When in Sweden, you’ve got to try Swedish food. Hand me my meatballs!

A Swedish hotdog in Stockholm – Sweden!

And so it’s here!

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

But what a most important post!

It goes without saying that we had a most delightful time in Stockholm, and it was truly awesome.

It was my first time to go to Sweden, but it certainly, won’t be the last. If you’re just tuning in, here’s what you missed:

Have you ever been to Sweden? Hej!
©Henrik Trygg

I’m a bit of a freak as I tend to go to places that are either in the middle of nowhere like Latvia & Lithuania, or places where you need a second mortgage such as Switzerland and Finland.

And in going to Sweden, we were well aware that we would have to tighten our budget, make the local supermarket our friend, and not go on a spending spree of gastronomic delight, as we did in Croatia!

Having said that though, I’m a strong believer that when you go to another country, you ought to try as much as possible to eat the food of the land.

Sweden was no exception.

Travelling with FlixBus to Sweden

And so my task was to visit Stockholm. Sleep in Stockholm. Eat in Stockholm. And survive the horrendous prices.

With young boy tween in tow.

Gulp!

Book your hotel here! 

When in Sweden, forget about your budget, otherwise, you won’t be able to eat a single thing!

In order to have a great time experiencing all that Sweden has to offer, you’ve got to forget about your budget, otherwise, you won’t be able to eat a single thing!

Sweden is terribly expensive and sadly, there’s no getting around it! Prepare yourself for high prices, and either suck it up, or go elsewhere!

Everybody always wonders how visitors do it, so I’m going to tell you how!

WHEN IN SWEDEN, YOU’VE GOT TO TRY SWEDISH FOOD. HAND ME MY MEATBALLS!

When in Sweden, you’ve got to try Swedish food. Hand me my meatballs!

When writing about food, it’s best to let the pictures do the talking but of course, if you have further insight, let me know in the comment section below!

WHAT IS SWEDISH FOOD?

Swedish mushrooms in the wild can be poisonous, and should only be picked by Nordic food experts!

Swedish food can be described as cultured dairy products, crisp bread, berries, stone fruits, beef, chicken, lamb, pork, and seafood.

Due to Sweden’s large North–South land space, there are regional differences between the food of North and South Sweden.

In Northern Sweden, fare such as reindeer, and game – derived from the Sami nomadic culture – are eaten. In Southern Sweden, fresh vegetables play a larger role.

Internationally, the most famous Swedish culinary tradition is the smörgåsbord, otherwise known as a help-yourself buffet, the julbord, otherwise known as a Christmas spread, and traditional Swedish dishes such as gravlax and meatballs!

Yum!

BREAKFAST:

Breakfast in Sweden!

Sweden has a unique breakfast culture whose roots are firmly grounded in peasant traditions. We were lucky to experience just how a Swedish breakfast should be, as we were staying at the Hobo award-winning design hotel!

And OMG!

The breakfast there was greeeeeeeeat!

Breakfast at the Hobo Hotel in Stockholm-Sweden, was great!
Breakfast at the Hobo Hotel in Stockholm-Sweden, was great!

There was a variety of fresh-home-made organic Nordic food, rye sandwiches with caviar (yummy!) a variety of chia seeds, nuts, coconut milk, yoghurt, fruit, juices, and smoothies.

Of course, I couldn’t actually eat most of the items on offer ‘cos of my nut allergy, but the staff were able to make me some nut-free yoghurt!

Swedish hearty rye bread with eggs & caviar!. Oh my!

In Swedish traditional homes, breakfast consists of:

  • sandwiches on hearty bread with cheese
  • bread topped with ham
  • bread and eggs
  • bread with ham or skinka
  • bread with caviar. Oh my!
  • bread with a sweet spread made from butter and whey (ala Little Miss Muffet) or messmör
A lovely bowl of porridge, milk & honey. And if you’re so inclined, a dash of whisky too!
  • porridge with milk and jam or cinnamon and sugar
  • bread with caviar, and Swedish liver pâte!
  • open sandwiches or smörgåsen
  • Swedish crisp bread or knäckebröd
  • yogurt
  • fermented milk or filmjölk
Breakfast at the Hobo Hotel in Stockholm-Sweden, was great!

Our hotel breakfast was included with our room, but if you wanted to book it separately then you could! Cost: 120 SEK or €12.30 per person.

Book Hobo here or here!

TAKE A FIKA! 

Taking a fika or a coffee break, is considered a way of life in Sweden!

Meals are expensive in Sweden, so we opted for taking a fika or a coffee break, even though I don’t drink coffee. Ho! Ho!

However, drinking coffee and eating sweet baked goods or fikabröd is a social institution in Sweden, and just like the tea break in Britain, is a traditional way of socializing, and taken quite seriously.

You haven’t lived, if you’re never tried a Swedish cinnamon bun!

Many traditional kinds of Swedish sweet baked goods are:

  • sirapslimpa  – a wholemeal loaf sweetened and glazed with syrup, treacle, aniseed, fennel, and tangy orange zest
  • yeast buns
  • cookies
  • biscuits
  • cake
  • And you really can’t mention Swedish food without talking about cinnamon buns!

In fact, most offices, schedule official time for fika!

Swedish food has a huge variety of breads of different shapes and sizes, such as this crisp bread!

In addition to sweet goods, Swedish food also consists of a huge variety of bread that comes in different shapes and sizes such as:

  • rye bread
  • wheat bread
  • oat bread
  • white bread
  • dark bread
  • sourdough bread or surdeg
  • whole grain bread
  • fine grain bread
  • flatbread
  • barkis or bergis – a sort of Jewish ceremonial bread
  • and of course, crisp bread!

Book your hotel here! 

You can also have other snacks such as:

Ärtsoppa – Swedish yellow pea soup with pancakes!
©dogstcomics.wordpress.com

Soup!

