The Iron Chef's Culinary Tour Of Europe (56K? Go away)

Ironlord

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A discussion I've recently been having on "that livejournal" challenged me, after my recent 65,000-word review of the two weeks I spent in Iceland, to make a "foodie tour of Europe" and then write an equally long review of it.

Strangely enough, that's been going on for years, so I thought that since there was a "Food!" board (and Koenig's already done a thread like this for China), I'd post it here.

Some of these pictures were taken in my kitchen - but come from a specific place of interesting origin which I've not been to (or maybe I have but I wasn't there at the time). These I have marked with (*).


WACKEN, GERMANY - August 2004


Bier und Brezel. As you can see, I approve.


Emma's dinner: Schweinshaxe mit Sauerkraut. I would not be having the weeds on the side.


WACKEN, GERMANY - August 2005


Change last year's pork legs for turkey, and you've got: Putenkeule.


Fleischspie?: great for sword fighting, even better for eating.


TAMPERE, FINLAND - March 2006 (*)


Kylm?savuporonpaisti, or in our language: "cold smoked reindeer slices". Goes very well with Boursin and crispbreads, or with itself. And in the next picture, it gets even better...


OSLO, NORWAY - April 2006


Reindeer steak with lingonberry sauce. Without doubt, the true taste of Scandinavia. Ignore those onions.


NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND - October 2006


The famous (or should that be notorious?) Tap Burger, from the Tap N' Tumbler, before it was replaced by something vastly inferior. Contained two slabs of minced beef, two rashers of bacon, a large quantity of melted cheddar, half a jar of mayonnaise, and various weeds (which I discarded). It would usually shower the plate (or, in this case, Markachu's face) with a torrent of grease.


WACKEN, GERMANY - November 2006 (*)


My rather ill-fated attempt to recreate Wacken's marvellously non-vegetarian pea soup (complete with sausage and bacon by the bucketload). Unfortunately, it was far, far too salty for public consumption!


NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND - January 2007


You didn't think I'd go right the way through this without roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, did you?


?LMHULT, SWEDEN - January 2007 (*)


?lmhult is where IKEA was founded, and IKEA is the only place I know where I can get cloudberry jam. For the unintiated, cloudberries look like yellow raspberries with elephantiasis, and only grow in cold climates - Scandinavia, the Baltic states, northern Russia, northern Canada, Alaska, and occasionally Scotland. They are the tr??est of all fruits.


NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND - February 2007


"For every animal you don't eat, I'm going to eat three." So says the unrepentant anti-vegetarian. And that's why the mixed grill was invented.


LUXEMBOURG-VILLE, LUXEMBOURG - November 2007


Proof that Luxembourg can make Belgian-style beer, and we even get Nancy The Tavern Wench as a bonus.


ARENDONK, BELGIUM - November 2007


Belgian chips, fried twice - and served with frietsaus. Marvellous... and served hotter than magma.


NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND - November 2007


Proper faggots, properly made, just as they are in the West Country, and perfect for the Nottingham Beer Festival.


LOUGHBOROUGH, ENGLAND - March 2008


More beer festival food, this time at Loughborough. Eric Oakland, a local butcher, makes some of the finest pork pies in the land.


BATTLE, SUSSEX, ENGLAND - March 2008 (*)


Fallen Angel Brewery's Dark Mead. The greatest mead... in the world. Bar none.


ARBROATH, SCOTLAND - April 2008 (*)


One genuine Arbroath smokie - a herring smoked until the skin falls off easier than if Ed Gein got his hands on it. Protected by the same EU law about its place of origin as champagne.


FRANKFURT, GERMANY - April 2008 (*)


Inspired by the visit of the German Market to Nottingham over the previous festive period, I decided to make my own Reibekuchen (potato pancakes). Somehow I misread the quantites... or deliberately made too much. And fried them in beef fat. Somehow the authentic German version is even greasier.


MALBUN, LIECHTENSTEIN - May 2008


The "Malbuner Teller" - served in a ski resort that was only too pleased to see some business out of season. Look at all the various meats! They must have seen me coming.


CAP D'AIL, FRANCE - May 2008


To this day I still have no idea what a "figatelli" is, only that it appears to be made from lots of liver and all the other bits that are left over after the production of saucisson sec.


BARCELONA, SPAIN - May 2008


Paella. Not my hack job (although it's very good), this is real paella made in Spain by Spanish people. Marvellous.


