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A Whirlwind Tour of Europe: Food First

Home style food on large dishesViv Chapelo and Jill Hoelting, who produce the excellent women’s adventure website, WAVEJourney.com, spent six weeks in Europe tasting some of the delights.

Here are some of their favorites.

Two small bottles of Scrumpy Hard Cider

This strong, flavorful hard cyder (English spelling) is a traditional, local product that will warm the cockles of your heart.

England

Cornish Scrumpy:
Cornish Scrumpy can leave you legless if you’re not careful. This cyder (yep, that’s how they spell it) is made in Cornwall, England from cider apples. It’s a strong farmhouse cider made according to traditional methods. It can be found on draught in pubs or pick up a bottle in gift shops around Cornwall.

http://www.thecornishcyderfarm.co.uk/products.htm

Portugal

Favaios:
Favaios is a sweet, amber-colored wine from the Pinhao area of Portugal’s Douro Valley . Visit a cafe/bar, hang out with the locals and ask if they have any favaios. You won’t find this potent drink in a bottle. It will likely be stored off in a corner, in an unlabeled ceramic jug. This is a drink the locals enjoy and it’s more popular with them than port. The taste is similar to a dessert muscatel. It’s served chilled and costs about 90 cents a glass. Cafe Imperio in Pinhao (opposite train station) is a good source for this lovely drink.

Glass of Favios Wine from Portugal

Portugal’s Favios wine — an inexpensive, local favorite — wins rave reviews.

Spain

Tremocos:
This yellow bean is eaten primarily as a pickled snack food. In Spain, tremocos can be found in tapas bars. Throughout Europe, you can find jars of the brined delights for sale in shops and markets. Pop them in your mouth like olives, gently press down on them with your teeth, and pop them out of their skin. They’re very tasty.

Germany

The national drink Frankfurt, Germany is famous for is Apfelwein or Ebbelwoi, known in English as apple wine. When you visit Germany, make sure to do some sampling of this local specialty. But don’t expect a sweet wine – we found it a bit on the sour side. When served hot, this German apple cider is a good remedy for a cold or a tasty drink on a winter’s day.

The frankfurter (also known as Frankfurter Wüstchen) is a pork sausage served with a bun and mustard on the side. Either open the bun, place the frankfurter inside and smother with mustard, or do what the locals do – dip your frankfurter in the mustard while eating the bun separately. Wash it all down with Apfelwein, the local brew. It’s said that the frankfurter is the origin of the American hotdog, but, in our opinion, the German Frankfurter Wüstchen is far superior.

So, next time you’re wandering the streets of Frankfurt, try out the local “fast food” and enjoy a glass of Apfelwein and a frankfurter. Guten Appetit!

Light beer and frankfurter from Germany

Traveling in Germany? Don’t forget to sample frankfurters and beer.

Hungary

Savor the local cuisine (goulash is a favorite of Viv’s) at Fatal Restaurant, a Hungarian eatery in the heart of Budapest. Along Vaci Utca (main tourist shopping area) the dining choices are endless, but a dining choice that we recommend Fatal. Serving authentic Hungarian food in a Hungarian-countryside atmosphere, Fatal is very popular with the locals and is sure to please any discriminating visitor.

Generous portions and delicious comfort food made Fatal Restaurant Viv and Jill’s favorite Hungarian restaurant.

Situated down a narrow side street off the Vaci Utca, Fatal can be found down a dozen steps that open into a fairly large restaurant with both smoking and non-smoking sections. As a tourist, you shouldn’t expect friendly service. You’re more likely to get prompt and competent service from impatient and grumpy Hungarian-only speaking waiters. That being said, if you’re anything like us, you’ll be amused by the service and you’ll come away having dined on some of the best Hungarian food to be found.

Fatal portions are large (even by American standards), so order accordingly. We loved:

  • Vetrece Soup — cream of chicken with tarragon served in a crusty bread bowl. It was the most delicious cream of chicken soup we’ve ever tasted.
  • Duck served with Cabbage Zvekedli. The duck is roasted in beer and served with cabbage noodles.
  • Roast Goose Drumstick served with special dumplings and red cabbage. It was all washed down with mugs of Hungarian beer and made for a very good time!
  • Fatal Restaurant – Authentic Hungarian Food only accepts cash in Hungarian Forint. The exchange rate when we traveled Summer 2009 was: U.S.$1 = 194.61 Hungarian Forint. To check current exchange rates use: http://www.xe.com/
    Fatal 
1056 Budapest, Vaci u. 67  
+361 2662 607 www.fatalrestaurant.com

Vienna

We discovered Restaurant Ferdinandt, near the shopping area of the Kartnerstrasse (main pedestrian zone in Vienna lined with shops and restaurants) and Stephansplatz (a square at the geographical center of the city). It is a fantastic place to have lunch surrounded by locals and sample Ottakringer beer from Vienna ‘s only brewery.

