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!

Italian Food Places – Osteria, Trattoria or Else?

italian food tour trattoria pizzeria

Useful tips about Italian Food Places

Planning a trip to Italy? When you check the recommendation sites or a travel guidebook, you may be confused about the variety of different terms that are used for Italian food places. One good solution is always to come with us on a Food Hopping Food Tour Italy – our guides love to explain the terms with amusing details, and you’ll taste the best local choice!

As a little upfront preparation, here’s a short introduction to Italian food places.

Types of Italian Food Places

Best known from Italian Food places abroad is the term Pizzeria. When you visit a Pizzeria in Italy, it is usually a modest place where they offer a large selection of pizzas, but usually other dishes, too, often for take-away as well. You can also have a drink and a dessert there – but don’t expect fancy decorations or linen tablecloths.

The same is with the Spaghetteria, they specialize in pasta dishes of all kinds, but also have other dishes on the menu.

A Caffè or Bar is basically the living room of the Italians. Here they eat their (usually frugal) breakfast, read the newspaper, have a chat, watch football, in between always a “caffè” and in the evening the “Aperitivo” drink before dinner. And all this usually standing at the counter, not sitting. They serve several beverages and often also small sweet or salty snacks, even some pasta dishes.

A Vineria or Enoteca is a wine bar, with a wide selection of national and international wines and various snacks. You can expect more knowledge and recommendations about wines here, often they sell the wines to taste there, or also the bottles to take home with you.

The Birreria is like a beer pub, serving drinks, simple dishes and also pizza. It is a popular meeting point, often with loud music, to start a night out.

The Osteria was originally a tavern where you could bring your own food, and buy the drinks from the bartender. Today it is “the inn around the corner”, where there are simple food and abundant drinks at fair prices.

A Rosticceria is rather a kind of snack bar than a restaurant. During regular store opening hours, you get hot and cold – mostly fried or grilled – food for takeaway or eat at instance.

The Trattoria is a simple restaurant, serving regional dishes at affordable prices. As well, there is usually a daily menu with choices of four complete courses. It is quite popular to have a business lunch option there, so this places are filled with office workers during lunch time.

A Ristorante is a proper dining place with full menu choice, from antipasti -starters, primo – often pasta – and secondo – the main dish – to dessert, coffee and digestive. This is the place to go for a family celebration or to spoil your partner on a date night…

Salumerias are originally a shop to buy cold cuts, salami, ham and cheese. Today, they often serve tasting platters to eat at the spot, together with some pairing wines – like a delicatessen shop.

A Paninoteca offers a wide selection of so-called “panini caldi”. The hot buns are covered with salami, cheese or ham and garnished with vegetables or salad. In addition, there are also toast -focacce – or “Pizza al taglio” Slices of Pizza with different toppings that they heat up when you order it. A good place for a quick snack on the go.

On the Sweet Side – more Italian Food Places

Following up to the sweet side, a Pasticceria is a pastry shop, where you can usually enjoy a cup of coffee or a hot chocolate and taste the delicious pastries and cakes.

And last but not least there is the Gelateria, the famous ice cream parlor, offering a multitude of different ice creams. The Italian ice cream is considered the best in the world, its production almost as an art and the recipes closely guarded secrets. Usually you order first the desired size of ice-cream by price at the cashier, and go then with the receipt to the counter to order the tastes you like. In addition, in most gelaterias there is the “granita” – a slushy, wonderfully refreshing sorbet ice drink, flavoured with mint, fresh lemon or fruit sirup.

Did you enjoy this overview of Italian food places?
Come and join one of our Food Hopping Italy Food Tours  – See you soon with Food Hopping!

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!

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

Food Hopping Food Tours!

Frankfurt am Main in Trade and Taste

Food Hopping Food Tour Frankfurt trade and tasteThe city of Frankfurt am Main in Germany is often compared to Manhattan, New York. First, because of its economic relevance: the city 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).

Frankfurt am Main – famous skyline

The skyline with some of the highest buildings in Europe adds to the comparison. 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.

Food specialities of Frankfurt am Main

When it comes to the Gastronomic landscape, the city 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 sour cream – delicious with hard boiled eggs and cooked potatoes!
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 various apple-filled pastries.

Frankfurt am Main – cult drinks

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, here you can also taste very good local beers or the wines of the close-by 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 local 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 on a

Food Hopping Frankfurt Food Tour!

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!