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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Food in Germany: 5 of the Best Ever!

Food in Germany: 5 of the Best Ever!

Hello Everyone!

Did you over-stuff your belly with Christmas Day delights?

Did you manage to get through the Christmas festivity without shouting, screaming, or bursting into tears?

Jolly Good!

A portrait of Christmas taken from our garden!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner

I love writing about food!

I consider myself a respectable foodie.

But most importantly, I like writing about countries and regions that have been overlooked such as the following:

A traditional Sunday lunch anywhere in Britain!
©Time Out London Food & Drink
Hungarian stew
Polish fishermen on the Polish Baltic Sea who did fabulously well!
A delicious mug of cold beer in Ljubljana – Slovenia!
Me drinking bubble tea in Taiwan!
A 5 minute guide to German food. On the Baltic Sea beach!

Yay!

Book your hotel here!

CHRISTMAS MARKET TRADITIONS

Beer in Germany isn’t a joke.
How to be a German – 10 ways to do it!

As we’re a British-German family, we mix our traditions in order to make our lifestyle as British and German as possible!

One of those traditions is eating out, and going to a Christmas Market!

The Christmas Market in Germany, isn’t just any old market.

Nordic Angels at the Lucia Weihnachtsmarkt im Hof der Kulturbrauerei or the Lucia Christmas Market in the hip and trendy courtyard of the Kulturbrauerei in Prenzlauerberg!
© Jochen Loch

Oh dear me no!

The German Christmas Market is a way in which people can socialize with their friends, hang out, and just have a fine old time.

The German Christmas Market is a way in which we can socialise with our American friends in Berlin!

The Christmas Markets isn’t Disneyland or some sort of recreational park, it’s a German tradition of browsing at skilled crafts, shopping, eating traditional German Christmas streetfood, and drinking to the heath of one and all, with hot mulled wine, otherwise known as Glühwein.

And for those with a far stronger alcoholic tendency than my own, trying out the “Feuerzangenbowle.”

Trying out the Feuerzangenbowle. Again!
Trying out the Feuerzangenbowle. Again!

It can reduce a grown man to tears if care is not taken…!

Ouch!

Book your hotel here!

FOOD IN GERMANY: 5 OF THE BEST EVER!

Best of Berlin – 4 years and counting!
An Affair with Chocolate – ©Sarah Robinson

When people think of German food, you can’t blame them when their impressions tend to lay on the stodgy side of things.

I mean, when you think about it, German food doesn’t sound exciting!

Just greasy!

However living in Germany has shown me that yes, German food does lie a little on the heavy side, since it was originally designed for working class peasants, but you know, the modern-day German isn’t a peasant anymore!

Well, not all of them…

One of Germany’s best – Roast goose, home-made dumplings, gravy & red cabbage!

So you can get lovely food such as roast goose, home-made dumplings, home-made gravy, and red cabbage!

Yum-my!

In fact most Germans are intelligent, tolerant, internationally minded, and open to different life experiences, and that is reflected in the food.

In fact, in Berlin where I live, you’d be hard-pressed to find “real” German food!

A most delicious Bosso Spätzle! How to eat cheaply in Luxembourg!
A most delicious Bosso Spätzle!
How to eat cheaply in Luxembourg!

Austrian food. Yes.

Berlin food. Oh yes!

But German food. Eeeh! Umm!

Not quite.

“Typical” German food has a hard, long reputation of being rather stodgy and boring.

Pretty much like British food actually!

So let’s see what we can find.

Shall we get started?

1.  THE NUMBER ONE FOOD ITEM IS THE SAUSAGE!

Best German meals to try out in Berlin – Currywurst!

The very highlight of a typical German day is the sausage.

All hail the almighty S!

Germany has loads of different sausages and each comes with its own unique taste.

White sausages. I've tried it every which way, but I still don't like it! ©TakeAway - Wikipedia
White sausages. I’ve tried it every which way, but I still don’t like it!
©TakeAway – Wikipedia

I find the white sausage with sweet mustard or Weißwürst quite disgusting personally, even though I’ve tried it every which way.

Ah well!

A perfectly acceptable pork grilled sausage or bratwurst!

