Saturday, July 25, 2009

Una cerveza muy, muy grande!

If you visit Cervecieria InterTapa in Barcelona, do not ask for "una cerveza grande" unless you are prepared for a double serving, because that is what you will get!

June 16th we traveleled up to Sagrada Familia in order to check the progress of the work. It is strange to see this enormous church be completed bit by bit. You will see the old parts of the facade and then you see parts of the building that are under construction or just completed.

This marvel is absolutely important to visitors, both for first visitors, and for those of us that return every year. We walked around the site to admire the progress, and then retreated into one of the streets to get a refreshment.

We sat down on some chairs and asked for "una cerveza grande", believing that we would be served a glass of 50cl of the fluid. What we got was a huge glass mug containing 100 cl or ONE WHOLE LITER!!

We were rather surprised, as we had expected the waiter to provide us with the information that a "cerveza grande" at InterTapa in fact is "una cerveza muy grande", but he did not, and I think our apparent surprise amused him.

Well, with an oversized milk mug filled to the rim with cold beer in front of us, there was nothing else to do, than start the hard work. We succeeded in our quest to quell our thirst, as it was hot, hot, hot that day.

So ye be warned - there are places in Catalunya that serve you beer in a bucket, so you may be surprised when ordering "una cerveza grande."

Friday, July 24, 2009

Söta flickorna Kanold!

I do no have a sweet tooth. I am lousy when it comes to desserts, or making cakes for that matter. There is, however one exception to this rule, one major, secret and very sweet vice - chocolate! Do not fear, I am not turning straight on you, but in Göteborg I had one very sweet and passionate rendez-vous with the Kanold girls. I begged them on my knees to open a shop in Oslo, and I dare say - they did not leave that option out!

I have lived in Belgium, a country with passions for truffles, round bonbons made from the best chocolate. When I entered Stora Saluhallen in Göteborg I saw that flickorna Kanold announced on a small black board what fresh chocolate truffles that were under offer that day. Even though they had four different specialties on today's menu, there were varieties in abundance - they were very well stocked indeed.

The Kanold's have been in the chocolate business for a very long time. They came to Göteborg from Germany in the 1890's and Fred and Anton Kanold started their first chocolatier business in 1901. It was sold out of the family gradually, and in 1980, none of the original family members were back in the firm. In 1998, the Kanolds returned as Jeanna Kanold took over the old chocolate shop in Victoriapassagen.

Today you can buy lemon truffles, white champagne truffles, truffles with chili - a truly sensational tasting experience. Combining chocolate and chili is actually a very old tradition. In Mexico, the home of the chocolate it goes back to the Aztecs, and even today they mix chocolate and chili, also in savory food.

When traveling to Göteborg, a visit to Saluhallen and Flickorna Kanold is highly recommended. Then you can do as we did - we bought a selection of their chocolates to enjoy bite by bite. As you know; "Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're gonna get"

See the company website here

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Acta Millenni Hotel - Barcelona

We have had different experiences with Barcelona hotel. One main goal this year was to find a hotel with a working air conditioning system. As we browsed through the options presented at, our eyes fell on Hotel Acta Millenni. It stated that it had "individually operated airconditioning system." It had, but we never managed to get it going. All in all, it ended up well, as our room was spacious and airy, and it remained pleasantly temperate outside.

Location: BBBB+

Hotel Acta Millenni is located in Ronda Sant Pau, a busy street in downtown Barcelona. La Rambla, Placa Catalunya and Barri Gothic are within walking distance. There is a funicular up to nearby Montjuic, a hill where you have an excellent view over the city.

Easily accessible by subway. Take Line 3 from Catalunya - direction Zona Universitaria, to Para-lel. From here the hotel is only a few mnutes walk away.

Service: BBBBB

The staff at the reception provided excellent service, and answered gladly if asked for places to eat and sights to see. They spoke English fluently. When discovering that our room had not been done one afternoon, the staff took care of it immediately, and promptly made our room.

Room: BBBB

We stayed in a decent sized room and bathroom. It had a pleasant traditional/designer decor, and color coordination scheme.

