Cooking | Classic Journeys Blog
  • Irish Food

    6 Authentic Irish Meals

    <p>Quick: if someone asked you to name an Irish food, what’s the first dish that comes to mind? If you’re like most Americans, you’re going to say “corned beef and cabbage”. And technically speaking, you’d be wrong. Among food historians, it’s widely agreed that while corned beef has its roots in Ireland, the Irish themselves rarely ate it... and still don’t. These days it’s one of the cheaper cuts of meat, yet Irish corned beef producers in the 18th and 19th centuries exported nearly all of it since most people back then couldn&#39;t afford it. So, if you’re <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/ireland/" target="_blank">traveling to Ireland</a> for the first time, don’t bother asking for corned beef and cabbage, unless you want to get a good laugh from your Irish hosts. <br><br>With that said, there’s some terrific food to be found in Ireland. One does involve boiled meat and cabbage, and this is the one that I like to make on St. Patrick’s Day! It&#39;s both a tip of my hat to my Irish grandmother and a sign of respect for authentic Irish cooking.</p> <p><b><a href="https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/161679/irish-boxty/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T0000026SUe&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000012Cfx" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><a href="https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/161679/irish-boxty/" target="_blank">Boxty</a>:</b> It won’t surprise you to know that potatoes are a big part of traditional Irish cooking. Boxty is Ireland’s signature potato pancake; made with both mashed and shredded potatoes, boxty patties are typically fried in a skillet and served with butter.</p> <p><b><a href="https://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-colcannon-irish-potatoes-and-cabbage-242195" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T0000026SUe&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000012Cg2" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><a href="https://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-colcannon-irish-potatoes-and-cabbage-242195" target="_blank">Colcannon</a>: </b>Colcannon is one of two popular varieties of kicked-up mashed potatoes. Chopped green onions and either shredded cabbage or kale are stirred into the spuds, with plenty of milk and butter. In a good colcannon, the potatoes are smooth, with no chunks.</p> <p><b><a href="https://www.yummly.com/recipes/irish-salmon" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T0000026SUe&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000012CgH" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><a href="https://www.yummly.com/recipes/irish-salmon" target="_blank">Smoked salmon</a>: </b>Salmon is hugely popular in the island nation. Irish smoked salmon is cured and then smoked at a low temperature; it has the texture of lox, but with a slightly smokier flavor. <a href="https://www.yummly.com/recipes/irish-salmon" target="_blank">Click here</a> for 10 great Irish salmon recipes.</p> <p><b><a href="https://www.yummly.com/recipes/irish-stews-and-soups" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T0000026SUe&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000012ChA" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><a href="https://www.yummly.com/recipes/irish-stews-and-soups" target="_blank">Irish</a></b><a href="https://www.yummly.com/recipes/irish-stews-and-soups" target="_blank"> </a><b><a href="https://www.yummly.com/recipes/irish-stews-and-soups" target="_blank">Stew</a>: </b>“Irish stew” is a generic term covering all sorts of one-pot meals. There are a few rules of thumb: it has to have some sort of meat (usually lamb, sometimes beef, and occasionally mutton), it has to have potatoes and onions, you can add some Guinness if you like (I do), and the presence of carrots is the cause of many a heated discussion.</p> <p><b><a href="https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/dublin-coddle-51224810" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T0000026SUe&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000012ChP" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><a href="https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/dublin-coddle-51224810" target="_blank">Dublin Coddle</a>: </b>It’s a bold statement, calling a dish “the ultimate Irish comfort food”, but Dublin coddle might just claim that title. Sausage, bacon, onions, and potatoes go into a pot with beef, chicken or ham broth; the pot is then covered and goes into the oven for a few hours.</p> <p><b><a href="https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/irish-bacon-and-cabbage-107859" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T0000026SUe&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000012Cht" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><a href="https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/irish-bacon-and-cabbage-107859" target="_blank">“Bacon” and Cabbage</a>: </b>The classic Irish Boiled Dinner probably has its origins with this meal. Bacon and cabbage is traditionally a large cut of lean slab bacon, boiled on the stove top, with cabbage added during the last ten minutes. The version I make is easy, and delicious. Simply brine a pork shoulder or butt roast (I’ve also used a pork loin roast) in salt water overnight, put the pot on the stovetop and boil it for a few minutes, drain that water and replace with fresh water, and boil again for a few hours.  Add cabbage and carrots (yes, I stand by the carrots in this case), and you’ve got a great, authentic Irish meal. Here’s the complete <a href="https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/irish-bacon-and-cabbage" target="_blank">Irish “Bacon” and Cabbage recipe, via Bon Appétit</a>. Like just about everything in Ireland, it pairs well with a Guinness. Sláinte!<br><br><br><br><br><b>DRINKS ANYONE?</b><br><i>You already know that <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/ireland-tours/" target="_blank">Ireland </a>is one of the most iconic places in the world to tip a pint with a local. There’s nothing quite like sipping a Guinness in a traditional Irish pub in <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/ireland-tours/" target="_blank">Killarney, Kenmare or Dingle</a>, surrounded by friendly residents and listening to a local band. But what about those places in the world you don’t expect to sit and sip the traditional spirits with natives? You never know what stories you’ll hear over a shared drink with local friends. So, pull up a seat, fill your glass, and enjoy… we’ve rounded up <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/best-cities-to-drink-with-locals" target="_blank">seven of our favorite cities</a> in the world to drink with a local.</i></p>

