9 traditional things to eat & drink in Belgium. With mussels!

Mussels for Everyone!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Bruges – Jan 2018

Have you ever been to Bruges. In Belgium?

Last week I told you that The Tall Young Gentleman and I went to Bruges.

And.

Horror of horrors.

We flew with Ryanair.

But it was pretty alright!

Bruges, otherwise known as Brugge (Dutch) or Bruges (French), is the capital and largest city of  West Flanders in the Flemish Region of Belgium!

The Golden Statue of Saint Michel – at the Cathedral of St. Michael & St. Gudula in Brussels – Belgium

Belgium, otherwise known as the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in the Western part of Europe, unlike Croatia which is in the Balkans, Latvia which is in Central Europe or Poland which is in the Eastern part of Europe!

It is bordered between Germany, Holland, France and Luxembourg.

It’s a very small country and has a population of just eleven (11) million people!

Culturally, Belgium is Dutch-speaking (59%), French-speaking (40%), and if it couldn’t get more complicated, German-speaking (1%) too!

The Dutch-speakers tend to be Flemish and live in a region called the Flanders, the French-speakers are Walloon, and the German-speakers are the minority, who live around the borders of Belgium close to Germany!

Belgium is, like Switzerland, officially bilingual being Flemish (Dutch-speaking) and French, and known as being from the Low Countries, or the Benelux group of states, consisting of Northern France, West Germany, Holland, Luxembourg and Belgium itself.

So let’s have a look at Belgian food shall we?

9 TRADITIONAL THINGS TO EAT & DRINK IN BELGIUM. WITH MUSSELS!

Belgian chocolates in Bruges – Belgium
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Bruges – Jan 2018

Now because of this marvellous mix of cultures and languages, Belgian food is an eclectic mix of Flemish, French & German cuisine. However, outside of the country itself, Belgium is famously known for its mussels, chocolate, waffles, chips or fries.

And beer!

“Belgian food,” otherwise known as dishes of Belgian origin, or thought of as “typically Belgian,” uses items such as potatoes, leeks, white asparagus, Belgian endives, otherwise known as witloof or witlof (Dutch) or chicory!

And of course, staples such as meat, cheese, butter, and beer!

1.  MUSSELS:

In my opinion, the biggest traditional dish that you can ever have in Belgium is Moules-frites, moules et frites or mosselen-friet (Dutch), but known to you and me, as mussels and chips (fries)!

You can practically see the ingredients jumping out of the pot of mussels!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Bruges – Jan 2018

Fresh mussels caught from the sea.

OMG!

Not only are mussels a most popular traditional dish, but they’re also considered to be the national dish of Belgium!

Mussels or moules are usually cooked or steamed as:

  • Moules natures: Mussels, celery, leeks and butter, steamed in a pot
  • Moules marinière: Mussels, shallots, parsley and butter, in a pot of white wine
  • Moules à la crème: Mussels in a pot of white wine stock, thickened with flour and cream
  • Moules parquées: Raw mussels on half a shell, served with a lemon-mustard sauce (very common in Brussels)
  • Moules à la bière: Mussels, shallots, parsley and butter, in a pot of beer!
  • Moules à l’ail: Mussels in a pot of sliced or minced garlic
  • Mosselsaus: Mussels in a pot of mayonnaise, mustard and vinegar!
  • Mussels in a pot of espelette pepper, Pernod liquor, or tomato sauce
Mussels served with a huge bowl of frites, chips or fries!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Bruges – Jan 2018

and served with a huge bowl of frites, also known as chips or fries!

As well as Belgium, mussels can be found in Northern France and in Jersey (one of the Channels Islands) linking the UK to France.

In fact, the last time I went to Brittany, I took the ferry on a day trip to Jersey where the locals speak both French and English, and you can use either pounds or Euros.

It’s a very nice island!

But I digress.

Did you know that mussels and chips were invented in Belgium?

We went to this nice restaurant on the riverside next to the fish market called Old Bruges.

I was actually looking for the number eight (8) best seafood restaurant in Bruges called De Gouden Karpel, Vismarkt, but because it was low season, it was closed!

On looking around, I found this one!

Mussels for Everyone!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Bruges – Jan 2018

Old Bruges looked pretty alright to me, and most importantly, it was the only restaurant at the fishmarket that was actually opened!

I don’t tend to use TripAdvisor for food recommendations as taste vary, but if you do, keep an open mind as the reviews are terrible. Having said that, we went there and the food and service was pretty alright!

We had the Moules natures and the Moules marinière served with a huge bowl of frites, also known as chips or fries!

We were so stuffed that we couldn’t order dessert or another glass of something else!

Yum!

Cost: €24.00

2.  BOTERHAMMEN / TARTINES:

Boterhammen or Tartine is not really a meal per se, but more of a butterbröt snack!

This Boterhammen or Tartine is not really a meal per se, but more of a snack. It’s a type of butterbröt and a meal that you would find in many European countries.

