EATING IN BOLOGNA

Although Bolognese cuisine is not very much different then that of Modena or any other city in Emilia-Romagna, but since it has a long and important part of Italian history, it deserves a text on its own.

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BOLOGNA

With our busy Italian schedule last year, we actually had no more than one day to visit Bologna, so instead of wandering around I booked a free walking tour through a web site called guruwalk. Little did I know at the time that our guide would be a Croatian girl.

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AI DUE PLATANI

What are the chances your tour guide gives you the food recommendation that’s already on your restaurant list? If you have prepared yourself for your food trip, big. And we assure you, Debeli did an excellent job when it came to the selection of the trattorias and osterias in Emilia-Romagna.

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HOW PARMIGIANO REGGIANO IS MADE?

Well, the best way to know the details is to visit a parmigiano factory. And the Emilia-Romagna is full of them. Especially the provinces of Parma, Reggio Emilia, the part of Bologna west of Reno, and Modena (all in Emilia-Romagna) as well as the part of Mantua in Lombardy that lies south of the river Po.

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MODENA

If you have read my last post, you could see the real reason of our visit and stay in Modena, but even if Osteria Francescana is not something that would interest you, Modena, I’m sure, would.

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EATING IN AMSTERDAM

Having only three days in Amsterdam meant we won’t be able to visit and eat in as much restaurant we would like to, so Debeli had a very difficult task to fulfill. He had to do a thorough research and a tough choice between choosing our dinning places. But he did an excellent job. As usual.

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BITS & BITES OF AMSTERDAM

Amsterdam. That magic city everybody has heard of. That liberal city in a small country on the western coast of Europe. That tulip city everybody has visited already. Everybody but me. For me it was first time 🙂

Debeli organized the three day trip to Amsterdam on occasion of his 35th birthday and for me to FINALLY visit the van Gogh museum that I’m a huge fan of. I even bought a skirt with his motifs (wasn’t the only weirdo in a museum, trust me)

So, we did everything as the usual traveler to Amsterdam should do. Well almost everything. We didn’t bike. Like the rest of the city and tourists. Too lazy I guess. We walked and we used the Amsterdam public transport multi pass for three days.

Church of our Lady

We visited the museum, I bought a Dutch shoe brand sandals, we tried space cake (not much of anything for us) and we ate as usual. We even did a food tour this time.

Being a food tour guide for over a year and a half it was about time I do a guided food tour. My first one actually was in Oslo, before I started guiding the tours myself but I never did a food tour in some other city. It always turns out we do our own food research and a tour. This time we let someone else introduce us to the history of Dutch cuisine.

I booked the Tours with locals, which is a fantastic web site where you can book various types of tours with people living in the city you’re visiting. Another good thing is, all tours are private and you can even book your own guide depending on their availability and your preferences since every one of them has a small introduction video.

Therefore, we met our guide in the early afternoon, after a morning visit to the van Gogh museum. The meeting place was in front of a bakery called the Cake of my aunt in the de Pijp neighborhood. The guide, originally from Israel married now to a Dutch guy and living for the past two years in Amsterdam, took us on a stroll through the bohemian narrow streets of de Pijp’s.

De Pijp is situated in a part of the city known as the Old South (Oud Zuid) and much of its streets are named after Dutch painters, like Jan Steen, Frans Hals, Ruysdael and Vincent van Gogh.

It’s a very hip area with a younger population and tons of small arts & craft shops and restaurants and bars.

While walking around, the guide introduced us to Dutch history that had a huge impact on its cuisine as well.

Around 17% of the land is falling below sea level and most of the areas below sea level, are known as polders. They’re the result of land reclamation started in the 16th century that widened country’s surface and created fertile land. For potato 🙂 As nothing is actually growing in Netherlands. It’s potato and tulips. That are not even Dutch. They’re Turkish! Imported in 1500 and modified to sustain harder climate.

Traditionally, the Dutch cuisine is very simple consisting mainly out of many vegetables and little meat. The average diet contained many dairy products and was relatively high in carbohydrates and fat, reflecting the dietary needs of the laborers whose culture molded the country. Just think of van Goghs painting Potato eaters and you have the whole history of Dutch cuisine in one picture.

