Bruschetta – recipes for the perfect Italian antipasti

A glass of wine, a perfectly balanced crunchy piece of bread with fresh tomato – what else do you need to feel like in Italian holidays?
We have collected some of the best Bruschetta recipes for a quick fresh light snack or a perfect starter selection for your next dinner invitation, bringing the flavour of Italy to your home.

During our Food Tours in Italy, for instance on the Food Tour Rome or Food Tour Taormina, we will sample this all-time-favourite like the locals adore it.

The term ‘bruschetta’ originally comes from Italian ‘pane bruscato’, meaning simply toasted bread. It was first a poor-mans-dish, using leftover hard bread, leftover vegetables and herbs. In sevveral regions of Italy, it has several names and different toppings, always with toasted bread as the main ingredient.

Today it is widely known as a welcomed starter or antipasti, a snack before the main course or to accompany a glass of wine.

The classic version of Buschetta is toasted bread with some garlic rubbed on the still warm slice, a dash of olive oil and salt. Most important is the quality of the olive oil. For the bread, best is a plain wheat baguette or a traditional farmers bread with crust, it may already be 2-3 days old and a little dry, so it roastes even better. A whole wold of taste sensations, the crunchieness, the aroma of the olive oil, the tickling of the garlic and the subtle pinch of salt…

The recipe of Bruschetta with Tomato adds freshly chopped, ripe tomatoes and some minced green basil leaves, that bring additional freshness and flavour.

Bruschetta with Tapenade is another fantastic recipe. Green or black olives, olive oil, a bit of anchovi paste and salt are blended to a thick puree, to top the roasted bread, adding some chopped onions as a garnish.

Bruschetta Caprese combines the freshness of white milky mozzarella cheese, chopped tomatos, some black olives and a dash of oregano. Served on toasted bread with the fresh mixture, or baked in the oven just till the cheese starts to melt.

Bruschetta Pastorale is a real gourmet version, crisp bread with creamy goats cream cheese, thin sweet pear slices, crunchy walnut bits and some rosemary honey.

Bruschetta Vegetale tops the toasted garlic bread with fresh grilled vegetables like colourful capsicum, eggplant, zucchini, again with a dash of good olive oil, rosemary and fresh pepper from the grinder.

For meat lovers, a Bruschetta also combines perfectly with a good liver pate or thin cut bresaola ham and rocket leaves.

Do you want to try the real Bruschetta in Italy? So come and taste it at our

Food Hopping Roma Food Tour!

Food Traditions of the Easter holidays

In the northern hemisphere, the Easter holidays, apart from the important religious meaning, mark the arrival of spring and the begining of the warm and fertile season. Therefore, ancient heritage, christian rites and cultural traditions play still a strong role in todays Easter celebrations. The holiday of Easter is connected to several food customs, preparing special food and sharing with family and friends.

Buona pascua! In Italy, in particular in the southern parts, impressive church parades mark the holy week. As Good Friday isn’t a bank holiday, celebrations in the family start Friday evening and go till Easter Monday. On Good Friday’s dinner, fish and light dishes are preferred. In Sicily, colourful candied almonds are a typical easter snack during the processions. At our Food Tour Palermo, your Food Hopping guide is happy to show you some of the places where the Easter parades take place.
Children in Italy love their chocolate eggs on Easter Sunday – usually a big, egg shaped chocolate, brightly wrapped in foil and filled with small toys. The big Easter Sunday lunch is often a veritable family feast, for hours and with multiple food courses. Lamb is a favourite, and as the dessert, there is a typical Easter cake called Colomba – Dove. On Easter Monday, called Pasquetta – little Easter – a must-try is the Torta di Pasquetta, a hearty pastry filled with ricotta, spinach and eggs.