ST. HELIER, JERSEY - May 2008


Gastronomically, the Channel Islands are known for Jersey Royal potatoes and extra-creamy milk. One of these makes truly excellent ice cream.


RIMINI, ITALY - July 2008


Fast food... Italian style. Calamari and chips... with extra tentacles.


VENICE, ITALY - July 2008


The Rough Guide to Italy warns of the dangers of Venice's many restaurants with a men? turistico - designed solely to rip off foreign tourists. On the other hand, Alla Fontana, in Cannaregio, is one of their recommendations. How about octopus for a starter?


Starter number two: pecorino and pear. Reminds me of how I used to eat grated cheddar with slices of apple, only this is a more continental version.


And the main course? Spaghetti alla vongole (that's clams to non-Italian speakers) - and whatever the Italian is for prawns. There you go, a proper three-course Venetian meal for a mere 35 euros. Which is not bad for Venetian prices.


TOLMIN, SLOVENIA - July 2008


Lots of random tins from the local branch of Mercator that I couldn't read. The Croatian goulash was good. As was the ri?et. The prebranec (baked beans with onions)... wasn't.


CAMBRIDGE, ENGLAND - October 2008


Bridges Patisserie, Cambridge. Not somewhere you'd associate with Chinese noodles, right? Wrong. Their honey roast pork is so marvellous it's worth a fiver. It is made with witchcraft.


NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND - December 2008


You've seen it before, but here it is again: the world's greatest bacon sandwich, made with a whole 36 rashers. And a pint of Rutland's finest ale.


LJUBLJANA, SLOVENIA - July 2009


Half the price and probably twice as filling as a late night kebab? Icebone introduced to the delights of burek. I had two: one meat, one cheese. This is what you call proper training for the next destination...


KECSKEM?T, HUNGARY - July 2009


Said the Rough Guide to "Europe on a budget": "An unforgettable dining experience, Kecskem?ti Cs?rda serves Hungarian food at its richest, tastiest and most calorific: 'colossal' is the best way to describe the portions". I could not miss this, it being only a half hour drive from Budapest.


First course: "Hungarian pancakes flavoured with herbs, filled with Fisherman's Stew, made from the different fishes of Tisza". Served "Hortob?gy style", with the paprika sauce and globs of sour cream.


And that's what "the different fishes of Tisza" look like when they're crammed into a pancake. I remind you all: this was just the starter.


Main course: "Home-smoked Mangalica csulok pork slices, potatoes, dumplings with bacon, and cottage cheese, baked Mako onion". They have a strange definition of "slices". That looks like a whole knuckle to me. Look at it! It's the size of a cake! I managed all the pork, none of the onions, and about half the creamy-cottage-cheese-potato-mix. Think I'd had enough, eh?


Dessert: "Home-made bread with raisins and vanilla milk, baked walnuts, chocolate sauce with rum, whipped cream". That filled the last remaining corner I had. This whole experience was an enormous tick in my Life Box. Yes! That was a good day!


Hungary's finest export: paprika. That's what it starts out as, and was used as a decoration in the outside part of Kecskem?ti Cs?rda, where I was sitting.


BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - July 2009


Breakfast at Zugligeti "Niche" Campsite. Pancakes with chocolate sauce, and some kind of odd fried pastry. Jam only comes in one variety in Hungary, or so it seems... apricot.


Looks like a great place to have dinner. So says the Rough Guide to Hungary about Csarnok Vend?gl?: "Good, down-to-earth Hungarian restaurant specialising in mutton, lamb and bone marrow dishes." Nothing pretentious, then. They'll probably serve goulash.


And they do! Proper Hungarian goulash! Served in a ceramic bucket! Very good it was as well, but I had to eat half of it before most of the ingredients would show up. The portion was twice the size.


How about a main course? Hungarian fish and chips it is, then. Catfish fillet and fried spuds, to be more precise.


And a shot of the famous Unicum afterwards. Massively strong, very herby, intentionally bitter. The taste of a forest fire. The flickering Unicum logo in the candle holder was a fantastic decoration.


HAFNARFJ?R?UR, ICELAND - August 2009


A selection of traditional Icelandic foods from the Fj?rukr?in Viking Village. Clockwise from top left: bl??m?r (Iceland's answer to black pudding), lifrarpylsa (Iceland's answer to haggis), hard boiled egg, pickled herring (in red wine), brenniv?n, h?karl (that's Greenland shark that's been buried and left to rot for six months), har?ifiskur (dried cod, herring or some other white fish), pickled herring (plain), svi?asulta (sheep's head meat in jelly). It was all delicious. Especially the h?karl.