Traditionally, it’s a slice of rustic bread served on a wooden board, with a dollop of some sort of ingredient spread all over it such as butter, jam, peanut butter, cream cheese, smoked salmon, anchovies, cold cuts with radishes, pickles, tomatoes, and mustard or mayonnaise, as well as slices of boiled egg topped with caviar, and of course, pâté!

Some people think that a boterhammen is equivalent to a sandwich, but it isn’t!

A sandwich has two pieces of bread and something in the middle put together. A boterhammen is a single slice of open bread often served with a glass of Gueuze – a fermented Belgian champagne beer – usually found in Brussels!

We had decided not to include breakfast at our beautiful 4-star hotel – Martin’s Relais which was right next to the canal, ‘cos the breakfast buffet cost a whopping €22.00, and this wasn’t that type of holiday!

Boterhammen or tartine with pâté served with pickles & a dollop of mayonnaise!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Bruges – Jan 2018

As such, we were pretty famished by lunch-time and saw Der Vier Winden just off the Market Square!

From the outside, the restaurant looked really touristy, and it was. So we ordered the lunch menu!

Our starter was the boterhammen or tartine with pâté.

Our pâté was served with pickles, and a side salad with a dollop of mayonnaise!

Yum!

3.  EEL IN THE GREEN:

Paling in ‘t groen / Anguilles au vert, otherwise known as Eel in the Green!
© Takeaway Wikimedia Commons CC-BY-SA-3.0
Raw eels at the fishmongers. Just add your herbs & you’ve got Paling in ‘t groen / Anguilles au vert!

Paling in ‘t groen or Anguilles au vert is a traditional Flemish seafood dish, otherwise known as Eel in the Green!

It’s what it says on the tin – freshwater eel made in a green herb sauce of chervil, parsley, sage, ginger mint, oregano, thyme, watercress, tarragon, chives, basil, and stinging nettles.

The eels are made into a type of stew and served with bread or a bowl of frites, and a cold glass of beer!

You can usually find this dish at fishmongers, in market stalls, or even ready-made!

 

4. FRITES:

You can’t get better chips than fries from the Frites Museum in Bruges – Belgium!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Bruges – Jan 2018

There’s no point beating about the bush here, everyone loves chips, otherwise known as fries!

Of course, in Belgium it’s called frites!

I’m not a fan of frites covered with sauces especially mayo and tartare, unless I can dip it in myself...

However, at the Friet Museum / Fries Museum, we learnt all about the history of the Belgian chip. As well as sampling it too!

Frites or friets plays an important role in Belgian culture and cuisine.

The secret of the Belgian chip is :

Who doesn’t like fish n’ chips in Bruges – Belgium!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Bruges – Jan 2018
  • The type of potato used – Preferably a bintje potato
  • The fat or oil used – Unrefined beef tallow or blanc de boeuf
  • Freshly cooked potatoes, rather than raw
  • High temperatures – 190 °C  or 374 °F
  • And the importance of double-frying!

None of your low-fat-low-starch content here!

Cost: €1.40

Sauces: €0.60

5.  WATERZOOI:

Waterzooi, otherwise known as Gentse Waterzooi!

Waterzooi, otherwise known as Gentse Waterzooi, is a dish of stew that was invented in the Belgian town of Ghent!

Waterzooi is traditionally a stew made from freshwater fish, otherwise known as Viszooitje.

However, due to the scarcity of burbot and over-fishing, waterzooi or Kippenwaterzooi, is commonly made from a combination of boiled chicken, vegetable broth, potatoes, carrots, onions, swede, leeks, cream and eggs, instead!

6.  WAFFLES:

Traditional Bergische waffles or Belgian waffles!
9 traditional things to eat & drink in Belgium. With mussels!

A waffle is a dish made from leavened batter or dough that is cooked between two plates, and patterned to give a characteristic size, shape, and surface impression.

Waffles are eaten all over the world, but one of the most important types of waffle is known as the Belgian waffle or Brussels waffles, which was actually invented in Ghent (1839)!

It became world-famous when the restaurateur Maurice Vermersch, sold his Brussels waffles in America under the name “Bel-Gem Waffles” in 1964, and thus, the American Belgian waffle was born!

Waffle is derived from the Dutch word wafel, or wafele, but was first heard as the French word walfre, as far back as 1185, meaning honeycomb or cake!

There are a variety of waffles such as:

Liège Waffles – The most popular waffle in Belgium!
9 traditional things to eat & drink in Belgium. With mussels!
  • Traditional Bergische waffles
  • Flemish waffles, or Gaufres à la Flamande
  • Liège waffles
  • Brussels waffles
  • Stroopwafel
  • Galettes campinoises
  • Belgian waffles
  • American waffles

In Belgium, waffles are street food and can be eaten plain, with powdered sugar, whipped cream, strawberries, cherries, soft berries, syrup, or chocolate (American style)!

7.  RABBIT STEW:

If you’re a vegetarian, turn away now ‘cos in our in our household, a fluffy rabbit is called pork!

Being that it’s a Belgian dish, the traditional name of rabbit stew is Konijn in geuze or Lapin à la gueuze, which basically means rabbit stewed in Gueuze, a fermented Belgian champagne beer, usually found in Brussels!