The grilled pork sausages with mustard, ketchup or both, otherwise known as Bratwurst can be decisively delicious.

My favourite German sausage however, is the currywurst.

The currywurst is Berlin’s most famous sausage.

Currywurst and chips slathered with tomato ketchup, curry powder, and sometimes mayo!
Currywurst and chips slathered with tomato ketchup, curry powder, and sometimes mayo!

Currywurst!

Currywurst is beef or pork sausage grilled and chopped up, then smothered with a spicy ketchup and curry powder. It’s eaten with a pile of chips and a slice of bread or a bun.

It’s such a famous icon that it even has its own Currywurst Museum where you can learn how currywurst is made, smell it, watch a film about it, attempt to sell it, and play around with the french fries and chips.

You can sometimes even have chocolate and curry ice-cream!

Berlin's most famous iconic meal - currywurst, chips & mayo!
Berlin’s most famous iconic meal – currywurst, chips & mayo!

Currywurst can usually only be found in Berlin everywhere you look.

My two favourite places however, are the 1930’s East Berlin historical establishment called Konnopke’s Imbiß in my own area of Prenzlauerberg, and the 1980’s West Berlin trendy establishment Curry 36, in my old neighbourhood of Kreuzberg!

p.s. They speak English in both places, so no worries if you don’t speak German!

Book your hotel here!

2.  THE MOST EXQUISITE VEGETABLE IS THE ASPARAGUS!

I needed to know what we doing, so that we wouldn’t get poisoned with mushrooms and die!!

Eek!

It’s true you know, so let’s talk vegetables!

The thing that Germans all rave about is…

Wait for it…

Asparagus!!!
Asparagus!!!

Asparagus!

I know!!

White asparagus, otherwise known as Spargel!
White asparagus, otherwise known as Spargel!

Asparagus, especially white asparagus, otherwise known as Spargel, is a popular summer dish especially in season.

It’s a pretty short season of just two (2) months, so we all run around, looking for the nearest farmers market, so that you can get can the freshest produce possible.

Luckily for us, we have two (2) farmers markets in my neighbourhood, and one of them is less than one (1) minute away from my house!

Book your hotel here!

3.  THE MOST RECOGNISABLE, BUT STILL TASTES WEIRD, IS THE GERMAN MEATBALL!

Are they burgers. Or meatballs!

Eek!

Some might even go as far as to call them burgers!

In Germany, they’re called all types of different things.

In Berlin, these German meatballs are huge pan-fried minced balls of beef, pork, or lamb and are known as Boulette.

In fact, so much so, that when I first came to Germany, I didn’t know what they were, so I didn’t eat ’em! Imagine my shock when I discovered that they were actually meatballs!

I wasted two years not eating them!!

A Berlin lunch of Frikadellen, Fleischkühle, Fleischpflanzerl or Königsberger Klopse!
A Berlin lunch of Frikadellen, Fleischkühle, Fleischpflanzerl or Königsberger Klopse!

In other parts of Germany they are smaller and known as Frikadellen, Fleischkühle, Fleischpflanzerl or Königsberger Klopse!

They are not normally eaten with a tomato sauce, but with bread! As you can see above, these meatballs are small, topped with apple mousse, accompanied by sliced brown bread sprinkled over with tomato, salmon, and mustard & cress, or sliced brown bread topped with cream cheese, sliced radishes, with more mustard & cress.

In fact they were quite delightful, so I scoffed the lot!

Book your hotel here!

4.  THE BEST GERMAN TREAT IS THE SCHNITZEL!

Schnitzel. Simply one of the best!

I’m sure you heard of schnitzel!

Schnitzel is a variety of meat such as veal, mutton, chicken, beef, turkey, reindeer, or pork that is lightly pounded flat with a rolling pin, until it’s quite thin!

The meat is then rolled in flour, whipped eggs, and bread crumbs and pan-fried!

But let me tell you a secret.

Wiener Schnitzel – A traditional-Germanic dish served in Austria and Bavaria!
©Stuart Forster / Getty Images

The best type of schnitzel to have is not actually the German variety, but the Austrian Viennese veal cutlet, otherwise known as Wiener Schnitzel!

