My feet get itchy approximately every two years. Or at least every time I have just about enough money to go away on an extended holiday. Previous to this year’s solo adventure across Southern Europe, I had completed a couple of backpacking stints around both South-East Asia and Italy for no longer than a month at a time – as I’m antisocial enough to want to avoid human contact for that long but not brave enough to do without my bed for any longer. This trip lasted just 3-weeks as I am a poor pauper without any pennies in her pocket, which truly was the perfect amount of time to plough as much food into my mouth as possible without going into cardiac arrest.
Amid travelling highlights shines spending my birthday in Budapest soaking in the thermal spas and watched a grown man vomit on himself on the bed next to me in a hostel in Ljubljana. But most of all, it’s the things I ate as I travelled that I’ll remember most. In particular, the greasy, carb-loaded, cheese-soaked meals that hadn’t touched a vegetable.
At the risk of revealing how much of a negative Nancy I am, I was quite disappointed by the food in Amsterdam, but I guess that’s what you get for travelling to a place so densely populated my tourists. I did however discover a beacon of hope – a much-improved Olympic torch, edible, and drenched in mayonnaise and satay sauce and sprinkled with onions. If ever you’re in Amsterdam and have been able to peel yourself away from the mesmeric ladies dancing in the boxes in the red light district, go to Vleminckx Sausmeester and ask for Oorlog.
Oh, and I enjoyed this novelty juice dispenser in my hostel shamelessly promoting healthy juice without vitamins. It’s almost as though they knew I was coming.
I was a bit shit at digging out the authentic waffle shops in Bruges that the man working on the desk in the hostel promised would blow my fucking mind. “Find the good waffles! Not the waffles commercially-made and reheated”, he’d plead. Anyway, here’s a commercially-made, reheated waffle from Oyya with enough whipped cream and strawberries to look fantastic on Instagram…which is of course the main point, right?
Imagine for a moment punching a Yorkshire pudding flat, deep frying it and then coating it in caster sugar. That is how I would describe the taste of a Schmalznudel to the working-class reader, from your very own working-class food writer. These little babies are tricky to find, so go to Cafe Frischhut by the Viktualienmarkt. Good luck pronouncing Schmalznudel by the way. I just used my index finger, like the nauseating Brit I am.
Look at this plate of food. Really look at it. Now let me tell you that this plate of food descended directly from heaven. Look at it again. Are you having a divine experience yet? Are you speaking in tongues? Are you able to taste the tender duck meat on your tongue washed with gravy? Can you feel your knife struggle through the soft mesh of potato dumpling, so creamy and so flavourful? No? Then you should probably go to Andy’s Krablergarten to try it out for yourself.
Yes yes, I understand that red cabbage is a vegetable. But is it still a vegetable when caramelised? Debatable.
This photo needs context. Before I took this photo I had just climbed a mountain. A fucking Swiss mountain. I had asked a tour guide for a “VERY NOVICE” hike I could waddle through and she sent me on a trail that cost me four hours and the use of two good legs. I should have been more suspicious I guess, given that the trail was called Harder Kulm.
The resulting beer and Alpermagrogen (apple mac n cheese) I had at the top of the mountain afterwards was a euphoric experience.
I recently created a Not Plant Based recipe titled Potato Rosti With Fuckloads Of Cheese to honour this potato rosti with fuckloads of cheese I ate in Interlaken. I was initially confused as to why I had been served a frying pan full of melted cheese when the rostis I had previously Googled were mostly always potato heavy. But then I thought, I’ve just been served a frying pan of melted cheese, stop complaining.
Squid ink spaghetti. A dish so tough it would punch you in the dick then demand you apologise.
This photo is really fucking with my “two photos per place” theme here, but I had to include it as a giant “fuck you!” to the people who pretend that courgetti actually tastes good. It’s a shredded, raw vegetable – get over yourselves. Trattoria dal Billy is a restaurant in the small seaside Italian town of Manarola, which had been recommended to me a number of times by people who couldn’t pick up on the vibe that I didn’t want to make friends during my travels. At Billy’s you can eat this aptly named “green pasta” with shellfish whilst looking at the sea from which it came.
Fuck courgetti, man.
Speaking of shellfish. Here’s a bucket of the stuff after it had been thrown into a deep frier for slightly too long. So sickly and greasy that I had to throw it away before I reached its inverted, paper peak. That’s how you know it was good.
I think I drank beer every single day of my trip, and this Slovenian pint was one of my favourites. So much so that I couldn’t resist taking a giant slurp before taking the photo above.
I hadn’t tried potato dumplings before my time away in Europe, meaning I hadn’t lived before this point apparently. These ones are called Struklji, and they’re stuffed with cottage cheese. Like a sweet holiday romance, I lust after these curls of dough often, pretending that I’ve every intention of going back and snogging them again.
Yep, this is it. This is the one you’ve been waiting for – Langos. Sweet, sweet Langos. In Budapest I discovered the ultimate hangover food. I discovered Langos, which is Hungarian deep fried flatbread, and this one pictured above is doused in sour cream and smoked cheese from a place called Tomi Langos. Try eating this and then embarking on a carb-free diet, I dare you. Impossible.
Last but certainly not least, enjoy this perfectly pale gelato rose similar in tone to my own alabaster skin. The queue for Gelarto Rosa was rarely not busting out of its doors, but battling through the swarms of customers is worth it to enjoy such sugary, delicate sculptures.