Felices pascuas! Spain has a rich tradition of celebrating the Easter week with colourfull religous parades. Especially in Madrid and in Andalucia, traditional Penitence brotherhoods pursue the century-old traditions. At our Food Tour Malaga, we actually visit a special place related to the Easter celebrations all year long!
On Good Friday, according to the catholic rite, no meat is served – so chickpea stew or dishes made of salt cod are very common food. A famous Easter dish are the torrijas, made of white bread, soaked in milk and sugar, than fried. It is similar to French toast. La Mona de Pascua is a sweet bread-like pastry with an egg put in the middle – in the past it was a plain hard-boiled egg, today the Easter bread is often adorned with chocolate eggs and fondant or marzipan. Also in Spain, family and friends love to gather to watch the processions – live or at the television – and feast afterwards to end the lent period and welcome spring.

“Frohe Ostern!” Church processions are still existing in mainly catholic regions of Germany, and are no part of the protestant rite – but all Germans love to decorate their homes for spring and eat colourfull chocolates in Easter-related forms. It is very common to gift chocolate bunnys, creme-filled eggs or chocolate ladybugs to your family, friends and even working collegues. Hard boiled eggs, coloured by the children, are typical Easter food. Our Food Tour Frankfurt samples a particular dish from the Hesse region, typical to eat on Gründonnerstag – green thursday – as the beginning of the long Easter weekend, with bank holiday on Friday and Monday: Grüne Soße, a deliciously fresh, cold herb-dairy-cream. It is quite common to eat fish and no sweets on Good Friday, then to have on Easter Sunday an extensive lunch, or a combined breakfast/lunch in the family called “brunch“. German children love to search for Easter sweets and hard boiled coloured eggs, hidden for them by the Osterhase – Easter rabbit. Easter cakes are typically either of yeast dough shaped as rabbits or in form of a knot with a hole in the middle to fit a hard boiled egg, or a sweet sponge cake, baked in a special lamb-shaped form.

Our Food Hopping Frankfurt, Malaga or Palermo, as well as our other Food Tours, invite you to learn more about the local food-related traditions on a leisurly walk through the heart of the city – during the festive season, or for your holidays. Hungry for more?

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Italy’s sweet side

Dolce vita, the sweet life, that´s one of the most known italian frases… looking at the dessert culture of Italy, it sounds quite reasonable. Italys long and agitated cultural history brought out a indefinite number of delicious dessert recipes, varying from region to region.
Using prime ingredients like fresh cream, sugar, fruits and/or spirits as well as flaky bakery goods, Italian desserts are elegant and light in taste – it´s almost impossible to resist, even after a good multi-course meal…we asked our Food Hopping guides about their favourite dessert, and here is their shortlist:

Gelato: the all-italian soul food. Already the roman emperors enjoyed glacier ice mixed with fruit sirup, brought by runners from the alps. From the 17th centrury on, recipes of ice-cream with milk or cream exist. The secret of smooth ice-cream lies in continouus whisking while the ice cristalizes.
Napoli is the traditional stronghold of italian artisanal ice-cream. From the most classic tastes like vanilla, chocolata or strawberry to modern inovations like green tea, bacon-honey, or even salty variations – ice-cream is a must in Italy, for instance at our Food Hopping tour in Rome!

Panna Cotta: a typical dessert of northern Italy, made of sweetened cream thickened with gelatine. The cream may be aromatized with coffee, vanilla, or other flavorings. It is often served with a fruit sauce, caramel or chocolate, or covered with fruits or liqueurs.

Tiramisu: this italian dessert has a legendary status. The italian “Tirami sù“ means “pick me up” in english. This might be because of it`s rich ingredients – eggs, sugar, coffee and mascarpone cream cheese – that may lift spirits and are very nutritive.
A legend tells, that a version of this dessert existed already in the Renaissance times, when venetian ladies served them to their lovers as a aphrodisiakum, to help them gain energy for the night.
Several regions in Italy fight over the written proof who had the first Tiramisu on the menu. We stay with the legends and have a delicious Tiramisu at our tour in Venice.

Cannolo: Up for a sweet treat of creamy ricotta in a crispy dough shell? Cannoli, “little tubes”, are the best known sicilan pastries. It is uncertain if the greeks or the arabs brought the original recipe – without any doubt they are worth to taste here, hand-crafted at a traditional sicilan bakery!