In Sweden, Thursday is traditionally known as soup day!

  • One of the most traditional Swedish soups you could have, is ärtsoppa. Ärtsoppa is a yellow pea soup served with pancakes as dessert, and has been on the Swedish menu, as far back as the Middle Ages!

Ärtsoppa is a peasant meal of thick soup made from boiled yellow peas, onions, and small pieces of pork, often served with mustard and followed by a dessert of thin pancakes or pannkakor!

Wow!

Västeras Swedish cucumber soup . Er. Yum?!
  • Västeras cucumber soup
  • rose hip soup
  • blueberry soup
  • pumpkin seeds
  • panini sandwiches
  • And hot dogs!
A Swedish hotdog in Stockholm – Sweden!

We got the hotdogs on the pier not far from the Vasa Museum and the Göna Lund. I can’t remember how much they were exactly, but they were somewhere in the vein of about €5.00 – €6.00 per sausage!

You could have a variety of sausages, spices and toppings, and The Tall Young Gentleman declared them to be quite acceptable!

Book your hotel here! 

DINNER:

This reindeer might be cute, but in Sweden, they eat ’em!
  • new potatoes served with pickled herring, chives and sour cream
  • raw food salads
  • cabbage or sauerkraut
  • mushroom delicacies or chanterelle. The chanterelle is usually served as a side dish with steak, or fried with onions and sauce served on bread
  • porcini mushroom or karljohansvamp
  • dumplings with blueberries or blåbärspalt
We had quite a nice dinner at Hearts – an American diner in Stockholm – Sweden!
  • burgers

I’m not really a fan of burgers as I have a thing about eating beef in restaurants…

I don’t like ’em!

Anyhoo. Since we were having cocktails at the ICEBAR by Ice Hotel, we decided to have dinner there too!

The Icebar is attached to the Hotel C Stockholm, and since the manager had kindly given us a 10% discount card for a meal, we happily used it!

We had quite a nice dinner at Hearts – a blend between an American diner and an Italian family restaurant. We had the Hearts Burger. Cost: SEK 175 or €18.00  per person.

Book Hotel C Stockholm here or here!

Pig on a spit.
Don’t look if you’re squeamish!
  • pig’s trotters served with beetroot or grisfötter
  • lingonberry jam – a traditional way to add freshness to stodgy food such as steaks and stews
  • turnips or kålrot, otherwise known as swede. Yuck!
  • cabbage rolls or kåldolma
  • tartar
  • reindeer
When in Sweden, you’ve got to try Swedish food. Hand me my meatballs!
  • And of course, meatballs!

Meatballs are a traditional Swedish dish, and one that that many people would recognise.

In fact, in order to get our Swedish fix, we often go to the Ikea Food Hall in Berlin, just to get a taste of Swedish meatballs.

Ohmigosh!

Of course, once we were in Stockholm, we just knew that we were going to get ourselves a good healthy portion of meatballs, with mashed potatoes, brown creamy sauce, with tangy pungent lingonberry berries, and a leafy salad.

And we did!

We went to a lovely Swedish restaurant whose staff were mostly Italian! The restaurant was slap bang in the middle of the Old Town or  Gamla Stan and our Swedish meatballs were fantastic! It was called Jerntorgiths Café. Cost: SEK 139 or €14.50 per person.

Book your hotel here! 

SEAFOOD:

I love seafood and Sweden has a lot of it!

I love seafood and Sweden has a lot of it!

As far back as 1000 AD, Sweden has been trading and preserving seafood which is salted and cured. If in Sweden make some time to try items such as:

  • crayfish or kräftskiva, which is usually boiled and then marinated in a broth with salt, sugar, and a large amount of dill weed!
  • pickled sweetened herring or inlagd sill
  • shrimp
  • lobster
  • baltic herring or surströmming
Gravlax – raw salmon cured in salt, sugar & dill, served with dill and mustard sauce. Delish!
  • gravlax – a Nordic dish consisting of raw salmon, cured in salt, sugar, and dill, usually served as an appetizer, sliced thinly and accompanied by a dill and mustard sauce or hovmästarsås, and served with bread or boiled potatoes.

Delish!

I love seafood and Sweden has a lot of it!

In order to fill the appetite of my growing sprog, I decided to go to an Asian restaurant for dinner which would kill four birds with one stone! Thus, we would be able to satisfy our craving for Asian food, seafood, the belly of a teenage boy, and without heaving to sell my soul!

  • The restaurant was in the centre of the city. It’s called Restaurang Tang. You also get free jugs of water with no hassle at all! Cost: SEK 179 or €18.50 per person.

Book your hotel here! 

DESSERT:

Swedish ice-cream!
  • Chocolate. Ughh!
  • Frozen sorrel
  • Meadowsweet  or mead wort ice-cream
  • Truffles
  • Applewood ice-cream!

I’ve got nothing left to say!

DRINKS & REFRESHMENTS:

Here’s a really good example of Swedish beer!
©Christian Lindgren

Alcohol is awfully expensive in Sweden so I only had a drink on my first night, and on our last afternoon!

  • As you  know, we spent a rather pleasant evening at the ICEBAR by Ice Hotel in Stockholm  – the world’s first permanent ice bar – sipping on cocktails and non-alcoholic champagne, in a glass made entirely of ice!
We were served cocktails and non-alcoholic champagne, presented in a glass made entirely of ice, at the ICEBAR by ICEHOTEL in Stockholm – Sweden!

That was quite delightful!

Cost: It’s cheaper to pre-book or if you’re a hotel guest. Adults 199 SEK or €20.50. Non-alcoholic drinks – 170 SEK or €17.50. Children between 3-17 years – 99 SEK or €10.00.

On the afternoon, we were leaving Stockholm, we decided to visit the rooftop bar next door!