The main course: roast guillemot steak. And very well-done spuds.


HVERAGER?I, ICELAND - August 2009

An Icelandic breakfast - featuring smoked salmon. Smoked over lamb excrement, I should add, which means it smells like car tyres. It is still delicious, and I kept on eating it even after discovering its origins.


VEGAM?T, ICELAND - August 2009

Traditional Icelandic meat soup. And I'm enjoying it, even if it is at a roadside caf?.


J?KULS?RL?N, ICELAND - August 2009

The glacial lagoon, J?kuls?rl?n, is world famous. Its caf? is also mentioned in the Lonely Planet guide to Iceland. This seafood soup (made with Arctic char, shrimps, and a fair bit of chilli) is the reason why.


HVOLSV?LLUR, ICELAND - August 2009

Skyr: fuelling Icelanders since 879, poisoning skr?lingr since the discovery of V?nland, and now also fuelling the English.
 
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ahpadt

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That's amazing. Figatelli is a type of sausage which orgins from Corsica by the way. :)
 

Ironlord

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All that food looks amazing!

However, the other thread you linked was by me, not Karoug. :)
...in my defence, it was very late at night and I wasn't concentrating, although I knew it was a username with six letters starting with "K" and ending with "G". All my efforts for the last half hour had gone into changing the code from HTML to BBcode.

The credit has now been fixed!
 
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Heathrow

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An epic adventure. :thumbsup:

I gained about 10 kilos reading this thread. :lol:
 

Koenig

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Hmm....I'm curious to hear that you enjoyed the Icelandic rotten shark. Every opinion I've read on it (including Anthony Bourdain's) has been overwhelmingly negative about it.
 

IceBone

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Bah, if you had time, I'd have taken you to a proper joint, where you'd be given the choice of eating your own weight in meat or die trying. :p
 

Ironlord

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Hmm....I'm curious to hear that you enjoyed the Icelandic rotten shark. Every opinion I've read on it (including Anthony Bourdain's) has been overwhelmingly negative about it.
Many people on this board may have seen The F Word involving h?karl and James May. He at least managed to keep his down. Gordon Ramsay was violently sick.

What puts most people off is the idea of eating rotten shark - or rotten anything else for that matter. It's an automatic "do not eat this" reaction, and so most people decide that it's going to be foul before they've even tasted it.

But then, I am not most people.

At Fj?rukr?in, all I had was the two small cubes I've shown there. I'd been tipped off that "h?karl conoisseurs" (yes, they do exist) describe it as tasting somewhere similar to very ripe French cheese - if you can get past the stench of ammonia. I like ripe French cheese. And the conoisseurs were right. So right were they, that when I was half way through my dessert (a bowl of skyr with blueberries, not shown), the singing Viking that had been accompanying us and regaling us with Icelandic musical poems, suddenly stopped and roared "WHO HAS NOT EATEN THEIR SHARK?" - and sensing the opportunity for a third cube, I devoured it without a second's hesitation. And then went back to my skyr and blueberries.

And I still hadn't had enough.

Once I'd arrived in H?sav?k, I'd also been tipped off that the bottom floor of the Whale Museum was a "shark curing warehouse". Perfect. There had to be some more h?karl available around there, surely...



There was.

I had it for lunch when we visited Dettifoss later that day. It seemed like an appropriate place. Again, I was not sick. Again, I enjoyed it.

Some people don't know they're born.

Bah, if you had time, I'd have taken you to a proper joint, where you'd be given the choice of eating your own weight in meat or die trying. :p
There's always next time, and that sounds like a challenge! I'll make sure to stop in your home town when I'm on my way to Romania to drive the Transf?g?r??an road. I'll already have been on the Stelvio Pass on the way.


EDIT: Ye gods. I just put Kecskem?ti Cs?rda into Google (to see if I could find out when it first opened, even if it'd be written in Hungarian)... and this thread is the seventh hit!
 
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ninjacoco

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That is a fantastic feast of meaty meatiness. Love it!
 

AiR

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This culinary thread of win is an inspiration to us all.
 

IceBone

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There's always next time, and that sounds like a challenge! I'll make sure to stop in your home town when I'm on my way to Romania to drive the Transf?g?r??an road. I'll already have been on the Stelvio Pass on the way.
When you coming? And make sure you plan for more than 3 days. :p
 
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