Barbecue, Grill and Summer Games

Barbecue summer foodBarbecue – the perfect Summer Food

Aside from a food tour, food is often connected to social or sports events. Do you know what is the favourite pairing with watching football games during the summer, if you ask a German? Cold beer is already a good guess, but even better combining it with – a barbecue or, as we simply say  – “Grillen”!

About Barbecue in Germany

A barbecue is usually a private event in Germany, and mostly men are the grill masters – inviting friends, arming the perfect charcoal fire on a high-class grill, chatting about the best ways to prepare the grillables. To be precise, a German barbecue is rather grilling than barbecuing, because of the direct heat under an open grill, instead of indirect cooking with a closed cooking chamber.

There are infinite varieties of sausages suitable for German barbecue or grilling; every region has its favourites. Preferred meat for the grill is often a bit streaky, or marinated with oil and herbs to keep it juicy. Popular side dishes include cold potato-, pasta- or greens salad, crisp bread and matching sauces like mustard, ketchup, curry sauce or yogurt-herb sauce. It is also possible to grill vegetables or cheese – but that is not the pure traditional thing.

Of course, the barbecue itself has to take place or before or after the football game – this is one of the favourite ways of many Germans to enjoy the big games.

Spain and Barbecue

What about Spain? Barbecue is not the first thing you will have in mind, when thinking about Spanish food. However, even the Word “barbecue” originates from a Native American Indian word that the Spanish brought back to Europe: “barbacoa”.
In Spain, there are quite a lot of dishes made “a la parilla” on the grill or “a la brasa” on coal fire. Grilling is a favourite preparation for fish and seafood – for instance, at our Food Hopping Food Tour Malaga we taste fresh sardines, grilled on a skewer. Roasted vegetables like young challots “calçots” in Catalunya or roasted peppers in southern Spain are delicious. Big beef steaks are often grilled on very high temperatures for a short time – so the outside gets dark, but the inside is still more rare then medium. There is no need for big side dishes or sauces – just a dash of olive oil, sea salt and pepper, and some bread for the drippings. Favourite drinks include beer, local wine or a lighter “tinto de verano” made with red wine and bubbly lemonade.

Barbecue Traditions in Italy

In Italy, there are quite some similarities to the Spanish, Mediterranean art of barbecue grilling. Favourites are seafood and simple, clean tastes. Very famous are also the Chianina beef steaks from Tuscany. Even the authentic Neapolitan pizza is cooked with high temperaures on a wood-fired oven – you could call it more grilled than baked. On our Food Hopping Food Tour Napoli you could savour the difference!

No matter if grilling or barbecuing, we suggest a tasty alternative for the football high season and the summer holidays: our Food Hopping Food Tours in Italy, Spain or Germany!

Food Traditions of the Easter holidays

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

Festive Easter food in Italy

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 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 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.

Colourfull Easter parades in Spain

Felices pascuas! Spain has a rich tradition of celebrating the Easter week with colourfull religious 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 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.

Easter-egg search in Germany

“Frohe Ostern!” Church processions are still existing in mainly catholic regions of Germany, and are no part of the protestant rite.  All Germans, however, 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 festive 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 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 leisurely walk through the heart of the city – during the festive season, or for your holidays. Hungry for more?

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Foodie proverbs to spice up any conversation

Food Hopping Food Tour foodie proverbs lemonsWhen it comes to food, there are countless foodie proverbs and 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.

Foodie proverbs – our favourites

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

Foodie proverbs – the tenth

“In wine, there is truth” – Latin – “In vino veritas” – this ancient proverb 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…

Foodie proverbs – the ninth

“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 recipes – like at our Food Hopping tour Sorrento!

Foodie proverbs – the eighth

“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.

Foodie proverbs – the seventh

“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 essentially as much ado about nothing…for our Italian tours, we promise a lot of delicious tastings without any smoke!

Foodie proverbs – the sixth

“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?

Foodie proverbs – the fifth

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

Foodie proverbs – the fourth

“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.

Foodie proverbs – the third

“In an old pot you can also make good soup” – Portuguese – “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 knickknack to archive a satisfactory output. Our Food Hopping guide in Portugal counts with a lot of experience – and also knows the latest hot-spots of Lisbon!

Foodie proverbs – the second

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 glamorous ending. Join our Food Hopping tour in Venice to experience it for yourself…

Foodie proverbs – the first

“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

Food Hopping Food Tours funny food namesDid you ever wonder about the curious funny food 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:

Funny Food names – named after a famous person

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

2. 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.

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

4. 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.

Funny Food names – with a meaning from the past

5. 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.

6. 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.

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. 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.

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

Funny Food names – tasty tongue-twister

10. 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.

11. 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.

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

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