Now I don’t know about you, but I’m very reluctant to eat fluffy animals, so in our household, we call rabbit – “pork!”

8.  CHOCOLATE:

Belgian chocolates in Bruges – Belgium
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Bruges – Jan 2018

Don’t get me started.

You all know how I detest chocolate...

However, for the integrity of this article, chocolate had to be added.

Belgian chocolate, otherwise known as chocolat belge or Belgische chocolade is chocolate produced in the country of Belgium!

Belgian chocolate goes as far back as 1635! In fact, by the mid-18th century, chocolate had become so popular among the aristocracy, that hot chocolate became de rigueur as to who could actually drink it!

Chocolate plays an important part in the Belgian economy, and there are over 2,000 chocolatiers in the country, with 172,000 tonnes produced each year, exported all over the world and shaped like sea shells, fish, diamonds and artistic creations that can be bought at town centres, market stands, and pretty much every village shop in Belgium!

When in Belgium, you ought to get yourself some chocolate truffles!

If you’re a fan, you know what to do, so don’t let me stop you from visiting the Choco-Story / Chocolate Museum, and of course, you ought to get yourself some chocolate truffles.

I bought a packet of organic milk chocolate Belgian thins. With almonds and toasted coconut chips (Yuk!) for my husband – The Music Producer. Cost: €5.90

That’s all I have to say!

9.  BELGIAN BEER:

Belgian beer isn’t taken seriously, but it’s alright!

OK. Belgian beer!

I live in Germany, so Belgian beer isn’t taken seriously!

Belgian beer spans from a variety of pale lagers to lambic beers and Flanders or Flemish red-brown ales! There are about 180  breweries in Belgium, and microbeers are a pretty big scene!

As in most parts of Northern, Eastern and Central Europe, beer culture isn’t just downing the cheap stuff as quickly as possible, and getting pissed, it’s a way of life!

Belgians drink up to 84 litres of beer a year, and are bought or served in bottles, and uniquely shaped beer glasses!

Belgian beer in Bruges – Brugse Zot!

While we were at the Old Bruges restaurant, I ordered a Belgian beer called Brugse Zot! Belgium isn’t Croatia or Slovenia, so things cost a little more. In this case, €6.00!

On the other hand, when we went to Der Vier Winden, my Stella beer cost a mere €3.50!

Son had an iced-tea. Cost: €3.75

He also had a Canada Dry. Cost €:4.00!

WHERE DID WE STAY?

Our 4 star hotel – Martin’s Relais – Oud Huis Amsterdam in Bruges – Belgium
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Bruges – Jan 2018

We stayed at the beautiful 4-star hotel – Martin’s Relais which was right next to the canal.

In fact, it’s historical name is Oud Huis Amsterdam – and between you and me, the view is very much like being in Holland!

Without the seedy bits!

I booked the Comfort Twin Room for character, as it featured high ceilings, a garden, a walk-in closet, river views, lots of space and free WiFi!

I thought it was a brilliant choice.

Cost: €97.62 per night. For two people, easily €48.81 a pop!

You can book Martin’s Relais here or in the banner link below!

Laters!

9 TRADITIONAL THINGS TO EAT & DRINK IN BELGIUM. WITH MUSSELS!

Bacon Pie in Bruges – Belgium!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Bruges – Jan 2018

This article is not sponsored, and all opinions and the delightful mussels and frites we devoured, are my very own!

I’ve got fantastic news. Find out more, next week!

I’ll be continuing my last visit to the UK and telling you all about it, later in the season!

Last week, I travelled to my 65th country and a new destination.

Can you guess where it was?

If you’re not in Berlin in April, you’re craaaazy!

Spring’s finally here!

That’s it for now.

We had a great time in Belgium.

See you next week!

Victoria in Bruges by the waterside – Belgium
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Bruges – Jan 2018

Note! I never travel without insurance as you never know what might happen.

I learnt my lesson in Spain. And obviously, in countries like Qatar, where technically the risk is higher, I can’t imagine going that far beyond WITHOUT INSURANCE. No siree! You can get yours here, at World Nomads!

Please note that there are now affiliate links (for the very first time) connected to this post. Please consider using the links, because every time some sort of accommodation or travel insurance is booked via my links, I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself!

A win-win for all!

Thanks a million!

Have you ever had Belgian food? Do you like mussels and chips, or would you prefer waffles? Can you guess which new country I went to? Let me know in your comments below!

See you in Berlin.

If you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

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9 traditional East European things to eat in Slovakia!

9 traditional East European things to eat in Slovakia!
9 traditional East European things to eat in Slovakia!

Have you ever been to Slovakia?

You know the one.

Slovakiaaaaaaaaa. Not Sloveeeeenia!

Most people haven’t or if they have, they’ve sort of breezed through.

In Prague reading something and looking all serious, but not completely serious!
In Prague reading something and looking all serious, but not completely serious!

On a day trip from either Budapest or Vienna.

Or worse, as an after-thought from visiting Prague or Krakow, which is no-where near the capital that is Bratislava!