    Read More »
  • Rekjavik

    Best Places to Eat & Drink in Reykjavik, Iceland

    <p>While many visitors to <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank">Iceland</a> use <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank">Reykjavik </a>as a jumping-off point for their adventures out in the Arctic wilderness, it is no mere base camp. It’s a vibrant, thoroughly modern city, with fantastic restaurants, bars, and nightclubs. Although <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank">Reykjavik</a> has experienced some incredible transformation over the past decade, those looking for a uniquely Icelandic dining experience needn’t worry—smoked reindeer is still on the menus of even the fanciest restaurants. We asked Classic Journeys&#39; Iceland Guides <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/iceland-multisport-adventure/" target="_blank">Atli and Kommi</a> (both native Icelanders who’ve spent plenty of time in Reykjavik) to give us some recommendations.<br><br><b>ICELANDIC STREET FOOD:</b><br>It’s no surprise that Icelanders face some culinary challenges, thanks to the country’s climate and isolated location. But Icelandic food is surprisingly diverse and very, very tasty. And seasoned travelers know that the best place to start when you want to understand a country’s cuisine is right in the streets. Food trucks and wagons are becoming more popular in Reykjavik, and a trip to the city isn’t complete without sampling their wares.</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"><b><i>Best things to order: </i></b><br>- Plokkfiskur, a simple stew with three basic main ingredients—cod, potatoes, and onions—is a popular staple. Versions of it can be found everywhere, from small street carts to the city’s most exclusive restaurants.<br>- Feeling extra adventurous? Head to the <a href="https://www.bsi.is/" target="_blank">BSÍ Bus Terminal </a>downtown; the charred sheep’s head is a local favorite.<br>- Grab a hot dog. And don’t feel bad about doing so: one of Reykjavik’s best-kept secrets is that they serve one of the best hot dogs you’ll ever eat. Called the pylsur, the Icelandic hot dog is made with three different varieties of meat—lamb, pork, and beef—and served with a variety of great condiments. Stop by the <a href="http://www.bbp.is/" target="_blank">Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur</a> (<span>English </span>translation: the best hot dog in town) but be prepared to wait with the locals. They’ll tell you to order one “with everything.” Trust them, apple-sweetened ketchup on a hot dog really is delicious.</p> <p><a href="http://www.bbp.is/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T0000026SUt&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000012D6A" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br> </p> <p><b>FINE DINING IN REYKJAVIK:</b><br>There are a number of world-class restaurants in Reykjavik. Here are a few of our guides’ favorites:<br><br><a href="http://www.fiskmarkadurinn.is" target="_blank"><b>Fiskmarkadurinn (Fish Market)</b></a><br>Atli recommends going straight to the tasting menu. “A great variety of the best in Icelandic cuisine, with paired wine. A two-hour food adventure.”<a href="http://www.fiskmarkadurinn.is" target="_blank"><img alt="Fiskmarkadurinn (Fish Market)" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T0000026SUt&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000012Cnc" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><a href="http://maturogdrykkur.is/en/menu/" target="_blank"><b>Matur </b><b>og</b><b> Drykkur</b></a><br>Both of our guides recommend Matur og Drykkur if you’re looking for expertly prepared authentic Icelandic food. The menu may change, but if it’s available, Atli says to try the cured puffin.