Helsinki – This summer, we were invited to our friends “mökki” (typically a wooden summer house on a lake in the country side). Actually, during the stay with our friends, we were spoiled culinary with the full palette of good Finnish food. Finland offers a great variety of fish, seafood and local meat, vegetables and fruits. This summer was exceptionally warm and we enjoyed more than 20 hours of sunshine every day.
After a wonderful time at the lake and multiple sauna sessions, we wanted to get to know the city of Helsinki. We were lucky, to get a table at the Michelin star awarded OLO (olo means “feeling”), as we had planned our trip on rather short notice.
We chose the 10 course OLO menu, Scandinavian dishes with modern and international nuances. It was just amazing – have a look at the pictures.
(Ambivere) near Bergamo – I have wanted to visit Bergamo for a long time. The old town is really worth seeing, including the panoramic view from the top of the hill.
For dinner though, we made a reservation at the Trattoria Visconti. A place I’ve had on my culinary “to do list” for a long time. We entered the trattoria with a very friendly welcome and were even invited to visit the well-stocked wine cellar with the owner, thanks Daniele :-).
For dinner, we opted for the traditional menu, which included the famous local “casoncelli” here with a recipe by “nonna Ida”. A pasta filled with meat. In the Bergamo area, each family probably has its own recipe for casoncelli alla Bergamasca. Nonna Ida’s pasta came with sage butter and crispy bacon – a treat for the palate. A secret ingredient is hidden for some sweetness. I know what it is, but you have to find out yourself and try 😉 For a starter we had salami nostrano, for main the Guancetta (beek cheek) with polenta and as dessert one of the best apple pies…a very good menu with the best of local ingredients. I’d say the pasta itself is worth the trip to Ambivere, about 15 minutes by car from Bergamo. Be sure to make a reservation!
Zurich – As my travel activities are currently restricted due to Corona, I wanted to travel to one of my favourite countries – Argentina – at least for culinary reasons. It has been less than 11 months since my last visit and I miss the good meat and empanadas a lot. The restaurant “Ojo de Agua” (n “ojo de agua” is a cave or hole – often very deep – in a salt lake. It can be seen in the Argentinean Puna.) has been around for a while in Zurich and is owned by Dieter Meier, one of the founders of the music group YELLOW (The race). The menu is described very quickly: At noon there is roast beef or tatar and in the evening entrecôte or tatar 🙂 As a starter you can have a mixed plate or empanadas – of course also filled with meat.
We were there at noon and took two empanadas to start and one tartar and a portion of roast beef each. It was really very good (only the tartar was a bit too cold for my taste). I felt transferred to a restaurant in the middle of Buenos Aires old town – just as I wanted to. I will probably go again soon in the evening and enjoy one of the good argentine red wines with the meat. It was a coincidence that our visit to the Ojo de Agua coincided with the funeral of the football legend of Diego Maradona “El Pibe de Oro”, as you can see on the front page of the Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Rest in peace Diego.
It has been an unbelievable 5 years since I was last inAuGust (Blog). Why it took so long, I don’t know. I was longing for a place to have traditional “Metzgete” and then I remembered AuGust. So I made a reservation for my hubby and me. We enjoyed the dinner a lot – it was simply super delicious. I had blood and liver sausage with sauerkraut and Rösti (hash brown, very crispy on the outside and juicy inside, as it has to be). Hubby chose “Züri Gschnätzlets” (sliced veal and kidneys in cream sauce) with Rösti. If you’re a meat lover, you absolutely must visit this restaurant in Zurich. Before or after your visit to the restaurant, it’s worth having a cocktail in the adjacent bar of the Hotel Widder. There is often live piano music. Make sure to reserve your table.
Zurich – A delicious culinary trip to Italy and Spain.
We took the 4 course menu, which is price wise very fair for 98 CHF. As starter we had Pulpo salad, second was pasta with red chicory and ham. For the main course we had a whole sea bass baked in salt coat and for dessert I chose the chocolate tartlet with a warm and liquid centre. The wine cellar is well stocked with good wines from Italy and Spain. Really very worthwhile the visit with personal and friendly service. Reservation necessary.