Being close to the sea, though, one of Dutch main foods is seafood. Herring being on top of the list.

Raw herring that has been submerged in brine is one of the things that you just have to try. Used herrings are from the catches around the end of spring and the beginning of the summer.

The herrings are ripened for a couple of days in oak barrels in salty solution and left to be cured for a bit. Once the barrels are opened the fishy smell is hard to get rid of, so the Dutch found a way to fight that.  They started serving soused herring with pickled cucumbers and raw onions.

Although the tradition is to eat the herring as a whole, by lifting the herring by its tail and eat it upwards holding it over your mouth, we tasted it cut in pieces. Quite delicious, no doubt.

 

The Dutch Golden Age brought some changes thanks to the span of Dutch colonial empire that comprised the overseas territories and trading posts controlled and administered by Dutch chartered companies. Mainly the Dutch West India and the Dutch East India Company. The Dutch East India Company was the first to import coffee on a large scale to Europe and by the late 17th century, tea and coffee consumption were increasing and becoming part of everyday life.

Various types of spices, sugar, exotic fruits and ingredients such as dates, rice, cinnamon, ginger and saffron were imported to the country and used. But only by the upper class. The rest of the people didn’t have money and they got stuck with relatively cheaper spices used for famous spiced cookies called speculaas, that we all know 🙂

The greatest revelation on this tour was realizing the fact that the Dutch traded their spices from East to the West and vice versa but they never thought of actually using any of that on a regular basis. It was either too expensive, or not that exciting for them.

Until mid 20th century and the arrival of the former Dutch colonials and people of Eurasian descent into the Netherlands, especially after the independence of Indonesia from Dutch colonial rule in 1949. So, with the newcomers came their culture and food as well.

They brought a lot of fried rice and spring rolls, fried noodles and bananas and satay peanut sauce. And that’s what we had.

Chicken satay
Fried plantain bananas in a peanut sauce (baka bana)

The variety of spices and vegetables that had been brought in with the new settlers changed the local cuisine for the better. Everything tastes better if seasoned, right? 🙂

Beside chicken and bananas that we have already tried before. The new thing was spicy savory doughnut, bara.

Bara

Bara is of Surinamese origin whose culture is very diverse and dynamic with strong Asian, African and European influences. Different ethnic groups in this South American country were influenced by each other’s dishes and ingredients so the new Surinamese cuisine is a quite unique and rich creation.

Still, the Dutch take great pride in their own products, of which the most renowned is the cheese. And not any kind of cheese, but the Gouda cheese.

The cheese is named after the city of Gouda but not because it was produced in that city, but because it was traded right there. To this day, farmers from the surrounding regions of Gouda, gather in the city every Thursday morning between 10:00 am and 12:30 pm from June until August to have their cheeses weighed, tasted, and priced.

We have tried our cheese in one of the largest and most popular street markets in the city; the Albert Cuyp market.

The marked was named after the 650 meter long street of the same name dedicated to one of the leading Dutch Golden Age painters.

Albert Cuyp, The Maas at Dordrecht, circa 1650

The market began spontaneously as a collection of street traders and pushcarts. By the beginning of the 20th century, things went a bit out of control so the city government decided to set up a market.

At first market was held only on Saturday evenings and by the 1912 the market became a daytime market open six days a week. First years the street was accessible while the market was taking place, but more recently it has been completely closed off to traffic during market hours that are from 9am until 5pm, but closed on Sundays.

The selection of the products is enormous, and it varies from the traditional range of vegetables, fruit and fish to clothing.

The market together with the whole neighborhood has a strong multicultural vibe, thanks to the various products sold by and for the city’s residents of Surinamese, Antillean, Turkish, and Moroccan origin.

But the most famous ones that we came in was the cheese and the stroopwafels.

We have tried different kinds of Gouda cheeses made by the family that has been making and selling the cheese at the market for over a half a century.

Seven different types of Gouda; clockwise, starting from 9am: with lavender, smoked, goat, with blueberries, old Amsterdam, with truffles and the classic one in the middle

Although all were fantastic, my top three were definitely the smoked one, with truffles and old Amsterdam. Old Amsterdam is a several months aged cow milk cheese with a mild sweetness but rich in maturation crystals that gives it a nice salty flavors. Fantastic!

