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Pairing of gastronomy plans in Santiago

Gastronomy tourism never goes out of fashion, and much less in a place like Santiago de Compostela (Galicia) which likes to boast - and rightly so - about the rich variety and quality of its shellfish, fish and meat dishes. The gastronomy festivals, traditional markets and food markets are ample justification for a pilgrimage to the capital of Galicia.

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Creative Gastronomy in Athens

Ancient ruins where time stands still in the capital of Greece rub shoulders with a signature cuisine that has successfully adapted to the global evolution in gastronomy with creativity and in good taste. Athens currently treasures “coolinary” venues as attractive as its archaeological heritage.

Far from becoming weighed down by traditional cuisine and local products, Athens has managed to craft its own gastronomic discourse beyond both private homes and the street food championed by souvlakia – those at O Kostas are sublime! – and the offerings to be had at the Athens Street Food Festival. Nowadays you can feast handsomely in restaurants with fully-fledged table service off the tourist track, as well as drink a toast to Greece making “suitable progress” at Baba Au Rum, one of the best and prettiest cocktail bars in the world.

Taking pride in a paradoxically rich land, Greek chefs prove to be deeply knowledgeable about Mediterranean cuisine in all its immensity. This forms the base on which they craft the creative gastronomy which endows the city with the culinary diversity it deserves. Be it in the guise of showcooking, with the kitchen in full view of the dining tables, displaying fancy avant-garde techniques with final flourish on the table, or as a subtle, elegant exercise, yet equally compelling on the palate.

The standout signature restaurants of Athens are, however, few and far between. One’s choice of venue depends on each person’s penchant when it comes to haute cuisine – finger food, tasting menus and endless yet memorable servings. In terms of value for money and the requisite balance between dining-room and kitchen, the best of the pack is Aleria. The warm welcome, the nod to Virginia Wolf and an unimpetuous menu bathed in the native blue and white make this restaurant a flavourful concentration of classicism and modernity, as invested in their well executed dishes. With the return of the good weather, lunching or dining in their inner patio is a delightful experience.

A stone’s throw from the Michelin one-starred Aleria is Funky Gourmet, a two-star which explores molecular cuisine to the deepest depths, sparking surprises at table on account of their explosive bites. An alternative halfway between the previous two eateries is Hytra, a panoramic restaurant with a reasonably priced menu, exquisite confectionery and an on-site cocktail bar for guests eager to prolong their meal with an after-dinner drink or those who just come for a tipple.

Lastly, the long-standing Spondi is a classic of eminently trustworthy contemporary cuisine, as attested by the string of distinctions and awards they have earned in the course of time.

Where to Sleep

Located in the emblematic Syntagma square, which most rooms and suites with a terrace look onto, the NJV Athens Plaza, a hotel which is part of the LVX Collection, allows you to escape from the urban hubbub and admire the Acropolis from a distance. This is the ideal accommodation if you want to be in the heart of everything, as it is very near the big shopping precincts and the city’s major attractions. Their bar with a view is one of the most evocative and sought-after common areas.

Book your Vueling to Athens and discover the most creative facet of their cuisine.

Text by Belén Parra of Gastronomistas.com

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Gastronomy and restaurants in Budapest

Highly influenced by the culture from the neighbouring countries, Hungarian gastronomy is mainly known for the intensity of the dishes and spicy flavours. From meat (chicken, pork, beef, goose), vegetables (potatoes, celery, beans, peas, cabbage) and paprika as main ingredients, we can find a wide variety of typical dishes you should know and some of the restaurants where you can try them.

TYPICAL DISHES

Gulash: Spiced soup with beef cattle tacos, potatoes and, sometimes, dumplings. This is, no doubt, one of the most famous dishes in the Hungarian gastronomy.

Dobostorta: Hungarian cake invented by local baker Jozsef C. Dobos, in 1884. It is made of five fluffy layers collated by chocolate cream with a caramel topping.

Újházi tyúkhúsleves: One of the most popular soups from traditional cuisine in Budapest. It is made of pasta, carrot, chicken and peas or mushrooms.

Mákos rétes: A typical cake, very typical and popular among estrudel (it can be made of cottage cheese, cherry, sour cherry or apple). This is the star cake at the bakeries in Budapest.

Pörkölt: Cooked meat with onion, chilli and tomato, sometimes it is considered a variant of gulash.

