Friday, September 30, 2011
Located in the heart of Germany Franconia in the Northern Part of Bavaria offers a variety of dining and wining experiences and the best way to explore the region is by bicycle as it is a cyclist’s paradise too!
OLDEST WINE GROWING REGION IN EUROPE
Blessed with a mild climate, fertile soils and sunny hill sides, wine has been cultivated in Franconia for more than 1200 years. The famous German poet Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe once wrote: “Too bad that you can’t pet this wine”. One is amazed at the variety of appellations in this region making all wines taste remarkably different. To get an insight into the history and stories a great idea is to experience it first-hand while taking a sunset stroll through the many vineyards. Interestingly the Bocksbeutel – the traditional, Franconian fat bellied bottle has been the symbol for over 250 years and represents guaranteed quality.
Down to earth, traditional fare is on Franconia’s menu, most restaurants offer seasonal, authentic and good quality meals paired with the right wine. The Franconian menu is meat heavy and typical dishes include ‘Schauferla’ aka slow roasted pork shoulder; Sauerbraten, roasted meat in a slightly sour gravy; ‘Zweibel’ which is ground meat roasted with an onion; and various sausages, which are served with side dishes like potato dumplings, Sauerkraut or slow cooked buttery potatoes and broth. They love their seasonal Mushrooms, ‘chanterelles’ are the favourite. A culinary highlight of a special kind is the ‘Schweinfurt Schlachtschuessel’ which is roasted suckling pig; generally ‘from the fatty to the lean meat’, are served on wooden boards, accompanied by farmhouse bread, sauerkraut, fresh horseradish, salt and pepper. Interestingly Germany’s fascinating cuisine makes it no exception to travellers led by curious taste buds. Guten Appetit!
You can’t come to Germany and only drink wine; Franconia too delights in beer and boasts many fantastic breweries. One of the evenings we took our dinner in a ‘traditional’ Franconian restaurant during which I sampled the famed Nuremberg Bratwurst which is indeed yummy and some beer that was described to me as “dark, strong and old Franconian” so I went with that… Also amazing!! Another popular drink here is beer mixed with lemonade, called ‘Radler’ , which literally translates into bicyclist and is for those who are thirty but do not want to wobble for the remainder of their cycling trip.
DID YOU KNOW?
Having over 1,500 types of sausages, each city is sure to have at least one specialty.
SOME IMPORTANT WINE VARIETIES
• Silvaner- Stands out for its elegant and refined flavour.
• Riesling- High in mineral content, it is amazingly fresh tasting, spirited and has a great aroma.
• Muller- Thurgau- Known as ‘Rivaner’, it is light, expressively fruity, elegant and delicious.
• Pinot Blanc- With a touch of nuttiness and a refined fruity flavour, it is aged in wooden barrels.
• Pinot Noir- Perfect match for any meal, the fragrance of berries enhances the taste.
• Domina- owing to its mild cherry flavour, it pairs well with Mediterranean flavours.
• Rotling- An interesting blend of red and white grapes, it is tangy, light, fruity and very summery.
Published in HT city
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
By Rupali Dean
In more than a decade of copious eating and generally curling our tongues around a hundred and one viands, most intrepid eaters and travellers have had such a surfeit of food that it would be a waste not to talk atleast about the world’s best BREAKFAST ones. This choice is indeed amazing and overwhelming in the world…do put it to delicious use!
LA BOUQUERIA MARKET @ BARCELONA
A robust combination of sounds and colours will light up your morning at the La Bouqueria in true local Spanish style. The radiant stalls are classified by categories which run the gamut from the famed Ibérico Jamon to cheeses, candies, chocolates, nuts, cured meat, poultry, seafood and more. As you stroll through the scores of stalls, it is impossible not to be impressed by the selections displayed right in front of your eyes. And of course there are several eateries in it that serve foods from this market. It would be sad to visit Barcelona and not stop by at this market, fight for a seat at one of the stands and order something adventurous. Recommendations go all out for the “Crusty bread rubbed with raw tomato, drizzled with olive oil and topped with thin slices of ham”…decadent to the core! Another must try is the “Tortilla De Patatas” alias Spanish Omelette which paired with some local wine makes for a perfect toast to your visit to Espana.
Las Ramblas, Barcelona, Spain.
The market closes at 3:00pm so get there for breakfast or better yet, for brunch.
Bills has been the iconic breakfast stop in Sydney since many years and Chef Bill Granger swear most Australians is the undisputed King of Breakfasts. Granger became famous for his creamy and light scrambled organic eggs, served with crusty sourdough toast which are now a staple on his menu. Start your culinary sojourn with the sunrise drink, a smoothie made with orange juice, banana, yogurt and berries. The “Ricotta Hotcakes with Fresh Banana and Honeycomb Butter” are as delicious as they sound, beautifully light and fluffy, and the ricotta really works well in the hotcake. The honeycomb butter makes it even more enjoyable especially when doused with lots of maple syrup. Kudos also for the “sweet corn fritters” which are held together nicely without being too greasy with gorgeous roast tomato, spinach, and bacon which is smoky and lovely as bacon should be. The hot chocolate comes with Callebaut pieces that are to be stirred into the hot milk. It is crowded always, so reservations are advised.