You can usually tell which is which as Wiener Schnitzel is made only from veal, and the others could be made out of anything at all!

It’s usually served with a garnish of sliced lemons, boiled potatoes, chips, potato salad, a sprinkling of parsley, berries, and some sort of side salad.

Either way, it’s always a treat, and quite delicious.

Oh yeah!

Yum!

Book your hotel here!

5. THE MOST POPULAR CREAMY DESSERT IS THE BLACK FOREST GÂTEAU!

Yummy Black Forest Gâteau!
©2017 Prima – Hearst Magazines

Scrummy desserts can be found all over Germany, Austria and Switzerland, as the cake shops are lovely.

One of the most famous, and certainly most recognisable, is the Black Forest Gâteau, otherwise known as Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte!

Black Forest Gâteau or Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte!

The Black Forest Gâteau is a very rich chocolate layered sponge cake, with a cherry and whipped cream filling, strawberry jam, double cream, and decorated with more whipped cream, dark red or black cherries, and grated chocolate shavings or curls!

The cherries can either be sweet or sour.

In Germany, a Black Forest Gâteau is traditionally filled with sour cherry fruit brandy, otherwise known as kirschwasser, some other sort of spirit.

Or a good dollop of rum!

The traditional costume of the women of the Black Forest region, with a hat with huge, red pom-poms on top – Bollenhut!
©Michel Lefrancq

In fact, without the brandy or kirschwasser, the cake cannot be labelled as either a Black Forest Gâteau or a Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte!

Hic!

That’s it from me.

See you next year!

Book your hotel here!

FOOD IN GERMANY: 5 OF THE BEST EVER!

Food in Germany: 5 of the Best Ever!

This article isn’t sponsored and all opinions and most delicious food items, are my very own!

I have so much to share with you.

I went on a press trip to Hamburg. Watch out for the details!

I’ll be continuing my last visit to the UK next year!

In January, I’ll be visiting Belgium!

I’ll be at the British Shorts Film Festival taking place between 11th – 17th January, 2018. If you’re an aspiring film-maker submission is free of charge, so hurry!

I’ll be at Berlin Fashion Week taking place between 16th – 18th January, 2018

I’ll be at the 33rd British Council Literature Seminar – #BritLitBerlin taking place between 25th – 27th January, 2018. If you want to attend or join in, registration is now open!

Save the Date!

I’ll be there. Will you?

If you’re not in Berlin next year, no champagne for you!

January is going to be exciting!

Have a great festive season, and a stunning New Year!

Food in Germany: 5 of the Best Ever!

Watch this space!

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!

Food in Germany 5 of the Best Ever!

Do you like German food? Do you think these items are the 5 best food items in Germany, or have I forgotten something? Let me know in the 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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Slovenia – a basic guide to food!

Slovenia – a basic guide to food!

And so it’s here!

The last post that I’ll be writing about Slovenia.

But what a most important post!

It goes without saying that my stay in Slovenia was lovely.

Myself in the mountains of Kamnik on a day trip in Slovenia!

If you had asked me about Slovenia a few years ago, I couldn’t even have shown you where it was in the map, and now I can’t stop writing about it!

Really, I’m becoming quite the (baby) expert!

From the moment we got off the bus and fell exhausted into our hotel in Ljubljana, to the time that we fell bone-tired, into the arms of a loving husband and father one week later.

Slovenia has been nothing but smashing!

And the Slovenian locals have been fantastically welcoming, friendly, and enormously helpful.

Lake Bled – 10 reasons to visit!

It was my second time to go to the Balkans, but it certainly, won’t be the last. If you’re just tuning in, and why is that?! Here’s what you missed:

WHY SLOVENIA?

Me in the Philippines, but could this be a James Bond moment!
©Scott Herder – BoboandChiChi.com

Because I’m weird and I like going to interesting exotic places!

Seriously though, the reason why I wanted to go to Slovenia is because I’d heard such a lot of wonderful things from practically everyone! And remember, just two years ago, I hadn’t heard of any of the Baltic or Balkan States. In fact, I couldn’t even pronounce them!

