5 Reasons Why Italy Is a Food Lover’s Dream!

italy

When you think of countries to visit on a “food vacation”, Italy clearly has to be towards the top of your list. If you don’t easily give into hype, maybe these five reasons why Italy is a food lover’s dream will convince you to give it a shot. If nothing else, prepare your mouth to start watering.

You don’t have to go to a restaurant to enjoy better food in Italy than you do at home. Take the open markets in Florence, for example. Just looking at the fresh fruits and veggies will have you ready to tear up. Vendors are more than happy to make suggestions on preparation, and you may even have some herbs thrown into the bag with whatever you buy, just to make sure you have what you need for the perfect meal. The bakeries will drag you in by the nose. You can’t go wrong with any selection, but tell them what you are cooking, and you’ll walk out with the perfect accompaniment. Then it’s on to the shops for some cheese, meat, and the best olives you’ll ever put in your mouth. By the time you get back to your accommodations, you’ll barely be able to contain yourself long enough to prepare everything.

One word: Gelato. Don’t you dare call it ice cream. One scoop of this delicacy will have you saying, “Ice what?” Specialty shops will have so many flavors your head will spin, so don’t be afraid to get two or three scoops of different kinds. Don’t worry, you can come back tomorrow to try something new or revisit a favorite.

Italy actually offers food tours if you want to get into that sort of thing. Instead of having to research the best place to go, a local aficionado will bring you to all the best stops. You’ll meet the best local chefs, taste their finest creations, and learn a little about cooking in the process. Why just eat the best food in the world when you can learn the secrets to making it at the same time?

Italy doesn’t just specialize in great food, but also in great wine. One of the best ways to enhance the flavor of a meal is to eat it with the proper beverage. Let Italy help you get the most out of what would already be a great meal.

Finally, and perhaps most dear to my heart, Italy is conscious of food allergies. If you suffer from a gluten allergy, like myself, it’s nice to know you can ask for a gluten free meal without someone looking at you like you have two heads. It’s no different there than asking to hold the onions.

If you love food, Italy can provide the vacation of a lifetime.

The best places in Europe to go as a food lover!

Are you looking for a holiday in which you can experience the local gastronomy? European destinations offer many chances to taste delicious local food. Here are some of the best European cities to enjoy fabulous eats on your next holiday.

gootolondon

London, England

Though London received a bit of a bad reputation regarding food in the past, the city’s restaurant scene has undergone a complete makeover in terms of gastronomy. With the rise of the gastropub, where guests can enjoy creative gourmet fare alongside the standard evening cocktail, London’s many eateries have developed a reputation for fresh, innovative cuisine drawing upon the city’s many cultural influences. Furthermore, London is home to famous restaurants run by celebrity chefs such as Dinner by Heston, and Jamie’s Italian.

Copenhagen, Denmark

Home to Noma, recently named the world’s top restaurant, Copenhagen is quickly becoming a top foodie destination. If you don’t manage to score a table at Noma, you can try a traditional Danish open-faced sandwich at Aamanns, sample local oysters at Fiskeman, or have a simple hot dog at Døp, which has been voted by Copenhagen residents as their favorite place to eat in the city.

Bologna, Italy

With Italy’s gastronomic diversity and the importance the culture places on food, you can find culinary heaven in any corner of the country. However, with its plethora of cooking schools and culinary institutes, Bologna is a known even within Italy for its delicious food. The home of the well-known Bolognese sauce, Bologna is also known for cured meats and cheeses, as well as many innovative dishes using high quality ingredients. For authentic local dishes, you can try Trattoria Del Rosso, which also has a cooking school attached.

Paris, France

Finally, no food guide to Europe would be complete without mention of the haute cuisine of Paris. Known round the world for its superb cuisine, Parisian restaurants and cafes offer quality dishes that simply cannot be beat. Everything from the four-course meal to the humble baguette seems to tantalize the taste buds beyond expectation. All of this comes from a strict adherence to traditional recipes and the use of only fresh, local, top-quality seasonal ingredients. In almost any bistro, café or restaurant you can find food that is fresh and delicious. For traditional French dishes, try the coq au vin (chicken in wine), moules frites (mussels steamed in wine with a side of chips), or even simple dishes like quiche. For dessert, try a macaroon or mousse au chocolate for a final sweet treat.