433 Liverpool Street, Darlinghurst NSW 2010, Australia.
Tel: 61- 2 -9360 9631
Timings – Monday to Saturday- 7: 30 Am to 3:00 pm. Sunday- 8 Am to 3 pm
PLANTER’S INN @ KUALA LUMPUR
It is none too traditional in its décor and has a very upbeat contemporary feel to it. The place aims to attract the well traveled and those looking for variety, set in elegantly cosy surroundings; it offers tasty treats with distinction. The restaurant scores tops on its unique breakfast buffet and is a joy to discover for jaded taste buds. Freshly smoked salmon with caviar cream is a special treat, as are the wondrously delicious local offerings such as congee, rojak, sambal prawns, beef Rendang and more. A must try is the “Teh Tarik”, which is Piping hot tea that is skillfully pulled from one cup to another, to increase its aroma and cool its temperature. Its great to watch the experts pound, stretch and toss the dough for “Roti Canai” (also known as flying bread) and then cook it to perfection on a griddle, best savored with meat, chicken curry or dalca (vegetable curry). If you are a soup lover go for the noodles soup with vegetables and seafood Nagasaki style. A cappuccino bar churns out special coffee. It sure is a balmy strip of foodie fun and the Breakfast with its many counters add a measure of gustatory refinement.
Crowne Plaza Hotel, Jalan sultan ismail, Kuala Lumpur, 50250 Malaysia
HORLI HUTTE @ GOMS
There is more to Switzerland than just sitting in a cafe and drinking endless cups of hot chocolate. The Goms Valley in the Valais region has awe inspiring architecture and transport system and a visit to the top of the Eggishorn for stunning views of the Aletsch Glacier and breakfast is a must! The little train from Blitzingen to Fiesch takes seventeen minutes and the Fiesch-Eggishorn cable car takes you right up to “Horli Hutte” café ( 2,900 meters above sea level) , from up here, you can look down to this colossal wonder. The menu is not extensive but solidly Swiss with a few gestures to internationalism. Most unpretentious, it has long been a favourite for those who want good, wholesome food without frills and fancy and enjoy the natural wonder view. One can simply sit down at the trestle tables outside and enjoy a cuppa coffee and waffles topped with chocolate sauce. Inside the Café is very Alpine in ambience replete with a cuckoo clock et all.
Eggishorn, 3984 Fiesch, Switzerland
Tel +41 (0)27 971 49 19
DE KRAAI @ ZAANSE SCHANS
Situated barely fifteen minutes from Amsterdam, you’ll find a recreation of the original atmosphere of an 18th century traditional village with windmills and the works. Fields of green divided by rivers, wooden green houses and traditional shops, it surely is a must visit. Start with a typical Dutch breakfast at De Kraai (literal meaning The Crow) a cafe at this museum village specializing in pancakes (Panenkoken). The pancakes here are somewhere in between a pancake and a crepe, but delicious, very large, and with a mouth watering variety of toppings. On offer are all types of flavors you can choose from like strawberry, blueberry, apple cinnamon, chocolate and strawberry, etc. The savory ones are with eggs, meats and cheeses. The star of the show however is the one with ham and cheese or try the one with chocolate sauce and whipped cream. The café also serves some very good omelets and coffees!
Kraaienpad 1, 1509 AX Zaandam, Holland.
Tel +31 (0)75 6156403
Open Daily from 10 Am to 5pm.
MAXWELL HAWKER CENTRE@ SINGAPORE
Nowhere else in the world can one find such an eclectic array of food! And the cleanliness of the place is a big plus. In order to ease your way into the experience, buy yourself a fresh fruit juice like a strawberry or mango fruit juice or a refreshing and sweet sugar cane juice ; sipping as you walk around looking at what to eat. Go all out for the chai tow kway alias the fried carrot cake. The white one is delicious but the sweetness of the black version which is cooked with a dark caramelized soy sauce is addictive too. If you have a big appetite go for the “Roti Prata” a savory crispy pancake dipped in fish or mutton curry, which surely would fill you up. Do not miss the “Hainanese Chicken Rice” at “Tian Tian”, the shop with the longest queue in the centre leading all the way around the corner! Also try the famed “Kaya toast” with half boiled egg…astonishingly decadent. “Milo Dinosaur” basically an icy malted drink is another must try. It indeed is the best way to sample authentic local favorites without forking out too much.
Along Maxwell Road
Best Way to reach is by MRT: Tanjong Pagar (EW15) and Chinatown (NE4)
Open – 8 Am until 11 pm.