Ah well!

Let’s have a look at Slovakian or Slovak food shall we.

Communist vodka & Jaffa cakes in Warsaw!
Communist vodka & Jaffa cakes in Warsaw!

Traditional Slovak cuisine, like Polish cuisine or Estonian cuisine, as well as Czech cuisine, is rather rustic in nature and tends towards the stodgy side of things!  These include such delights as wheat, potatoes, milk, dairy, pork, cabbage, and onions!

To a lesser degree beef, poultry, lamb and goat, eggs, beans, corn on the cob, lentils, parsley, carrots, wild mushrooms, and other vegetables are often used to create soup, and other dishes. Fruit like apples, plums, apricots, peaches,  and cherries, are also traditionally eaten.

9 traditional East European things to eat in Slovakia!
9 traditional East European things to eat in Slovakia!

It wasn’t too long ago that families had to grow and produce food for themselves, or trade or barter with their neighbours, or in local markets.

As a result, wheat was milled into bread, dumplings and noodles. Potatoes were boiled or made into potato dumplings, and milk was made into products such as butter, cream, sour cream, buttermilk, and various types of local rustic cheese.

Pork is the big thing, and typically made into sausages.

Pork is typically made into sausages, but not always! 9 traditional East European things to eat in Slovakia!
Pork is typically made into sausages, but not always! 9 traditional East European things to eat in Slovakia!

The Slovakians or Slovaks also have their own traditional blood sausage, smoked bacon, and lard.

Beef and chicken, as well as rabbit and venison is widely used, and sometimes goose.

Black bread or rye bread is as a direct influence from Austria, and many Slovakians or Slovaks eat bread for breakfast or for lunch with soup. Very frequently for dinner too!

Traditional Slovakian or Slovak drinks tend to be milk or beer!
Traditional Slovakian or Slovak drinks tend to be milk or beer!

Traditional drinks tend to be milk or beer!

We went to Bratislava, and this is what we had!

9 TRADITIONAL EAST EUROPEAN THINGS TO EAT IN SLOVAKIA!

9 traditional East European things to eat in Slovakia!
9 traditional East European things to eat in Slovakia!

We went to this really neat place called the Slovak Pub.

At the Slovak Pub in Bratislava - 9 traditional East European things to eat in Slovakia!
At the Slovak Pub in Bratislava – 9 traditional East European things to eat in Slovakia!

From the outside it looks really touristy but loads of people inside were also Slovak or Czech, so feel free to go there. They also had heavily discounted prices for students and the local population!

  • We had the national dish of Slovakia called Bryndzové Halušky

Bryndzové Halušky is a type of local potato dumplings (similar to gnocchi), mixed with traditional bryndza sheep cheese, and grated smoked sheep cheese, sprinkled on top with bacon pieces.

The national dish of Slovakia is called Bryndzové Halušky.
The national dish of Slovakia is called Bryndzové Halušky.

It’s a bit gooey and looks like porridge. I looove porridge but I didn’t like this dish, although “The Tall Young Gentleman” did.

He even had my portion, so that’s alright!

Cost: €4.50

  • We also had the Vychodniarsky Rezen
The Vychodniarsky Rezen is an Eastern Slovak schnitzel!
The Vychodniarsky Rezen is an Eastern Slovak schnitzel!

The Vychodniarsky Rezen which is an Eastern Slovak schnitzel made from chicken breast, green beans, ham, and cheese served with potato wedges and a few leaves of rucola!

Cost: €5.80

  • A large glass of Frankovka Modra or red wine went down quite well. I had two!
A large glass of Frankovka Modra or red wine, went down quite well!
A large glass of Frankovka Modra or red wine, went down quite well!

Cost: €1.80

  • Son had a large glass of Kofola
A large glass of Kofola - a popular traditional Slovak cola drink! ©Martin Strachoň
A large glass of Kofola – a popular traditional Slovak cola drink!
©Martin Strachoň

Kofola is a traditional Slovak cola drink and is very popular among the local Slovak or Slovakian people.

Cost: €1.30

The next place we tried was in the Old Town.

We went to a restaurant called Venturska Kubovna.

Even though we're tourists, stop cheating us! Should you visit Bratislava, or stay at home and not bother!
Even though we’re tourists, stop cheating us!
Should you visit Bratislava, or stay at home and not bother!

The food was great, the outdoor location was lovely, the prices were fantastic, but the service was rubbish, and I was not impressed in the least!

They seemed to think that because they get a whole barrage of tourists, who don’t know any better, the staff can blatantly cheat them.

I hate people who cheat.

I consider it akin to stealing.

I hate stealing too.

Srop scamming us in Slovakia!
Stop scamming us in Slovakia!

I’ve experienced this numerous times in both Slovakia AND the Czech Republic where prices are so cheap that it’s easy for the staff to change the order around, add “extra” bits that the customer didn’t request, or just simply, serve the most expensive item on the menu, even though the customer ordered something completely different!

In this case, not only did the restaurant get our order wrong, they even had the cheek to charge the complete bill of their local Slovakian mates, from the next table!