Granita: When it´s hot in summer, we all love a refreshing drink, cooled down with ice. The italian answer is the other way around: granita, crushed ice with fruit juice. Small booth open in summer on every spot where thirsty people gather – at town squares, parks, playgrounds and at the beach. Most pintoresque are the Granita bycicles – ambulant vendors with all the ingredients on their bike. They stop where a good granita is needed. for example, right during our Food Tour in Sorrento!

Baba cake: The volcano is omnipresent in Napoli, even in the shape of the traditional „Babà“ cake. A delicious sweet dough, baked and soaked with Rum. We try this original sweet treat during our tour in Naples.

Cassata: a traditional sweet from Sicily, especially Palermo. Cassata consists of round sponge cake moistened with fruit juices or liqueur and layered with ricotta cheese and candied fruits. It is covered with a shell of marzipan, pink and green pastel colored icing, and decorative designs. The cassata is topped with candied fruit depicting cherries and slices of citrus fruit characteristic of Sicily. You won´t miss that delicacy during our Food Hopping in Palermo!

Zabaione: ending our short list with a Z, the Zabaione o Zabaglione is a popular northern italian dessert, made with egg yolks, sugar, and Marsala wine. It is whisked up in bain-marie to an airy foam, and often served with hard biscuits to dip in.

Hungry for more? Join now our

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Food-related proverbs to spice up any conversation

When it comes to food, there are countless sayings, often with a literal and a implicit meaning. Our Food Hopping guides love to tell the little tales from the origin of those food-related proverbs.

Here are our 10 personal favourites – did you know them all already before?

10. “In wine, there is truth” – Latin – “In vino veritas” – this ancient term is translated and used in almost every european language, meaning that alcohol reduces personal and social boundaries and brings up true beliefs and reactions. It is often used to emphasize on the beneficial side of drinking wine – and with every Food Hopping tour, we taste true regional wines…

09. “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade” – English – an often cited and widely known proverb, to encourage a positive and active view to lifes up and downs. So life can be sweet with good lemon recipies – like at our Food Hopping tour Sorrento!

08. “Nothing is eaten as hot as it was cooked” – German – “Nichts wird so heiss gegessen wie es gekocht wurde” The german suggestion to calm down and let the things sit a little bit before reacting – often things aren´t that severe at a second look. Served at the right temperature, our german tastings are directly ready to eat.

07. “A lot of smoke and little roast” – Italian – “Tutto fumo senz’arrosto” – when there is a lot of hot air but little (tangible) outcome, the italians see it esentially as much ado about nothing…for our italian tours, we promise a lot of delicious tastings without any smoke!

06. “Spill the beans” – English – To reveal the truth, often in a slightly negative meaning as not everyone like to have it brought to light. Literally, who would prefer to have a pot of beans spilled when they are delicious to eat?

05. “For a big hunger there is no hard bread” – Spanish – “A buen hambre no hay pan duro.” …also in Spain, beggers can´t be choosers. Taking chances and making the best of an opportunity – as taking the opportunity to get to know the culinaric secrets at our spanish Food Hopping tours, where we serve savoury specialities instead of hard bread…

04. “Food is the intermediary of friendship” – French – “Le repas est l’entremetteuse de l’amitié” Well spoken, a good shared meal can build a connection, and the french cooking is famous for activating all senses.

03. “In an old pot you can also make good soup” – Portugese – “No velho pote também faz boa sopa” This saying is on the one hand about the benefits of experience, but also about that it doesn´t always require the latest knicknack to archieve a satisfactory output. Our Food Hopping guide in Portugal counts with a lot of experience – and also knows the latest hot-spots of Lisboa!

