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Eating Abroad Europe Sweden

Gothenburg, Sweden – A Food Tour

February 10, 2020

The original plan was to go to Stockholm, but that would have involved handing over our hard-earned dosh to Ryanair, something we had pledged never to do again… so that plan was never going to take off. Thankfully, with the help of Google and our trusty 36 Hours in Europe book, it didn’t take long to conjure up an alternative: Gothenburg. Sweden’s second city caught our attention because it was often lumbered with the tagline of being a little rough around the edges but undergoing a resurgence. We like the sound of places like this, they are usually a little more under the radar and less chaotic than the main tourist haunts.

After spending a long weekend in Gothenburg, I would whole-heartedly recommend it as city break destination for those who are content with strolling the pretty streets, browsing through the trendy shops, and wandering down the halls of their excellent museums. We did all that, but mainly so we could walk off all the food we were devouring. The city is covered by both the Michelin Guide and its specifically Nordic counterpart, the White Guide, so there is a lot of great food to be had at all times of the day. We dabbled in the Swedish ‘fika’ culture  with stops for tea and buns, while also enjoying a mix of traditional and modern Swedish cuisine – here are a few ideas for you if you ever find yourself in Gothenburg…

Outside of the Fiskekoka in Gothenburg

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Eating Abroad England Europe Featured

The Hand and Flowers & The Coach, Marlow – A Gourmet Getaway

February 5, 2018

There I was sprawled across our couch with a cup of tea to my left, a stack of cookbooks to my right, and Saturday Kitchen bumbling along with its forced laughs in the background; a familiar scene that happens most lazy Saturday mornings in our flat. I was ready to complete my favourite chore of the weekend: planning that week’s menu. What a rock and roll life I lead, eh? I had already spent the last ten minutes debating the merits of using up the rest of my gochujang in a Korean stew from ‘Our Korean Kitchen’, or making Tom Kerridge’s barbeque pineapple chicken for the hundredth time when I had a different brainwave. Flipping through our well-thumbed copy of his ‘Best Ever Dishes’ one more time, I decided to take a break from Tom’s recipes in my kitchen because I would rather try them out in his kitchen instead…

The thing is, the recipes in this book are quite involved. We’ve cooked from it many times but have rarely followed all the steps because unlike Tom, we don’t have the patience nor dedication; and yet, most dishes are still rib-tickling winners. So imagine how good his food must be when someone doesn’t cut corners. And with that thought I was sold. Alas, getting a table at The Hand and Flowers, Tom Kerridge’s two Michelin star pub, is easier said than done. It is notoriously hard to book, even harder if you also want a room reservation, as I did. Near impossible if you were looking for a specific day or date. Thankfully I was not; with the end of my work contract and the start of our travels looming, the one thing I did have on my side was flexibility. A random Tuesday night in two month’s time? Mission accomplished.

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Eating Abroad Europe France

Bordeaux – Two Must-Try Modern Bistros

November 21, 2017

Bordeaux is the only city in Europe I have visited three times; technically not a single time was of my choosing, but each time made me fall in love with it even more. The first visit was a fleeting one, just a couple of hours while we changed trains from Toulouse to San Sebastian and after which we vowed to return. I left a certain someone behind on the second visit, running off to spend the weekend with my girlfriends indulging in too much good wine and great gossip. And finally, the most romantic visit of all was enroute to a beautiful wedding just outside of the city. Three strikes Bordeaux, and you are still very much not out…

Dare I say, Bordeaux is almost the perfect weekend package – it has enough showstopper sights and attractions within the city to keep you interested while also being the perfect base for exploring the wine regions of Saint Emilion and the Médoc. I find the muted tones of the city chic and alluring, I can pass a couple of hours window-shopping both high-end stores and pretty boutiques, and in between all that, I eat and drink. A lot. I may have always ended up in Bordeaux quite by chance but where to spend my precious meal times is something I try not to leave to random selection.

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Eating Abroad Europe Featured Spain

Córdoba – An Andalusian Gem

November 14, 2017

Right in the heart of Andalusia lies the city of Córdoba; full of mysterious lanes and architectural gems, this was once one of the biggest and most important cities in Western Europe. These days, it is often overshadowed by its glossier neighbours Seville and Granada but is still very much worth a visit. Throughout history, the city has always been viewed as the jewel in any crown due to its prime regional location and fertile surroundings. At one point in time, it was the capital of Roman Spain, after which it was taken over by the Arabs, before the Christians marched in… each leaving their mark and giving Córdoba an intricate and fascinating history.