Myself in Ljubljana – A 5 minute introduction to Slovenia!

But the other reason that I wanted to visit was because of Ljubljana. I was hearing mixed messages and that some “experts” were saying that Ljubljana wasn’t worth more than a few hours!

When I hear things like this, it makes my blood boil!

The ignorance of people constantly astounds, and annoys me.

However, I am a strong supporter of Europe, and I have a weakness for tiny countries in the middle of beyond! Besides, I had such a wonderful time in Croatia, why wouldn’t I want to go to it’s “sister country” – Slovenia – too!

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How to use the train in Europe: 10 tips to help you.

One of the amazing things about travelling to a country that is extremely small, is that you can do soooo many things.

A shepherd girl on the Velika Planina plateau in Kamnik – Slovenia
©Chiara Marchi

We spent a jam-packed week in Slovenia, and not once did we get anywhere near bored!

We didn’t have time to do everything, but if you’re determined, YOU certainly can!

‘Remember how I told you about 51 things to do in Ljubljana? Well, one of those things to do was to eat. Actually, if I’m really honest, about eleven (11) of those points, were connected to food, and here’s why!

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SLOVENIA OR SLOVAKIA!

Lake Bled – 10 reasons to visit!

Honestly speaking, most people have never previously heard of Slovenia.

In fact, most people mix it up with Slovakia! 

Hmm!

A historical castle in Slovakia!

Isn’t Slovenia somewhere in Eastern Europe?

Yes.

And No!

It can’t be both, surely?

Being a British European means being widely travelled.

Well, geographically, it’s one of the previous communist states.

Eek!

Don’t worry.

Breathe!

However, in recent years, Croatia has managed to re-invent itself, so that even though it is actually in Eastern Europe, it’s marketed as a country in Central Europe, Eastern Europe, and South-East Europe too!

One of the best types of sausages in Austria – A most wonderful hotdog. In Vienna!

In truth, it has the vibe of the Mediterranean, and you’d be hard pressed not to think that in certain parts of Slovenia, you could actually be in Italy, or dare I say it. Austria!

And this is reflected in it’s food!

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So let’s get started:

WHAT IS SLOVENIAN FOOD?

Trnič is a pear-shaped hard cheese from Velika Planina – which resembles a female bosom!
©Klemen Brumec

Slovenian food is defined by the diversity of Slovenia’s landscape, climate, history and neighbouring traditions, as well as it’s religions, towns and villages. And each region has its own distinct culinary tradition rooting back to ancient times!

In fact, present-day Slovenia is heavily influenced by food from Germany, Austria, Italy, and Hungary!

The best way to experience how a nation really lives, is to go to the market place and sample street food. Or even better, indulge yourself on a guided food tour so that you can get inside knowledge from local experts!

We were invited to join the Taste Ljubljana culinary tour as well as lunch, during our daytrip in Kamnik!

I even took part in a tiny TV slot for the Taste Ljubljana Culinary tour, as part of a video about tourism in Ljubljana for Slovenian commercial TV! I’m only in for about 5 seconds. See if you can find me!

And why?

Because food. Yum!

Slovenian sausages & wine, as part of our “Taste Ljubljana culinary tour.”

I adore street food as it’s ultimately the best way to get to the culture of a nation. I’ve been to many countries, and sampled many a nations’ cuisine, and Slovenia was no exception!

The major characteristic they have in common is that they are made from locally produced ingredients.

Most ingredients used in Slovenian food would be:

  • cheese
  • potatoes
  • mushrooms
  • sausages
  • pork
  • fish
  • vegetables
  • beans
  • grapes
  • oils
  • honey

Take a look below:

SLOVENIA – A BASIC GUIDE TO FOOD!

At Ljubljana Castle – A 5 minute introduction to Slovenia!

I could write pages and pages of what Slovenian food consists of and how they make it, but instead, I’ll let the pictures do the talking and if you have further insight, let me know in the comment section below!

We stayed at the aptly named Hotel Park Ljubljana / Hotel Park – Urban & Green. In Slovenia!

