Ice-cream is the ultimate summer treat, perfect for young and old and anyone with a sweet tooth (and not so sweet.) Impossible to improve I hear you say -well, not quite. We’re here to introduce you to the mysterious ice-cream of Turkey, the dondurma which is ice cold, squidgy, elasticy and stretchy. Sold on nearly every street corner in the resorts throughout Turkey, it’s a magic trick for kids and a feast for the eyes for mum and dad, as the ice cream is on steel poles and doesn’t seem to melt.
Traditionally made with milk, sugar, and masticha, it’s the salep flour that makes it thicken and is behind the mind-boggling stretchiness of the ice cold treat.This great streetside treat is not only delicious, but it doesn’t melt very fast giving the vendors the chance to tease their customers.
While indulging in a great summer holiday in Turkey in resorts like Marmaris, Gumbet, Icmeler and many more, you will certainly come across street vendors wielding the long metal pole and carving shapes of super stretchy, super fun ice-cream.
From the freshest fruit and vegetables to mountains of cheese, perfectly grilled meats and desserts dripping with honey, Greece knows its food. Here’s what you should eat on your next holiday to the Mainland or the famous Greek Islands. Enjoy our Purple Travel guide to the best food in Greece.
If you love your shoes as much as we do, then this tea for Choo package is one to watch. Visitors to the fashionable Landmark Oriental Hotel in Hong Kong can now indulge in a high end shoe themed afternoon tea party. This is not just any old tea though, its served with exquisite smoked salmon and cucumber sandwiches, traditional scones with jam and cream and mango macaroons. However the pièce de résistance is that all the food is served as a miniature dedication to fashion, in the form of handbags or high heels.
Guests can also enjoy an extra special gift – as long as stocks last. If you decide to stay over in the luxurious L900 Suite, a special pair of Jimm Choo shoes, from the signature 24:7 collection worth HKD 5000 will be yours.
Sidney Schutte, Executive Chef at The Landmark Mandarin Oriental says: “We are excited to be working with Jimmy Choo. The sexy stiletto heels, glamorous designs, great sense of style and colour, and exceptional Italian craftsmanship serve as excellent inspiration for our culinary team.”
The Jimmy Choo Afternoon Tea experience costs around £22 and is available at the MO Bar, The Landmark Mandarin Oriental Hotel, 15 Queen’s Road, Hong Kong. For further information visit MandarinOriental.com.
We go around the world to find the most beautiful, weird and wonderful hotels. From Underwater Lodges to converted Airplane Suites, expect the unexpected. This week a hotel made entirely of cake. If you can make it through this post without drooling, you’re better than us. Ladies and gentlemen, let us present to you the Cake Hotel in London… and get ready to drool just a bit.
What’s the gimmick? For most of us, eating out and treating ourselves is part of the fun of holidays. You might check out the hand made pasta in Rome, the cheese in Paris or the Mediterranean cuisine in Greece. However, this is something a little different. A hotel for one night only made entirely of cake. The Cake Hotel in Soho is filled with bright pops of coloured cakes, frothy confections and macaroons as far as the eye can see.
Why stay?The Hotel has eight tasting rooms with different themes including Pirates of the Caribbean, Mardi Gras and more. The brainchild of a sugar cane manufacturer, it certainly set our tastebuds tingling just at the thought of it. The best part is, each lucky guest can eat everything, carpets, decorations, lights and windows. The bedside tables house edible books and the bathtubs are filled with caramel popcorn.
The WOW Factor? Did we mention everything is edible? The walls are made with 2,000 macaroons, the rugs are made of 1,081 meringues, there are edible pearls in treasure chests and a two-metre-high Easter Island chocolate statue. 14 bakers slaved for 2,000 hours using 600 of sugar to make this hotel taste as delicious as it looks. However, sadly this special hotel was open for one night only, but we can always dream.
Looking to really impress someone or maybe you’re in the middle of organising your honeymoon? Why not check out these amazing places to eat for a truly memorable holiday experience. Don’t forget to let us know which is your favourite!
Crater Floor Lunch, Ngorogoro, Tanzania Image via @ andBeyond.com
Who doesn’t absolutely love Crete? Once you’ve been we’re sure you’ll fall in love with it, so here’s a little extra inspiration, especially for you expert foodie types (and beginners) on what to eat in Crete.
Cretan food is not just food, it is mouth-watering temptation, it’s twice baked breads and oozing cheeses, honey drenched sweets and rich flavours, slow cooked meats and the freshest fish you can imagine. It’s more than just food, it’s Cretan food!
Cretan food is entrenched in the culture, Greeks themselves talk about Cretan food in haloed terms, and sharing as you eat is a big aspect. Families tend to gather and enjoy many plates over many hours, as they talk, eat, laugh and drink. It’s a really wonderful experience whether you want a whole sit down feast, or simply snacking for a few hours in the sunshine. So, here’s our beginner’s guide to Cretan gastronomy.