My suspicions were raised when the bill started with the butter that I ordered, but never received…..!

I had promised “The Tall Young Gentleman” a feast, so this is what we had:

  • A “Klubovňa” hamburger
A huge “Klubovňa” hamburger in the Old Town in Bratislava, Slovakia
A huge “Klubovňa” hamburger in the Old Town in Bratislava, Slovakia

A huge “Klubovňa” hamburger is a beef burger with homemade BBQ sauce, bacon, cheddar, served with sour pickles, onions, french fries, and a small pot of baked garlic mayonnaise sauce!

Cost: A hefty €10.99

I’m not into burgers. Or beef for that matter!

I prefer lamb.

I know!

Right!

Anyway, I wasn’t very hungry so I had:

  • A Gril. bravcova klobasa
The bravcova klobasa - a Slovakian grilled pork sausage served with mustard, horseradish and a pepper!
The bravcova klobasa – a Slovakian grilled pork sausage served with mustard, horseradish and a pepper!

The Gril. bravcova klobasa is a Slovakian grilled pork sausage served with a small bowl of mustard, a small bowl of spicy horseradish sauce, a small basket of bread, with a spicy hot pepper stuck on top of the sausage!

I was so impressed with the sausage that here is a closer look!

The bravcova klobasa - a most delicious Slovakian spicy grilled pork sausage!
The bravcova klobasa – a most delicious Slovakian spicy grilled pork sausage!

Cost: €5.99

After that, we decided to have dessert.

  • We had a Smotanova torta jahodova
A smotanova torta jahodova sponge biscuit cake filled with cream, vanilla & a strawberry purée topping, covered in kiwi!
A smotanova torta jahodova sponge biscuit cake filled with cream, vanilla & a strawberry purée topping, covered in kiwi!

A smotanova torta jahodova is a sponge biscuit cake filled with cream, vanilla, a strawberry purée topping, vanilla, and served with kiwi fruit and castor sugar!

It was quite delicious!

Cost: €2.99

  • We washed it all down with a huge glass of Zlanty bazant tank beer and Kofola – the traditional Slovak cola drink!
All washed down with a huge glass of Slovak beer and Kofola!
All washed down with a huge glass of Slovak beer and Kofola!

Cost for the beer: €2.78

Cost for the Kofola: €1.69

On our last night we went to a local restaurant just one (1) minute away from our hostel.

The restaurant was called Reštaurácia Štefánka.

Reštaurácia Štefánka in Bratislava, Slovakia
Reštaurácia Štefánka in Bratislava, Slovakia

The only person who spoke English was a teenage boy, but the food and service was so top-notch that if I ever went back to Bratislava, I might actually stay there instead!

I liked what I saw.

It’s a bit old school reminding me of the Hotel Neptun Castle on the Polish Baltic Sea, but the restaurant also has a hotel that was opened in 1904, is authentic, local, historical, and a family business.

So why not?

They also had proper Slovak or Slovakian prices so we had the set menu, as the menu was in Slovak and we didn’t really know what we were going to get lol!

  • Our first course was a dish of Slovak or Slovakian pierogi dumplings and Bryndzové Halušky.
A dish of Slovak or Slovakian pierogi dumplings and Bryndzové Halušky.
A dish of Slovak or Slovakian pierogi dumplings and Bryndzové Halušky.

I love pierogi of course, so that was a no-brainer, but I only nibbled at the Bryndzové Halušky, as I didn’t like it!

I discreetly swopped my half-full dish with my son’s empty one, as the hotel owner was hovering, proud of her food.

  • The second course for “The Tall Young Gentleman” was Viennese veal cutlet or Wiener Schnitzel.
Viennese veal cutlet or Wiener Schnitzel
Viennese veal cutlet or Wiener Schnitzel

Oh yeah!

Yum!

Viennese veal cutlet or Wiener Schnitzel is very thin, breaded and pan-fried cutlet made from veal slices, butterfly cut, lightly pounded flat, and rolled in flour, whipped eggs, and bread crumbs.

Phew!

It’s the national dish of Austria and due to the regional and historical closeness, found it’s way to Slovakia.

It was served with slices of lemon, and a side salad of tomatoes, lettuce, and spring onions.

The schnitzel was so huge that even “The Tall Young Gentleman” couldn’t manage it!

  • My second course was grilled salmon with green beans served with slices of lemon, a side salad, and a small plate of potato wedges! 
Grilled salmon with green beans, lemon slices, and a side salad.
Grilled salmon with green beans, lemon slices, and a side salad.

Here’s another look at the whole picture. Including the wedges!

Grilled salmon with green beans, lemon slices, a side salad. Including the potato wedges!
Grilled salmon with green beans, lemon slices, a side salad. Including the potato wedges!
  • For dessert, we had a lovely scoop of ice-cream, melon chunks, and grapes.
A lovely scoop of ice-cream, melon chunks, and grapes.
A lovely scoop of ice-cream, melon chunks, and grapes.

What a delight!