In order to encourage sustainability and environmental consciousness, we stayed at a very nice hotel aptly named hotel – Hotel Park Ljubljana / Hotel Park – Urban & Green – located in the heart of the Old Town of Ljubljana, situated in the middle of a leafy park, and mere minutes away from Metelkova City – an abandoned army base and one of the largest, and most successful, urban squats in Europe!

We were in one of the en-suite superior twin rooms at Hotel Park Ljubljana / Hotel Park – Urban & Green. In Slovenia!

We were in one of the en-suite superior twin rooms, and it was enormously comfortable.

We were on the 12th floor and had a fantastic view of Ljubljana from the window, along with a wide desk, a huge wardrobe, an en-suite bathroom, sustainable bathroom shower gel, plenty of fluffy towels, and of course, most importantly, free fast Wi-Fi!

Drinking a very important cup of tea!
© Pascale Scerbo Sarro

They even had a fridge but sadly, no kettle so that I could make myself a cup of tea!

The service was warm and friendly.

The variety of nationalities visiting the hotel were wonderful, ranging from a tour group of elderly ladies from France, a busload of young Americans travelling with Contiki, and a Bollywood film crew from India!

Prices are from €70.00 per night, including breakfast. For two people, easily €35.00 a pop!

Awesome!

I couldn’t make myself a cup of tea, but the views were fantastic at Hotel Park Ljubljana / Hotel Park – Urban & Green. In Slovenia!

Book Hotel Park Ljubljana / Hotel Park – Urban & Green here or here!

But OMG!

Our breakfast was awful!

Eek!

BREAKFAST:

Slovenia – a basic guide to food!

After the wonderful delights in both Sweden and Croatia, we were so disappointed.

We were looking forward to:

Slovenian home-made bread, butter & milk
Sadly, we got this bland piece of toast!
Although the jam was quite nice!

Sadly, what we got was a bland continental breakfast, that could have been from anywhere.  But if you’re desperate for a cup of tea….

If not, skip it!

Skip breakfast and have lunch instead!

As soon as we told the various Slovenian locals about our breakfast experience, they made it their duty to ensure that from then on, everything we ate, was some of the best, that Slovenia had to offer!

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SNACKS:

If you’re looking for traditional ingredients, you can get everything you need at a local street market!
  • For ultimate excitement, try horse burgers! Yes, horse!

Apparently, horseburgers are very popular in Slovenia!

The very famous horse burger in Ljubljana – Slovenia!

The Tall Young Gentleman was eager to try it so went to the doner and falafel restaurant that specialized in horse burgers, about 5 minutes from our hotel!

It was “quite OK,” and then he had another one! Bought at Šeherezada in Ljubljana. Cost: €4.00

A few slices of cold cuts and bits of cheese in Ljubljana – Slovenia!
  • We had a few slices of cold cuts and bits of cheese, with olives (yuk!) to start! Bought at Čompa in Ljubljana. Cost: €3.00

You can also have:

  • Polenta with cheese
  • Ajvar with Slovenian bread
  • Bacon bread
  • Buckwheat bread or Ajdov kruh
  • Crackling bread or ocvirkovka
  • Pumpkin bread with cinnamon, nutmeg, walnuts, and whipped cream
  • Sweet rye bread or razeni kruh
  • Serbian baked beans

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LUNCH:

Slovenia – a basic guide to food!

We had a mass of delightful lunches, while we were in Slovenia, and the highlight in my opinion was the gourmet lunch on the Archers’ Tower of the Ljubljana Castle wall!

There weren’t any prices on the board, but it’s Eastern-Central Europe, how bad could it be? The food was fantastic and the service attentive, so we decided to spend the rest of our money!

