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 Tour Discoveries in Barcelona

Food tour Barcelona Columbus Statue

A visit to Barcelona

Just now, we are back from a first-hand visit to Barcelona. The culinary scene of a modern city is always in movement – so we are reviewing all our food tours constantly.
It is always a pleasure to come to this Catalan metropolis. Now in spring, the breeze is already warm, but the winding narrow streets of the Barri Gotic are still ventilated and fresh. On our tour, we discover some of the most traditional neighbourhoods of central Barcelona on an enjoyable walk.

Barcelona- history and lifestyle

Cava, the catalan sparkling wine, is a beloved all-time-favourite. Mid-morning at a humble bar hidden in second row, we mingle with workers, office clerks, retired people and visitors to enjoy the bubbly drink that unites across classes. On every corner of the city, there is this beautiful melange between century-old history and bohemian lifestyle.
Some shops and taverns are like time-machines: transferring their original interieur and their food specialities, delicatly restaurated, from the 19th century till today.
Traditional food and drinks have a renaissance with a modern twist – we visit places, that combine favourite tastes with contemporary design and comfort.

Turning the view from the bustling alleys up to the blue sky, towering gargoyles adorne the old palaces and churchs. Many in very peculiar forms – we spot an unicorn, an elefant as well as a crocodile! Entering the hidden courtyard of an ancient baroque palace, we hear about contemporary spanish music and dance. Just a short walk further, we stand with awe at an impressive modernist faccade, that hosts another cultural highlight of Barcelona.

Food markets in Barcelona

To add a taste sensation, we explore a traditional food market hall off the emblematic Ramblas – here we still find the locals shopping for groceries and chatting with their neighbours at one of the small bar stalls inside the market. Even this building is another stunning example for the integration of traditional and modern architecture in Barcelona.

Our round-tour this day ends with delicious sweet treats and a typical small spanish coffee, roasted and ground daily at the very spot, downtown Barcelona.
We hope that you’ll enjoy this tour as much as we do, so come and discover our

Food Hopping Barcelona Food Tour!

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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Spain’s sweet side – almonds and oranges

Food Hopping Food Tour Spain sweet treatsThe Spaniards love to be on the sweet side of live! When it comes to sweet treats, they don´t spare with milk, sugar, nuts and eggs. Spices like cinnamon, cloves and a tangy hint of citrus fruits often add a slightly exotic flavour that brings back memories of spanish summer days.

Sweet Spanish pastry

Any Spanish pastry shop is filled with glazed or powdered small treats, beautifully decorated and irresistibly sweet in taste. It is quite common to bring a selection of bite-sized cakes when invited at a friends home for lunch or dinner.

A famous cake throughout Spain is the “Tarta de Santiago” or almond cake. It is made of butter, sugar, eggs, lemon zest and ground white almond – no flour added. This cake is a tradition from the northern Galicia region, powdered with confectioners sugar with a sign of the cross of Santiago spared out. With or without the sugared cross, almond cake is a favourite around Spain.

Another very popular sweet treat are the “Churros”. Its possible to eat those deep-fried dough pastries anytime of the day -they are offered in bars, bakeries and special Churro posts, where they are fried in the moment. Often they are accompanied with a thick, creamy sweet hot chocolate to dip in. This uplifting delicacy is popular to enjoy even late at night or in the early morning of a night out, and also at new years eve.

Spanish sweet and fruity cream desserts

Described already in medieval cooking books, the “Crema Catalana” is a delicious egg and cream custard with a slight orange aroma and crunchy burned caramel on top. Originated in the Catalunia region, it is served everywhere in Spain today, there is even an ice-cream and cake fillings with the same taste.

Popular family-meal desserts are “Arroz con Leche” and “Flan” – the first, a thick rice pudding spiced with cinnamon and orange zest, the latter an egg and caramel pudding.
Originating from the Moorish times of Spain, creative sorbets and frozen desserts also have a long tradition. Remarkable are the Almond Sorbet from the Balearic Islands, or Orange Sorbet made of the juicy oranges from Valencia.

Candied almond and fried sweets in Spain

A seasonal speciality for Easter time are the “Torríjas”. Loafs of white bread, soaked with a mix of egg, milk and sugar, deep-fried and covered with cinnamon sugar – doesn´t that sound like a proper lent-time dish?

“Turrón” and “Polvorones” are two sweets mainly eaten during the christmas season. Turrón is made of candied sugar/honey and nuts, in different combinations, sometimes adding dried fruits or chocolate. It is originated from the moorish times – in English, there is a similar sweet called “Turkish Delight”. Polvorones are small, very crumbly cookies made of flour, sugar, almonds and pork lard. Sounds strange, but the taste is surprisingly mellow.

Famous sweet wines of Spain

To close a meal, a fortified wine from Jerez “Sherry” or Malaga, often with some dry fruits and/or cheese, is another delicious addon to this mouthwatering list of spanish sweet treats.

Hungry for more?

Join now our Food Hopping Spain Food Tours!

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…

Did you like our little collection of proverbs? Hungry for more? Join now our

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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

Food Hopping Food Tours!

European Table Wine Culture

Food Hopping Food Tour European table wineWhat 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.

European wine – variations

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.

Famous wines of Europe

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

Food Hopping Food Tours table manners customs toastingTable manners when 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.

Table manners in Austria – use of the fork

Use your fork to portion potatoes 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.

German table manners – about toasting

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.

Table manners in Italy – coffee culture

Enjoy a black ‘caffè’ to finish the meal. A small strong espresso is the favored coffee during the day. Cappuccinos 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.

Portuguese table manners – folding salad

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.

Table manners in Spain – remain sitting

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

Food Hopping Food Tour New Year 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 2018!

Food Hopping Food Tours merry christmasAn 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

Food Hopping Food Tour good reasons groupThere are several good reasons to explore a new place by its food: 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.

Good reasons to travel and explore

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?

Here’s our top 10 of good reasons

10 – Discover hidden places like cozy restaurants, rustic taverns , insider-tips 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 bFood Hopping Food Tours Saint Nicholasefore 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.

Saint Nicholas in German tradition

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, he 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 figures, made of chocolate, to friends and family.

Italian Saint Nicholas celebrations

In Italy, Santa Nicholas is known as gift-giver and protector of the children – today, his tradition is also referred 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.

Saint Nicholas day in Spain

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!