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!

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 the Food Hopping 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 tour in Italy!

Frankfurt am Main in Trade and Taste

The city of Frankfurt am Main in Germany is often compared to Manhattan, New York. First, because of its economic relevance: Frankfurt headquarters the European Central Bank, the German Bundesbank as well as the Frankfurter Wertpapierbörse with the German stock exchange, countless important banks and finance cooperations, internationally important fairs and exhibitions like the Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung, the Frankfurter Buchmesse and  the Musikmesse, and it also counts with one of the worlds largest airport, the Flughafen Frankfurt (FRA). The skyline with some of the highest buildings in Europe adds to the comparision. Historic landmarks are the idyllic Römerberg, the Kaiserdom or the Eiserner Steg. Frankfurt is also a green city with almost 40% of protected green areas. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was born here, and the cultural live of Frankfurt today is on a high level with the Frankfurt Opera house, the Schauspielhaus, countless museums, the Frankfurter Zoo and the Palmengarten botanical park.  In addition, Frankfurt am Main is a multicultural melting pot with people coming from all over the world to live and work.

The gastronomic landscape of Frankfurt also counts with superlatives –  from traditional local food to modern world kitchen – in Frankfurt you´ll find almost everything for every gusto!

One of the oldest local delicacies, already known from medieval times,  is the Frankfurter Würstchen sausage, a pure-pork smoked and cooked sausage, originally always served in pairs.  Another pork dish is the rustic Rippchen mit Kraut, a hearty portion of cured pork cooked in sauerkraut.  Rustic stews and potato dishes are also popular. An extraordinary speciality is the Frankfurter Grüne Sosse, a cold sauce made of 7 chopped fresh herbs and sourcream – delicious with hardboiled eggs and cooked portatoes!
For the adventurous visitor, there is also a speciality called Handkäs mit Musik. It is a fresh sour-milk cheese in a dressing with oil, vingar, caraway and chopped raw onions. With fresh bread, it is a common tasty snack in traditional taverns.

Famous sweet bakery goods from Frankfurt are the Frankfurter Kranz, a rich buttercream-filled cake with roasted nut-topping, the Bethmännchen shaped from marzipan and almonds or vrious apple-filled pastries.

The apple plays an important role in Frankfurt – as a popular ingredient for savoury and sweet dishes, but most important for the Frankfurter Apfelwein, a dry cider. There are countless cosy taverns where Apfelwein and pairing dishes are served. Very dry and refreshing, often mixed with sparkling water, the locals love to drink their Apfelwein in summer, or also mulled with some cinnamon, lemon zest and sugar in the wintertime.

Of course, in Frankfurt you can also taste very good local beers or the wines of the closeby Rhine region, especially the famous Riesling, as white wine or sparkling Rieslingsekt.

Young chefs and restaurant owners are proud to find a modern twist to the traditional Frankfurt kitchen, and a varied scene awaits to be explored in different areas of the city. So come and follow your Food Hopping guide to the best traditional taverns and insiders’ places of Frankfurt!

Germany’s culinary landscape

Germany is a parade example in terms of impressive cultural achievements, famous historical sights and beautiful landscapes, as well as one of the most advanced economies in Europe.  Great musicians like Beethoven, Bach or Wagner, famous poets and writers like Goethe, the Grimm brothers, Brecht, style-forming painters like Duerer, Rubens, Klee – all were Germans. And who does not know the emblematic Schloss Neuschwanstein, the Kölner Dom or the Berliner Brandenburger Tor? From the Baltic coastline in the north to the valleys of the alps in the south, you`ll pass rivers like the Rhine and the Donau, extended woods, rich agricultural lands as well as numerous city areas. Hosting all kinds of industry from production over high-tech to services and banking, with the European Central Bank located in Frankfurt am Main, Germany is a motor of the European progress.

When it comes to food, Germany has the fame to prefer rustic, filling meals with sausages, stews, sauerkraut and pretzel being the emblematic components. Sweet bakery goods like Schwarzwaelder Kirschtorte, Obstkuchen or Windbeutel, the rich varieties of bread and cold cuts are admired worldwide. This is all traditionally true and still a good portion of the German diet in general. However, every region of Germany has its own specialities that they are proud of. Fresh vegetables, creative soups, colourful salads and a growing offer of vegetarian and healthy food styles add to the culinary landscape. Not to forget that Germany is an immigration country – even in the smallest town you find usually at least an Italian, Near Eastern and an Asian restaurant. Germans are curious and love to travel the world – on their vacation and on their plate at home.