CAFE DU MONDE @ NEW ORLEANS
Located just off the River walk in the French Quarter, getting your morning beignets (pronounced ben-YAY is French for Fritter), at “Cafe du Monde” is a cherished tradition. The menu here is fairly limited. Beignets, coffee and juice. Trust me; you would not need anything else when you can have the most delicious crispy yet cushiony goodness of fried dough, arriving in triplicates buried in a mound of tooth achingly delicious confectioners’ sugar. Aided and abetted by the bottomless cup of sweetened milky and nutty coffee which you simply cannot resist. The coffee is chicory infused so it has a unique taste that is truly New Orleans and is a must have with the beignet. Besides standing in line for a minimum half an hour early morning with tons of people, this place is awesome!
French Market, 800 Decatur Street, New Orleans, La, 70116, U.S.A.
Open 24 hours a day.
Closed 6pm December 24, opens 6am December 26
SPIRIT HOUSE @ CHIANG MAI
Tucked away outside the touristy track, this delectable eatery offers an amazingly unique experience. It is located on the grounds of an ancient Temple and combines as an antique store, a meeting place for friends, and a restaurant all in one. The place is rife with antiques galore from Burma and Thailand (for sale) and has a wonderful little garden area for outside dining. Most people lovingly refer to it as “Steve’s” (chef owner), simply because from the moment you enter and meet Steve you feel at home at once and know you’ll have a superb meal even though you do not know what the daily specials are going to be. From toast and coffee, waffles, eggs to Asian style, all is prepared in a delicious and professional manner. Steve’s version of eggs Benedict is more of an open-faced morning egg sandwich and two squares of good old American cheese top it off. Try the all-day breakfast special with eggs, bacon, waffles with sausages, maple syrup and pancakes…yummy!
4, Viangbua Road, (Opp. Viangbua Mansion), Chang Puak, Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Tel: 66 (0)84-8034366
Open for breakfast -8Am to 11Am.
EGGSPECTATIONS @ NEW DELHI
An American style Diner with chic décor, chilled out ambience, impeccable service, great food and beverages make “Breakfast” a wonderful experience at Eggspectation, a 24 hour Resto Café. The longest live kitchen in India’s capital has the guests watching the Chefs exchange banter. Eggs remain breakfast mainstays and true to its name, Eggspectation has a menu with a selection of many styles of Eggs alone (approx 150), making the restaurant a one of its kind. Must try including the Eggs Benedict, the triple egg omelet and a lot more variety of “aanda”. Freshly brewed coffee like the Affogato, Mocha Nero, Freddo, Doppio, Caffe Latte etc, oven fresh breads and other confectionary, make dining here a total experience. For the Sunday brunch rather than a buffet each hot dish gets prepared a la minute straight from the kitchen when you order from the specially designed vast menu of more than 70 plus items. Surely the concept is eggeptional and eggtraordinary!
Jaypee Vasant Continental, Vasant Vihar, New Delhi 110057. India.
Tel: 91-11-2614 8800/4600 8800.
SONEVA FUSHI SANDBANK SUNRISE EXPERIENCE @ MALDIVES
If you think you have found peace and tranquility on Soneva Fushi, then prepare yourself for the ultimate Robinson Crusoe experience. The bounds of civilization no longer exist and you can own the sandbank for the whole morning and experience the sunrise from the comfort of a rattan mat, sipping champagne, listening to the waves breaking on the shore, inhaling the fresh ocean air and discovering your sixth sense. The menus have many different options for taste and if there’s something special on your mind they may prepare that too for you. The Breakfast is purely composed from the organic grown island produce, Maldivian seafood, fruit and vegetables. The meat is incredible, the seafood unsurpassed and the fruits and vegetables that grow onsite with gay abandon beckon you to try more. A la carte breakfast specialties and to top this off, on offer is a vast selection of fine freshly ground coffee and a range of sumptuous teas….. Need I say more?
Soneva Fushi by Six Senses, Kunfunadhoo Island, Baa Atoll, Republic of Maldives.
Tel: +960 660 0304.
BRASSAII @ TORONTO
It is evident that it is named after the Hungarian born photographer Brassai, owing to its contemporary decor that takes its cue from the 1920’s era as black and white photographic prints line the walls. This spot offers diverse bistro style fare in a glorious courtyard patio. With an in house bakery and a familiar menu that satisfies every craving, this Resto has the recipe for breakfast success. Share your dishes as all are gratifying right from the Banana pancakes with apple and cinnamon compote, to eggs benedict with hollandaise sauce and the grilled sandwich with ham and gruyere cheese. All of theses items are delicious, well presented and efficiently served. Do not miss out on the lemon crime pastries and Mimosa’s!
461 King Street West
Toronto, ON M5V 1K4, Canada
Tel: (416) 598-4730.
Breakfast: 7:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
published in Swagat