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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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!

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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!

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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!

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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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