02. “Rice is born in water and should die in wine” – Italian – “Il riso nasce nell’acqua e deve morire nel vino” Especially in the Veneto region, rice is grown in water patches, and the most common preparation is the risotto, with wine in the stew and wine to drink with it. It also emphasizes the hopes that a humble beginning can lead to a glamourous ending. Join our Food Hopping tour in Venezia to experience it for yourself…

01. “Everything has an end, only the sausage has two” – German proverb – “Alles hat ein Ende nur die Wurst hat zwei”  This means that all good things come to an end, as our list of proverbs. With Food Hopping, we serve a wide sample of local food and drinks to satisfy your appetite, so you’ll get much more between two ends…

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12 Funny food names and their meaning

Did you ever wonder about the curious names of certain food specialities? Some are in honour of an important person, others are named after a place or have a special story around it…Here are 12 well-known foods and the – perhaps surprising – meaning of their names:

1. Granny Smith apples: Named after Maria Ana (Granny) Smith, who grew them first in Australia.

2. Biscuit: coming from the latin’ bis coctus’ – with the meaning of ‘baked two times’, was initially referred to bone-dry hardtack – nowadays it is understood in continental European cuisine as a lightly baked delicacy.

3. Carpaccio: The colour of this thinly-sliced raw beef was similar to the red shades of paint, that Italian renaissance painter Vittore Carpaccio used in his work.

4. Headcheese: nothing to do with cheese – it’s a jellied cold cut, initially made of parts like pigs head, feet and belly, in modern version also with game or even with vegetables.

5. Kalter Hund: we all know Hot Dogs – however in Germany, the land of sausages, a ‘cold dog’ describes a cake made of shortbread and chocolate ganache.

6. Morcilla: this could be the name of an evil sorceress in an ancient movie- but it is the traditional Spanish blood sausage, cooked and cured with rice, onions and spices.

7. Pumpernickel: a very dark and solid bread, made of rye – the old German name is probably describing a rough, clumsy person – or a knotted log of wood.

8. Sandwich: Actually, Sir John Montagu, Earl of Sandwich, didn´t invite the custom to put meat between two bread slices – but he was famous to offer this casual snack to his high class friends in Britain at social occasions instead of multi-course formal dinners.

9. Tiramisu: ‘pick-me-up’ , the literal translation of this Italian dessert, might refer to such mood-lifting ingredients as cream cheese, sugar and coffee – or the desperate call for help with lifting from the table afterwards.

10. Pizza Margherita: this version of the classic Italian poor man’s snack was developed to honor the Queen of Italy, Margherita of Savoy, and the Italian unification by representing the colours of the flag with red tomatos, white mozarella and green basil leaves.

11. Welsh Rarebit: a classy British name for the always delicious grilled cheese toast.

12. Zwetschgenknoedel: this tongue-twister is a prune-filled sweet dumpling, famous in Austria.

Do you also know a funny food name? Please feel free to add to our list! Do you want to try some true authentic specialities just where they come from? Join our

Food Hopping Food Tours!

Sorrento – Where the Lemons Grow

Sorrento – the city of azure sea and sky, golden sun and lemons, cradled by the gulf of Naples. Within sight of the Vesuv volcano, the beautiful islands of Capri and Ischia, this small town is favoured by nature. Since centuries ago, it incorporates the romantic dream of Italy for painters and poets as well as for vacationers.

The name of Sorrent lies in mystical times – it is said that here the sirens waited for sailors to distract them, unless Odysseus and his crew managed to defeat them. Historically assured is the founding of Sorrent by the Phoenicians in the 7th century a.d.. After a greek period, it became a roman municipium, since then summer residence of the wealthy and porwerful.

Sorrent and the Amalfi coastline are famous for their romantic sunsets and their juicy lemons – the citrus fruits are everywhere in Sorrento: growing in gardens, piled up at market stalls, deliciously prepared in a variety of delicate sweet-sour treats like Lemon Cake, Limoncello, Granita…during our tour, we explore some of the best preparations.

The small cozy alleyways and coveted backyards of Sorrento are full of small shops, fruit vendors, old craftshops and surprising beautiful sights. It is a delight to explore, and your Food Tour guide knows the best places and amusing anecdotes.

In the lush greens of the backcountry is the key to another local gem: abundant pasture for cows and buffalos. So be a referee at our little private taste competition: what tastes better, the cow’s milk mozzarella („Fior di Latte“) or the buffalo mozzarella („Mozzarella bufala“)? In small family dairy shops, those tasty milky white orbs are fresh made by hand every day.
For the hearty hunger, Sorrent has more to offer: the regions most famous food, the Pizza, also rolls deep here. Made by the meter, with a thin crispy crust and best fresh toppings, it is a must-try at any time.