Dakos: This is a very typical dish, kind of like a bruschetta. It’s a traditional dried bread, baked several times. On top you add some chopped tomato, high quality Cretan olive oil, lots of cheese and oregano and hey presto! It’s the perfect snack on those hot days.
Dolmades: These are probably one of the most famous dishes in Greece, stuffed vine leaves. They are a little tricky to make, but when you get the good ones, they are really good. It’s usually prepared with a mix of rice, herbs and meat, wrapped inside grape leaves. Totally delicious.
Cheese: There are so many types; you could say Crete is famous for its cheese. How about kefalotiri, a firm goat’s cheese, graviera, a slightly salty cheese made of sheep milk, mizithra, made from sheep’s milk or anthotiro, that changes from mild and soft when fresh and becomes saltier as it hardens. A great idea is to walk through one of the locals and get some samples in. Of course a simple Greek salad, horiatiki will always tickle your tastebuds.
Meat: Crete is food heaven for meat eaters. Lamb, kid and pork cooked in a myriad of different ways until utterly tender and delicious are some of our favourites, while a local special you shouldn’t miss is kohlious boubouristous (snails), fried in tomato sauce for a delicious treat.
Vegetables: Although Crete might not be the first place you think of for vegetarian fare, the variety of absolutely fresh, locally grown produce is a real treat, and many dishes (e.g. dolmades) can be served in meat free versions. The kolokythokeftedes or fried zucchini dipped in a mountain of tzatiki will impress the most hardened carnivore.
Loukoumades: these are little handmade donut balls, fried in oil and served with lashings of honey and cinnamon. They are divine and possibly my favourite Crete food!
Bougatsa: you’ll find lots of pastries on offer in Crete and this simple filo filled with cream and sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon makes an indulgent breakfast treat.
Kalitsounia (sweet): The sweet version of kalitsounia or lyhnarakia is made of home made pastry filled with mizithra or anthotyro, cinnamon and sugar.
Krasi or Cretan wine: Crete is one of the biggest producers of wine in Greece. It goes back 2000 years, and is essential with meals where you order by the kilo. That’ll certainly keep you going over a couple of courses!
Raki (or Tsikoudia): You couldn’t go to Crete and not sample at least a little drop of the local firewater, Raki. This potent but smooth little number will knock your socks off and makes a delightful digestif after a big meal.
From fresh to aged, smoked to salty, stinky to sweet, good cheese can come in many forms. The options vary even further when it comes to the milk options – cow, goat, sheep, even buffalo – with their country of origin playing a massive role in overall flavour. But where can you go to find the best of the best? We’ve tracked down the world’s best cheeses to inspire even the most discerning of cheese-lovers.
Parmigiano Reggiano, Parma, Italy | Probably the most-loved cheese in human history, everything about the culture and recipe of Parmesan is a testament to nutritional ingenuity. The creation process is one of the world’s most sophisticated and efficient technologies, developing a saliva-inducing flavor that adds depth to almost any dish.
Roquefort, Les Causses; France | Roquefort is the best of the blues for a number of reasons: Charlemagne loved it, its pasty texture makes it a great mix of spreadable and hackable, and its use of sheep’s milk over cow’s makes for a lingering richness. For the best of the best, try smaller producers such as Coulet, Papillion, and Carles.
Brie de Melun, Ile-de-France, France | Not just for Christmas, Brie is a universally popular cheese and the most famous of the soft ripened category. A word of caution though – the real, raw milk brie is made in Ile-de-France, and more specifically, the village of Melun. Rustic, earthy and nutty at the same time.
Gruyère, Fribourg, Switzerland | This cooked-curd alpine cheese is one of the most famous cheeses in the world, with a pliable texture and strong intensity of flavour. A noticeably nutty, yet buttery tang stems from propionic acid, while the more well-aged tend to posses small, crunchy pieces of crystallising protein.
Stichelton, Nottinghamshire, England | Real Stilton, Britain’s beloved blue, is made with raw milk, which provides a nutty, rich flavour.
Mozzarela di Bufala, Naples, Italy | While mozzarella is everywhere (on almost every pizza, in sandwiches and sparingly placed on pasta dishes), fresh handmade mozzarella is of course something completely different from its rubbery, overused neighbour. And if this is true, then di Bufala is not even on the same planet. Water Buffalo from farms in Naples are milked to make this incredible cheese.
Feta, Greece | While a pickled cheese may seem odd, true Greek Feta, made from sheep’s milk and salt, is a delicious and distinctive cheese that makes a great salad condiment.
English Farmhouse Cheddar, Somerset, England |A classic. Cheddar, deriving from the west country of England, is an EU protected cheese that’s a far cry from the supermarket variety. Meaty and salty at the same time, what’s not to love?
