If you, like me, love Tokaji, or you just want to find out a bit more about Hungary’s most notable wine, then Suffolk-based Brudenell Hotel’s Royal Tokaji gourmet tasting dinner on 5th July, 2013, will be right up your street.
Founded in Hungary in 1990, the Royal Tokaji Wine Company has become one of the most prestigious wineries in the region producing single-vineyard wines from Mezes Maly, Nyulaszo, Szt Tamas and Betsek. Brudenell Hotel’s head chef, James Barber, has matched a different wine to each of the four courses.
Wine, dine and stay from £120 per person based on two sharing an Aldeburgh coast facing room, including a full Suffolk breakfast. Or book in for just dinner, priced at £55 per person. The evening begins at 7pm with an aperitif. The dress code is smart casual.
I recently did a bit of consulting for an UK-based tour operator, Poland Your Way, for the launch of its Polish culinary course. The operator has launched this fabulous package for enthusiastic gourmands interested in learning more about Poland, its cuisine and culture. Travellers have the option of staying for three or four nights, with accommodation and courses provided at a country manor hotel, close to the historic city of Krakow.
The hotel, Sierakow Manor, was once a 19th-century Polish nobleman’s home but it has been lovingly restored, offering a perfect mix of historical elegance and modern comfort. During the day, guests will gain an understanding of Polish culinary traditions, local ingredients and cooking techniques. Classes and demonstrations will be run for English speakers. The groups will be relatively small, with a maximum of 12 people per class.
Some common dishes you’ll get to know include pierogi (dumplings), uszka (a smaller version of pierogi), barszcz (beetroot soup), golabki (stuffed cabbage leaves) and bigos (hunter’s stew). The hotel also produces a range of traditional pickles and jams, as well as stocking a range of local produce such as honey, cheeses and beers. All items are available for sale for guests to take home.
Each evening guests will enjoy a three-course dinner of traditional Polish food, with wine or Polish beers. On one night, there will be a tutored vodka tasting experience, comprising of eight varieties.
If you stay for the fourth night, you also have the option to enjoy an excursion into Krakow, a guided city tour and an optional lunch in the historic Kazimierz district.
3 nights £505 per person (sharing twin or double room). Non-cooking partner, £355, includes all meals and the vodka tasting. £100 single supplement.
4 nights £655 per person (sharing twin or double room). Non-cooking partner £505, includes all maels and the vodka tastking. £130 single supplement.
Poland Your Way can also arrange optional extra excursions for those who want to extend their stay futher.
From October 1 to 9, 2012, the Croatian island of Krk will host the Days of Olives Festival. I love olives. I’ve always loved olives. Most people grow into them but not me. I loved them as soon as I could eat solid food, so a festival dedicated to my favourite snack needless to say got me a little bit excited! The event will showcase the fabulous health benefits of olives and you’ll even have the chance to witness and take part in a unique harvest. Local hosts will also serve up the homemade snack to the sound of a sopile which I’m told is a woodwind instrument similar to an oboe. Then there’ll be a feast in the evening, with Croatia’s best chefs all competing to prepare the best olive-based dish.
Russians are famed for many things, but arguably none more so than their love of vodka. This tipple is said to have been first created in St Petersburg. To celebrate this long-standing Russian love, The Grand Hotel Europe in St Petersburg has created a vodka experience where guests will learn how to pair the Russian spirit with food, have a cocktail masterclass with the hotel’s head barman, and indulge in specially created vodka spa treatments.
First up comes the food pairing. The hotel’s executive chef will take vodka enthusiasts through the classic accompaniments of Astrakhan Beluga Caviar, marinated salmon, and strawberries with icing sugar. Once guests have let the knowledge seep in, they’ll then spend an evenign with the sommelier and learn how to create some of the most popular vodka based cocktails including, a Dirty Martini, Bloody Mary, Moscow Mule and White Russian. To finish, guests will be pampered with one of two vodka-based spa treatments designed to rid the body of unwanted toxins – the welcome to Russia vodka scrub or the vodka massage.
With the hotel’s lobby bar serving no less than 22 types of vodka, the Grand Hotel Europe really is the place to head if you want to indulge in a lengthy Russian session of vodka imbibing and zakuski devouring, or just buff up your knowledge of the traditional tipple.
The vodka experience is priced from £72 per person, and nightly rates start from £272 for a superior king room per night including taxes. Visit www.grandhoteleurope.com for more information.
If you happen to find yourself in Croatia this April, make sure you head down to the 5th Lošinj Cuisine Festival held from 8th to 22nd April. This year’s festival is marked by a project entitled “Around the World with Lošinj Sails” which aims to revive and recall the historical and cultural heritage of Lošinj’s maritime tradition and its golden era from 1853 until 1884, when Mali Lošinj was known as the maritime center of the Eastern Mediterranean. The catering facilities involved will provide visitors with the opportunity to taste the dishes of Lošinj Captains, prepared with a modern twist. From the looks of below, who could possibly resist?
I was recently told about a small Russian shop close to Waterloo train station on South Bank in London. Just before Christmas, when I was in the area, I spotted a sign to the small shop, so thought I’d finally investigate. The Russian Shop is quite hidden so you will have to look out for it. Walk through the door and down a dark, narrow staircase and the shop is located on the right. Granted this place is small, the smallest of small, but it is crammed with lots of my favourite Russian products including cheeses, meats, sweets, beer, vodka, and even delicious honey cake.
