Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Gluten-Free Delights in the Shadow of Budapest's House of Terror

Budapest’s House of Terror sits on Andrassy utja (Budapest, Andrássy út 60, 1062 Hungary), and no matter where the sun is in the sky, it throws a long shadow. After visiting the building that has represented fear, secrecy, and pain for most of the twentieth century, do not be surprised if you hear your stomach growl and feel a gnawing hunger.

For those who are following a gluten-free diet (and for those who are not) you are in luck. Across the street at Andrassy ut 57 (Budapest, Andrássy út 57, 1062 Hungary) you will find the best gluten-free bakery in Budapest. Corso Cafe will not be found on any travel forums online, and even a Google search for it will not turn up satisfactory results. It is a small cafe, serving assorted teas and coffees along with many wheat pastries on display. However, you need only ask the man or the woman that run the bakery for “glutenmentes” and a bin will be brought out for you to peruse the selection.

The woman, who is also the baker, speaks English making it easier to ascertain which breads are best and what is in each goody. She bakes chocolate and coconut gluten-free spiral pastries, nine gluten-free baguettes, and whole loaves of both white artisan bread and a whole-grain version. All of these are divine. I would suggest making several stops back at the bakery over your visit to Budapest because it is very unlikely that one trip will satiate the thirst for freshly baked gluten-free treats. Be warned that getting there early in the day will not guarantee that gluten-free bread is available as she bakes a certain amount each day and no more. She also starts the gluten-free baking process later in the day than the regular breads, and with this in mind getting there around 2 PM (1400) is usually a good time to pick up bread. Enjoy!

Guest blog post by Kit Norton

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Ultimate Gluten-Free in Prague

The belief held by some in the United States that the Gluten-Free diet is a mere fad has not stopped this nutrition-alternative from spreading in Eastern Europe. As such, practicing anti-glutenists J need not worry if they are visiting the picturesque city of Prague.

A would-be traveler to Prague cannot go without sampling the Czech beer, and so the first, and most important, gluten-free product that it available is Zatec Celia. This gluten-free beer is available for purchase in Galerie Piva at Lázeňská 15, Prague and nowhere else in the area. However, if you are in the mood to sit down and enjoy your gluten-free Czech pilsner along with traditional gluten-free Czech cuisine, you must visit Svejk Restaurant U Karla at Kremencova 7, Prague 1. This restaurant was the gastronomical highlight of this writers trip to Prague, and any traveler, gluten-free or not, should visit this establishment. Svejk U Karla is open daily 11am-12am and offers a complete mouthwatering gluten-free menu. For $15 or (299 Czech Koruna) you can order freshly baked gluten-free bread, horseradish sauce, gluten-free beer, and four of the largest and best tasting pork ribs.

After being fortified with this hearty meal you are welcome to continue to walk the streets of Prague, exploring at your leisure, but do not be surprised if your thoughts, and perhaps your feet, bring you back to Kremencova 7 searching for another dish.

Guest blog post by Kit Norton

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Reykjavik Personal Thermal Plunge Advice

If you find yourself desiring a plunge into the icy lagoon waters that surround Reykjavik, then Nautholsvik Geothermal beach is the place for you.

Equipped with an outdoor geothermal bath, views of the small houses that populate the coast, a steam room, and the ocean water of the lagoon itself, this is a bathing experience that shows the essence of the people of Iceland.

Free admittance in the summer and a small charge of 500 ISK (just over $4) in the winter and spring makes this a very affordable plunge into the healing watersboth cooling and warming.

It is common to see groups of local men and women jump into the frigid waters of the lagoon (temperatures are around 12°- 13°C in the summer and the average temperature is 4°- 6°C in the winter) and swim for 15-20 minutes. For none but the hearty is this recommended, as the ocean waters of Iceland make Maines water look temperate. These locals swear that they are the healthiest people on earth because of their daily, icy dip followed by the relaxing and mineral-rich, warmth of the geothermal pools.

You can take public transport to Nautholsvik Geothermal beach, but I would suggest that the walking path along the ocean is the better way to reach your destination if you do not mind a one to two hour stretch of the legs. Make your way towards the Vikin Maritime Museum but continue straight on away from the marina and you will soon hit the walking and biking path that runs parallel to the water.

For those seeking the magic blue thermal waters, don't miss the iconic, but pricier (35-40 Euro) Blue Lagoon, a bus ride away from downtown Reykjavik.

Guest blog post by Kit Norton

Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Fate of French Baguettes

Anyone who has traveled in France knows how ubiquitous baguettes are—tucked under arms, propped in bicycle baskets, and sold in just about every shop whether a bakery or not.  But what many may not realize is that all baguettes are not the same. Most of the baguettes sold now have evolved as a form of fast-food, with additives and a quick preparation process. Fortunately there are those that cherish the old-style, slow-fermentation technique that gives an authentic baguette its texture and taste.

According to the New York Times, " 1993, the government came to the rescue with a decree that created a special designation: “the bread of French tradition.” That bread has to be made exclusively with flour, salt, water and leavening — no additives. The “tradition,” as it is called, is more expensive than the ordinary baguette, which uses additives, a fast-rising process and mechanization, and accounts for about 75 percent of the country’s bread sales."

Anyone who has eaten traditional baguettes knows that the extra money is ever so worth it. According to French-bread expert, Steve Kaplan, you "need to celebrate breads that make your taste buds dance."  

Travelers to Paris who want to taste "tradition" breads can explore Good-Bread Trails in Paris
Bon appétit!!