A delicate crispy white, cracker, a slice of pickled meat, with herbs, a blob of cream, and petals, in Ljubljana – Slovenia!
A foamy cream sauce, with herbs in Ljubljana – Slovenia!
  • We both had a delicate starter of a sort of crispy white, cracker, a foamy cream sauce, and a slice of pickled meat, with herbs, a blob of cream, and petals. It was made especially for us ‘cos of my nut allergy, so isn’t on the menu! It was delicious and light. Bought at the Strelec Restaurant in Ljubljana. Cost: €6.00
Venison with buck wheat dumplings, goose liver, red beet compote, rowan berry & spruce buds in Ljubljana – Slovenia!
  • I had the venison with buck wheat dumplings, goose liver, red beet compote, rowan berry and spruce buds! It was most delightful! Bought at the Strelec Restaurant in Ljubljana. Cost: €28.00
Boar, mushrooms, and grapefruit in Ljubljana – Slovenia!
A platter of exquisite Slovenian cheese in Ljubljana – Slovenia!
  • We shared a platter of exquisite Slovenian cheese! Bought at the Strelec Restaurant in Ljubljana. Cost: €10.00
I absolutely adore anything to do with water!
Lake Bled – 10 reasons to visit!

A few days later we went on a daytrip to Lake Bled!

All around us were people noshing on the Original Bled Cream Cake, but we were starving, so we had a proper lunch instead!

A platter of dry meat delicacy with cheese at Lake Bled – Slovenia!
  • I had the platter of dry meat delicacy with cheese and olives. Without the olives! It was very nice and the view over Lake Bled and the Julian Alps was stunning. But the service was slow! Bought at the Hotel Park restaurant at Lake Bled. Cost: €13.90
Pasta with chicken and young spinach at Lake Bled – Slovenia!

One of the great things about being a respectable travel lifestyle expat blogger is that you get invited to many things! As a result, we were guests of Taste Ljubljana culinary tour.

Some of the things we had were:

You can’t go wrong with sausages, mustard, horse-radish, and a bun in Ljubljana – Slovenia!
  • Klobasa sausage – You really can’t go wrong with a traditional Slovenian sausage, mustard, horse-radish, and a bun. Yum! We were invited to a complimentary lunch via Klobasarna. Retail price: €3.50. Food tour all-inclusive. With wine!
Deer medallions with mustard, horse-radish cream, and pears in Ljubljana – Slovenia!
  • Deer medallions with mustard, horse-radish cream, and pears via Vodnikov Hram. Retail price €19.50. Food tour all-inclusive
Mashed potatoes, rucola and Slovenian beer in Ljubljana – Slovenia!
  • Mashed potatoes, rucola and Slovenian beer. They had to make something different for me ‘cos of my nut allergy, so I can’t remember what everybody else had. Sorry! It was a very nice place though, via Druga Violina. Retail price competitive! Food tour all-inclusive. With beer!
Fried chicken with garnish and remoulade sauce in Ljubljana – Slovenia!
  • Fried chicken with garnish. Notice the remoulade sauce! It was a fancy restaurant via Restavracija Romansa 1971. Retail price: No idea! I couldn’t find the menu in English! Food tour all-inclusive. With wine!

You can also try:

  • Burek
  • Boiled beef tongue
  • Ljubljana cottage cheese pancakes with tarragon
  • Klobasa sausage and Kisod Zelje sauerkraut
  • Dandelion Salad
  • Sour turnip soup or jota

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DINNER:

Slovenia – a basic guide to food!

For dinner, we always strive to patronise interesting traditional-inspired restaurants. For this, we don’t scrimp, but use the opportunity to sample all that is good in Slovenian cuisine.

I have to tell you. Pretty much every evening meal that we had, was a win!

On our very first evening, we strolled around, and less than 10 minutes, we found a long narrow street with table after table outdoors. We managed to nab a table for two and opted for a lovely restaurant a few minutes away from Dragon Bridge!

I was a bit nervous, as the menu seemed to be centred on beef, and although I’m not a vegetarian or vegan for that matter, I’m not fond of beef at restaurants!

I wasn’t to worry as the meat used is free-range and grass-fed, the staff were great, and attentive, and made sure that our platters were delicate, and not in the least chewy!

And you know what?

I was astounded and most impressed!

Just look at this lovely meat platter in Ljubljana – Slovenia!
And this lovely meat platter in Ljubljana – Slovenia!
And this succulent piece of meat, in Ljubljana – Slovenia!
  • We shared the meat platter. Bought at Čompa in Ljubljana. Cost: €12.50
A platter of pork chops in Ljubljana – Slovenia!
  • And then we shared a platter of pork chops with squares of creamy butter, paprika, and shallots. Yum! Bought at Čompa in Ljubljana. Cost: €15.00
We had the Štrukli with trnič cheese & berries. It was amaaaaaazing!

