Best Foods to Eat in Europe in 2016

Best Foods to Eat in Europe in 2016

Like I mentioned in my last food porn post on where to eat in Asia in 2016, we ate a lot of amazing food in 2015. I wish I could share photos of all of them, and encourage people to search for all those dishes during their upcoming travels. Instead, I’ve come up with a list of the absolute BEST foods to eat in Europe in 2016. Okay, so maybe we didn’t eat all the food in Europe during 2015, but we ate a good many fabulous meals. Enough that I can put together a pretty good roadmap of what to eat in Europe. These dishes tend to focus on Italy, Portugal, Spain, and Ireland, because that is where we spent most of our time in 2015. Check out Episode 4 of our Travel Podcast It’s a Wrap – Europe! It’s true that food in Europe can be more expensive than in Asia. But, these dishes can be found at every price point. We had the chance to taste some dishes at the best restaurant in the world, where a meal for two will cost 600 Euros! And we ate some fabulous pork sandwiches that cost a couple of dollars. Most of our meals fell somewhere in between. And, instead of just sharing my photos of the dishes to eat in Europe, I am actually sharing links to the With Husband In Tow Instagram account. I am doing this not only to encourage you to check out all our food photos on Instagram (there’s a lot, and they are yummy), but also because the Instagram photos include links to the restaurants and locations...
The Hotel Aigua Blava Restaraunt – Where Tradition and Modern Meet

The Hotel Aigua Blava Restaraunt – Where Tradition and Modern Meet

During our extreme eating tour of Costa Brava, one of our meals truly stood out. The Hotel Aigua Blava restaurant offered to host a table of chatty travel bloggers, in their very nice restaurant, for a multi-course gastronomic feast, unlike any meal I had eaten in a very long time. Costa Brava is at a geographic crossroads, where the sea offers ample seafood, the countryside offers meat and cheeses, and the plains offer orchards of fruits and vegetables. It’s also at a gastronomic crossroads. It’s a region proud of its traditional cuisine and recipes, while on the forefront of modern techniques. It is home to plenty of top, Michelin star restaurants, including the best restaurant in the world in 2015. These restaurants explore cuisine in a way that is not all that common on most traditional Spanish menus. The Hotel Aigua Blava restaurant offered us just a glimpse of this cuisine. Meeting Chef Lluis From The Hotel Aigua Blava Restaurant During our blogger stay at Hotel Aigua Blava, we enjoyed a tasting menu created by the hotel Chef. When we returned to the hotel for a stay a few weeks later, we had the chance to sit down with Chef Lluis, to get to know him and his cuisine better. We are always curious about what a chef thinks are the key dishes of his region, particularly with such an emphasis today on fusion and creativity. Luckily, we had two of the three local dishes he recommended, including suquet, which was the core of our fishermen’s lunch and Pals rice, which we ate at Casamar just the night before...
When to Eat in Catalunya

When to Eat in Catalunya

There are a few things about us that remain, well, American. I like ice in my drink. I’m particular about my showers. And, I like to eat on what I would consider a “normal” eating schedule. Sometimes I feel a little Leave it to Beaver when I am looking to eat at 6pm. No place plagues us more that Spain when it comes to the time to dine. It’s the one main frustration, well, let’s call it adventure: the adventure that is when to eat in Catalunya. When to Eat in Spain We’ve traveled to Spain numerous times. As soon as I think we’ve figured out this whole late eating thing, situations arise that remind that I am still an American when it comes to dinner time. Ideally, for me, dinner is around 7pm. That is late for us. That’s an evening out for us. Even better would be dinner around 6 or 6:30. It gives us time to do something after, and to digest our food before bed. During our last trip to Barcelona in 2014, again when I thought I had the dining schedule down pat, I learn more specifics on the eating rules. I continued to struggle with the whole concept of when to eat in Spain. During our more recent, lengthy stay in Costa Brava, though, these rules and norms seemed to diverge even more so from my very American eating habits. And, it seemed even after traveling full time for three years, I just couldn’t seem to wrap my head around when to eat in Catalunya. It’s not like I enjoy always being the...
Catalan Wine Tourism – Emporda Wine