In a close relation to Gouda are the waffles. But not because they’re made in a same way but because they originated from the same city, back in the 18th and 19th century.

http://originalstroopwafels.com/?lang=en

Like everything else, the Dutch waffles were born as a completely random thing. According to the legend, bakers in the city would mix together leftover cookie crumbs to form a dough and then shape this mixture into waffles. To sweeten these treats, they would glue the waffles together with sugar syrup, creating a tasty and handy snack from ingredients that would otherwise have been thrown away.

Apparently the best waffles in Netherlands are those made in a small waffle stall at the market where the traditional recipe has been passed along several generations. Although they sell their waffles around the world, the best are made fresh right in front of you.

I opted for a classic one over a chocolate one, thinking that would be too sweet. And I was right. The classic one was sweet enough. Debeli took just one bite while I ate the rest with pure pleasure, before we finished the tour with some beers and deep fried meatballs in a local bar.

Beer brewing in the Netherlands dates back to the 9th century, although craft beer has recently woke up from the dead. Basically, ever since Heineken won the gold medal for its pilsner at the World’s Fair in 1889, the Dutch have been known for that brewery and that specific style. But what we didn’t know is that the locals actually rather enjoy some other brands, like Amstel or Grolsch rather than Heineken. Heineken is considered way too industrial and too touristy that’s proved by the long lines at the entrance of what used to be the brewery, now the visitor center (since 1975, most Heineken brand beer has been brewed at their brewery in Zoeterwoude).

Although the Dutch drink, on average, around 69 litres of beer per person per year, ranking them 24th in the world in terms of beer consumption, we can not forget that they are the origin country of gin. Or as they call it jenever.

Grolsch

I don’t know if you know, but before gin there was jenever or juniper-flavored liquor that originates from the Netherlands. Both gin and jenever are juniper berries flavored spirits (jenever is the Dutch word for juniper), but their main difference is the original ingredient. While gin is produced exclusively by re-distilling ethanol of agricultural origin (mainly grains), jenever is made by distilling malt wine so it has more yellowish color and herbal flavor.

To learn a bit more about the jenever, or better say, to drink a bit more, Debeli took me to one of the oldest tasting rooms of jenever in Amsterdam.

Wynand Fockink started his distillery in 1679 in the center of Amsterdam where they still have craft made liqueurs and jenevers for sale and sampling.

The tasting room still has its authentic ‘Proeflokaal’ look from 17th century as well as the product assortments.

We have tried the original jenever and the sweet and sour passion fruit liqueur.

The distinctive Proeflokaal that houses a very special collection of antique bottles still maintains the tradition of bowing for the first sip, so you don’t spill a drop

Since you get served a full glass of the drink on the counter and if you try to move it you will definitely spill a bit, so the best way is to take a sip while the drink is still on the counter and then move it away.

Of course, the more skilled option is always a handstand as well 🙂

We choose the traditional way, before we continued our own drinking tour and heading to our own dinner tour 🙂

Just another GT & beer along the way

 

MALI ZALOGAJI AMSTERDAMA

Amsterdam. Taj magični grad o kojem svi sve znaju. Taj liberalni grad u maloj zemlji na zapadnoj obali Europe. Taj grad tulipana koji su svi već posjetili. Svi osim mene. Meni je ovo bio prvi posjet.

Debeli je organizirao kratki bjeg u Amsterdam za svoj 35. rođendan i da ja konačno vidim van Goghova djela. Čak sam kupila i suknju s motivima Zvjezdane noći. Nisam bila jedini čudak u muzeju, bez brige 🙂

Za vrijeme ovog kratkog boravka napravili smo sve što i ostali turisti. Ili gotovo sve. Nismo se vozili biciklom. Poput ostalih turista. Prelijeni smo za to. Mi smo hodali i koristili amsterdamski javni prijevoz s karticom za tri dana.

Posjetili smo muzej, kupila sam United Nude sandale, probali smo space cake (nikakav učinak na oboje) i po običaju, puno smo jeli. Čak smo išli i na kulinarsku turu.