A highlight of traditional Slovenian food were the meals that we had in Kamnik!

After our hiking adventure at the Velika Planina and in the valley of the Kamniska Bistrica, we had quite a large appetite for a traditional meal, and boy were we given the red carpet.

We were taken to the family-run inn & restaurant Gostilna Pri planinskem orlu, where home-cooked meals are made the traditional way, and had a chat with the owner and chef – Janez Uršič – who was delighted to have us as his guest!

The food was absolutely fantastic!

Slovenian cold cuts, pate, cheese, vegetables, herbs & spices in Kamnik – Slovenia!
Soup with a dumpling in it, garnished with petals, in Kamnik – Slovenia!
Slovenian dumplings with asparagus, and probably veal in Kamnik – Slovenia!
  • Slovenian cold cuts, pate, cheese, vegetables, herbs and spices, soup with some sort of dumpling in it, garnished with vegetables and petals, and Slovenian dumplings with asparagus, bacon, probably veal (but I can’t remember), broccoli, and a creamy sauce!

We were invited to a complimentary early dinner! Bought at Gostilna Pri planinskem orlu, in Kamnik. Cost: €0.00!

You can also have:

Eating frogs – Slovenia – a basic guide to food!
  • Frog legs
  • Palacinke – thin pancakes filled with nuts or jam and topped with chocolate
  • Potato dumplings  or njoki
  • Jota  – a meat and vegetable stew
  • Black or blood pudding
  • Klobasa sausages
Slovenia – a basic guide to food!
  • Seasoned venison with smoked bacon and huckleberries
  • Sweet and sour boar, with prunes, chocolate and red wine
  • Zavitek or strudels
  • Goulash or golaz
  • Buckwheat porridge
  • Slovenian sour pork kidney served with vinegar, sour cream and bacon
  • Ox tail
  • Tripe served with mint, cheese and bacon
Baked potatoes with cheese, in Ljubljana – Slovenia!
  • Baked potatoes with cheese. Bought at Čompa in Ljubljana. Cost: €1.00

Oh yeah!

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SEAFOOD:

Our seafood meal in Ljubljana – Slovenia!

I absolutely adore anything to do with water. I live in water cities, I spend time visiting places just because they have a river, and I’m weirdly drawn to river-states having lived in them all my life, in one place or the other, to lakes, rivers, mountains, valleys and seas!

And since we spent a huge amount of time on Lake Bled and Ljubljana, it seemed only prudent that we try out the seafood.

We chose our seafood meals at a restaurant on the river-side. We practically found it by accident, but once you poke in and out of the various bridges in the Old Town, you’ll find it directly below the Triple Bridge, facing the Central Market!

Fried fish, anchovy fillet, crab chips, tuna, capers, toast & a side salad in Ljubljana – Slovenia!
  • I ordered the Seaman Plate which consisted of fried fish, anchovy fillet, crab chips, tuna, capers, toast, and a side salad. I was really looking forward to some seafood, but I didn’t really like it! Bought at the Okrepčevalnica Ribca or Fish Restaurant Ribca in Ljubljana. Cost: €6.60
Bass fillet, bacon, baked potatoes & rucola in Ljubljana – Slovenia!
We chose our seafood meals on the river-side, but neither of us really liked our meal! We probably should have ordered frog legs instead!

You can also have:

  • Seafood pasta salad
  • Crabmeat and broccoli

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DESSERT:

Slovenia – a basic guide to food!

Dessert in Slovenia was pretty wonderful. I had to watch out here and there, ‘cos of the nut factor, but I was able to have about 75%!

If you’re on a diet, forget it, and indulge!