<a href="http://maturogdrykkur.is/en/menu/" target="_blank"><img alt="Matur og Drykkur (Photo Cred: Buffalotrip.com)" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T0000026SUt&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000012Cnh" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br> </p> <a href="http://matarkjallarinn.is/en/" target="_blank"><b>Matarkjallarinn (Food Cellar)</b></a><br>“BIG yes,” says Atli. “More ‘local’ than most, the main clientele is Icelanders. Great lamb and beef!”<br><a href="http://matarkjallarinn.is/en/" target="_blank"><img alt="Matarkjallarinn (Food Cellar)" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T0000026SUt&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000012Cnm" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b><a href="http://kolrestaurant.is/en/" target="_blank">Kol</a></b><br>This local favorite is touted for its ever-changing menu, fusing local Icelandic tastes with international dishes. Atli says to “go for the pasta and the fish!<a href="http://kolrestaurant.is/en/" target="_blank"><img alt="Kol" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T0000026SUt&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000012D2D" style="height: 354px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br>  <p><b>REYKJAVIK NIGHT LIFE? THINK ARCTIC-CASUAL.</b><br>If you’re looking for an after-dinner drink, Reykjavik’s bars range from low-key pubs to thumping dancehalls. The common thread—thanks in no small part to the weather—is “come as you are”. You’ll be fine walking into most places wearing your snow boots and wool sweater.  Here are three Reykjavik bars you should check out:</p> <a href="http://www.kaffibarinn.is" target="_blank"><b>Kaffibarinn</b></a><br>Say it aloud, and you’ll get a hint as to the nature of what’s arguably Reykjavik’s most famous bar. Kaffibarinn is a coffee shop during the day, but at night it converts to a full-service bar. It’s popular among locals and travelers alike, so get there early.<br><a href="http://www.kaffibarinn.is" target="_blank"><img alt="Kaffibarinn" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T0000026SUt&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000012Cou" style="height: 356px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><a href="https://www.slippbarinn.is/en" target="_blank"><b>Slippbarinn</b></a><br>Often referred to as Reykjavik’s first true cocktail bar, Slippabarinn offers a Happy Hour from 3:00 to 6:00 every day of the week.<br><a href="https://www.slippbarinn.is/en" target="_blank"><img alt="Slippbarinn" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T0000026SUt&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000012Coz" style="height: 354px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><a href="http://www.kaldibar.com" target="_blank"><b>Kaldi Bar</b></a><br>Iceland has a burgeoning craft beer scene; Kaldi was the country’s first microbrewery, and their bar offers up a few of their creations. Raise a glass of Kaldi’s unfiltered ale (the original) and say “skál!” (That’s Icelandic for “cheers”!)<br><a href="http://www.kaldibar.com" target="_blank"><img alt="Kaldi Bar" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T0000026SUt&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T0000012Cp4" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p>