Tak Rooftop Bar in Stockholm
©TAK /Wingårdhs

The rooftop bar next to our Hobo hotel, was called TAK!

TAK is a Nordic-Japanese restaurant, and raw / rooftop bar that literally had hundreds of people queuing to get into it, so if you’re going out of an evening, I strongly recommend making a reservation!

We opted for a little after lunch-time, and had the place almost to ourselves.

Our non-alcoholic cocktail at the TAK rooftop bar in Stockholm – Sweden!
My small Swedish beer at the TAK rooftop bar in Stockholm – Sweden!
  • We had a non-alcoholic cocktail and a small Swedish beer that was still quite reasonably priced. Cost for the cocktail (non-alcoholic): SEK 65.00 or €7.00. For the small beer: SEK 72.00 or €7.40.

Phew!

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 or hostel here!

WHEN IN SWEDEN, YOU’VE GOT TO TRY SWEDISH FOOD. HAND ME MY MEATBALLS!

When in Sweden, you’ve got to try Swedish food. Hand me my meatballs!

This article is not sponsored and all opinions and the delicious Swedish and Nordic food that we tasted, are my very own!

I’ve got a surprise for you. I’m going to London!

To find out why, make sure you follow me on Twitter and Facebook!

In July, I’ll be writing about the awesome time I had in Slovenia, and spending the summer in France and Germany!

On 24.06.17, I’ll be on a five (5) member academic discussion panel on Brexit, at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin!

It’s part of the Lange Nacht der Wissenschaften, or the Long Night of Sciences at the Centre for British Studies. My discussion panel will be at 20:00 and the topic will be Brits in Berlin after Brexit, so if you’re in Berlin at this time, come and watch me, and hear me speak!

From July 4th – July 7th, I’ll be at Berlin Fashion Week.

I’ll be there. Will you?

If you’re not in Berlin right now, you’re mad!

Save the Date!

June & July are going to be amazing!

When in Sweden, you’ve got to try Swedish food. Hand me my meatballs!

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!

When in Sweden, you’ve got to try Swedish food. Hand me my meatballs!

Have you got the balls to try Swedish food? Let me know in the comments below!

See you in Berlin.

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Croatia – a basic guide to food!

How to visit the Balkans: Introducing Croatia – the dream of Game of Thrones!

And so it’s here!

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

For now!

But what a most important post!

It goes without saying that my stay in Croatia was a delight. It was my first time to go to the Balkans, but it certainly, won’t be the last. If you’re just tuning in, here’s what you missed:

10 reasons why Zagreb is a family destination – A great place for teenagers!
Game of Thrones – Season 7 – Kristofer Hivju as Tormund Giantsbane & Gwendoline Christie as Brienne of Tarth
©Helen Sloan – HBO

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

Before Game of Thrones!

I’m a great fan of the show and can’t wait to see Series Seven (7).

And Eight (8)!

I know. I’m a freakish nerd!

A traditional Busker in Zagreb – Croatia!

Isn’t Croatia somewhere in Eastern Europe?

Yes.

And No!

It can’t be both surely?

The Music Producer in Split. Geographically, Croatia is one of the previous communist states!

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

Don’t worry.

Breath!

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 Central Europe too!

Croatia isn’t crowded in the Spring – Locals in Zagreb – Croatia!

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

And this is reflected in it’s food!

Book your hotel here!

So let’s get started:

WHAT IS CROATIAN FOOD?

Croatia – a basic guide to food!

Croatian food is defined by it’s regions, towns and villages, and has its own distinct culinary tradition rooting back to ancient times!

The best way to experience how a nation really lives, is to go to the market place and sample street food.

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 Croatia was no exception!

The differences in the selection of foodstuffs and forms of cooking are most notable between those on the Croatian mainland, and those in coastal regions.

Croatia – a basic guide to food!

Mainland cuisine is characterized by earlier Slavic and neighboring cultures such as Hungarian and Turkish, with the use of pork fat such as lard, and spices such as black pepper, paprika, and garlic, while the coastal regions are influenced by ancient Greek, Roman, and modern-day Mediterranean cuisine, with the use of olive oil, and herbs and spices such as rosemary, sage, bay leaf, and citrus rind.

Rustic traditional food is derived from the former Yugoslavian nations and use the same basic ingredients such as grains, dairy, meat, fish, and vegetables, with similar cooking styles such as stewing, grilling, roasting and baking.

We spent a lot of the time in coastal regions.

Take me to Dubrovnik right away!

Most ingredients used in Croatian food would be:

  • olive oil
  • courgettes
  • cabbage
  • aubergine
  • tomatoes
  • mushrooms
If you’re looking for traditional ingredients, you can get everything you need at a local street market!

Croatia has an abundance of fresh, local, seasonal foodstuff such as olives and honey, joined in recent years by a plethora of health and ecology-conscious food stores selling organic vegetables, pure fruit juices, gluten-free bread and all manner of boutique deli grocery items!

In fact, there’s absolutely no need to visit a supermarket at all!

Take a look below:

CROATIA – A BASIC GUIDE TO FOOD!

Lamb on baby green pea puree - Croatian food is most delicious!
Lamb on baby green pea puree – Croatian food is most delicious!

I could write pages and pages of what Croatian 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!

BRUNCH:

Booking an apartment in Croatia is by far better, than booking a hotel!

We stayed in various apartments which I found courtesy of booking.com. All were pretty huge, centrally located, and cost between €45.00 – €60.00 per nights. As a result, we didn’t really go out for breakfast, but rather for brunch!