Štrukli wth cream, raspberries & raspberry compote in Kamnik – Slovenia!
  • Štrukli (I think!) with cream, raspberries & raspberry compote. OMG. So delish! We were invited to a complimentary early dinner! Bought at Gostilna Pri planinskem orlu, in Kamnik. Cost: €0.00!
We had the Štrukli with trnič cheese & berries. It was amaaaaazing!
  • Štrukli with trnič cheese and berries. We were invited to a complimentary lunch in Kamnik. Cost: €0.00!
Lake Bled cream cake in Slovenia!
© 2017 Rear View Mirror
Walnut and raisin potica cake with a digestif liquor! I couldn’t eat it of course, as it had almonds in it!
  • Walnut and raisin potica cake – One of the other famous cakes in Slovenia. Of course, I couldn’t eat it, as it had almonds in it! We were introduced to ours as part of the food tour which I’ve already discussed above, via Kavarna Nebotičnik (Skyscraper) building. It was a really cool place and great for a nightcap! Retail price: €2.00 – €4.00. Food tour all-inclusive. With a digestif liquor!

You can also try:

  • Gibanica – a layer cake with cottage cheese, walnuts, poppy seeds, and apples
  • Jabolcni zavitek  – a type of apple pastry
  • Siroy zavitek  – a type of cheese and raisin pastry
  • Upside down pie
  • Blue lagoon cake or torta plava laguna filled with hazelnuts, almonds and breadcrumbs
  • Waffles
The Tall Young Gentleman & his almond-covered ice-cream in Ljubljana – Slovenia!
Having a most scrumptious ice-cream at the Triple Bridge!
51 things to do in Ljubljana. That’s right!
51 things to do in Ljubljana. That’s right!
The first thing we opted for at Lake Bled – Slovenia, was an ice-cream, and then we had another on the way back!
Lake Bled – 10 reasons to visit!
  • Who doesn’t like ice cream?!!

I’m always having to be careful ‘cos of the liberal sprinkling of nuts that I seem to see everywhere these days, and the combination of chocolate! The former ‘cos I have a nut allergy, and the latter ‘cos I don’t like chocolate!

The huge portions above were bought at this really lovely place on the riverside, opposite the Central Market in Ljubljana. They were so huge that I  couldn’t finish mine, so they packed it for me in a box! Bought at – Kavarna Cacao. Cost €6.40 and €7.60 respectively.

The others were bought at little ice-cream shops in Ljubljana and at Lake Bled. Cost: About €2.00, depending on toppings! Yum!

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DRINKS & REFRESHMENTS:

Ice cream in Ljubljana – A 5 minute introduction to Slovenia!

The food culture in Slovenia, as in many other Mediterranean States is that of outdoor, al fresco dining. The weather generally tends to be warm and summery, and the lifestyle in the country tends to be more relaxed.

You can, and should, take little breaks, have a snack, or a drink. The cost is relatively peanuts, and the quality is great.

So why shouldn’t you indulge?

A glass of wine taken in the Old Town, in Ljubljana – Slovenia!
A delicious mug of cold craft beer in Ljubljana – Slovenia!

Here’s a most delicious mug of cold craft beer! Bought at Čompa in Ljubljana. Cost: €2.50

My gin cocktail in Ljubljana – Slovenia!

p.s. Don’t forget to hang out with the locals! We had such a great time with our guides, that we went out for drinks one night, and met other locals! Thanks Urban. Good times!

Note: Taste Ljubljana Culinary Tour includes tour guidance, the tasting of five traditional dishes, the tasting of five different drinks, and a digestif. Each participant also receives a brochure containing recipes for typical Ljubljana dishes, and a small gift.

Cost: €38.00 for adults, €28.00 for children up to 12. €0.00 for children under 2!

Wow!

Slovenia – a basic guide to food!

I could go on and on, but I ought to leave something for you to discover, don’t you think?

That’s it for now.

See you next week!

Book your hotel!

SLOVENIA – A BASIC GUIDE TO FOOD!

Slovenia – a basic guide to food!

This article is part – sponsored, and even though I’m working in partnership with Ljubljana Tourism, absolutely all opinions, and the marvellous food that we noshed on, are my very own!

I’ve got plans for Autumn.

Find out next week!

Slovenia – a basic guide to food!

Watch this space!

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!

Slovenia – a basic guide to food!

Have you ever had Slovenian food? Would you try a horse burger or boiled beef tongue? Let me know in the comments below!

See you in Berlin.

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