Cost for all three (3) servings: A marvellous €8.99

Cost for a glass of wine: €1.50

Cost for a glass of Kofola: €1.50

I don’t think you could do any better. And on a Sunday night too!

That’s it for now.

In the coming weeks, I’ll be writing about art and films in Berlin, travels to the German Baltic Sea, as well as a comprehensive post on how to use the train in Europe!

In October, I’ll be travelling to the TBEX ASIA travel conference in the Philippines, and revealing the extra Chinese-speaking country. It’s a new one!

In November, I’ll be travelling to Austria.

Yippee!

9 TRADITIONAL EAST EUROPEAN THINGS TO EAT IN SLOVAKIA!

9 traditional East European things to eat in Slovakia!
9 traditional East European things to eat in Slovakia!

This article is not sponsored, and all opinions and the tasty sausage, cheese and ice-cream that we licked our chops for, are my very own!

I’ll be at the official photocall for THE ONE Grand Show before the World Premiere at the Friedrichstadt-Palast on October 6th. With more than 100 artists on the world’s biggest theatre stage, a budget of over €11 million, and extravagant costumes designed by Jean Paul Gaultier, you know it’s going to be epic!

I’ll be attending a special By Invitation Only Berlin – Alternative Fashion Week (BAFW) press evening on September 28th.

I’ll also be going to the fashion shows at Berlin Alternative Fashion Week from September 28th – October 1st.

Save the Date!

September is going to be Wow!

I’ll be there. Will you?

As usual, you can also follow me via daily tweets and pictures on Twitter & Facebook!

If you’re not in Berlin in September, I can’t image where else you would be!

Watch this space!

9 traditional East European things to eat in Slovakia!
9 traditional East European things to eat in Slovakia!

Have you ever had traditional East European food? Can you think of other Slovak or Slovakian food? Can you guess the Chinese-speaking country that I’ll be going to? Have your say!

See you in Berlin.

If you like this post or if you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

Have you ever been to Bristol – Let’s eat & drink ’till the cows come home!

An English breakfast at Brooks GuestHouse in Bristol.

Heigh Ho. I went to Bristol!

And what a marvellous time I had. If you recall, a few weeks ago, I told you that I was going on an independent press trip.

In England.

Yes, I was the guest of Visit Bristol who were incredible as were the very people of Bristol themselves and as a result, my press trip was personally designed with my interests and passions in mind.

Thank you so much for your generosity and allowing me press access to various sights and venues.

So let’s get down to the nitty-gritty.

HAVE YOU EVER BEEN TO BRISTOL?

At Bristol Planetarium & Bristol Cathedral. @Bristol
At Bristol Planetarium & Bristol Cathedral.
@Bristol

When tourists and travellers think of England, they think of destinations such as London and Big Ben, Manchester (yay!) and textile powerhouses. They think of OxBridge and a history of intellectual minds. They think of Avon and Shakespeare, the Beatles and Liverpool. But do they ever think of places such as the Lake District, the Peak Districts, the Yorkshire Dales, the Isle of Wight or the Cotswolds?

Do they ever think of Bristol?

Ah. Bristol?

But where is it?

The Llandoger Trow in Bristol.
The Llandoger Trow in Bristol.

Well, Bristol is a county in South West England. It is England’s sixth (6th) most populous city and has a population of about 400,000 people. It began life as a village Brycgstow in Anglo-Saxon times and changed to Brigg stow – Bristol sometime in the 10th century.

Bristol’s history as a trading and important river location stretches back to 1051 when it was listed in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. By the 14th century, Bristol was trading with Spain, Portugal and Iceland, and ships were leaving Bristol to find colonies in the New World and for sadly, that awful blot, that was to become known as the slave trade. In the last two hundred (200) years, Bristol has transformed and grown into a busy commercial port and in modern times, a striving destination to visit due to the Harbourside’s renaissance with contemporary art, theatre performances, literature, history and heritage of the local people. It has also begun to fuse it’s historically elegant Georgian and Victorian architecture with contemporary modernity.

England, UK.

My goal was to visit and introduce a new destination that perhaps many of you have never heard of, so in the next few weeks, I will be introducing you to the delights of an English weekend and how to have it all, and some, in just 48 hours!

I wanted to see for myself if indeed, Bristol would burst with character and charm. If Bristol would be enveloped within the home of a historical harbour as well as the modern setting of a young university city. If Bristol would be able to offer fascinating attractions, interesting culture, as well as impressive shopping, so I’m going to go backwards and start with the food and then next week, I’m going to tell you what to do in Bristol and where to stay. Get ready for surprises!

©VisitBritain Joanna Henderson
©VisitBritain
Joanna Henderson

So back to food.

Yum! Yum! Yum!

One of the reasons that I wanted to go to Bristol was to try out the food.

If you recall, I live in Germany and yes, Germany has a reputation for stodge and yes, even though Berlin is a continental hot-spot, crammed with international restaurants over-flowing with cosmopolitan flair, we hardly have anything British at all!

We only have a single restaurant called East London.

A single restaurant!!

I know!

It’s a scandal!

It’s no surprise that I was desperate for some English nosh and Bristol is where I got it!