Of course, in Sorrento we are also in Pasta heaven: every cook is proud of his or her handmade fresh pasta dough. The fresh pasta has a very short cooking time, and is mixed at the moment with chopped garden vegetables and a dash of native olive oil for conciously sinnful pleasures.
Any meal should end with a sweet delicacy – here, of course with the emblematic citrus fruits involved, as a half-frozen dessert or as the sun-coloured Limoncello liqueur.

So what are you waiting for?
Come to Sorrento and explore its delights with a

Food Hopping Sorrento Food Tour!

European Wine Culture

What makes a tasty meal even better? Pairing it with a good wine! The fermented grape juice is almost as ancient as the human civilization, and plays his role in unnumbered myths, various cultural traditions, as well as a vast medical and important religous use. It has inspired Artists of all kind and its abuse has led to tragedies.

In general, wine is cultivated in white, rosé and red variations. Depending on the grape, the soil, the weather, the fermentation process and the secrets of the cellar master, wines vary from very dry to sweet. There are famous wine regions in the world who are reknown for their signature wines. Although wines from the Americas, Southern Africa and Australia hold a potent share of the market, we’d like to concentrate on the casual wines of some european major producing areas – wines that pair with the typical local food we discover during our Food Hopping tours:

Austria: ‘Grüner Veltliner’ and ‘Blauer Zweigelt’ are the most comon local wine grapes, and are mostly cultivated as crisp, dry wines. In popular wine-garden taverns called “Heurige” it is common to order a “Spritzer”, mixing the young wine with sparkling water.

Germany: internationally famous are the wines from the Rhine Valley, as well as from the Mosel. Traditionally, Germany is a land of white wines, from very dry, mineral Rieslings to sweet Eiswein. In the last decades and with modern cultivation methods, red wines gain ground and there is a growing community of german wine fans.

Italy: as one of the most important european wine producers, Italy counts with big names in white and red wines , like Barolo, Chianti, Frascati – only to name a few – sparkling Asti and sweet Vin Santo or Marsala.

Portugal: a land of contrastes, also in wines. From full-bodied red wines in the center, aged Port- and Madeira specialties to light Vinho Verde growing in the cool atlantic climate of the northern regions.

Spain: counting with the biggest wine cultivation area worldwide, spread into numerous denominaciones de origen, with the Rioja as the most famous. Every spanish region has regional cultivation areas and favourite grapes. Sparkling Cava is produced in Cataluña, spirited wines like Sherry and Malaga come from Andalucía.

With every Food Hopping tour, you´ll get to taste some of the regional wines and learn more about how they pair with authentic local food. So see you soon on a

Food Hopping Food Tour!

Table Manners around Europe

Eating together and sharing food and drinks has a strong social meaning in all cultures around the world. Therefore, there are quite a lot of table customs and implicit dining rules that differ from country to country.
Even around Europe there are peculiarities in each region – here are a few of them:

Austria: Use your fork to portion potatos or dumplings at your plate. As potatos and cooked pastries are usually soft and a little sticky, they can be easily parted with the fork. Using the knife indicates that your dish is not cooked well enough.

Germany: Meet the eye when toasting. Before taking the first sip, it is quite important to toast with every person in the party by clicking the glas, looking in each others eye and say a casual ‘Prost!’ – or ‘Zum Wohl!’ in a more formal occasion. Not doing so is said to bring bad luck – or just considered impolite.

Italy: Enjoy a black ‘caffè’ to finish the meal. A small strong espresso is the favored coffee during the day. Cappuchinos or Caffe Lattes are seen as a filling part of breakfast – if you order it after eating, it gives the impression you are not satisfied yet.

Portugal: Fold up your lettuce. Bigger leaves should be arranged with the help of your knife and fork into a little bundle that can be picked up with the fork. The salad keeps a nicer look than all cut down and mixed up.