Catalan Wine Tourism – Emporda Wine

A large part of why we spent six weeks in Costa Brava was to focus on the burgeoning wine scene in this stretch of land between Barcelona and France. In particular, we were directed to taste as many Emporda wines as we could. That meant a lot of research, and a lot of visits to wineries. Because the region is not as established as Napa or Sonoma when it comes to wine tourism, I thought I would share what we learned about Catalan wine tourism while touring Emporda. Exploring the Catalan Wine Region The concept of Catalan wine tourism is relatively new to Emporda. Although the region has thousands of years of wine-making history, it’s only been in the last few decades that wineries are starting to reemerge and flourish. Therefore, it is not as easy to tour the Catalan wine region of Emporda, as it would be to tour California wineries, where you can just drive or bike from one winery to the next, stopping at tasting rooms along the way. Because many of the Emporda wineries are small, family run operations, they are busy making the wine, rather than manning a tasting table for tourists. That said, many of the wineries are more than welcome to open their doors, to talk with you about the production, and the unique history of the region. Many times, we met with the actual winemaker, rather than just an employee. Even at the wineries where met an employee, we still ended up being greeted with enthusiasm and a passion for the products they make and the Catalan wine.  We generally either emailed...
Hotel Aigua Blava – Costa Brava Luxury Hotel

Hotel Aigua Blava – Costa Brava Luxury Hotel

During our fast paced, three day extreme eating trip through Costa Brava, much of the days and nights were in a blur. This was not only because we were fed amazing meals each day, often with lunch lasting three or more hours, but because we had so much crammed into such a short amount of time. That meant that the three hotels we stayed at, during three consecutive nights, were also a bit of a blur. Lovely rooms and views we were able to experience briefly before breakfast and departure in the morning. The hospitality of Hotel Aigua Blava, outside of Begur, though, stood out among the rest. Perhaps this was because we were treated to a multi-course gastronomic feast prepared by Chef Lluis, a renowned chef in Costa Brava. Perhaps it was because we were greeted at dusk with a tray of bubbly cava as we toured some of the property. Perhaps it was because we actually arrived before dark, and less tired than when we arrived at the other two properties. Regardless of the reason, the marketing manager, Esther, clearly wanted to show us the best of the property.  And, to share the best of Hotel Aigua Blava with our readers of course.  Hotel Aigua Blava – Costa Brava Hospitality And, in the brief 14 hours we stayed at Hotel Aigua Blava, we were impressed. Every member of our group had an amazing view over the cliffs of Begur. We were thoroughly impressed with the buffet breakfast spread, which included cava, for breakfast!  Maybe it was that we were tired and a little less than enthusiastic about...
Pastisseria Serra – Catalan Pastry Shop at the Heart of Costa Brava

Pastisseria Serra – Catalan Pastry Shop at the Heart of Costa Brava

We arrived in Costa Brava a little baffled and a little underprepared. In our first week, we had a fishermen’s lunched prepared by a group of chefs, one of whom has a Michelin star restaurant.  We were invited into the home of another Catalan chef, where we met his wife, and his pet goat. We were tasting foods and wines from the Emporda wine region. But we were still learning the ins and outs of Catalunya food and wine, much of it different than the Spanish food we were used to in the rest of the country.  Yeah, we remained a little bit baffled indeed.  Until we spent time with Quique from Pastisseria Serra. We first met Quique at the now famous fishermen’s lunch in Tamariu. Eric sat next to him, conveniently, as Quique is short for Enrique, Eric’s Spanish name from high school. Quique was friendly, and spoke very good English. His dark hair and black rimmed glasses made him seem like a Catalan Matthew Broderick. Although we chatted a bit at the lunch, we did not know his background. During our traditional seafood lunch, when the pastries were displayed for dessert, we learned who Quique was. Quique provided the pastries from his family’s bakery, Pastisseria Serra, in Palafrugell, a nearby town, just in from the coast. The pastries were quite good and traditionally Catalan. Quique asked if we wanted to stop by the shop to learn how to make these Catalan pastries. The Costa Brava hospitality shone through again. Visiting Pastisseria Serra in Palafrugell We arranged to stop by Quique’s shop one day, I thought, to learn how...
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