Here we go:

GO FORTH AND HAVE AN ENGLISH BREAKFAST!

Jams and preserves at breakfast. In Bristol.

I stayed at a rather exciting boutique B&B called Brooks Guest House and I slept in a stylish rooftop caravan rocket. Yep! I went glamping, but more about that next week!

Part of what made my visit a success was the breakfast that I had every morning.

It was lovely.

The breakfast staff took some time to warm up to me but by the evening, we were the best of friends, and they were eager to accommodate changes in the breakfast delivery!

And what did I have?

More to the point what should you have whenever you’re in England or anywhere else in Ireland or the British Isles? A Full English, Irish, Welsh or Scottish. That’s what?

A full English breakfast in Bristol!

How about a plate of crispy smoked streaky bacon, sausages, fried mushrooms, fried tomatoes and fried eggs?

 An English breakfast in Bristol.

Perhaps smoked streaky bacon with scrambled eggs on sour dough bread?

An English breakfast in Bristol.

What say you to a steaming bowl of porridge dribbled over with honey, slices of strawberries, raspberries and blue berries? Mmm!

A healthy breakfast in Bristol.

And if that doesn’t take your fancy, how about a refreshing glass of Scottish Cranacha – a mixture of whipped cream or yoghurt, jam, honey, toasted oatmeal or home-made muesli with fruit and a little bit of whisky! Since I don’t eat nuts, I had the cream, with jam, cornflakes and fruit.

I left out the whisky LOL!

LUNCH TIME SNACKS

A Marks & Spencers prawn and cocktail sandwich!

Whenever I’m in England, I like to have a lunchtime snack of prawn and cocktail sandwiches, so I went to the High Street on Broadmead and bought some at Marks & Spencers (M&S).

Oh, I do love my sarnies!

A portion of chips in Bristol.

And if I’m being particularly naughty, I go ahead and get myself a portion of chips. I found a pretty good ration on the Harbourside at a local place called Brunel’s Buttery. Let me tell you, chips (not fries!) are best eaten with salt and vinegar and if I’m lucky, wrapped up in newspaper LOL!

Fresh sausage rolls. ©VisitBritain Joanna Henderson
Fresh sausage rolls.
©VisitBritain Joanna Henderson

My highlight however, were not “real” chips but actually, a sausage roll. Yes, a bit of pork rolled up in pastry and served warmly. A sausage roll with the crumbs gently rolling into my mouth! Heeeeeaven!

AFTERNOON TEA

The Avon Gorge © Walter-Dirks
The Avon Gorge
© Walter-Dirks

On my last afternoon in Bristol, I decided to walk to Bristol’s most exclusive suburb – Clifton Village. Now I didn’t actually plan to walk all the way there originally. It sort of just happened and well, you know how I like a good walk! Clifton Village features pretty streets, fine boutiques, vintage shopping and the University of Bristol. It was raining but I still spent quite an energetic afternoon darting in and out of second-hand book shops whilst, looking for gifts, trying to avoid getting too wet, and wheezing my way all the way up to (ironically) The Downs!

Cliftonwood © Andy Maybury
Cliftonwood
© Andy Maybury

The Downs has amazing views over the Avon Gorge and a few minutes away was the Avon Gorge Hotel where a reservation had been made on my behalf!

Now I don’t know about you but when having a meal in a classy hotel, one of the things that makes it so, is the sight perspective that it affords whether of the people, or it’s surroundings. The Avon Gorge Hotel has one of the best settings in the UK as it offers unparalleled views of Brunel’s grade-one-listed Clifton Suspension Bridge. A bridge said to be one of the greatest bridges in the world!

A glass of champagne at the Avon Gorge Hotel, Bristol.

I was here to indulge in the luxury of Afternoon Tea in a historic setting.

I was given a really good table and even though it was pouring down, I still had a marvellous view of the Clifton Suspension Bridge. There were a wide variety of Afternoon Teas to choose from starting from toasted Clifton tea cake, butter & jam, to the luxurious Bridge Café Champagne Afternoon Tea.

Afternoon Tea at the Avon Gorge Hotel, Bristol.

The Afternoon Tea was brilliant.

I chose the Champagne Afternoon Tea.

No surprises there!!

There was a selection of finger sandwiches filled with ham, cheese, salmon and cucumber. I also had two huge home-made scones, a pot of strawberry jam, a huge pot of yummy clotted cream, cream cheese and watercress leaves stuffed in a ball, a slice of chocolate, a slice of orange polenta and a delicious fruit pavlova.

A pot of tea at the Avon Gorge Hotel, Bristol.

And of course, your choice of a pot of tea.

The selection was presented on a wooden board (certainly different!) and the combination of sandwiches, scones and little cake slices was pleasurable.

Afternoon Tea at the Avon Gorge Hotel, Bristol.

I loved it and was utterly stuffed, so much so, that I had to discreetly ask the hotel staff to arrange half of the stuff as a bit of a take-away! They happily obliged. The Afternoon Tea was everything I expected and more.