 

Obzirom da u Oslu radim kao vodič koji vodi turiste na kulinarske ture bilo je vrijeme da i ja budem turist na turi u novom gradu. Ispadne da se nas dvoje uvijek sami pripremimo za intenzivnu kulinarsku potragu, tako da sam ovaj put prepustila nekom drugom da nas upozna s tajnama nizozemske kulinarske tradicije.

Turu sam bukirala preko stranice Tours with locals koja nudi sjajne ture raznog tipa, a koje vode ljudi koji žive u gradu. Druga dobra strana jest da su sve ture privatne i da čak možete odabrati svog vodiča, na osnovi malog uvodnog videa koji ostave na stranici.

Mi smo našeg vodiča izabrali na osnovu njenog odličnog engleskog i sličnih interesa kao i mi, a susreli smo je u rano poslijepodne ispred slastičarne nazvane Torta moje tetke u De Pijp susjedstvu. Vodič je rodom iz Izrela, no posljednje dvije godine živi u Amsterdamu jer je udana za Nizozemca.

Turu smo započeli kratkom šetnjom po De Pijp susjedstvu i upoznavanjem s poviješću Nizozemske.

De Pijp je smješten u južnom dijelu starog grada (Oud Zuid), a ulice nose imena po slavnim nizozemskim slikarima poput Jan Steena, Frans Halasa, Ruysdaela i Vincenta, naravno.

Cijelo susjedstvo vrlo popularno je među mlađom populacijom i vrvi brojnim zanatskim radnjama, restoranima i barovima.

Saznali smo tako na turi da je nekoć davno gotovo cijela Nizozemska bila pod vodom. Danas je taj postotak nešto manji, oko 17%, zahvaljujući sustavu isušivanju zemlje i brojnim kanalima koji vodu odvode u more.

Prvi polderi (hidrološka umjetna depresija okružena branama koja je kanalima i vodenim ispustima povezana s vodom koja ga okružuje) izgrađeni su u 16 stoljeću i tim poduhvatom zemlja je dobila više na površini od koje je dio bio onda plodan. Dovoljno plodan za krumpir. Jer vrlo malo toga je moglo rasti u takvom vlažnom i niskom području.

Samo krumpiri i tulipani. S tim da ni tulipani nisu Nizozemski. Uvezeni su iz Turske početkom 16. stoljeća i modificirani da bi opstali na hladnoj nizozemskoj klimi.

Nizozemski izvoz tulipana čini 65% svjetskog izvoza

Tradicionalna nizozemska kuhinja sastoji se od nešto povrća i mesa, a svakodnevna prehrana se sastojala od mnogo mliječnih proizvoda, ugljikohidrata i masti jer samo na tome težak i radnik može opstati . Sjetite se samo van Goghovih prvih slika i sve će vam biti jasno.

Vincent, Ljudi koji jedu krumpir

Blizina mora, svakako je imala velikog utjecaja na kulinarsku tradiciju, jer Nizozemci uživaju u morskim plodovima i to najviše u haringama, tako da je sirova haringa u rasolu jedna od stvar koju treba probati kad u Amsterdamu.

Haringe koje se koriste za konzervaciju love se u kasno proljeće i rano ljeto.

Morski plodovi

Haringe se isprva ostave nekoliko dana u slanoj otopini u hrastovim bačvama, a kad se bačve otvore miris je toliko intenzivan da sve smrdi na daleko, tako da bi se riješili teškog zadaha Nizozemci su se dosjetili servirati haringe sa svježim crvenim lukom i kiselim krastavcima. Kad se smrdi nek se smrdi na veliko, a jel te?

Iako se tradicionalno haringa jede cijela, držeći ju za rep, mi smo ju kušali nasjeckanu uz gore spomenute dodatke. Vrlo ukusno, moram priznati.

Nizozemsko Zlatno doba donijelo je neke promjene u gastro ponudi, zahvaljujući enormnom nizozemskom carstvu i prekooceanskim teritorijima i trgovačkim putevima kojima su kontrolirale i upravljale nizozemske tvrtke. Najviše Dutch West India i Dutch East India kompanije, koja je prva uvozila velike količine kave u Europu, tako da je do kraja 17 stoljeća konzumacija kave i čaja postala dijelom svakodnevnog života.

