Food and the incredible memories that it evokes
Gary and I have tasted some incredible dishes from our travels. Whether they have been cooked in tiny makeshift kitchens, from a street food vendor or served in an upmarket restaurant. They have all been so memorable in their own way.
The Zaharra Pintxos bar in the corner of Plaza Nueva, Bilbao
I mentioned how particular dishes or ingredients can differ so much from region to region. Spain is such an amazing example of this, so without further ado, let’s get stuck in.
Tapas and Pintxos
If you are in the Basque region, you do not want to get your pintxos and tapas mixed up. The residents of Basque are very proud of the culture, and you wouldn’t want to go around upsetting anyone.
Pintxos at the Mercado de la Ribera, Bilbao
We visited Bilbao a few years ago, and the quality and variety of pintxos are incredible. From the tiny little bars to the bustling Mercado de la Ribera.
Now if you are anywhere else in Spain, you’re allowed to refer to it as tapas. Once again, we have had some delicious dishes, from north to south.
So much choice, Logroño
The evening on Calle del Laurel, Logroño
A helpful guide
There are so many incredible places to discover in Spain and I love planning road trips. I often use the DK Eyewitness books, I find them extremely informative, easy to follow and the pictures and maps tempt you into searching for more.
We used a previous version of this book to plan our Spanish road trips, now you can grab the revised copy.
Well, Valencia has a few specialities the first of which is paella. I couldn’t mention Spain and not include paella and Valencia is the birthplace of this delicious dish.
I do love a paella when it is cooked traditionally. We’ve prepared this dish many times at home, and slowly, slowly we are perfecting it.
Paella in Spain
The other speciality from Valencia is horchata de chufa, accompanied with fartons (no laughing now). This is often enjoyed for breakfast if you have a sweet tooth. We went for the whole experience and ordered churros too.
The traditional place to indulge in these is at a Horchateria, and we headed for Horchateria Santa Catalina, in the heart of the old town.
A glass of horchata
One and a half fartons, Horchateria Santa Catalina, Valencia, Spain
Fartons are light pastry fingers dusted in icing sugar and are dipped in the horchata. The horchata is like a milk drink and chufa nuts, also known as tiger nuts, it is usually served in a long tall glass and is ice cold.
More from Spain
Octopus in Oviedo
Prior to us visiting Croatia I must confess that I wasn’t too aware of the culinary specialities that Croatia was renowned for. Although with its location along the Adriatic Sea, fish and seafood were going to play a prominent role.
Did you know that Croatia were producers of olive oil? We stopped at a roadside kiosk and brought some home.
From the sea
Cuttlefish Risotto in Zadar
A few of the other dishes we had were stuffed squid, fish skewers. To be honest, a simply grilled whole fish truly takes some beating.
My favourite dish during our road trip around Croatia was Brodet/Brudet which I had in Trogir. This a fish stew and traditionally made with three types of fish, shellfish and served with polenta.
Brodet - A Croatian Fish Stew
It was incredible. We did try and recreate it at home; however, it was a little lost in translation.
A helpful guide
If you've yet to discover the delights of Croatia you're in for a treat. While planning our road trip, I used the DK Eyewitness books. I find them extremely informative, easy to follow and the pictures and maps tempt you into discovering more.
We used a previous version of this book to plan our north to south Croatian road trip, now you can grab the revised copy.
From the land
A dish that is quite popular in Croatia and reasonably good value is Čevapi. They may look like sausages as they are long and thin, but they are actually made from minced beef and pork and grilled. Similar to a Greek or Turkish kebab.
Pasticada - succulent beef in a rich sauce.
Another meat dish is Pašticada, it is a very traditional dish of the Dalmatia region, though not always easy to find. Beef is marinated with specific ingredients overnight, then slow-roasted to produce succulent flavours within in a rich sauce. The dish is traditionally served with gnocchi.
Meat platters are also be found in many restaurants, particularly if they have a wood-burning grill.
Palacinke - Croatian pancakes
When we visited Florence a few years ago, the choice and the quality of the restaurants were incredible. Although my weakness is gelato and where better to indulge in it than Italy. The range of flavours was just too much, so for research purposes, I had to try quite a few.
The gelato shop
A helpful guide
If your heading off on your own Italian adventure, than grab a copy of this DK Eyewitness book. I love planning road trips and these guides are so helpful. I find them extremely informative, easy to follow and the pictures and maps tempt you into discovering more of the back roads.
We used a previous version of this book to plan our Italian wanderings, now you can grab the revised copy.
Colourful fresh produce
One of the ways Gary and I love to experience the heart of a town or city is to head to a local food market. Vibrant swathes of colour and stimulating scents truly bring an ingredient to life.
It also allows you such an insight into the variety of produce each region has to offer.
The food market in Piazza Campo de' Fiori in Rome
Our taste of Africa
We’ve eaten some unusual food while visiting Zimbabwe and Namibia and had some amazing experiences. Especially heading out onto Lake Kariba and fishing for our supper each evening, while living on a houseboat.
Just to mention our culinary experiences in Zimbabwe. If you are a vegetarian, it may prove a challenge at times. Warthog, steaks and various types of antelope are often the order of the day, especially when a Braai is being fired up.
There is a Portuguese influence in Zimbabwe too, so this adds a pleasant spicy twist to the cooking.
Stew & Sadza
Biltong for sale in Zimbabwe
Give it a go
I went for the warthog salad roll, which I really enjoyed and yes, it tasted of pork. Although what really helped the whole experience was sitting next to the Zambezi River, sipping a glass of the local beer.
Yep, you guessed it a ‘Zambezi’.
A helpful guide
If you're considering an adventure around Zimbabwe, then your in for a holiday of a lifetime. I always find it incredibly useful to plan our trips with the help of a guide book.
Take a look at this informative Bradt guide, it will give you great tips and advice.
Namibia - The German touch
A touch of German in Namibia
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