A guide to holidays on the Isles of Scilly, featuring Tresco, Bryher, St Martins, St Agnes and St Mary’s.Read More
We left Slovenia, heading to Venice by bus, a trip which lasted around 4 hours and included a pit stop at Udine.
We arrived at the floating city in the early evening, just as it became bathed in soft golden sunlight. Instead of getting a water taxi, we decided to walk to our accommodation, winding our way through the streets and over bridges to make our way from the main port across the island to our Airbnb.
We spent our first evening in Venice sampling cicchetti - small snacks which are commonly served in bars (bàcari) across Venice.
Whilst jumping from bar to bar, we quickly discovered that Aperol/Campari spritzes were generally about 2-3 euros, compared with beer, which was around 5 euros. That made choosing a drink much easier… We also discovered that the optimum spritz is a half and half mixture of Aperol and Campari - just bitter enough, not too sweet.
As we drank and ate our way across the city, the weather slowly descended into an almighty thunderstorm, forcing us back to our apartment to grab some much needed R&R.
Luckily we awoke the next day to a calm, sunny morning.
For our first full day in the city, we decided to go all in on the sightseeing.
We started off by visiting the Doge’s Palace (Palazzo Ducale), the former residence of the Doges of Venice, the elected leaders of the former Venetian Republic. Next to St Mark’s Basilica, the palace dates back from the 12th century and has gone through multiple renovations during the following centuries.
Today visitors can see the the main courtyard, Doge’s apartments, Institutional chambers (used to facilitate governance of the republic), alongside the new and old prisons.
I was particularly interested in seeing the iconic Bridge of Sighs, infamous for the fact the view from the bridge was the last view of Venice that convicts saw before their imprisonment.
After spending a good three hours at the Doges Palace and the Museo Correr (which had an amazing exhibition about the printing press), we retired for an afternoon nap, priming ourselves for a late afternoon walking tour of the city.
Our tour focused on Venice through the centuries and took us across the north of the island. It was a fascinating way of spending two hours, to be honest I only wished it had been longer as there was so much to learn about.
Just as our tour was ending, the thunder returned again, prompting us to run back to our apartment and cook some of the delicious venetian produce we had picked up earlier on the the day.
The next day we split up as a group, as the boys wanted to check out the The Peggy Guggenheim Collection and I wanted to do some more walking and general exploring.
I ended up wandering about for most of the morning, stopping whenever I found a particularly interesting view or building.
Whilst wandering along, a particularly fine marble edifice caught my eye, this was the church of San Zaccaria, built in the 15th century.
Alongside a beautiful interior and remnants of a Byzantine church which previously stood on the site, the church also boasts an eerie part-submerged crypt, a relic from an earlier church and the resting place of several early Doges.
Over the centuries the lagoon has slowly risen up through the stonework and now the water levels wax or wane according to the tides.
For our last full day in Venice we decided to grab vaporetto (water bus) and head over to Murano, a series of islands 1.5km north of the main city.
Murano is famous for its glass and citizens of the island held a monopoly on high-quality glassmaking for centuries.
We spend a very pleasant afternoon strolling across the island, taking in several glass making demonstrations and indulging in a cheeky purchase or two.
Originally we had also planned to go to Burano, another island in the lagoon that is known for its lace work and brightly coloured homes.
However our tour guide had advised that it was better to try and do a couple of things properly if time was short, as opposed to hopping around and skimming the surface.
After we got back from Murano, we made another home cooked meal.
All the advice I had received before going to Venice focused on the fact that eating out on the island was mostly expensive and underwhelming. I think if you know where to go, you can get some amazing food out, especially if you focus on cicchetti.
We actually really enjoyed cooking for ourselves and going to the early morning markets to pick up fresh fish and vegetables - I would definitely recommend this if you aren’t afraid of experimenting in the kitchen.
The next day it was time to go home, we caught another vaporetto across the lagoon to the airport to wait for our flight.
Our adventure was over, until next time.
