Enjoying the world’s iconic delights
Savouring a national dish is a journey within a journey. Local cuisine is undoubtedly an eclectic mixture of elements from such physical items as ingredients to the more abstract cultural heritage reflected in each dish, such as cooking techniques, local wisdom, and other social factors. that have been passed down from generation to generation. No trip to another country is complete without trying a local favourite or two, often dishes that have become iconic signatures of their people’s way of life.
Synonymous with Switzerland, fondue dates back to the late 1600s and continued to evolve over the years. A French term meaning ‘to melt’, fondue is usually a mix of traditional cheeses, such as Gruyère and Emmental, with white wine and a shot of cherry brandy (known as kirsch), thrown in. However, less famous cheeses, like Apppenzeller and Sbrinz, can also be found in a fondue. First timers shouldn’t be surprised to learn how simple fondue actually is – basically nothing but melted cheese and bread. There is no side dish and no meat: the fondue is already a main course that will fill you up easily. (If you feel too full, try apple brandy to burn some space in your stomach.) For the Swiss, fondue is traditionally a winter treat, but visitors can enjoy the dip all year round.
It might sound clichéd, but you really need to try at least one of the hundreds of pasta dishes that keep Italians on their feet. With more than a thousand years of history, the backbone of Italian cuisine has become a worldwide favourite and a regular staple on so many tables around the globe, probably thanks to its variety, versatility and long shelf life. There are about 350 different types pasta with about four times as many names, and so it’s no surprise that only very few pasta fans know the difference between parpadelle, stringozzi, and ziti. Moreover, classifications of pasta vary from region to region, so one man's gnocchetto may be another's strascinato! Each type of pasta does have its own unique characteristics and purposes, however. For example, penne’s hollow tubes can hold more sauce than flat fettucini. Try out some of the more unusual types when you are in Italy – there are so many to choose from!
Roasted Ham Hock, Germany
The quintessential dish of e Bavarian beer halls is Schweinshaxe, or roasted ham hock. This is a popular, traditional delicacy enjoyed not only during the world-famous Oktoberfest but all year round. Its crispy pork skin and tender, succulent meat, which is sometimes marinated for days, makes the dish a favourite of many. In Berlin and the northern parts of Germany, the knuckle is often pickled and boiled; however, the most common popular side dishes are potatoes and cabbage. The best place to savour schweinshaxe is at beer halls, some with a history dating back to the 16 century, where they serve home-brewed beer with hearty food in a very relaxed and jolly atmosphere.
Only recently, the art of French pâtisserie has been revolutionised. New techniques of flavour combinations and reinterpreted decoration have redefined this French sweet’s ornate confections. French pastry is no longer simply about gustatory pleasure, but rather is driven by creativity, indulgence and challenge! Add excitement to your trip to Paris by hunting down some creative confections like the world-renowned Ispahan, a stunning mélange of rose, raspberries and lychees. The soft, pink macaroons sandwich a layer of raspberries on rose buttercream with a lychee in the centre. Look for a shop on Rue St. Honoré with a range of all-chocolate pastries; and trtack down some French-Japanese delights such as a green tea opéra, a black sesame éclair, and a yuzu tartlet, all guaranteed to sweeten your holiday.
Originating in India, curry varies widely from region to region and is influenced by local cultural and religious practices, as well as huge regional variation in available ingredients, which inform cooking techniques, presentation, mealtimes, and so on. When visiting India, it is virtually impossible to avoid savouring a spicy curry - the unique identity of this sub-continent. While the Indian sub-continent’s vast size guarantees a wide variety of curry recipes, there is in general a big difference between North and South Indian cuisine. While the North is dependent more on vegetables, cheese and other dairy products, Southern curries tend to use more meat, seafood and vegetables. So, while in the northern part of the country, you can enjoy aloo muttar (potatoes and peas), rajma (red kidney beans), and chana masala (chickpeas), you can explore more of the hotter and spicier tastes of coconut-based and seafood specialties like eral thokku (shrimp curry) kongunad kozhi kurma (chicken curry) when in the south.
A Vietnamese signature dish, Pho consists of flat rice noodles and meat, usually beef or chicken, in clear broth with herbs and a side dish of fermented fish or chili sauce. However, the recipe varies from place to place, and this world-renowned dish is often customised to match the different requests of individual diners. Some exotic ingredients include beef patty with flank, brisket, tendons, and boiled blood for the beef parts, or chicken breast, chicken innards, and immature chicken eggs for the chicken parts, topped with a variety of fresh herbs and greens, such as basil, cilantro, mint and onions.
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