Saturday, September 30, 2017

The US Midwest and Great Lakes Region

American Travel Hubs and Itineraries
Illinois and Iowa
Champaign County is nearly equidistant from Chicago, St Louis and Indianapolis; a thriving micro-urban oasis supported by local agriculture, technology and research and home to the University of Illinois.
The College of Agriculture, Consumer and Environmental Science is a leader in crop science, bioenergy and animal science. Farmer-owned Grain Cooperatives in America’s heartland and the Illinois grain belt; rich soils and modern farm practices produce record yields of quality grains. Ethanol and distiller’s grain production. Research in soybeans, from production to consumption, by the National Soybeans Research Laboratory. The National Center for Supercomputing Applications, whose Blue Waters Supercomputer is the largest and most powerful on a university campus and among the largest in the world. Read More
The River Towns of Illinois along the banks and bluffs of the Mississippi River hug the western border of Illinois for 550 miles. Experience an Illinois winery, brewery, farm, u-pick, or local farm to table restaurant. Four Centuries of history and heritage and thousands of stories that recount America's evolution while experiencing breathtaking views, majestic landscapes and species that travel thousands of miles for a visit or to make themselves a home.  Read More
The Quad Cities area consists of Davenport and Bettendorf in Iowa, and Moline, East Moline and Rock Island in Illinois. The region has the excitement of a big city and the hospitality of a small town with award-winning museums and cultural centers, internationally-recognized festivals, beautiful riverfronts and a vibrant nightlife.
Davenport has beautiful riverfront vistas and an active downtown area with the Figge Art and Putnam History Museums and great shopping at the North Park Mall.
Bettendorf the Library and adjacent Family Museum provide exciting programs and storytelling. The numerous outdoor activities include the Splash Landing water park, Wallace's Garden Center and Duck Creek Recreational Trail.
Rock Island‘s downtown is known for its festivals and nightlife with Cajun food and zydeco music; Jamaican food and reggae music; and a fall Irish folk festival. Family activities include the country's largest go-kart street race. Experience a downtown architectural tour and the Broadway Historic District.
Moline is one of the agricultural capitals of the world, home of John Deere and steeped in history. The modern downtown area features great riverfront views and evening entertainment with musicals performed by local actors.
East Moline is home to many great events and festivities. Empire Park is right on the Mississippi River, walk along the riverfront trails of The Quarter or visit to the John Deere Harvester Works, one of the world's largest combine factories. Read More

The North Shore Communities along Lake Michigan are minutes from Chicago’s city center: Evanston, Glenview, Northbrook, Prospect Heights, Skokie, Wheeling and Winnekta. Read More

South Dakota
Aberdeen South Dakota Before the arrival of European settlers, the area was inhabited by the Sioux Indians. The first group of Euro-American settlers to reach the area in the 1820s was a party of four people, three horses, two mules, fifteen cattle, and two wagons. This group of settlers was later joined by another group the following spring, and eventually more settlers migrated toward this general area. Like many towns of the Midwest, Aberdeen was built around the newly developing railroads. Officially plotted as a town site on January 3, 1881 by the Milwaukee Road which was presided over by Alexander Mitchell, who was born in Scotland, hence the name Aberdeen. The town was officially founded on July 6, 1881, the date of the first arrival of a Milwaukee Railroad train.
Aberdeen the perfect family and business destination

The Dacotah Prairie Museum The idea for a community museum in Aberdeen dates back almost 70 years. In 1938, John Murphy, a Northern State College professor, and Marc Cleworth, a salesman, created the Northern South Dakota History Museum which was housed in the Central building on Northern's campus. The collection of this first museum grew rapidly through loans and donations until by 1941, it had amassed a collection of over 500 items. Read More

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Rapid City is centrally located to visit the Black Hills, Mount Rushmore, the Crazy Horse Memorial, Custer State Park and the Badlands.  
Western and Native American Heritage throughout the city you will find Native American history exhibits, fine arts displays, and interactive museums like the Journey Museum that takes you from the formation of the Black Hills over 2.5 billion years ago to the continuing saga of the Western frontier. Read More

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Italy Gelato and Chocolate Tour Bologna Florence and Perugia

Our Gelato and Chocolate Itineraries let you follow the various processes of making, including explanatory videos and tastings, as you walk through the whole production process.
Bologna and Gelato
12.000 BC to the 13th Century AD in Mesopotamia, dispatch runners traveled one hundred kilometers on foot to get the snow and ice necessary to cool the drinks served during the royal banquets and religious ceremonies held at Mari Palace. During endless feasts, the Romans paraded their gold and silver colj nivarum, using them to filter the snow. The Arabs developed shrb (sugar syrup) and in Palermo they grew 400 different types of flowers to flavor their sorbets.
16th to 18th Centuries the birth of a noble trade Caterina de’ Medici and Cosimo Ruggieri, celebrated alchemist and astrologist, introduced the Florentine Renaissance to Paris. The architect Bernardo Buontalenti is credited with the egg cream gelato, but Francesco Redi and Lorenzo Magalotti made it famous by singing its praises and describing its ingredients. Francesco Procopio Cutò, later known as François Procope des Couteaux, sold sorbets to Parisian intellectuals in his café.
The Neapolitan doctor Filippo Baldini wrote that sorbet is good both for your body and your mood
19th Century Gelato Goes Global customs change and gelato and sorbets start to play significant roles in the menus of important luncheons and suppers. Sorbet, gelato, hard treats, and frozen creams appeared in the haute cuisine recipe books. With the invention of artificial ice, gelato moved out into the streets with the help of street vendors.
1900 – 1950 New Technologies the cone makes it easier to eat gelato in the streets, gelato shops appear and the Gelato Manual is published in Italy. Science and technology help gelato artisans with production innovations.
1950 – 1985 Gelato Becomes a Science consumption grows rapidly with industrial ice cream but artisans and suppliers commit to quality improvement and the pasteurizer guarantees food safety.

In between your gelato experience in Bologna and your chocolate adventure in Perugia you will visit Florence and its cultural and culinary traditions.

Perugia and Chocolate
Chocolate History up until the late 18th century, chocolate only existed in liquid form and was drunk exclusively by the aristocracy and the clergy, only to spread to other sectors of society, beginning with the wealthy merchant classes. The drink of the gods dates back to the Maya, using cocoa beans to prepare a beverage, the Xocoatl, with a very spicy and intense flavor. Cocoa becomes a very valuable commodity. Christopher Columbus and Cortes discover the Americas, the cocoa plant and bear the seeds for the first time in Europe. The recipe of the Aztecs, with red pepper and hot spices, is modified with cinnamon, sugar, vanilla and cocoa for a sweeter taste. In Italy, Venetian and Florentine masters give life to the art of preparing chocolate and start exporting it.
19th Century chocolate becomes accessible to a wider audience, product quality improves and new varieties are created. New manufacturing processes separate cocoa paste and cocoa butter.

Tasting Chocolate Sight color and brilliance communicate chocolate perfection; the best are shiny. Check its nuances and gloss before tasting it. Tact scroll slowly the chocolate with your fingers to uncover its silky texture. Feel it on your lips: good chocolate is smooth, velvety and melts quickly.
Smell a lingering, intoxicating and intense fragrance: cocoa releases olfactory emotions that are never forgotten. Breathe deeply and feel all the richness and harmony of aromas. Hear break the tablet with your fingers and listen to the sensual sound it produces. Taste the endless aromas that make chocolate a most intoxicating experience for the palate.

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For a Gelato and Chocolate Tour in Bologna Perugia and Florence

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