Spain: Respect the ‘sobremesa’. After a good meal, it is custom to remain sitting, to rest and chat on a little while. So don´t rush to leave the table.

Do you want to add a table manner or an oddity you experienced when eating abroad? We are curious to read your anecdotes! See you soon with

Food Hopping Food Tours!

Tasty New Year 2018

In everything that ends also lies a new beginning…
We are very happy for the new year 2018 to start with our shiny new Food Hopping tours in several european cities – like Barcelona, Madrid, Frankfurt, Berlin and many more!
We wish all of you a wonderful New Years Eve and a Happy New Year 2018. May all your wishes come true!

Merry Christmas!

An exciting year full of tasty experiences comes to an end…
The whole team of Food Hopping Food Tours wants to thank you for your passion and trust in us – we wish you and your loved ones a Merry Christmas!
Frohe Weihnachten aus Deutschland!
Feliz Navidad a España!
Buon Natale a Italia!
Happy Holidays to the world!

 

10 good reasons for a Food Hopping tour

Who else likes to discover new taste sensations when travelling?
How about doing a Food Hopping Tour on your next vacation?
Every city and region has its own food specialities and traditions.

As a traveller, it isn’t always easy to find the best places in a new town to try and discover the best food like the locals do.
With Food Hopping, it is easy to jump into the local culinaric scene and to enjoy new experiences on your palate without worries.

Do you ask yourself, what are the advantages of a guided Food Hopping Walking Food Tour during your vacation?

Hhere’s our top 10 of good reasons:

10 – Discover hidden places like cozy restaurants, rustic taverns , insider-tipps and family-run shops apart of the beaten tracks.

09 – Savour food like a multi-course meal, ranging from from appetizer to dessert.

08 – Taste authentic cuisine, famous dishes and surprising flavours the locals adore.

07 – Explore a new location with every tasting, discovering the regional culinaric landscape.

06 – Meet the locals, learn from food and drink specialists about their regional traditions and interact with the people of the neighbourhood.

05 – Get to know the city without getting lost, as every tour is designed as a convenient round-trip.

04 – Enjoy amusing anecdotes around the food you try, the city and their people.

03 – Let yourself be treated with surprising extras and local ‘secrets’.

02 – Follow the confident lead of your enthusiastic local Food Hopping guide, who knows the city inside out.

01 – Have a great time during an entertaining walk with pleasant memories and interesting stories to tell your friends at home!

Hungry for more? See you soon ao a Food Tour in Germany, Italy, Spain or selected European cities:

Food Hopping Food Tours!

Celebrating Saint Nicholas

Just before christmas, we’re celebrating Saint Nicholas Day in many countries to honour the christian bishop from the 4th century, who used his inheritance to help the sick, the suffering and the needy. However, there are different customs to celebrate this day in various countries, like Germany, Italy or Spain.

In Germany, St. Nikolaus is an important part of the christmas season. The evening before the 6th of december, children put their boots in front of the door and hope that Saint Nicholas comes and fills it up with nuts, oranges and sweets. In many families, Saint Nicholas even appears in person to ask the children if they were nice or naughty during the year. There are traditional songs, that the children sing to Saint Nicholas in order to prove their goodness. It is also a widespread custom to gift Saint Nicholas figures, made of chocolate, to friends and family.

In Italy, Santa Nicholas is known as gift-giver and protector of the children – today, his tradition is also refered to the more secular Babbo Natale. Children leave a plate with a letter on the table, where they ask for gifts and promise to be good next year. The next day, they find sweets and fruits – a naughty child could also get a peace of coal, made of coloured sugar.

In Spain, December 6th is even a bank holiday – but not for Santa Nicholas, but to remember the day of the constitution in Spain! The main Christmas period in Spain starts with the famous ‘Sorteo extraordinario de Navidad’, the Christmas lottery, on december 22nd, and lasts till January 6th, Holy Three Kings.

Wherever you are, the team of Food Hopping Food Tours wishes you a happy Saint Nicholas day, and hope you all found some nice treats!