during the time summer vacations are ending and students are returning to school. 

What can you do to celebrate Labor day? When the it was first created, The form for the celebration of Labor Day was outlined in the first proposal of the holiday: "A street parade to exhibit to the public the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations, followed by a festival for the workers and their families". Since then, A festival or parade has remained the basis for a proper Labor Day celebration, though with some changes made over time. Now, we see Labor Day filled with fire work displays, last trips to the beach, outdoor BBQs, and, of course, $ales. If you're looking for ways to spend you Labor Day this year, consider taking part in these events around Boston: 


Labor Day Fireworks over Boston Harbor-

Fire works launched from barges anchored off the North End and Seaport will illuminate the sky over Boston Harbor in celebration of Labor Day and the beginning of fall. The show begins at 9pm on Saturday, September 3rd. 

Where to watch: The best place to see the display is from the lawn along Christopher Columbus Park or by Long Wharf in the North End. The fireworks can also be easily seen from the South Boston Waterfront (especially around Fan Pier/ Seaport), the downtown waterfront, and Piers Park in East Boston


Labor Day Sales- 

Do some back to school shopping or revamp your fall wardrobe with Labor Day Sales throughout the city. The best places to shop? You can take advantage of reductions on already discounted prices at places like Assembly Row or Wrentham Village. If you're looking to stay in the city to shop, check out sales at Faneuil Hall, the Prudential Center, or shops around Downtown Crossing. 

For more Labor Day activity ideas click here. Enjoy the long weekend with your visitors!! 

 


Little Italy's Big Feast

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, August 24, 2016

This Friday marks the start of the three day festival, Saint Anthony's Feast, in the North End. As you might know, the North End has feasts and festivals all summer long, but Saint Anthony's is definietly the biggest and also happens to be a personal favorite of mine. Last year I attended the feast with my family and celebrated my (37.5%) Italian-ness by eating a cannoli on Endicott street. Even if you aren't Italian, or a canoli -lover like me you'll definitely still enjoy the festival - but come on, who doesn't love cannolis??

The Feast is a very lively event, drawing huge crowds that cover the historic streets of the North End. Hundreds of food vendors line the sidewalks serving every Italian plate you could think of; from caprese salads, to sausages, to lasagna, to aranchini. Pizza, calzones, calamari, ceci, torrone, cookies, pastries, and more.  National Geographic wasn't kidding when they called it "The Feast of all Feasts". Once you're full of Italian cooking you can stroll the streets listening to live musical performances or watch the giant statue of Saint Anthony be carried through the streets in an even giant-er parade. Experience food and beverage tastings, dancing, games, and crafts for kids. 

The best part about the celebration is that a lot of North end restaurants that are typically crowded (think: Mikes Pasteries, Pizzeria Regina) have stands where you can get their famous food without waiting in an endless line. Did you say Mike's Pastries without a line??? I know right, unheard of. 

I also really like going to The Feast because the atmosphere is so upbeat and the crowd is so fun. Even though I'm only like (almost) half Italian, its nice to be around a group of people who are all part of a similar history and are celebrating a common heritage. Above everything, I enjoy being surrounded by others who share my love of c̶a̶r̶b̶s̶ ̶ Italian food. So, if this post has convinced you to go, then the only remaining tough choice is deciding what to eat. 

For a full schedule of the weekends events and a brief history of Saint Anthony's Feast click here. 

A Little Taste of the World

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Would you eat a pickle chip? What about an octopus chip? Would you try a whiskey and haggis chip? How about a Marmite chip? Why am I even asking about chips???? Well, National Geographic recently published an article about unusual potato chip flavors around the world which I thought was very interesting. The article is an interview with Ali Payne, the vice president of global snacks innovation at PepsiCo, who explains how cultural cravings affect potato chip flavor trends. She talks about how chip flavors reflect the components of the typical foods in each region and are therefore the best way to eat like a local when traveling. 

 In other words: potato chips make great souvenirs. 

If you're familiar with the Do Us a Flavor competition (aka the thing responsible for Chicken and Waffles Lay's) then you've probably seen some pretty crazy chip flavors on the shelves. According to Ali Payne, preferences for flavors in the program are usually similar to local comfort food - which explains flavors like garlic bread or southern biscuits and gravy in the U.S. and English Breakfast in the U.K.

The part of the article that I found really interesting though was about how globalization is affecting our food - or more specifically our chips. The article explains that since people are becoming more and more exposed to different flavor around the world from travel and social media, ingredients from other countries are gaining popularity.  "A flavor like wasabi and ginger, which may have once been considered exotic in the U.S., is now a hugely popular flavor thanks to the prevalence of Japanese cuisine, and Italian red meat is now one of the most popular flavors in China." 

I also learned from this article that the U.S. has the most flavor diversity of any country (which makes sense considering the whole melting pot thing) so I was inspired to go to a local grocery store and see for myself the range of flavors that the US potato chip market has to offer. What I gathered from looking at the aisles was that the US does in fact have a wide variety of chips...actually compared to the grocery stores that I've visited in Europe, we have a wide variety of everything. So, perhaps it is true that the food in our stores reflects the diversity of our nation. If anything, it definitely reflects our culture of consumerism. 


In looking at a survey done in 2015, it appears that although we have a diverse variety of odd flavors, the most popular flavors among Americans tend to be more conservative, reflecting typical American dishes and usual food flavorings. This is not surprising given the information in the article. People prefer the types of flavors that they have grown up eating, and for Americans this means flavors like plain and (of course) BBQ. 


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