You can opt for:

This plate of Cevapcici was certainly pretty cheap. Ho! Ho!
  • Cevapcici – a type of grilled lamb sausage dish traditionally found in many Balkan countries and actually, the national dish of Bosnia,  Herzegovina, and Serbia! It’s usually served on a plate or in flatbread, with raw chopped onions, sour cream, kajmak, ajvar, feta cheese, ground red pepper and salt. The service was slow but the food was quite delicious. Bought at Kitchen & Gruill PLAC – Cost: 39kn or €5.25
  • Soparnika (chard filled pastry)
  • Zrnovo macaroni
  • OMG! Truffles in Štrukli!
A popular traditional Croatian dish composed of dough and stuffed with cheese – Štrukli Truffles in Zagreb – Croatia!

Štrukli is a popular traditional Croatian dish composed of dough and filled with cheese, various types of filling and then cooked or baked. We found ours at a popular place where you can have a wide variety of štrukli, ranging from traditional cheese to blueberry. We had ours with truffles and sat in the very pretty summer garden. Great service. Fantastic food! Bought at La Štruk restaurant in Zagreb. Cost: 35kn or €4.70

  • Quiche
  • Scrambled eggs with prsut, mushrooms and cheese
  • Smoked-salmon platter
An Egg Benedict brunch, at a unique restaurant within the Square of the City Walls in Split-Croatia!
  • We had brunch at this rather wonderful unique restaurant within one of the Squares of the city walls of Split! In fact, we liked the restaurant so much that we went back twice! The Music Producer & The Tall Young Gentleman both had a meal of Egg Benedict which consisted of poached eggs laid on top of crunchy whole wheat toasted bread, creamy avocado, rocket, tomato and olive oil. Bought at the cute restaurant Bepa! in Split. Cost: 30kn or €4.00
A Croatian-style “English breakfast,” at a unique restaurant within the Square of the City Walls in Split-Croatia!
  • I had the Croatian-style “English breakfast” of scrambled eggs, crispy bacon, Croatian sausage, grilled tomato, and spicy baked beans! Again, bought at Bepa! above, in Split. Cost: 59kn or €8.00
A “Club Sandwich” beef burger, a fried egg, bacon, lettuce, & tomatoes, served with a portion of chips in a red polka dot mug and a tureen of ketchup!
  • We went back again for lunch and both The Music Producer and The Tall Young Gentleman had burgers. Here’s the “Club Sandwich” which actually consisted of a beef burger, a fried egg, bacon, lettuce, and tomatoes, served with a portion of chips in a red polka dot mug and a fancy tureen of ketchup! Once again bought at Bepa! above, in Split. Cost: 65kn or €8.80
  • Porridge with an array of snazzy toppings
Ham and egg foam pâté with horseradish cream, for Easter brunch, in Dubrovnik – Croatia!

We were invited to a complimentary press Easter brunch, along with journalists from Italy! Our brunch was at a restaurant which was opposite the Gate of the Old City of Dubrovnik.

  • The restaurant serves only Croatian food as a matter of policy, and includes both seafood and meat dishes. We had a three (3) course brunch meal and a separate dessert was made for me ‘cos of my allergies! Our ham and egg foam pâté with horseradish cream was most delicious, and something I had never had before! Eaten at GUSTA ME restaurant in Dubrovnik – press lunch – As part of an Easter brunch three-course menu – retail price – 160kn or €21.00
  • Cololino (Croatian pap)

SNACKS:

Pork sandwiches bought at the street market in Zagreb – Croatia
  • Pork sandwiches made from Istrian and Dalmatian Pršut – dry-cured ham, tucked into thick slabs of fresh crusty bread from Vis! Bought at the Zagreb Street Market on the Ban Jelačić (main) square. Cost: 21.20kn or €2.85
Mmm! Fritule – Croatian doughnuts – are quite yum!
  • Fritule – Croatian doughnuts – can be found everywhere in Croatia. Bought at the Zagreb Street Market on the Ban Jelačić (main) square. Cost: 15 kn or €2.00
A Croatian sandwich made from thick slices of mozzarella and thinly cut Miljevci prosciutto, in Zagreb – Croatia!

A Croatian sandwich made from a bread roll with thick slices of mozzarella and thinly cut Miljevci prosciutto. Bought at the cafe next door to our lovely apartment in Zagreb. Cost: 12kn or €1.70!

Book your hotel here!

DINNER:

I can't remember where ate this meal, but it was lovely! Croatia - a basic guide to food!
I can’t remember where ate this meal, but it was lovely! Croatia – 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 Croatian cuisine.

We wanted to eat in Gornji Grad – the Old Town – The restaurant that we had our eye on was situated between the church of St. Mark, the Natural History Museum, the Museum of the City of Zagreb, and not far off from the Museum of Broken Relationships!

However, without a reservation, or a large number of heads, it proved extremely difficult to get a nice seat, or any seat at all! Of course, if you’re happy to be tucked in the outside patio, far from the action, or where you couldn’t see a thing then…

Er. Nope! I didn’t come all this way to be hidden away.

We decided to come again the next day, and this time we succeeded!

Dalmatian uštipak – fried doughnut balls – served with kajmak – Croatian clotted cream cheese ‘cos of the less-than-stellar service!

It’s a tavern-like place that is influenced by a mixture of Bosnian-Herzegovinian and Mediterranean cuisine. Sadly, the service wasn’t the best and neither was the food. Both The Music Producer and The Tall Young Gentleman enjoyed their dinner, but I didn’t!

  • The above dish of Dalmatian uštipak – fried doughnut balls – served with kajmak – Croatian clotted cream cheese was served On the House, ‘cos of the less-than-stellar service! Bought at Konoba Didov San – Gornji Grad, in Zagreb. Cost: 0.00kn or €0.00
Grilled eel with a nice side dish of roast potatoes, in Zagreb – Croatia!
  • The meal above was a dish of grilled eel with a nice side dish of roast potatoes. Bought at Konoba Didov San – Gornji Grad, in Zagreb. Cost: 130kn or €18.00
  • Wild asparagus
  • Dried pork loin and sausage with pickled cabbage
I'm not a fan of burgers so I had a chicken club sandwich consisting of chicken, bacon, grilled ham, onions and tomatoes, with a "cup" of roast potatoes!
I’m not a fan of burgers so I had a chicken club sandwich consisting of chicken, bacon, grilled ham, onions and tomatoes, with a “cup” of roast potatoes!