The premises were in a lovely hotel and was reasonably priced. All around were tables of groups, friends and couples and the staff were attentive and friendly, constantly checking that I was OK, as I was dining alone.

Cost – £21.95 or €31.15 per person.

Would I recommend it?

Absolutely!

EVENING DINNER

The Cowshed restaurant in Bristol

I was going to the theatre at the Bristol Old Vic to see an outstanding performance of The Crucible so it was imperative that I had an early pre-theatre dinner. I chose to chomp some excellent nosh at a restaurant called The Cowshed.

The Cowshed is a restaurant whose motto is plain and simple – to serve good, British food with an emphasis on quality, locally sourced ingredients, in a relaxed and comfortable environment.

I arrived at 18:00 by taxi, and reserved another one to take me to the theatre after dinner…!

The Cowshed Restaurant in Bristol.

The Cowshed was in a really nice area not far from Bristol University in Clifton! The restaurant was very nicely furnished with distressed brick walls, attractive staff, an open kitchen and their partner – Ruby & White Butchers – next door.

I was given a window seat so I used my seating optimisation to observe others around me.

It’s a cool trendy place with a mixed clientele. On the one hand, I saw a hipster father with his two teenaged children and on the other hand, I saw a group of young professionals who came in straight from work and various couples in their mid-20’s!

By 18:30, the restaurant began to fill up and I took the time to look outside the window as well.

British elves in Bristol!
British elves in Bristol!

Honestly! You know you’re in England when you see about ten (10) girls dressed up as elves disembark from a taxi, or about twenty (20) young people wearing ponchos and sombrero hats, and walking calmly down the street LOL!

My wood pigeon breast served with pigeon leg, scotched egg, beetroot with a bacon crumb, at the Cowshed Restaurant in Bristol.

I’m so sorry about the awful picture. I hope to find another one. Perhaps the description below would better suffice!

I had the wood pigeon breast served with pigeon leg, scotched egg, beetroot with a bacon crumb. It was served on a wooden board and decorated stretched across with dollops of cream in two places, the beetroot cut into triangles like an ancient sundial, the pigeon breast served delicate and tender, with a scotch egg.

I have absolutely no idea the last time I actually had a scotch egg!

For the British food virgins among you, a scotch egg is a (usually) hard-boiled egg wrapped in pork sausage meat mixed with herbs and spices, coated and rolled in breadcrumbs and baked or deeply fried. It used to be the bane of my childhood but here I was actually enjoying it!

My starter also had the bacon crumbs sprinkled with freshly cut herbs.

Deeeeelish!

Cost – £6.50 or €9.21.

The Cowshed is best known for it’s locally reared, hand-picked organic meat and for those of you who like steak, you’ll be in heaven! I’m not a vegetarian of course, but I’m not big on beef either, lamb on the other hand…

I digress.

My Roasted Guinea Fowl Breast 19.50 Served with a Confit Leg Dumpling, Salt Baked Beetroot, Thyme Potatoes, Mirabelle Plum and topped. Without Truffled Hazelnuts at the Cowshed restaurant in Bristol.

For my main dish, I had the roasted guinea fowl breast served with a confit leg dumpling, salt baked beetroot, thyme potatoes, and mirabelle plum. Without the truffled hazelnuts! The guinea fowl was softly firm and tasted nice and sweet with chunks of beetroot, square-cubed potatoes, a stuffed cabbage ball, with a swirling of plum sauce and gravy!

The floor manager was a laugh and had me in stitches such that I spent most of the time chatting away rather than eating, and ended up having to rush my way through the main course and dessert as I had a booked taxi waiting! I made it though, with 10 minutes to spare!

 

Cost – £19.50 or €27.55.

My Lemon & Raspberry Parfait served in a White Chocolate Pyramid with Meringue Tears and Lemon Gel, at the Cowshed in Bristol.

For my dessert, I had the lemon and raspberry parfait served in a white chocolate pyramid with meringue tears and lemon gel. I don’t like chocolate but this, I could absolutely live with!

Just look at that delicate swirl of raspberry and the bite of white chocolate ice-cream with a raspberry centre crunch!

Cost – £6.50 or €9.21.

Nom! Nom! Nom!

Would I recommend it?

OMG. What!!?

That’s it for now.

p.s. My thoughts and condolences to the people of France over the horrors that took place in Paris. On Friday.

St. Nicholas Market Board. © Graham-Flack
St. Nicholas Market Board.
© Graham-Flack

Even though I was invited on this trip as a guest of Visit Bristol, all opinions and the exquisite delicate pigeon breast that I devoured, are my very own!

I have so much to share with you so I will be writing more about Bristol next week!

As usual, you can also follow me via daily tweets and pictures on Twitter & FB!

November is beginning to be another summer!

Watch this space!

Oysters and stout on a wooden table outside a pub, England UK - ©VisitBritain Daniel Bosworth
Oysters and stout on a wooden table outside a pub, England UK –
©VisitBritain Daniel Bosworth

Have you ever had an English Breakfast? Would you like some Afternoon Tea?

See you in Berlin.

If you like this post or if you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

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