    Read More »
  • Women sitting on patio

    Enjoy a Girlfriend Getaway on an Italy Culinary Tour

    <p>Take a deep breath and imagine yourself inhaling salty Mediterranean air and sipping limoncello. Now try to taste the hearty blend of flavors in a seafood and potato stew you made in the home of a professional chef in a small, coastal village. Listen to the clang and stirring sounds of a quaint <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/tuscanyculinary/" target="_blank">Tuscan home kitchen while the owner teaches you and your girlfriends to make traditional favorites</a>.</p> <p>And smell the cappuccino. Oh, the cappuccino.</p> <p><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/italy/" target="_blank">An Italy culinary tour is the perfect choice for a girlfriend getaway</a> — especially if you love food and wine! Add a glass of local Chianti and your favorite travel companions, and the recipes you carry home and cooking skills you hone are sure to give the scenery and historical stops some stiff competition as trip favorites.<br><br><img alt="Friend&#39;s cooking" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7lS&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002oB0" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br> </p> <p>These <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/italy/" target="_blank">Italian destinations are sure to entice the senses of any food and wine enthusiast</a>, while traveling with a tour company can open doors to local farmhouse kitchens and guide you to trails otherwise unknown to average tourists. It’s also a great way to relinquish the planning and just enjoy the trip. Gather up your girlfriends — it’s time to get the suitcases ready!</p> <p><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/tuscanyculinary/" target="_blank">A Taste of Tuscany</a></b><br>With cultural and historic high points like Michelangelo’s David, Ponte Vecchio and Piazza Signoria, <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/tuscanyculinary/" target="_blank">Florence is a perfect entry point to the feast for the senses that is Tuscany.</a> You and your girlfriends will love this region famed for its gorgeous hill towns and amazing food and wine, and there is no shortage of perfect local experiences — if you know where to find them, that is.</p> <p><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/culinary/" target="_blank">Classic Journeys culinary tour</a> groups stroll through the San Lorenzo market to pick up meats, breads and olives for a country picnic, enjoy a private look at a sheep farm to learn about the cheese-making process and follow up with cooking instruction at a farmhouse cucina.</p> <p>Leaving Florence, a sprawling landscape of castles and vineyards awaits, including opportunities for leisurely strolls among the grapes. Local artisans craft terra cotta pots by hand in Chianti and the ultimate hill town of San Gimignano poses for your photos with its 14 medieval towers. Siena brings more sips of local red wine and a lesson in making hand-rolled pasta, while a visit to Cortona immerses you in the olive oil pressing process.</p> <p>Local Tuscan craftsman and culinary artists enjoy sharing their history and skills passed down through the generations. Your travel company can make these connections for you and help avoid any logistics struggles, leaving more time for relaxing and enjoying the good company and, of course, the wine.</p> <p><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/amalficulinary/" target="_blank">Amalfi, Al Buon Gusto!</a><br>Colorful buildings carefully perched on the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/amalficulinary/" target="_blank">steep coastal mountains make the Amalfi peninsula especially photogenic</a>. Exquisite villas, each seemingly more beautiful and picturesque than the last, are home to quaint trattorias, lemon farmers, fisherman, coffee shops and boutiques.</p> <p>While here, a few highlights include taking time to slow down and wander the cobblestone streets. Spend a morning in a private kitchen to learn the local traditions and share a meal. Then hike off the extra calories on one of the many stunning hiking trails.</p> <p><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/tuscanyculinary/" target="_blank">Classic Journeys groups take a hydrofoil transfer to Capri</a>, the island renowned as a sanctuary for the rich and famous. Feel like a local by having an expert point out the best family-run restaurants and lookouts unknown to tourists, including breathtaking views of the entire Gulf of Naples and Mt. Vesuvius towering in the background.</p> <p>Visit a <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/amalficulinary/" target="_blank">charming 14th-century cliffside monastery in Positano</a> to take in carefully preserved original frescoes. Then meander down the trail for a private lesson in wood-fired pizza making and wine tasting.</p> <p><img alt="Pizza making in Italy" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001z7lS&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM500000002oB5" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br> </p> <p>A <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/amalficulinary/" target="_blank">tour of Pompeii</a> — the town buried in volcanic ash in 79 A.D. — with a personal archeologist guide is sure to fascinate. Excavations have revealed the complete original city, including beautiful villas, streets and shops to explore.</p> <p>Sounds amazing, right? <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/culinary/" target="_blank">Get your gal pals together to plan your Italy culinary tour today!</a></p> <p><b>Choosing a Tour For Your Next Adventure</b><br>Avid travelers often enjoy the hunt for that truly local feeling, the type of experience you can’t find in any guidebooks. But there are certain experiences even the most resourceful traveler cannot access. Not all travelers know an Italian archaeologist who can personally guide them around the excavation sites in Pompeii, for instance, or a lemon farmer who can give a private tour of his orchard. <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/approach/?utm_campaign=girlfriend-getaway-italy-culinary-tour&amp;utm_source=sojourn&amp;utm_medium=blog/" target="_blank">Tour groups can often provide access to once-in-a-lifetime experiences with long-lasting memories.</a></p> <p><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/" target="_blank">It can be challenging to find a tour company striking the balance you’re looking for</a>— that perfect mix of engaging activities, amazing local meals and learning opportunities, but still some free time to explore. While searching for the right tour, consider the following:<br>• <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/guest-reviews/" target="_blank">Read traveler reviews on their website</a> and other travel boards.<br>• Get a feel for potential compatibility with other group members by looking into group size and the company’s target market. Are their travelers mostly families with young kids, older couples, singles?<br>• Be sure you <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/faq/" target="_blank">understand what is and isn’t included in the trip fees</a> to avoid surprises.<br>• <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/local-tour-guides/" target="_blank">Evaluate the guides and find a group using locals</a>, or at least long-term residents, so you get as much — and accurate! — information about the area as possible.</p>

    Read More »

SIGN UP FOR THE LATEST TRAVEL NEWS & TIPS! CLICK HERE »

Facebook Facebook Instagram Instagram Twitter Twitter