Read Part 1, Slovenia and the mountains, here
Still Life with a Gilt Cup, Willem Claesz. Heda, 1635. oil on panel, h 88cm × w 113cm.
Above is a 17th century still life which basically proves, in my opinion, that the Dutch invented the tablescape scene, an image which is now a staple of the food bloggers photographic repertoire.
Having lived previously in the Netherlands, I am not a complete stranger to Dutch food in the present day. I think it's fair to say that the country is not a famous culinary destination, though I'm hoping I can show you that it certainly does offer some delicious and interesting things to feast on!
So if are thinking of travelling to Amsterdam, The Hague, Utrecht or anywhere else in the Netherlands, this is the culinary guide for you!
Much of this guide is inspired by my recent trip to the Netherlands last November (which you can read about in more general terms
) It is all based on my experience of living and travelling around the country and for this reason much of the focus is on street food, all of which can be found in the major cities.
The Dutch actually were the first european nation to obtain live coffee plants for cultivation from Yemen. They quickly gained the monopoly on coffee cultivation in their overseas colonies and exported this back to europe. The Dutch remain passionate about coffee to this very day, with a well established culture of coffee houses (different to coffee shops!) and cafes, all of which in my experience are very good in terms of quality.
The Netherlands is actually where my love of coffee began and is the reason why I started my own coffee company shortly after graduating!
I really would recommend enjoying a coffee in an independent cafe, of which there are many. Such places also often turn into bars later on, enabling you move swiftly on to a bottle of belgian beer! Always a bonus...
There are also some good Dutch coffee chains, so there's no excuse to not leave Starbucks behind when travelling here! My recommendations would be:
- Very trendy, full of very good looking men, (in my experience!) lots of drink types and a choice of beans for connoisseurs.
- A bit more traditional and less hipster, though the coffee still is very good. The hot chocolates are also worth the visit alone!
Basically the Dutch answer to sandwitches, broodjes are readily available in numerous incarnations and filling variations. I personally enjoy a good broodje kaas - or cheese roll! They are a staple in the Dutch breakfast/lunch routine and make a good grab and go meal.
- Shown here: Freits and Satay Sauce from Miss New Foodie
Friets and Fritessaus
Stands selling chips (friets) can be found pretty much everywhere in the Netherlands. This is a really cheap lunch option if you are out and about in a big city and usually very popular with the locals too!
The friets are usually served in a cone and can be accompanied with fritessaus - a low fat mayo substitute. Alternatively you can go for ketchup, currysaus (spiced ketchup,) satay sauce, or Patat Oorlog (a combination of satay, raw onions and mayo.)
I'm a satay kind of girl, if you were wondering: peanuts for the win.
Automaat: Krokets, Frikandellen, Hamburgers, Kaassoufflés
Welcome to the land of the automatic snack! This is a pretty genius idea - think hot, cheap snacks, available pretty much everywhere, usually in busy areas such as stations and city centres. The vending machines are often part of a larger kiosk with a staffed counter from which you can purchase drinks and frites.
The vending machines are very simple - all you have to do is decide what you want, insert a few euros and bam! There are usually several things to choose from in the automats:
Krokets: Fried food rolls containing mashed potato and beef, also known as croquettes.
Frikandellen - Minced meat
hot dogs, the absence of skin means that there is a debate over whether to consider these guys sausages or not (either way, they are pretty delicious!)
Hamburgers - Pretty much the standard minced meat burger
- A whole lot of melted cheese inside a thin dough-based wrap which has been breaded and then deep-fried. They may well be little heart attacks in a vending machine, however they are so so so good for the soul.
Very similar to Krokets and another type of snack food, these little balls of ground meat are deep fried and often served with mustard or mayo. We ordered ours to share with friends over a couple of beers.
Sweet Goods In General
From what I can gather, Dutch cuisine seems to specialise in delicious food which is also insanely bad for you (the keyword here is: fried.) It's therefore no surprise that when it comes to sweet treats, the Netherlands has some serious game going. Here are some specialities to watch out for:
Poffertjes - These little round pancakes are much lighter and fluffier than their British or American counterparts and come served with powdered sugar, butter and sometimes syrup.