Dumplings: Balls of flour, potatoes and bread, filled with meat or fish and completed with the “cispetke”, a pastry made of flour and egg to accompany the soup and the meat.

Paprikas csirke: Main course made of fried chicken with onion sauce and paprika pepper with a little bit of tomato and bathed with a creamy herb sauce right before it’s served.

Borjúkotlett magyaróvári módra: Veal cutlet marinated with tomato sauce and herbs that is put in the oven among a layer of mushrooms and cheese.

Halaszle: Fish soup highly spiced up with Hungarian paprika, very spicy pepper.

RESTAURANTS

Menza: One of the most fashionable restaurants in Budapest. Decoration from the ‘70s, young public and a menu that mixes classic and vanguard food, at an affordable price.

RemizRemiz: This place is known for serving huge portions of Hungarian food. The place is frequented by both, locals and tourists, and has a big dinning room and a terrace outside, great if you want to have a long meal you're your family on a Sunday or to have a business lunch.

Kőleves: Located at the centre of the Jewish neighbourhood in Budapest, here you can find affordable prices anytime on the day. Monday to Friday there are two menus, one with meat and one for veggies. You should also try one of the desserts.

Vadarspark Étterem: a modern restaurant, with a terrace and a folk band entertaining the diners. Here you can also enjoy a typical Hungarian folk dance show while eating some of the most typical dishes in the city.

Gundel: Legendary restaurant in Budapest that is open since the 19th century, serving great food following traditional Hungarian recipes. The dress code is formal, men should wear a nice coat.

Image from Sarah Stierch

Makes you want to go, right? Do it! Check out our prices here!

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Essentials of alicantinian gastronomy

Alicante is a synonym for Mediterranean cuisine and is not in vain that one of the best chefs worldwide, Ferran Adrià, said Alicante is, without question, the Spanish province where you eat better.

We love Mediterranean cuisine and this is why we want to offer a selection of 5 products that you have to try in Alicante, and we also advice you where to try them. Some of the products and restaurants might be missing, but take this approach to the gastronomy from Alicante as a starter. In this situation, a local would tell you: “anem a fer una picaeta” (a tradition from the little town of Alcoi, based in a round of tapas, toasts and little sandwiches).

Rice: The rice grows in Valencia and cooks in Alicante, or so it goes in a popular saying. If we want to fully discover the cuisine from Alicante, we must try paella at Restaurante Casa Riquelme. In paellas you can find all kind of ingredients, from fish and seafood to fresh products grown in the fields of the country, accompanied by chicken, rabbit or even snails. Eating at Casa Riquelme (Vázquez de Mella, 17), any midday from Wednesday to Sunday, is a synonym for fine dining. Find more information in this link

Wines: With its own protected designation of origin since mid-20th century. In Alicante you can taste a wine that mixes two kind of grapes, original from the region: monastrell and moscatel. The mistelle wine is original from this land. At Bodega de Meyos (Avenida Condomina, 40) in Alicante we can taste wine by the glass and accompany it with good food, all for a very fair price. We can also buy wine bottles; in fact this was originally a wine shop. 

Horchata: In hot weather, is common to see locals tasting a horchata in any terrace. This precious beverage made of tigernuts (chufas) is one of the most exported products. Don’t forget to go to Horchatería Azul (Calderón de la Barca, 36) to drink this refreshment and accompany it of fartons or the delicious almond pastry (coca de almendras). It’s closed on winter, but is considered for many people the best horchatería in Alicante, a traditional place.

Nougats: Another product Alicante is well known for. This is one of the main products to eat on Christmas, in Spain, and is always in the dinning table with the own local varieties: Jijona nougat and Alicante nougat. If you are in Alicante, try them at Espí (Avenida Alfonso X el Sabio, 4) and, if you want to make a very good impression, buy some as a gift for the upcoming Christmas time.

Pastry: cocas de tonyina (a fine pie stuffed with tuna) are very typical food for the Hogueras de San Juan, on the summer solstice. We can eat them at La Ibense (Calle de Portugal, 38), not only on summer. In this place you can also try delicious pizza portions or the traditional pastry (coca de mollita) with chocolate.

We could continue with other typical products of the region, like the worldwide known stuffed olives from Alcoi o the chocolate Valor, but we can keep that for upcoming gastronomic visits.

For now, as locals in Alicante say: “que aprofite”!!!!

Image from Les Haines

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