Image from Gourmet
This is an associated post.
Three Unexpected Foodie Destinations in Europe
The European Continent is one of the most diverse in the world, in terms of culture, landscape, and most importantly, food. It was actually where my passion for food and culture really developed.
I lived in The Netherlands for half a year, which isn’t very long, but it changed my life. I’m not sure I would be doing what I’m doing now if it wasn’t for that experience. I would make my travel arrangements based on restaurants and food I wanted to try. I would research the heck out of national foods, how to make them, what makes them authentic, and even meet people from those countries so I could ask them about the history of their cuisine. Sometimes I would even ask for their mother’s recipes. It was intense and it became almost an obsession. Everywhere I went I would take photos and notes of what I was eating, and back then I had not even started a blog yet. It was when I came back to Vancouver that I started it. Anyway it has been four and a half years of blogging now and I’m glad I did it, but I haven’t been back to Europe since. I hope to in 2014.
A few unexpected foodie places I want to visit and revisit are:
Costa Dorada, Spain
The popular Spanish coast south of Barcelona is a certified haven for seafood. I’d be remiss if I did not first mention Sequet, or Catalonian fish stew. A mixture of fish, shellfish, and other ingredients, this delicious stew (or soup depending on who makes it) is a must try. It’s the Spanish version of a bouillabaisse.
One of my favourite dishes in Barcelona was a squid ink paella. It’s really hard to find authentic paella in Spain and most of them are frozen. It’s an all day affair to make one so it’s a treat when you get it home made. I was lucky to have my friend’s mom make me one, but I would love to go back to Spain and explore more of their paella scene and the different versions.
Tenerife, Canary Islands
Tenerife is a holiday hotspot as far as the rest of Europe is concerned, with its cheap holiday deals, blazing sunshine and stunning island shores. But it’s also a dark horse when it comes to traditional Canarian fare. I know nothing about the Canary Island, but I was told the Papas Arrugadas is a must try. This is a traditional potato dish that is boiled in salted water and served with two types of sauce. Another favorite fish dish was the Sancocho Canario, a salted fish stew or casserole with wrinkled potatoes, sweet potatoes, and mojo sauce.
I’ve only been to a few places in Eastern Europe, but I’d love to explore more.
I don’t have experience with Bulgarian food, but would love to get that in Bulgaria. The chance to taste traditional Bulgarian food had not really crossed my mind but the foodie experience here is unique, particularly in the culture-rich capital, Sofia. Local food runs from Shopska salad, the “salad that defines Bulgaria” to Tarator, a cold soup made out of yogurt, cucumbers, and garlic. The dish that most intrigued me was the Lukanka, a spicy sausage made of minced meat and other spices. While this may not seem like the most unusual of dishes, the fact that the traditional way to make it includes, “half-drying it in a cold, windy place” got me intrigued.
So there you have it, a few out-of-the-box foodie destinations. Remember though, great food can be found anywhere, as long as you’re willing to give every place a chance, try everything, and ask the locals for a recommendation.