Restaurant Ferdinandt has a wonderful lunch menu with delicious options that are reasonably-priced. We recommend the Karntner Kasnudein, a regional dish of dumplings stuffed with cheese and spinach, with a brown butter and fresh sage sauce. This was to die for and only E14.90.

Cheese-stuffed dumplings on white plate

How can you go wrong with handmade cheese-stuffed dumplings?

Chase it down with a local beer: Zwickl beer(0.5 liter = E3.60; Ottakringer beer – 0.5 liter = E3.20). Prices include taxes and they accept credit cards, debit cards and cash.

This restaurant is convenient and centrally located near Stephensplatz and St. Stephen’s Cathedral. And it even offers outdoor seating.

Wiener Restaurant Ferdinandt Zwickl-Bar,
Neuer Markt 2, A-1010 Wien, Austria
01/5138991

When in Vienna, do what the locals do… find a coffee shop and eat cake. The Kurkonditorei Oberlaa is a perfect place to indulge in the famous Sacher Torte (a dry chocolate cake with apricot jam) and Viennese coffee (forget Starbucks, Vienna is where the coffee shop began).

Although we have not tried the original Sacher Torte from the Sacher Hotel, the cake at Kurkonditorei Oberlaa was absolutely delicious. They also serve lunches.

A slice of the famous Sacher Torte  cost E3.35, and a Viennese coffee (Oberlaa Mélange) was E3.30. If you sit outside expect to pay the “Schlagobers Port ” or waiter service charge of E0.90.

Kurkonditorei Oberlaa Wien 
1010 Wien, Neuer Markt 16
Phone: 01/5132936-0
Email: Stadthaus@Oberlaa-Wien.at
www.oberlaa-wien.at

Amsterdam

Woman eating french fries covered in mayonnaise

Is there anything better than French fries, especially if they’re slathered in thick mayonnaise? Okay, these frites, a specialty in Amsterdam, aren’t a health food, but they make a delicious street snack. RFT correspondent Jill Hoelting enjoys a paper cone full.

Jill thought I was nuts whenever I would mention my craving for frites (French fried potatoes) from a couple of places I know in Amsterdam . Well, she now understands and pretty much agrees with that statement that these are some of the best fries in the world. (Although, further sampling of frites around the world are required to determine a definite winner!) 

Yes, we know that Belgium frites are famous and are right at the top with other Belgium specialities such as: Belgium beer; Belgium chocolates; and Brussels waffles (known in North American as Belgium waffles). But, we still stand by our statement that we love the frites in Amsterdam.

 Served in paper cones (in small, medium or large) with a tiny wooden fork and accompanied with our favorite sauce (you can typically choose from eight to 40 sauce options), frites are a fine snacking option anytime day or night.

Jill enjoys dipping her frites in mayonnaise (the thick kind only served in Europe) and Viv is in heaven with a tangy-sweet curry sauce. This is the perfect treat for strolling the streets of Amsterdam! Prices range from Euro 1.75 to 3.25 for frites and sauce is extra.

A couple of our “fry-shack” recommendations are:
Vleminckx Sausmeesters – Address: Voetboogstraat 31, just off the Spui.
Snackland BV- Address: Damrak 58, not far from Centraal Station.

Bon Apetit and happy traveling from Viv Chapleo and Jill Hoelting, co-founders, WAVEJourney.com, online adventure travel magazine for women. Women’s Adventures, Vacations & Experiences ~ Your Journey Starts Here!

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Viv Chapleo and Jill Hoetling

Viv Chapleo and Jill Hoetling, co-founders of the online adventure travel magazine for women, WAVEJourney.com — Women’s Adventures, Vacations & Experiences ~ Your Journey Starts Here! WAVEJourney is an online resource for women’s travel and WAVEJourney travel divas, Viv and Jill, scour the world in search of women-friendly businesses, services and products.