The old town is compact and best traversed by foot to really immerse yourself into life within these city walls. As we always do when we arrive in a new city, a certain someone and I wandered out with the intention to get a feel for the city, see what we could see and most likely, get a little lost. When you’re somewhere like Córdoba, it pays to take a wrong turn here or there, just to see what’s round the corner… sometimes we found ourselves on a street so quiet, even our footsteps seemed like an intrusion, while other times we walked straight out into a main square lined with tourist-tat shops! Here’s how we spent our day in Córdoba…

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Eating Abroad Europe Featured Italy

Winter Street Food Tour with Streaty Palermo, Sicily

November 7, 2017

If the streets of Palermo could talk, I am sure they would have some epic tales to tell. Sicily’s capital has endured more than its fair share of conquerers, rulers, and passer-bys, each bringing a dose of prosperity and turmoil to these shores as they came and went. What they left behind was an intriguing jumble of cultures and styles, layered on top of each other to create one which you could say is what makes Palermo so unique. This is quite evident in the city’s architecture where Norman facades give way to Byzantine mosaics, which are in turn housed under the Arab domes and arches, but it has also left its mark quite strongly on the cuisine.

While I am fond of getting lost in the warrens of an old city, what I love even more is to discover edible gems down the narrow alley ways and street corners which only the locals know about. Rumour had it that here in Palermo there were plenty such gems, all we needed was that local. Accosting strangers in the street didn’t seem wise, so we booked ourselves onto a street food tour with Streaty Palermo. Meandering through the streets with Marco, our exuberant born and bred Palermitan guide, was definitely the best way of getting a taste of the city.

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Eating Abroad England Europe

The Yorke Arms, Yorkshire

November 4, 2015

Has anyone else noticed that everyone is talking about the ‘F-word’ right now? There’s great debate over what it actually means, and it’s not only the women bandying it around, men are getting in on the action too. I’ve never used it to describe myself, but I guess I am one… so here goes, I’ll admit to you that I am a feminist. Though I would actually prefer to describe myself as an egalitarian because equality for all is actually what we’re striving for, right? Growing up in the ‘girls can do anything’ generation, it blows my mind that it was once commonplace to think and even proclaim that a woman’s place was in the kitchen. However what renders me even more speechless is the contradictory stereotype that it was only a kitchen in the home, the professional variety was still a man’s world. What the?!

Luckily the earlier stereotype is almost completely erased and I’d like to think we are making inroads with banishing the second one but we’ve still got a way to go. While watching this year’s Great British Menu honouring the Women’s Institute, I was a little disappointed to see less than a handful of female chefs competing and only one getting through to the finals. According to Great British Chefs, of the 169 Michelin starred restaurants in the UK right now, only eight are headed up by women, even with my poor grasp of numbers I know that’s a teeny tiny percentage. But it’s still an improvement on the year before so with my ‘girls can do anything’ attitude I have faith it’ll keep growing.

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Eating Abroad England Europe

The Star Inn at Harome, Yorkshire

October 27, 2015

We’ve all heard and shared our own gripes about National Rail, the usual ones being lateness, overcrowded carriages and just how bloody expensive tickets can be, so I thought I would go against the tide and share a National Rail win! When we first arrived in the UK, we decided to visit friends in Scotland, at the time of agreement, we didn’t quite realise it would involve a train from London to Edinburgh, a tight change from Edinburgh to Pitlochry, then finally another change to Dunkeld and Birnam. The first leg ran late, which meant we missed the second leg, which meant the third leg was a total write off.

We were going to put it down to bad luck but a staff member suggested we apply for compensation, so we did it and next thing we knew we had over £300 worth of train travel at our disposal. With time running out to use them, we settled on a weekend in York: a dose of culture at the stunning York Minster, a walk on the city walls with stops at any other attractions we stumbled across, and dinner at The Star Inn. That was the original plan, but as you know my greedy Michelin star hunger got in the way and the weekend was extended…

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