At the moment it is difficult to travel because of corona. Since I miss Japan and the food there very much, I wanted to enjoy some authentic Japanese “pub” cuisine again. In Zurich, I like the Ooki very much. I have been there three times in the last two years and every time the food and the sake was very good. Unfortunately, I never took the time to write a blog entry until today 🙂 For the start we had a breaded pork schnitzel “Tonkatsu” with spicy Tonkatsu sauce with thin sliced white cabbage. We also had the Taki no Tatsuta age, fried octopus with homemade Yuzu mayonnaise, and to add up a bit more, we also took the crispy fried Gyozas….very yummy.
As a main course my hubby enjoyed a spicy ramen soup with extra pork and I had an udon noodle soup, with extra seaweed and pork. I rarely got a soup in another place where I had to look for the broth – the ingredients were a lot! So the soup would not stain our shirt or trousers, we got a bib 🙂
As usual in Japan, we got the matching sake in a glass, which is kept in an additional container (here a little bowl), and the sake is poured over the edge of the glass, that’s how it has to be. It was a really great evening. Make sure to reserve in advance.
Sorrento was a revelation for me. A mid-size city directly by the sea, situated on a spectacular cliff, nearby the famous Amalfi coast. A shopping tour before dinner is recommended especially for hand made leather sandals – I bought mine for example at: www.sandalisiniscalchi.it/en/ you can have them made individually with every imaginable leather, coral or crystal… The region is also known for its delicious lemons, which can be seen in every shop as fresh fruit, cuddly toys, soap, perfume or even decorated cups and household goods. After the shopping you can relax at the big main piazza which is ideal for an nice “Aperitivo” (in Italy pre-dinner drinks are always accompanied by small bites).
The dinner at the Antica Trattoria was spectacular: An interior could hardly be more kitschy and seemed like a scene from an Italian film from the 60s where Sofia Loren or Gina Lollobrigida would enjoy an extended dinner. The waiters wore traditional uniforms and the walls were decorated with painted tiles, framed pictures and plants hung from the ceiling in the cozy pergola.
The food was local and traditional. We shared some starter of Calamari, Fior di Zucca and Melanzane. As main course I had Tagliolini al limone….not just a plate of long noodles with lemon sauce, but homemade fresh pasta with fresh lemon sauce, part of the portion neatly rolled into a hollowed out lemon half. It was simply DELICIOUS! My hubby had the Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe. A special thanks to Vincenzo, the mandolin player, who entertained the guests in the restaurant with his passionate play and made our evening even more special: Grazie mille Vincenzo. www.lanticatrattoria.com
Matera is the European Capital of Culture 2019 and rightly so. We made a stop in Matera on our road trip through Italy and could not stop being amazed. (read more about the history of Matera, 3rd oldest town) The place is really very special, because the old part consists of caves – so-called Sassi. The people lived there with their animals until the 1950s, when the mayor of Matera had everything cleared for hygiene reasons. In the 1990s the Sassi were rediscovered and prepared for flats, hotels, restaurants and shops.
We stayed in a beautiful cave hotel – the Sextantio – , which was a very nice and extraordinary experience.
It was also astonishing to discover that in this relatively small village there are two restaurants with Michelin stars. But we relied on the recommendation of our hotel – it was worth it. The restaurant Baccanti with local cuisine is embedded in a cave and although it was still 30 degrees outside, it was pleasantly cool inside. As starter I had animelle (sweetbread on artichoke cream, hazelnuts and black truffle), my hubby chose the “probably” best cheese flan in the world (Podolico cheese flan with pork sausage) and as main course I went for calzoncelli (filled pasta) with black garlic and tomatoes. Of course our stomachs were already full but we still had to try the Tiramisu and the Ricotta dessert. Everything was excellent and I can warmly recommend the restaurant. Reading the menu back home now, I am dreaming of going back to the Baccanti for a great dinner tonight.