I’ve become quite European in nature so that I’m quite picky. In Zagreb, this could lead to not finding a place to eat!

  • Luckily, we found a nice little outfit which was small, and had a trendy bar and bistro menu. I’m not a fan of burgers so I had a chicken club sandwich consisting of chicken, bacon, grilled ham, onions and tomatoes, with a “cup” of roast potatoes! Bought at Otto & Frank, in Zagreb. Cost: 42kn or €5.60
  • Wild boar
  • Chicken in a wood-fired oven
  • Vitalac – skewered lamb offal
Eating frogs – Croatia – a basic guide to food!
  • Eels and frogs
  • Lamb tripe
  • Artichokes with fava beans

SEAFOOD:

A full seafood lunch of Frigadura, at a unique restaurant within the Square of the City Walls in Split-Croatia! We liked it so much, we went twice!
  • I had a “trayful” of seafood samples or Frigadura at this rather wonderful unique restaurant within one of the Squares of the city walls of Split! In fact, we liked the restaurant so much that we went back twice! My meal consisted of prawns, shrimps, mussels and sardines, served with a portion of french fries and a fancy tureen of whitefish sauce! Bought at the cute restaurant Bepa! in Split. Cost: 95kn or €12.80
  • Crab
  • Oysters

I adore seafood so we went to a little sailing harbour in Split and found a lovely place. It was packed with Croatian locals, Italians, and lots of families with their teenage children! I was already impressed as teenagers can be so picky, but discerning!

Pasta and seafood in Split. Oh my!
  • We all had pasta seafood dishes. My Tagliatelle came with mussels, shrimps, prawns and bits of lobster in a tomato sauce. Delish! Bought at the sailing restaurant Konoba – Barkarola in Split. Cost: 75kn or €11.00
Pickled seafood – Croatia – a basic guide to food
King Prawns – Croatia – a basic guide to food!
St. Jacobs scallops with spinach risotto – Croatia – a basic guide to food!
  • Scampi
  • Butarga – salted, cured fish roe
  • Spiny lobster

DESSERT:

Croatia – a basic guide to food!

On our second night in Croatia, we went to a restaurant that is located in one of the oldest streets in the city’s old centre. In a basement that is over 300 years old! Unfortunately, the lighting was too “soft” to take good photos so I only have a picture of dessert!

Istrian custard or flawn, presented with berries & cream in Zagreb – Croatia!
Chocolate cake in Dubrovnik – Croatia. Eww!
  • I hate chocolate cake, but if you like it, help yourself in Dubrovnik. Eww!! Eaten at GUSTA ME restaurant in Dubrovnik – press lunch – As part of an Easter brunch three-course menu – retail price – 160kn or €21.00
Ice cream in Zagreb – Croatia!

Who doesn’t love 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! I read about a trendy ice-cream parlour in the Time Out Zagreb magazine, so off we went.

  • The ice-cream parlour didn’t let us down. Bought at Millennium in Zagreb. Cost: 9kn per ice-cream scoop or €1.25!!!
  • Sweet pastries

DRINKS & REFRESHMENTS:

This glass of beer was quaffed on our Dubrovnik apartment terrace, and was a gift from our Croatian landlord!

The food culture in Croatia, 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. In fact, I found  that in many places, the cost of a taxi-ride was even cheaper than three (3) glasses of wine and a cup of coffee!

Al fresco dining in Croatia is great. So why shouldn’t you indulge?

So why shouldn’t you indulge?

Croatia has a variety of freshly – squeezed juice. Be careful when you order “lemonade” as The Tall Young Gentleman was surprised to receive freshly squeezed lemon, when actually what he wanted was Schweppes!

A refreshing jar of ginger-ale in Split – Croatia!
  • Here’s a refreshing jar of ginger-ale. Cost: 25kn or €3.40

Have a beverage at the many bars, restaurants and cafés that can be found on the very long street packed shoulder-to-shoulder!

NOTE! In the daytime, stroll around and take your pick, but by nightfall know that if you’re in Zagreb and you’re as picky as I am, you’ll probably not get to eat!

The establishments have different names but tend to belong to the same group. There might also be a very long wait for service. Make sure you keep the waiter in view so that he can keep the drinks coming. It’s expected that with each order, you pay on the spot, then order again.

A cold glass of coca-cola in Zagreb – Croatia!

You can also have:

  • Lovran chestnuts. Yuck!
  • Pag cheese
You can go to the lake in Split-Croatia, and have yourself a Karlovacko beer!
  • Home-grown Karlovačko beer
  • Staro Češko – from the Czech minority living in Croatia
  • Riječko pivo
  • Tomislav
How to visit the Balkans: Introducing Croatia – the dream of Game of Thrones!
  • Ožujsko
  • Velebitsko pivo
  • Pivo Toceno
  • Osječko: from the Osijek – the oldest brewery in Croatia!
Wine at lunch in Zagreb – Croatia!

Croatian wine has a history dating back to the Ancient Greek settlers, and many traditional grape varieties still survive. However, at first glance, many restaurants would offer me Italian or French wine instead! Insist on the local variety, which I found perfectly up to par.

  • The glass of red wine bought above at Kitchen & Gruill PLAC was cheaper than a (15kn or €2.00) glass of Schweppes!!! Cost: 9kn or €1.25!!!
  • Teran wine
  • Zlahtina from Vrbnik wine
  • Maraschino liqueur
  • Babic wine
  • Marastina wine
Semberg Rosé wine in Split-Croatia
  • The Semberg Rosé wine above was bought at restaurant Bepa! Cost: 45kn or €6.50
  • Debit wine
  • Plavac Mali wine
  • Dobricic wine
  • Vugava wine
  • Bogdanusa wine
  • Prosek wine
  • Posip wine
  • dubrovnic malvasia wine
  • Grk wine

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 or apartment here!