U zemlju su tako dolazile razne vrste začina, šećer, egzotično voće i sastojci poput datulja, riže, cimeta, đumbira i šafrana, ali koristio ih je isključivo gornji sloj društva, onaj bogatiji. Ostali su bili osuđeni na jeftinije začine koje su koristili u famoznim i svima nam znanim speculas keksima.

Najveće otkriće na turi bila je spoznaja da su Nizozemski trgovali začinima od Istoka do Zapada i obrnuto, ali se nikad nisu sjetili iskorisiti ih u svojoj kuhinji. Očito su bili preskupi za njihov džep ili pre sofisticirani za njihov ukus.

Barem je tako bilo do polovice 20. stoljeća i dolaska brojnih imigranata iz nekadašnjih kolonija, pogotovo nakon neovisnosti Indonezije od nizozemske kolonijalne vlasti 1949., tako da su s novopridošlicama došli i njihova kultura, ali i hrana. Srećom.

Došljaci su sa sobom donijeli prženu rižu, pržene povrtne rolice, pržene nudle i banane te satay umak od kikirikija. tako da smo s tim nastavili svoju gastro turu.

Piletina u umaku od kikirikija
Duboko pržene plantain banane u kikiriki umaku

Različiti začini koje su donijeli novi doseljenici okrenuli su lokalnu kuhinju za 180 stupnjeva i na bolje. Sve je bolje s malo začina. Pa čak i zrnom soli 🙂

Osim piletine i banana u satay umaku, s kojima smo se upoznali već jednom drugom prilikom, novo otkriće nam je bila bara ili začinjena slana pogača od slanutka.

Bara je podrijetlom preko bare ili Atlanskog oceana, iz Surinamija čija je kultura nevjerojatan blend azijskog, afričkog i europskog utjecaja. Surinami kuhinja je najbolji dokaz kako različite etničke grupe utječu jedne na druge i kako se međusobno nadopunjavaju i upotpunjuju.

Ipak, Nizozemci jako drže do svojih proizvoda, od kojih je najpoznatiji sir. Doduše ne bilo kakav sir, već gouda sir.

Sir je dobio ime po istoimenom gradu, ali ne zato jer od tamo potječe već zato što se tamo prodavao i kupovao. Do dana današnjeg, farmeri iz obližnih mjesta dolaze u grad Goudu, svaki četvrtak ujutro od 10 do pol 1, od lipnja do kolovoza da bi izvagali, probali i odredili cijenu svojih sireva.

Mi smo goudu na ovoj turi probali na najvećem i najpopularnijoj uličnoj tržnici u gradu. Na Albert Cuyp marketu, nazvanom po 650 metara dugoj ulici koja je posvećena jednom od najpoznatijih slikara nizozemskog zlatnog doba, Albertu Cuypu.

Tržnica je zapravo započela spontano, kao okupljalište uličnih prodavača da bi do početka 20 stoljeća stvari izmakle kontroli tako da je gradska vlast odlučila službeno otvoriti tržnicu. Isprva je glavni tržni dan bio subota navečer da bi od 1912 tržnica postala otvorena šest dana u tjednu. Zatvorena nedjeljom. U početku su ulicom prometovali i auti, ali u posljednje vrijeme ulica je zatvorena za promet u vrijeme između 9 ujutro i 5 popodne dok je tržnica otvorena.

Ponuda na tržnici je ogromna; od raznoraznih drangulija do povrća, voća, ribe

Tržnica skupa s cijelim kvartom ima skroz multikulti vibru, zahvaljujući raznim proizvodima koje možete naći ovdje, jer ih prodaju nekadašnji stanovnici Surinamija, Antillskih otočja, Turske ili Maroka, no najpoznatije stvari na tržnicu su i dalje nizozemske tradicije; sir i stroopvafli.

Probali smo razne vrste gaude koju radi i prodaje ista obitelj na istom mjestu već preko pola stoljeća

Sedam raznih vrsta gaude koje smo degustirali (u smjeru kazaljke na satu, od 9 sati) bili su: gauda s lavandom, dimljena, od kozjeg mlijeka, s borovnicama, stari Amsterdam, s tartufima i klasični u sredini), a moji konačni favoriti su bili svakako dimljena gauda i stari Amsterdam s kristalićima soli koji nastanu od odležavanja sira. Prefino! I sigurno bi sjajno išlo uz pivicu 🙂

U bliskoj vezi s gauda sirom su i vafli, ali ne zato jer su rađeni na isti način nego jer su potekli iz istog grada, tamo nekako u 18 i 19 stoljeću.