The German “Reinheitsgebot“ limits the allowed ingredients of beer to hops, malt, yeast and water – in order to ensure a superior quality of product. There are more than 1400 breweries in Germany, and beer tasting is a serious social activity. The wines from the Rhine and the Mosel valleys are in millennial tradition from times of the Roman Empire, and young winemakers experiment with new grapes and maturation methods, to create a growing community of German wine fans. Remarkable is also the Apfelwein, a dry apple cider from the Hesse region.

With our Food Hopping tours in Germany, you will not only taste the regional traditional food and drinks as well as modern interpretations, but also discover the diverting tales around the food, the drinks and the region you are visiting. See you soon with Food Hopping in Germany!

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 at a Food Hopping 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!

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 szene and to enjoy new experiences on your palate without worries.
If you ask yourself, what are the advantages of a guided walking Food Hopping tour during your vacation, here’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!
See you soon with Food Hopping in Germany, Italy, Spain or selected european cities!

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 Europe wishes you a happy Saint Nicholas day, and hope you all found some nice treats!

Christmas Markets – a delicious German tradition

As Christmas is coming close, Christmas Markets are bustling everywhere in Germany and beyond. Did you already taste those delicious treats like ‘Stollen’, ‘Lebkuchen’ or `gebrannte Mandeln’ that are so typical for those open-air-markets? Not to forget the mulled wine and grilled sausages to stay warm inside! With festive decorations and seasonal music, a Christmas Market is an ideal place to get into the holiday mode.
This tradition originates from mediaveal times, where trade fairs allowed the population to stockpile food and supplies before the hardest winter. Quickly the trade expanded to small artisanals, toys, sweets and nuts as christmas gifts for the children.
Today, almost every town and village in Germany has ists own Christmas Market. From small weekend gatherings, run by the local parish in smaller villages, up to world-famous markets like the “Christkindelmarkt” in Nurenberg or the “Striezelmarkt” in Dresden, that start End of November and end the day before Christmas.
Usualy a Christmas Market is an open air market, decorated with festive lights, where wooden stalls sell christmas tree adornments, small gifts for children and adults as well as spices and sweets. Famous is the Christstollen, a sweet and filling bread with fruit and nuts, gingerbread and an almost infinite variety of cookies and biscuits.
In our times, Christmas Markets are a very popular gathering place to meet friends, drink mulled wine and eat warm delicacies such as grilled sausages, potato pancakes, hot soup or roast chestnuts.
And the allurement of Christmas Markets has spread even to Canada, tthe United States of America and even to Japan. In England, Birmingham, as the Partner City of our Home Base town Frankfurt, hosts a “Frankfurter Weihnachtsmarkt”.
Some of the delicatessen at a Christmas Market are special to this ocasion, but many delicious nibbles are also availlable during the year. So come and try authentic local specialities in Germany wit our Food Hopping tours – our new tours in Frankfurt/Main and more! See you soon with Food Hopping in Germany!

Napoli, cradle of the authentic Pizza Neapolitana

Naples or Napoli in Italy – with its name coming from the ancient greek founding of Neapolis, the new town – sprawls pleasantly between the Gulf of Naples and one of the most famous volcanos of the earth, the Vesuv. The surrounding Campania region with its extended meadowlands is best known for ist excellent buffalo´s cheese, the Mozzarella di Buffalo o Burrata. It is an unique experience, opening for the first time the firm white cheese dough with a knife and letting the creamy milk float fro the center. With its very rich, buttery but fresh taste this cheese speciality excites gourmets everywhere.
Also, the volcanic earth at the slopes of the volcano are perfectly apt to grow flavour-rich tomatoes and hot-blooded wines.
In Napoli, those ingredients came together with grain flour, water, sea salt and some basil leaves to form its signature dish: the Pizza Neapolitana. A not-to-miss food for every visitor to naples, and coveted treasure of the locals. It is in Naples where the pizza has its roots – thin, crisp and with simple but perfect ingredients of the region. Paired with a glas of vesuvian wine, there is not much left to fulfill a foodies dream….
With Food Hopping in Naples, our passionate Food Hopping guide leads to the best spots to taste not only the authentic Pizza Neapolitana, but also fresh cheese Burrata, extraordinary wines and much more local food specialities, some well-known, some surprising. Together with amusing anecdotes and background storys about the food and the people of Napoli, it is a perfect way for any food lover to get to know the city by the means of a food tour. See you soon with Food Hopping in Napoli!