Parmigiano, Prosciutto & Vinegar, Oh My! Eating Our Way Through Emilia Romagna

Parmigiano, Prosciutto & Vinegar, Oh My! Eating Our Way Through Emilia Romagna

Think back on your travels. The very best experiences you've had throughout your visits abroad or otherwise. The "check this off my bucket list" travel activities. Or even glance back over your life as a whole. Have you ever done an activity or been involved in something that has made you say, "There is no way I could picture ANYONE not liking this?" Something probably has jumped into your head, like the time you jetskied across the lake while fireworks exploded over your head last Independence Day. Or the first time you saw the Grand Canyon. Perhaps it's just stepping out on the ledge of a castle of a place you didn't think could possibly exist in real life. Well, I've got some bad news for you. That time you went real fast on a jetski while America celebrated by blowing things up above you? My Dad wouldn't like it, his bad knees make a jetski untenable. The first time you saw the Grand Canyon? I'm scared of heights, plus it's too hot in Arizona. Lake Bled? Ask a Slovenian, they'll tell you Lake Bohinj is better. I'm basically Abraham Lincoln-ing you. You can't please all the people all the time. There is no activity that EVERYONE will like.

Except for the Italian Days Food Experience

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Achieving Peak Food Tour In Ljubljana

Achieving Peak Food Tour In Ljubljana

We have been going on food tours a lot recently, and while it would be a great narrative to say that after seeing multiple iterations of them throughout cities, countries, and continents, we are growing tired of the routine: tasting different dishes and flavors at scattered restaurants or cafes, short to medium walks through foreign streets, small tidbits of history we will most likely not remember, shared tales of food tours from vacations' past, it's simply not the case. We've come to appreciate the food tour as a way to introduce ourselves to both the overall geography and exceptional cuisine that each new city has to offer; Renee is a fan of getting "the lay of the land", and food tours are a tremendous way to do that while simultaneously filling your bellies. I thought that we could not get any fuller than when we were in Marrakech, but I was wrong. Because we may have had our best food tour yet with Top Ljubljana Foods in the capital city of Slovenia.

Ljubljana (Pronounced lyoo-BLYAH-nah and certainly not Luh-JUBE-Luh-JOHN-Ah as we had been calling it for the past six months) has a long and twisting history, as being surrounded by mountains, having both a hill in the middle with a fortress built on it and a river running through you can make you extremely coveted by civilizations throughout Europe. Ljubes (as we like to call it) has been occupied in the past by the Italians, Germans, and Romans to name a few, and since Slovenia declared it's independence in 1991, it has acted simultaneously as the capital of Slovenia and the "Next Big City" of Europe. While everyone from Rick Steves to Nomadic Matt has declared Slovenia one of their favorite destinations, Ljubljana has avoided become the tourist-y madhouses that are now Prague and Bruges. The city center, with it's meandering Ljubljanica River and cafes and restaurants scattered on it's shores have maintained their low price points and traditional cooking styles. It is with this in mind that we can see why the Traditional Food Tour with Top Ljubljana Foods is one of the better food tours we've taken. 

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Learning To Shop Like A Parisian With Secret Food Tours

Learning To Shop Like A Parisian With Secret Food Tours

One of the things I immediately noticed upon arrival in Paris is the inordinate number of men and women walking around with a baguette in their hand. "How can they do that? Don't they know they're just living up to the most basic French stereotype? They should all grow handlebar mustaches, smoke cigarettes and wear berets." Nothing made me giggle more than passing by a man casually munching on a phallogical loaf of bread the size of his torso as they jauntily headed down the Rue Desjardins Mont Blanc Croissant. Then I found myself in the line at Pain Pain Paris, being handed a baguette that was at the perfect temperature to hold, not too hot that I had to juggle it, but still so warm I could have cracked it open and seen steam emerge. I found myself being told that most good bakeries in Paris will ensure their baguettes are coming out of the oven every twenty minutes, so that every one bought has this perfect temperature. I found myself being told that the butchers will give you advice on how to cook their meat. That the cheese shops will pair their cheese with the bottle of wine in your hand. THAT THE MACAROONS ARE MADE FRESH EVERY DAY. Why would you buy your cheese, meat, and bread at one big-box grocery store, when they've been sitting out all day being breathed on by slovenly big-box grocery store employees? Why would you even set foot in a grocery store when all of these specialty stores are within a ten minute walk from your apartment? WHY IS THERE NOT A BERET STORE ON THIS BLOCK? HOW DID THIS HANDLEBAR MUSTACHE APPEAR ON MY FACE?

These are the kind of questions you begin to ask yourself when you learn to shop like a Parisian and not like an American jerk. Allow me to explain.

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Currywurst & Beer: The Best Parts Of Berlin?

Currywurst & Beer: The Best Parts Of Berlin?

My dad has a saying: "I plan my vacations one meal at a time." Or maybe he didn't actually say that; I can't tell whether that is a quote he actually said, or something that I've just attributed to him, that he said something similar but not quite as catchy, or maybe is just something Guy Fieri said and I assigned it to my dad because they have similar haircuts. So I take this to heart, and whenever we are heading to a new city, much to Renee's chagrin, I will always google the phrase "______ famous foods" because I don't want to be talking to someone about what a great time we had in Iceland, and have them say "Did you have hot dogs there? THEY WERE UNBELIEVABLE!" and not have an opinion ready to blast out. Yes, we had hot dogs in Iceland. And lobster rolls in Boston.  Don't forget pizza in New York. So we were not going to spend our time in Berlin without having currywurst. 

Currywurst is a German delicacy that is most popular in it's capital city, having been born in 1949 when Herta Heuwer was cooking her fam some dinner and threw whatever she had in the pantry on the plate. It turned out to be a sauce combining ketchup and curry powder over a pork sausage, and what do you know A STAR IS BORN. Now there are currywurst stalls everywhere from Brandenburg Gate to Checkpoint Charlie (Real missed opportunity: Call your stall Checkpoint Curry, then wait for the money to roll in. Come on Berlin do I have to do all this for you?) and every one has their own secret ingredient or special cooking technique. Everything from brown sugar to chamomile can make up the ketchupy (I tried for literally fifteen minutes to come up with a better word than ketchupy, but ultimately, no word described the sauce better. It's ketchupy. Get off my back Roget) sauce, and every Berliner has their favorite. So how to choose? Easy. Let a professional make the choice for you.

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