Poput većine stvari i nizozemski vafli nastali su slučajno. Prema legendi, pekari bi pomiješali sve ostatke od kolača koje bi inače pekli i od toga ispekli vafle. Da bi ih zasladili povezali bi dva komada vafla slatkim sirupom stvarajući tako nešto prefino od stvari koje bi inače završile u smeću. Reciklaža na najjače.

Najbolji vafli na tržnici peku se u malom kamionu gdje se recept prenosi s koljena na koljeno i to već nekoliko generacija. Iako tvrtka original stroopwafels prodaje svoje proizvode diljem svijeta (ja sam ih našla i na tržnici u Oslu), najbolji su naravno na licu mjesta, dok su još svježi i topli. S čokoladom ili bez, kako sam se ja odlučila.

Veliki poput dlana odraslog čovjeka i slatki za poluditi i ako niste od slatkog kao moj Debeli bio bi vam dovoljan jedan zalogaj, no ja sam se žrtvovala i smazala cijeli prije no što smo produžili i završili našu turu u baru, grickajući vruće, duboko pržene mesne okruglice i pivu.

Proizvodnja pive u Nizozemskoj može se datirati tamo negdje u gluho doba ranog srednjeg vijeka, još dok su Vikinzi harali sjeverom Europe iako se craft izrada pive ponovno izvukla iz mrtvih. Zapravo, sve od kad je Heineken osvojio zlatnu medalju za svoj pilsner na Svjetskoj izložbi 1889, Nizozemci su poznati upravo po toj pivovari i stilu pive. Ono što nismo znali do tada jest da lokalci zapravo izbjegavaju Heineken i radije vole manje brendove pive kao Amstel ili Grolsch. Heineken se smatra preindustrijskim i preturističkim tako da ne iznenađuju kilometarske gužve ispred stare pivnice koja je sad pretvorena u izložbeni centar (od 1975 većina Heinekenovih piva radi se u Zoeterwoudeu).

Grolsch

Iako Nizozemac prosječno popije oko 69 litara pive godišnje, što bi zauzimalo negdje 24 mjesto na listi najvećih pivopija (braća Česi prvi, mi 15.), ne smijemo zaboraviti na preteču gina ili jenever kako bi rekli Nizozemci.

I gin i jenever kao glavni začin imaju borove bobice (po čemu su i dobili ime), samo što se razlikuju u osnovnom sastojku iz kojeg se destiliraju. Dok se gin radi od čistog alkohola, koji se najčešće pravi od žitarica, jenever se radi od sladovog vina. Ono od čega se rade pivo i viski, tako da i jenever ima žućkastu boju i puno bogatiji miris i okus. Nije drveni alkohol ko gin koji procvjeta uz tonik, već je sjajan sastojak jednostavnih Tom Collins koktela.

Da bi saznali i naučili malo više o jeneveru Debeli nas je odveo u najstariju kušaonu jenevera u gradu.

Wynand Fockink otvorio je svoju destileriju još 1679. u centru Amsterdama gdje se i danas prodaju i kušaju originalni geneveres ili raznorazni likeri.

U krcatoj kušani gdje se na red čeka i po 20 minuta probali smo originalni genever i slatko kiseli liker od marakuje.

Dok smo čekali na red zujali smo po zidovima kušaone koja je zadržala originalni proeflokaal izgled iz 17. stoljeća kao i veliki broj asortimana i ukrasa na zidu iz kojeg se može vidjeti kako se preporuča piti genever.

Obzirom da je nekoć davno, a neki bi rekli i danas, svaka kap genevera bila dragocjena, trebalo ga je pažljivo piti.

Genever vam do vrha čašice natoče na pultu, a da ne prolijete svoje zlata vrijedno piće prvi gutljaj otpijete na licu mjesta prije nego se premjestite u kut kušaone da bi uživali u jakom piću i društvu drage osobe.

Prije no što odete na neki gin tonik i pivu dalje u grad. Baš kao što smo mi!

Proost!

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