CROATIA – A BASIC GUIDE TO FOOD!

Croatian beer & Croatian coffee – Croatia – a basic guide to food!

This article is not sponsored and all opinions and the wonderful traditional food that we sampled, are my very own!

In May & June, I’ll be visiting Sweden and Slovenia!

From May 17th – May 20th, I’ll be at the Berlin Music Video Awards.

From July 4th – July 7th, I’ll be at Berlin Fashion Week. It’s going to be awesome!

I’ll be there. Will you?

If you’re not in Berlin in May, you’re crazy!

Save the Date!

May & June are going to be thrilling!

Croatian cold cuts & cheese – Croatia – 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!

Croatia – a basic guide to food!

Have you ever had Croatian food? Would you try lamb tripe or eels and frogs? 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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21 reasons why Dubrovnik is one of the top European cities to visit. If you haven’t been. Go now!

How to visit the Balkans: Introducing Croatia – the dream of Game of Thrones!

It’s proper Springtime!

A few weeks ago, I told you about how we had such a lovely time in Croatia, and all the unique things that we did!

However, we did more than just go to Croatia.

Yep!

We also went to..

Wait for it.

Dubrovnik!

And what a magnificent city. I really can’t hold it in any longer so this week, I’m going to tell you why Dubrovnik is one of the top European cities to visit, and that if you haven’t been, you ought to go now!

21 REASONS WHY DUBROVNIK IS ONE OF THE TOP EUROPEAN CITIES TO VISIT. IF YOU HAVEN’T BEEN. GO NOW!

21 reasons why Dubrovnik is one of the top European citities to visit. If you haven’t been. Go now!
21 reasons why Dubrovnik is one of the top European cities to visit. If you haven’t been. Go now!

If you’re just joining, this is what you missed:

Croatia is the first time that I’ve ever been to the Balkan States, my 62nd country, and the first (1st) new country for 2017!

It was better than I ever hoped.

Whoopa!

LET’S GET A LITTLE HISTORY!

How to visit the Balkans: Introducing Croatia – the dream of Game of Thrones!
How to visit the Balkans: Introducing Croatia – the dream of Game of Thrones!

Dubrovnik , otherwise known as Ragusa, is a Croatian city on the Adriatic Sea, in Dalmatia!

The name Dubrovnik is first recorded in the Charter of Ban Kulin in 1189 and was mostly explained as a Slavic name, meaning an oak grove or oak forest. However, both names Dubrovnik and Ragusa co-existed for several centuries.

Ragusa, recorded – since the 10th century – considered to stem from the Greek word Lausa – remained the official name of the Republic of Dubrovnik until 1808, while Dubrovnik – first recorded in the late 12th century – was in widespread use by the 16th or early 17th century!

The prosperity of the city was historically based on maritime trade, and during the 15th and 16th centuries, became famous not only for it’s wealth, but also for it’s skilled international diplomacy!

Dubrovnik is one of the most prominent tourist destinations in the Mediterranean Sea, a seaport, and the centre of Dubrovnik-Neretva County. It’s population is about 42,461, and is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites!

WHY GO TO DUBROVNIK?

21 reasons why Dubrovnik is one of the top European cities to visit. If you haven’t been. Go now!

Courtesy of the Dubrovnik Tourist Board who issued me with a press pass, and very kindly invited us to a Croatian traditional lunch, and organised a private customised walking tour, we were in fact, able to do quite a lot.

Thanks so much!

What now?

I thought you would never ask…

Welcome to the Old City in Dubrovnik, otherwise known as Grad!

1.  The Dubrovnik Old City & City Wall: Dubrovnik is a museum city crammed with hidden treasures. If you don’t do anything at all, make sure you climb the City Wall! Top tip! You can use the ticket of the City Wall to get into the Lovrijenac Fort – for free – and there is no need to buy another ticket!

2.  It’s a waterfront port city: You know how much I enjoy water destinations. Dubrovnik ticked each, and every box!

3.  History: Dubrovnik is an old city alive full of history and stories, and Dubrovnik like the city of Split, is a flagship heritage attraction, utterly protected by UNESCO, since 1979!

A large part of Kings’ Landing and the Red Keep was filmed in Lovrijenac – the fortress outside the City Wall in Dubrovnik – and just a few minutes away!

4.  Walking Tours: The Dubrovnik Tourist Board very kindly organised a private customised walking tour which was peppered with the history of the old Republic of Dubrovnik, tips about famous Croatians, and the secrets of where Game of Thrones was filmed. A large part of King’s Landing and the Red Keep was filmed in Lovrijenac – the fortress outside Dubrovnik’s City Wall and just a few minutes away! In fact, I’m watching the bestselling cult series again right now, and I’m ecstatic. I must have seen the complete 1 – 6 series American Amazon here, British Amazon here, German Amazon here, at least four (4) times, and I’m watching it all over again!

5.  The port of Dubrovnik is romantic: You can enjoy a very pleasant walk along the river-side or towards the castle and fortress. Or you can simply have a meal or a glass of something bubbly, while basking in the early evening sun!

Take me to the island of Lokrum in Croatia, which is a mere 15 minutes away and a special UNESCO forest vegetation reserve!

6.  You can visit an island: You can take a daytrip to the Elaphiti Islands or to the island of Lokrum, a mere 15 minutes away and a special UNESCO forest vegetation reserve! We really tried hard to get there, but either it was raining and no boats were going out, or we spent a hell of a lot of time on the City Wall!