A Final Note

These are just a few of the fabulous places to eat in Europe. Delicious food can be found almost anywhere, depending on your taste and budget. So whenever you search for good value holiday offers, you can definitely find good food wherever you choose to visit in Europe.

enlighten

How Travel Is a Great Way to Enlighten Yourself

I have always found that I can acquire a great deal of insight about both the world and myself when I travel. Here are a few little anecdotes that show some of things I have learned in my travels. Perhaps some wandering is just what you need to enlighten yourself as well.

I’ll start in Nicaragua. I visited friends a few years back, and they sent a British couple who were living in the country to pick me up at the airport. As we got into the little Toyota Yaris, the wife turned to me and said, “Driving here can be a bit frantic.” Before that time, I thought people only drove like Jason Bourne in movies. Then I learned there were countries where that was the norm. That day I learned that the phenomena that occurs when you get into a taxi cab in New York city also applies when a former rugby player zips you across a Central American capital. When something seems too dangerous to be real, sometimes your brain just decides that it isn’t, so no fear registers at all.

Travel is also a great way to gauge relationships. The right company can make or break even the most incredible of trips. In Chile I discovered that I had never given my own mother a fair chance, and that she is actually quite fun and adventurous (you’re not seriously going to ask me how I ended up in Chile with my mom, right?) . I spent a great weekend in Atlanta with one of my childhood friends, but one thing it made clear was that we were the kind of friends who would get each other into trouble. Taking a long road trip with my brother and his wife just confirmed for me that, besides family, they are also friends (it also confirmed that I never want to spend two days in car with a one year old again, no matter how adorable she is, and that the driving part of road trips is never exciting when you have a kidney stone and urinary tract infection).

You also get a different view of the world from travel. Having grown up 50 miles from New York city, visiting small town America made me wonder if the civil war ever actually ended. Enjoying the siesta time in Nicaragua made me wonder why there were parts of the world that choose to push through the whole day and only relax at night. Seeing how green the city of Santiago was made me wonder why some cities are so gray.

Yes, travel is a great way to broaden your horizons and learn new things about both yourself and the world around us.

laaannddan eye

Places to Visit When You Next Go to London

I also like to call this article “Places I’d like to visit when I first go to London.” While this is a thus far unfulfilled dream, I’ve had a number of friends go, and I will combine a few places I love about Londontown, along with some I’ve been told about. I’m going to start somewhere you would never expect.

I have an older friend whom I bonded with over a mutual love of classical music. When he was in London, he said he would read his morning paper in a Burger King of all places! “Why travel half way around the world to sit in a fast food restaurant?” I wondered. To this day he swears they fixed real breakfasts, had carpeted floors, and played classical music. I’ll admit, he’s kinda crazy. It’s entirely possible he made this up just to see if I’d check it out. If so, I don’t want to disappoint him, so one of my first stops in London will be to see if this is really what Burger King is like across the pond.

All joking aside, I’m a traditionalist, so when I go to a city, I want to see some major landmarks, especially ones with a history. If you learned the children’s song “London Bridge” as a kid, I think that alone makes it a must see. I love theater and I think beautiful art should take place in a beautiful theater, so I recommend a show at the Royal Albert Hall. The Tower of London is another must see in my book, with all of its rich history. Of the royal buildings, I think I would choose Buckingham Palace. I would choose Kensington Gardens as my top choice of park. Then Parliament Square would make me rhyme about November 5th. To top it off, I would want to see Big Ben. Then I’d want to take a picture of the giant Ferris wheel that gets destroyed in every major action flick that has a scene in London.

Next, it’s over to Westfield for some shopping. Don’t get me wrong, I would personally like to peruse some alley way and find a tailor or a quaint little haberdashery. That seems more in line with getting the full London experience. But Westfield has a wide array of shopping including its village area if you want more upscale shopping like a Burberry store.