If you’re in the area and want a taste of Russian, pop in! But be warned, as expected, Russian is the only tongue spoken here! If you are feeling particularly adventurous there is also a Russian hair salon nextdoor!
While I was in Belgrade I visited The House of Flowers, Tito’s Mausoleum. On entering the museum and while buying my entrance ticket I was excited to spy a copy of Tito’s Cookbook.
The book, written by Anja Drulovic is a compilation of Tito’s favourite recipes, alongside images of him meeting international dignitaries including Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II and the Kennedys, famous actors such as Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, and even ruthless dictator, Saddam Hussein.
It’s certainly an interesting read, with some fantastic photographs. Priced at 3000 Serbian Dinar I think it’s well worth buying for those with an interest in food and history.
Caspian Caviar was set up by Suzanne Shepherd because, following a Cordon Bleu degree and years of sampling find foods, she thought Caviar was too delicious to be left in the hands of only a select few who could afford the prohibitively expensive price tag. Her mission was to make it more affordable and more widely available and she’s certainly enjoyed some considerable success. Over the last ten years Caspian Caviar has become the number one online supplier in the UK and is believed to supply the lowest priced legal caviar in Europe. It is all caught processed and shipped under strict adherence to the CITES rules and regulations.
The online direct delivery service means you can have wild Royal Beluga, as well as the best farmed caviars sourced from across Europe, delivered to your door. In fact, farmed Beluga is now Caspian Caviar’s most popular brand because it is both delicious and affordable.
To compliment the caviars, there is a whole range of luxury foods, carefully sourced by Suzanne, which again demonstrate that the biggest foodie treats can be affordable. There are fresh black and white Alba Truffles depending on the season, fresh Duck Foie Gras lobes, wonderful smoked salmon, delicious chocolates and specialist vodkas.
Gastronomic tours are more popular than ever before. What could be better than exploring a country’s culture through its best-loved food and drink? That’s why I was excited to hear about SalzburgerLand’s Via Culinaria, a truly fabulous trip for foodies. Via Culinaria offers a wonderful pathway to culinary enjoyment whatever your taste, from fish lovers to those with a sweet tooth. There are seven mouthwatering trails offering a total of 184 select culinary addresses of which 12 have Michelin stars and 63 are internationally acclaimed. Other delicious billets on the trails include 21 alpine huts and farms, 15 patisseries and cafes, 10 breweries, six schnapps distilleries, 36 food producers and 21 traditional inns serving hearty regional dishes.
Each of the 7 culinary pathways are taste themed. There is one for dedicated fish fans, one for gourmets, one for those with a sweet tooth, one for serious meat eaters, one for cheese freaks, one for beer and schnapps aficionados, and finally one that is perfect for skiers visiting 16 of the regions best ski huts along the ski slopes including:
Karkogelhütte in Abtenau
Rottenhofhütte in Annaberg-Lungötz
Treff 2000 and Schi-Alm in Mauterndorf
Kösslbacher Alm in Unternberg
Burgstall Hütte in Flachauwinkel
“Zur Brennhütt’n” in Flachau
Oberforsthofalm in St. Johann/Pongau
Gehwolfhütte in Grossarl
Weitmoser Schlossalm in Bad Hofgastein
Panorama Alm in Hollersbach
Areitalm mountain terminal in Zell am See
Wieseralm in Hinterglemm
Panorama Alm in Saalbach
“Alte Schmiede” in Leogang
Bürglalm in Dienten am Hochkönig
Love Oktoberfest or always wanted to visit but never had the opportunity? Well the biggest beer festival in the world may soon be happening in a city near you! Bavarian Beerhouse, the UK’s number one Oktoberfest specialist, is expanding and offering franchise opportunities for this unique concept in the UK and Ireland. Bavarian Beerhouse Franchise Ltd is planning to roll out 15 new venues over the next five years.
Oktoberfest is well known all over the world, but so far there has been no Oktoberfest restaurant chain, never mind an ‘Oktoberfest’ franchise. That is about to change, as the Bavarian Beerhouse is offering its unique Oktoberfest concept to enterprising franchisees. Potential locations are Birmingham, Brighton, Dublin, Leeds, Glasgow, Sheffield, Bradford, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Manchester, Bristol, Wakefield, Cardiff, Coventry, Nottingham and Leicester.
Following the foundation of Bavarian Beerhouse Ltd in 2004 by husband-and-wife team Rene and Sabine von Reth, the first year of operation saw this authentic Bavarian pub and restaurant quadruple the revenues seen by the previous tenant, a well-known wine bar. Since then revenues and profits have risen continuously, and in 2009 the couple established Bavarian Beerhouse Franchise Ltd to start the rollout of its successful concept across the United Kingdom and Ireland.
On Tuesday, 2nd November 2010, Bavarian Beerhouse Ltd will hold an information day for pre-qualified franchise prospects, enabling potential franchisees to view the premises and get an idea of what it’s like to run a Bavarian Beerhouse. Attendance is by invitation only. Interested franchisees should contact firstname.lastname@example.org