Roncal, Navarre, Spain | In the thirteen villages of the Roncal valley of Navarre, Roncal cheese has been made using the same recipe for the past 3,000 years. Made from sheep’s milk, it smells a lot like buttered popcorn, with a taste that lingers long after its been swallowed.
Book your cheese holiday with Purple Travel today by calling 02079939228.
Purple Travel Tip:Swiss cheesemakers have won The World Champion Cheese Contest for the past three years, however for 2012, it was a low-fat Gouda named Vermeer from Friesland Campina, a company based in Wolvega, Netherlands, that took top honours.
Known as the smiling coast, Gambia has a lot to make people happy. Maybe it’s the near perfect weather, how about the endless stretches of golden sandy beaches, or the way the local people go out of their way to make your stay better.
But for many, it’s simply a matter of food. With a rich selection of ingredients and traditional cooking, Gambian cuisine is about as mouth watering as it gets. Here’s the Purple Travel guide for what to eat in Gambia.
A ‘must-eat’ this is made with chicken or (a little confusingly) fish and rice. It’s packed with fresh lemons or limes, onions and black pepper that give a real hit of flavour.
As the name suggests you can’t miss this one! It’s made from a mix of okra, or meat, with palm oil and peppers all boiled together to really get the flavours out.
A typical Mandinka dish, Domoda is made from puréed peanuts and can be made with meat or fish. Usually served with rice and beautiful fresh vegetables.
An unmissable treat, the fresh oysters are mainly collected locally and are super fresh and delicious. It can be found in any of the local restaurants or beach bars, where dishes tend to be prepared with only the freshest and organic ingredients. And the best bit, usually you get a stunning sea view thrown in.
A tasty dish, made with rice cooked with meat or fish and piled high with tomatoes.
These are local BBQs usually found at the side of the road, where you choose your meat joint, whether it’s chicken or goat, it’s thrown on a very hot grill, with plenty of onions and mustard sauce.
Find out more about amazing holidays to Gambia from Purple Travel
So, you already know they are mouthwatering and easy to find once you’ve been to their homeland, but why not enjoy a genuine and tastier version than those found at first glance. Check out our guide to food Ibiza Spain.
Imagine, for example, that you are in downtown Ibiza, having spent the whole day on the beach, soaking up all that sun, sea and sand. Last stop would definitely be a night full of Ibiza-style entertainment, but before that… or afterwards?
We’re sure that your palate would be asking for some delicious paella. The first thing to do is head to the port of Ibiza. There you will find numerous local restaurants serving this savoury treat.
However, paella is best eaten by the sea, so try the Bar Flotante on Talamanca beach by Argos or if you have a car drive to Sa Caleta beach, where you will find Sa Caleta Restaurant, one of Ibiza’s most famous paella restaurants.
Yemanha in Cala Jondal is home to not just amazing paella but an amazing view too. Finally, for the best paella in town you should pay a visit to Formentera Restaurant in the port of Ibiza, where you’ll have hearty, great value portions.
Stay tuned for volume two of our top places to eat like a local soon.
In Athens, the Greek capital it would be really difficult to find yourself starving! Souvlaki outlets are all over the city. Souvlaki is the term for what is basically the Greek equivalent to a burger, quick to eat, tasty and really cheap. It’s usually made of meat, chicken or pork, cooked on a skewer and put into a pitta bread with onion, tzatziki and tomato.
However, as a tourist you’ll probably be wandering around the centre. So, here are some tips for an ultimate souvlaki experience in Athens city, whether you’re staying a few days or heading for the beautiful islands.
Some of the most charming areas in downtown Athens are undoubtedly Plaka, Monastiraki and Thissio. Apart from the many archaeological sites, there is also a heap of local restaurants and spots serving various versions of the infamous Greek souvlaki. But, take our advice and have a delicious meal in one of the following places. We bet that you’ll be asking for more food in Athens before the end of your holiday.
Try Thanassisin Monastiraki and taste the best traditional kebab in town, as this is its one and only specialty. What’s more prices are so low that you’ll be coming back again and again to saturate your cravings. For the traditional gyros, you can’t get much better than Bairaktaris, slap, bang in the middle of Monastiraki Square. Huge portions and great value will set you up for a great night out.
Kavouras in the nearby neighbourhood of Exarcheia is all about the taste. Simple food – no refinement here. And the neighbourhood, a kind of alternative place where people gather is really worth a look.
Another great choice is Nikitas in Psyrri, just across from Monastiraki square, is a good spot for an authentic and tasty lunchtime treat. This place has been serving since 1967, so they must be doing something right. Plata Iroon in the same area is also a firm local favourite.
For those savouring the Greek sun and sea on the shores of Attica, Zachos in Varkiza is also a worthwhile choice. This place serves a wide range of dishes, such as pork or chicken souvlaki, gyros (sliced pork meat, tomato, onion, and tzatziki sauce, wrapped in pita bread), even traditional burgers. You choose!