7.  You can stroll through the very small Old City with nothing to fear but the selfie stick of other tourists!

Me in Dubrovnik – Croatia!

8.  It’s a city of history through the ages: You only have to walk through the City Gates and history is right before your very eyes. Turn here, and you’ll see ancient sailing vessels, turn there, and you’ll hear the whisper of centuries of wealth, power and fame!

9.  Dubrovnik is known as a city on the palm of the hand: The city is so named due to it’s history, it’s beauty, and it’s openness to the world!

In a living city, there are strings of washing strewn across the window or terrace. In some places, with the horror of a pair of damp dangling knickers fluttering, in front of one’s face!

10.  Dubrovnik is an authentic living city: I always felt as if I was in somebody’s backyard, as on practically every corner and side-street, there were stairways and steps, and strings of washing seen strewn across the window or terrace. In some places, with the horror of a pair of damp dangling knickers fluttering, in front of one’s face!

11.  Dubrovnik is international: We saw plenty of American, Korean, Italian and Croatian tourists, dominated by Brits and the Irish! A quick look around and a bit of a natter with other tourists would reveal a bevy of young wealthy Indians. Many of whom actually lived in Germany!

21 reasons why Dubrovnik is one of the top European cities to visit. If you haven’t been. Go now!

12.  Dubrovnik is small: I don’t know how they do it, but Dubrovnik is tinier than Split! And with a population of just 42,461 inhabitants, is perfectly walkable. In fact, no vehicles are allowed into the Old City except for those trolley-like carts!

13.  The nightlife: Dubrovnik has a great nightlife. In pretty much every corner, there’s a bar or a few tables, and in the summer, live music. As this was a family holiday, the party would have to wait however, almost every evening we found a nice little place where we could enjoy a glass of wine or champagne, while the sun set!

We found a natural cave complete with stalagmites and stalactites. It’s known by the locals, but not so much by travellers. It’s the Cave Bar More in Dubrovnik – Croatia!

14.  Secret bars: We found two bars that were not well-known, but were absolute fantastic. We stumbled upon both of them! One was whilst we decided to go cliff walking around Dubrovnik instead. We found a restaurant, but deeper inside it was a natural cave complete with stalagmites and stalactites! It’s known by the locals, but not so much by travellers. It’s called the Cave Bar More where you could have wine and cocktails. Which we did!

The other place we saw whilst we were on the Castle Walls itself. It’s difficult to find as it’s part of the cliff and sort of tucked behind a side street, that leads to the City Wall. There’s no signage, but if you’re determined, you’ll find it! On talking to one of the waiters, he told me that their customers tend to be locals or those “in the know.” It can get a little chilly, and there are no barriers or fencing, so you’ll need to keep a hold of young kids, but it was awesome.

A marvellous place to have a beer and watch the sun go down in front of the Lokrum island. It’s called Zto Bard. Go find it!

Night life in Dubrovnik – Croatia!

15.  Museums & Galleries: I love places that teach you something and give you an impression of the lives of those living there, and Dubrovnik had them in spades. We were only able to make it to the Maritime Museum, which really gave me some insight into the maritime history of Dubrovnik and how important the sea is, but I so desperately wanted to visit the Ethnographic Museum. We managed a quick peek into the Franciscan Monastery which I recognised from Game of Thrones, and a peek into the Cathedral, but we weren’t able to do it properly, and simply had no time at all, for the Dominican Monastery!

The cable car is a unique way to see the height and sights of the city of Dubrovnik!

16.  Dubrovnik Cable Car: What a unique way to see the height and sights of the city of Dubrovnik! In fact, once you’ve taken the cable car, and you’re at the top of the Srđ Hill, there’s a viewing platform where you can see enchanting views of the Old City, the Lapad Bay, and the other nearby islands!

17.  It’s off the beaten path: Croatia, not to talk of Dubrovnik, is still relatively unknown! Perhaps, it was the fact that we had arrived in the low season, but in Zagreb we saw very few tourists except for Americans and local Croatians. In Split, mainly German and Italian.

Most of the Asian and British tourists seemed to be in Dubrovnik!

There was some sort of voluntary cat home under the steps of the Dubrovnik City Wall!

18.  Cats: We saw cats everywhere. They weren’t as feral or as wild as the cats that we saw in Portugal – but quite cute. In fact, there was some sort of voluntary cat home under the steps of the City Wall! You can make a donation or leave tins of cat food, and even play with the cats. If the cats let you!

19.  A budget destination: In comparison to Italy and Austria nearby, prices are lower and the quality just as good!

OMG! The seafood in Croatia is so impressive!

20.  Croatian food: OMG! The seafood was impressive. More about that next week!

21.  Because Game of Thrones!

TAKE ME THERE?

Take me to Dubrovnik right away!

As you all pretty much know by now, I’m a great believer in train travel. However, Croatia is quite far from Germany, so we flew!

Note: There aren’t a lot of inter-city trains. In fact, there’s no train station in Dubrovnik at all!

There actually aren’t a lot of trains in Croatia at all!

If you’re on a tight budget then many bus-coach companies such as MeinFernbus FlixBus also go to Croatia. But do be aware that the fastest routes are usually only sold in Croatia itself.

We decided to use the coach-bus between Split-Dubrovnik.

Split – Dubrovnik proved problematic, as the coach-bus actually went backwards in the direction of Zagreb, then dropped us in the backwater town of Benkovac, at the Benkovac Busbahnhof!

I didn’t like Benkovac in Croatia, at all!

Benkovac was yucky!

As soon as I saw the “bus station,” I wanted to get the hell out of there!

It was practically deserted and every “room” was boarded up.

We had a 1 hour stop-over at 10:30, and the next decent place was a bar. So we ran to it and ordered a few (non-alcoholic) drinks there!

It’s 10:30 in the morning remember.

An early morning shot of vodka in many East European countries, is believed to be quite healthy!