When I’m in a new city, sometimes I just like to wander. I don’t recommend doing that alone, or at night, but sometimes you find your favorite spot in a city when you aren’t even looking for it.

european food

The Best Things About European Food

I love food, and Europeans make most of my favorites. The fact is, Europeans have always focused on quality more than quantity. That’s why other countries don’t have “American restaurants” even though they may have some of the fast food chains. Meanwhile in the US, if you are taking your significant other out for a nice meal, you are probably heading to a French or Italian restaurant. What are some of the best things about European food?

For one thing, Europeans appreciate the value of dairy products. Not the processed stuff you end up with on a burger, but real cheese and butter too. High quality butter can turn just about anything into a delicacy. Real cheese is the perfect addition to many main courses and side dishes. Whether it is a baguette or a plate of pasta, the quality of the dairy products, and the fashion in which they are used, can really make the meal.

Europeans also treasure their fresh spices. Dried or frozen spices can be used in a pinch, but if you really want a full flavor meal, you need to have fresh spices to add. I don’t know if there is anything I like more than a pasta sauce with just the right amount of fresh basil. But you can take that same spice and put it over some lightly breaded eggplant with a little grated mozzarella and create another masterpiece. The versatile ways spices are used are inspiring.

Don’t get me wrong, European meals can be simple too. Take for example the classic dish, corned beef and cabbage. It’s one of my favorites. In the US they do a hand held version – a hot dog with sauerkraut. Can you see why I prefer the taste combinations in even simple European foods?

Now I realize that France, Italy, and Ireland don’t make up the whole of Europe. These were just a few examples of the way Europeans approach food and cooking that I appreciate. Here’s one more thing: Courses. I love the idea of something light to get your palate ready, rather than something that resembles an entire meal. An entree should be the main course, not a plate of halved potatoes stuffed to the brim with cheese and bacon. Desserts in Europe are rich, so instead of being massive, they are often small but immensely satisfying. There is not comparison between gelato and your average ice cream.

Yes, Europeans know their food, and for that I am grateful.

Neuschwanstein Castle near Füssen, Germany

Why Germany Is a Fantastic Place to Take the Kids on Holiday

Germany can be great fun for the whole family. Obviously, some of the history of a nation wracked by war won’t be appropriate for little kids, but that is all in the past and there is plenty to do for everyone besides just visit historic war locations. If you are looking to spend your holiday with the family in another country, you have to give Germany its fair consideration. Here is just a little taste of what you can enjoy in this delightful country.

Germans love their theme parks almost as much as Americans do, and some of the themes are quite intriguing. Fantasialand is a great fairytale themed park that will delight children, especially girls; and Europa-Park is perfect for those thrill seeking teens who want to ride the wildest roller coasters around. Legoland and Playmobile Funpark provide the sort of enjoyment you never grow out of with people sized playgrounds that look to have been built from the children’s blocks.

Castles are another exciting family adventure. Every young boy dreams of being a knight (and your girls may dream of being rescued by one), so a castle is like walking through a real life fairytale. Grown children and parents get to enjoy the rich history such landmarks have to offer. These are some of the most picturesque places in the world. Plus, there are museums for those of various ages with enough to keep everyone in family occupied.

Germany is also a naturally beautiful nation. You can enjoy the many parks, reserves, and zoos that are sure to be fun, relaxing, and educational. If your family likes to be outdoors together, you can ride bike trails and hike to beautiful locations. Various routes allow you to make adjustments so that all in the family are able to enjoy the outdoors and handle the physicality of the day. Lakes and pools also make this a great trip for families that love to be in and near the water.

Family friendly accommodations round out the many reasons to take the whole family with you when you come to Germany. Even if you have infants or toddlers, there are accommodations to meet your needs.

Indeed, Germany is a fantastic place to take the kids on holiday. So next time you want the whole family to travel together and to be able to enjoy the trip, why not consider Germany as your destination?