Pannenkoek - Dutch pancakes are large and thin, similar in shape to crepes but without the butter enriched batter. Eat at a Pannenkoekenhuis for a range of both savoury and sweet options!
Stroopwafel - These waffles are made from two thin layers of baked dough with a caramel-like syrup filling in the middle. They are best served warm straight from a street vendor in my opinion, however packs of the waffles can be bought in supermarkets.
These guys literally translate into english as "oil balls"but don't let that put you off! These deep fried dumplings are very similar to doughnuts and can often be found served from street stalls around the Christmas period, as they were traditionally consumed on Christmas Eve.
Oliebollen (oliebol in the singular) are usually dusted with icing sugar and can sometimes come in different varieties, including fillings such as apple and chocolate.
Soused Herring: B
Raw herring is very much a dutch delicacy and again is another example of street food in the Netherlands. Usually served from kiosks, soused herring is marinated and can be served on its own or with chopped onions. It can also be found in a sandwich form as "broodje haring." I would argue that this is a pretty nutritious snack, though maybe not for the faint hearted!
Another excellent example of street food at it's best, Kibbeling is one of my personal favourite indulgences. It consists of pieces of white fish, usually cod, coated in batter then fried. It is often served with garlic mayo.
Kibbeling" is a corruption of the word "cod cheek." The cheeks were separately excised and were once offered as "fried fish". The original cod cheeks have a very distinct taste and texture and are incomparable with the usually offered as a snack (fake) kibbeling.
I hope this post has been interesting/of use for those who are looking to travel to the Netherlands!
Are there any Dutch foods that you particularly enjoy? Have I missed anything out? Do you have any recommendations for places to eat in Amsterdam or further afield that you want to share? - If so, let me know!
P.S Don't forget to enter my first giveaway to win a selection of Vincent's Coffee! It's running until the 10th January, you can enter
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I'm currently in the departure lounge at Manchester Airport waiting for a flight to Schipol! We are off to the Netherlands for a couple of days to visit Amsterdam and Utrecht. I lived in Utrecht for 6 months as part of my degree and am looking forward to visiting some of my old haunts.
I'm trying out the blogger app on my iPad and hoping that this comes out in an acceptable format, so apologies if it isn't quite right!
Upon my return I will hopefully share some interesting dutch food with you all - they do some amazing Christmas treats.
Until then, goodbye! I hope everyone has a good weekend!
Though this blog mostly has a focus on food, I thought some of you might me interested in occasionally hearing about some of the trips I make. These posts are more of an indulgence on my part, so please do excuse them.
"Sunday is funday" has become one of my recent mantras, as weekdays are jam packed at the moment, with most of my time being taken up with running my business and blogging. Not that I'm complaining, I love being busy! However in order to maintain sanity and productivity, breaks are necessary.
This time of year is especially beautiful, with vibrant autumnal colours and, if you're lucky, crystal clear and crisp days. As long as you're well wrapped up, outside is most certainly the place to be when the sun shines in November.
Last sunday we decided to take advantage of the beautiful autumn weather to explore the House, Garden and Deer Park at Dunham Massey, a National Trust property just outside of Manchester, near Altrincham.
We spent most of our visit wandering through the Deer Park and successfully spotted quite a few Buck and Doe very close to the main house, it seems you don't have to wander far to see them.
The house was built in in the 1730s by George Booth, 2nd Earl of Warrington and later became a First World War auxiliary hospital from April 1917 to January 1919.
Currently the house has been transformed so that visitors can experience the Stamford Hospital as it once was. There are also some interesting pieces of furniture and other items on display in the house, including an intact 18th century library.
|This buck was casually taking a break right by the stables in front of a large crowd of admirers.|
|Gold and Diamond Pocket Watch, 1859 and pieces of string kept by Lady Penelope Stamford, c. 1930.|
|View of the house entrance|
|Spot the Deer!|
|Entrance from the stables and colonial statue|