Last year, Lottie was crowned as our World Food Weekender and this January she embarked on a month of dish discoveries in exotic locations to track down the very best food and drink inspiration for our new menu.
First stop on her voyage of foodie discovery was Milan, Italy. Not only to the Milanese excel at the traditional Italian classics like Gelato, Arancini and Cannoli, they’re also known to add a bit of flair to their presentation. Think Risotto alla Milanese served in a parmesan crust bowl, or Italian espresso served in a chocolate coated glass. Of course, you can’t go to Italy without partaking in some pizza, and the Milanese like to go deep-dish with plenty of cheese - who could resist?
Next up was a flying visit to Faro, Portugal. Here, Lottie sampled some of the finest tapas that the city had to offer - from traditional chorizo cooked fresh at the table, to goat’s cheese covered in nuts and honey, and even some octopus. Not forgetting the sangria and pastel de nata, of course! We were drooling over Lottie’s discover of La Cataplana, a traditional seafood dish served up across the Algarve.
We then sent her on to Budapest, Hungary where strudel and paprikash are the order of the day. As well as these traditional dishes, Lottie also sampled Dobos Torta, a Hungarian sponge cake layered with chocolate buttercream and topped with caramel (the perfect afternoon snack), and Lángos, a true Hungarian speciality of deep-fried flatbread, in this case topped with sour cream, cheese and cured meats.
Valencia, Spain was last on the list and, alongside the obligatory olives and jamon (when in Rome… or in this case, Valencia!), Lottie also tried some Paella Valenciana. Valencia is actually the birthplace of paella, and the traditional version is made with chicken, rabbit and snails. It’s not the only speciality to be named for the city - the slightly misleadingly named Agua de Valencia (Valencian Water) is actually made with champagne, orange juice, vodka and gin.
We love travelling across the world to find unusual and surprising recipes, and we’ve got some really great ones to share on our new menu, coming 22nd March!