Not that it stopped any of the local punters. Ho! Ho!….!

Our journey took 8 hours and 30 minutes, but the bus was 45 minutes late, so make that 9 hours and 15 minutes instead!

We probably should have rented a car, and be done with it!

Cost: Split – Benkovac €12.00. Benkovac – Metkovic €7.35. Benkovac – Dubrovnik €5.65 per person.

IS IT GOING TO BE CROWDED?

Dubrovnik has the potential to be most popular!

Not in April.

But it has the potential to be, as Dubrovnik is most popular!

In fact, most of the tourists were on the City Wall, and many tourist attractions  were still very much empty as it wasn’t yet “the season.” Many a restaurant were looking for punters and luring customers in with 10% discounts, or more!

But in the summer, prepare to gird your loins, and fight your way through!

Plan well.

Book your hotel here!

WHAT IS DUBROVNIK LIKE?

21 reasons why Dubrovnik is one of the top European cities to visit. If you haven’t been. Go now!

Marvellous!

We were only there for 4 days, but we could have stayed for a week, as we had so many things to see, and the weather put a hamper on some of the activities that we wanted to do.

It’s rich in history, is of architectural interest and has a wonderful harbour. There are castles and fortresses galore, the seafood and wine is not to be missed, and the islands nearby are attractive.

If it’s good enough to reflect the main filming location in Game of Thrones as King’s Landing, the capital city of the Seven Kingdoms, it’s good enough for you!

I DON’T SPEAK CROATIAN!

I’m guessing that the parrots don’t speak much Croatian either, although I couldn’t quite understand what they were doing there!

No worries!

It’s amazing how many languages a typical European speaks.

Most speak a minimum of three (3)!

If you speak English, German, Italian or Korean, you’re good to go.

Besides, everyone pretty much speaks English too!

AM I GOING TO LIVE IN A HUT?

You really can’t live on the Dubrovnik City Wall. Even if you want to!

Not at all.

Not unless you want to!

I’M ON A BUDGET. WHAT SHOULD I DO?

This glass of beer was quaffed on our Dubrovnik apartment terrace, and was a gift from our Croatian landlord!

We’ve all been there.

Dubrovnik isn’t cheap-cheap, but if you’re from the UK or the US, it’s as cheap as chips.

If you’re from Germany, prices are the same as in Berlin, and you can eat at gourmet restaurants, at budget prices!

And the seafood is delightful!

We pretty much spent a large amount of time drinking lots of wine, whilst people watching. And a few more!

And on this trip, we decided to book apartments instead of hotels or hostels.

Book your apartment here!

This was our sunny terrace at our Dubrovnik apartment. We were very comfortable!

We had great difficulty with personal space in Madrid last year, as The Tall Young Gentleman has recently turned 15 (OMG!), and is very tall. We decided to either book two (2) hotel rooms, or a large apartment instead.

Prices are low, and the quality and standard of apartments available, is exceedingly high.

Book ahead to get good prices.

Book your apartment or hotel here!

I’M LOOKING FOR SOMETHING A BIT DIFFERENT. ANY IDEAS?

I have plenty of ideas. Just ask me!

Always.

Go ahead and ask me!

WHAT ABOUT TRANSPORT POSSIBILITIES?

Lots of people, walk or take the bus. But you can just as well canoe your way around!

All of Croatia is pretty small, so every city we visited was quite walkable.

Cars are not allowed into the Old City! For the day-to-day, the locals used some sort of cart!

Dubrovnik is pretty small so everywhere is walkable. You can travel around the city by bicycle, boat, cable car, the local bus, or simply walk.

We were lucky to get a private customised city tour courtesy of the Dubrovnik Tourist Board who paired us with the expertise of the PR Department Coordinator!

ANYTHING ELSE?

You need proper shoes in order to navigate Croatia!
You need proper shoes in order to navigate Croatia!

Ditch the heels and expensive leather brogues, and take comfortable walking shoes.

There be steep and cobbled stones!

Oh, and get the Dubrovnik Card. It includes the cost of the City Walls, which more than makes up for itself!

MY VERDICT:

Dubrovnik is a dream!

Dubrovnik is an undisputed dream.

It’s medieval.

It’s appealing.

It’s got history, art and culture, and looks utterly charming.

If you’re looking for one of the top European cities to visit in 2017, that is safe, lively, and ready to be discovered. It’s right there!

WOULD I COME AGAIN?

Because the White Walkers from Game of Thrones, scare me!

Utterly!

Because, Game of Thrones!

Go visit Dubrovnik. Now!

Where we stayed: Green Park Apartments – Just €60.00 per night for the whole apartment. Marvellous!

Book your hotel here!

21 REASONS WHY DUBROVNIK IS ONE OF THE TOP EUROPEAN CITIES TO VISIT. IF YOU HAVEN’T BEEN. GO NOW!

21 reasons why Dubrovnik is one of the top European cities to visit. If you haven’t been. Go now!

This article is not sponsored and even though I received a press pass, and a complimentary city tour courtesy of the Split – Dalmatia County Tourist Board, all opinions and the delightful Castle Wall that we sprawled over, are my very own!

In May & June, I’ll be visiting Sweden and Slovenia!

From May 17th – May 20th, I’ll be at the Berlin Music Video Awards.

From June 8th – June 9th, I’ll be at the Berlin Fashion Film Festival.

From July 4th – July 7th, I’ll be at Berlin Fashion Week. It’s going to be so much fun!

I’ll be there. Will you?

If you’re not in Berlin in May, you’re quite mad!

Save the Date!

May & June are going to be pleasing!

Croatian food is most delicious!

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!

21 reasons why Dubrovnik is one of the top European cities to visit. If you haven’t been. Go now!

Have you ever been to Dubrovnic? Any ideas why parrots are in the Old City? 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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