Hotel Acta Millenni was newly redecorated both room and bathroom were close to immaculate, no maintenance needed. The bathroom had beautiful marble tiles, and the decor was one of the most outstanding that I have seen in a very long time, with exclusive tailor made features in different kind of stone.

Large washing area with enough space for toiletries for two. Bathtub with glass to prevent excess water when taking a shower, WC and bidet.

Two separate beds, that found too hard and very difficult to get accustomed to. Desk with good working space, and wireless internet access in working order. Enough closet space for two, and a inhouse safe for safe storage of passport, cash and credit cards.

Flat screen TV with not only Spanish TV but also German, French and English TV channels.

As said earlier, there was an air conditioning device to be operated manually. When asked we were given instructions on how to operate it. When trying, we failed to get it to work properly.

Breakfast: N/A

Breakfast was not included in the price, but was served in the small hotel restaurant on the ground floor.

Features: BBBB+

Entertainment: Inhouse bar and restaurant.

Exercise: Sauna, jacuzzi, gym and solarium available.

Well being: Air conditioning (not in working order), room service, rest area.

Maintenance: Newly redecorated - immaculately cleaned and maintained.

Price: BBBB

Room priced at EUR 107 for a double room per night, breakfast not included. A good price for a room at this standard.

Rating the Hotel Acta Millenni experience: BBBB+ (4,35 points)

The best stay I've had in Barcelona until now. Would particularly thank the very nice reception staff. Would have been a great plus to have breakfast included in the price, and an air conditioning in working order.

Hotel Acta Millenni
Ronda Sant Pau, 14 08001 Barcelona Spain
Phone: +34 93 441 41 77
Fax: +34 93 324 81 50

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

COMING UP: Malaysia, truly Asia

Two of our guest writers will travel to Kuala Lumpur and on to the island of Langkawi this summer These are intriguing destinations with a rich and colourful history. So stay tuned for food and travel stories from Malaysia - truly Asia, fall of 2009.

(Photo: Magnus Manske)

View Destinations on Enjoy Food & Travel 2006-2009 in a larger map

What will be in store for us?

See this video from a trip to Kuala Lumpur and Langkawi

Sunday, July 19, 2009

A wicked world class pizza

Sometimes you end up surprised when preparing a meal. Sunday July 5th I prepared a pizza from simple and honest ingredients, and it ended up the best I have ever tasted. Why does things like this happen? I do not know, but I am happy that they do!

I was craving for a pizza, and as I went to my grocers I bought pizza mix and tomato pulp with basil as base for my pie. The pulp was wickedly good, so I think it was an important reason for the success. I found making the dough dead easy. Warmed water (28 cl / 10 fluid oz), pour mix in bowl, warm water and 2-3 spoons of olive oil. Mixed well and worked the dough until elastic. Allowed to rest until it had nearly doubled in size.

I brushed olive oil on pan (or I had prepared bacon in the oven and had excess bacon fat – YUM), and pressed it on the tray until it covered the tray.

Then I added the tomato pulp directly on the dough. If you only have dried oregano, sprinkle it on top of the tomato pulp, before continuing the process. Then the dried herbs will work itself into the pulp instead of drying further on top of the cheese.

Placed 3-4 slices of boiled ham, cut into strips on tomatoes, then a liberal amount of cheese, cherry tomatoes and freshly made ruccola pesto (wicked stuff). My pesto made from my fresh ruccola is absolutely fab’ and definitely one important success factor.

I had fresh oregano and I chose to sprinkle leaves from two large on top of the cheese. Again grown under the hot summer sun and packed with flavor. Then as a finish - a little more olive oil (let us face it – it is good for you!)

I placed it in a 200C / 400F oven for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is starting to turn brown.

I do not know whether I will manage to create a pizza this good again. I sincerely hope that it a little bit skill and not just a question of chance!!

On products used:

The tomato pulp was brand ECO from ICA, an organic tomato pulp - see more on ECO products here (Norwegian only - sadly)

The mix is produced by Peppe's Pizza. See product here (Norwegian only - sadly)


Wanna see how I make my own ruccola pesto? See recipe here!