Day 20: Cooking Classes

Dave and I share a love of perogies, so naturally, they were one of the first things we ate when we arrived in Poland.

Unlike in Canada, the Polish fill their perogies with a variety of things. They have potato and cottage cheese, like in Manitoba, but they also have mushroom & cabbage, lentil and even other meats. They are simply delicious!!!

A classmate preparing cheese and potato perogies. We also made cabbage and mushroom (my favourites!!)

As I’ve mentioned in the past, Dave and I really enjoy taking classes when we travel. In Indonesia last year, we learn how to make jewelry out of both coconut shells and silver. This year, we learned how to make perogies.

Dave, flattening the dough for perfect, delicate perogies

We booked an “experience” through Air BNB, with a local lady named Marta. There were several other people offering classes through the site, but Marta’s was most appealing because she uses fresh and home grown ingredients. She’s also very clearly passionate about food

Marta is an excellent teacher!

It turns out Air BNB is just a very small part of what Marta does. Her passion for cooking and eating local food led her to create a website called Eataway, which hooks tourists up with local people who want to make a bit of money by feeding tourists authentic food.

Our class made some pretty amateur perogies, but as the day continued we got better. In the last row, the second from last one is mine. I’m quite proud of it!

It’s become a very popular website, and I encourage anyone who travels to check the site. They are set up all over the world, so if you’re on the road, and want to try some local food, check them out here!

Rose Marmalade was “injected” into our donuts

The class was so much fun! There were 8 of us there with Marta. She taught us how to make both Perogies and Pączki (Polish donuts). She also made us the best cheesecake I’ve ever had in my life!!!

She also poured salted caramel all over it. It was delightfully light and fresh tasting!

It really pays off taking classes on holiday. You meet great people, learn about culture and local life AND you support small businesses (instead of big tourist traps). I recommend Eataway to anyone travelling foodies!

Our Pączki
Making the Pączki
Beet root soup is delicious! And it has dumplings in it!!

One last glimpse into our day of fun. Apparently, to properly make Pączki, a bit of violence is involved. Watch as our classmate Tobias, “punches” the dough into submission!

Day 17: For the Love of Coffee

Living in China can be tough for a coffee lover. Our best option as far as price and size goes is, sadly, Starbucks. Most coffee shops in China make watered down, tiny cups of something that resembles coffee but doesn’t quite hit the mark.

Luckin Coffee was suppose to revolutionize coffee in China… But their prices are higher than Starbucks and their coffee is weak. They also ONLY do delivery, so you don’t have the option of bringing your own reusable mug, which I dislike greatly.

In Europe, however, we’ve been spoiled for choice. We’ve had to change the way we drink coffee, of course. In Canada, I’d order myself a 20oz Large Double Double at McDonald’s twice a day. If they had a bigger size, I would probably order it!

Can you make that a double double?

In Europe, they don’t do drip coffee. They mostly do espresso, cappuccinos and cafe con leche. And their cups are small. But delicious.

I didn’t take pictures of EVERY cup of coffee I’ve had, but I did take one of my first cup in Madrid. T’was excellent

Price is also a factor in China. Starbucks is double the price in China as it is in Canada, but it’s STILL better value than any of the local chains! You can get a Venti (20oz) drip coffee for $5 Canadian at Starbucks, but anywhere else, you pay $7 for 12oz. It’s crazy.

To get my favourite specialty drink at Starbucks, I pay more than $8 Canadian!

In Europe, we’ve been enjoying our €1.50 coffees a couple of times a day and we’ve been loving it. Today we found a coffee shop in Warsaw that specialized in coffee from all around the world. For about $3.50, I enjoyed a perfect cup of Guatamalan coffee in a cozy atmosphere.

Seen here: Cozy atmosphere

I’m done rambling about coffee now.

Correction: FOR now….

For those of you who don’t know why we’re in Poland, my favourite band, Blue October, is playing here in Warsaw tomorrow night!!!! We added Poland to our spring festival itinerary, just so I could meet the band and see them perform live!

I’m guessing tomorrow’s post might be about that….

Day 15: Markets

Although Dave would probably disagree with me, I consider markets to be a must-see whenever we travel. Our last night in Barcelona was spent on the tourist Street “La Rambla”, where we discovered one of these buzzing tourist hot spots.

People come to La Rambla to shop, eat and drink

The reason I like markets so much is not because I enjoy shopping. It’s more because I like seeing what different countries offer in their markets. While you’ll find wooden carvings of elephants in Thailand, you’ll find knotted bracelets in Indonesia. Even from city to city, you see differences. Luang Prabang, for example, is famous for its giant slippers!

People sell these slippers all over the place in Luang Prabang, but we didn’t see them anywhere else in Laos

In Spain, it was no surprise to see smoked meat, spices and olive oil for sale in the markets.

Of course, there were some surprises too. We didn’t think Spain was known for its candies but they were for sale everywhere in the market. I imagine locals also visit and stock up on their favourite sweets.

There were also a kiosk or two that really surprised me (and I don’t find many things surprising after living in China for nearly 6 years).

I think these are sheep heads. This kiosk also sold stomach and all sorts of other organs

I can never stay in these markets for long because they tend to be pretty crowded, but they’re usually an interesting and quick stop.

Compared to Asian markets, this one was downright empty!!!!

Day 16 will be up soon!

Day 8: Pinchos

Food is such an important part of the way Dave and I travel. One of the only activities we booked ahead of time for Spain was a Tapas Crawl (where you go from bar to bar and sample different snacks). It was spectacular and taught us about all the different Tapas we like.

One of my favourite Tapas dishes yet. It had cheese, jam and bread. It was delicious!!!!

Last night, we tried another common Spanish way of eating: Pinchos

Excellent variety!

The idea is that bars put out a variety of food with tooth pics in it. There are usually 2 kinds of toothpicks. One is for cheaper Pinchos (usually 1€) and the other are for higher priced ones (1-1.80€).

Shrimp was a more expensive item, whereas tuna or eggs were cheaper

You get full before too long, and you get to try a variety of different foods, which suited me just fine!!!

Croquettes are basically stuffed with ham, mushrooms, cream and butter. They taste like cheese sticks, but I was shocked to learn that they have 0 cheese in them

Our first stop was the best of the 3. They had a bunch of dishes with quail eggs, which I really enjoyed. As long as the bar is busy, everything moves out quickly and fresh stuff is brought out often.

They brought out these bad boys fresh and hot. Delicious!!
Not a meal for people who don’t do bread haha!
Quail eggs and sausage! Yum!

I am loving Spain! I feel like this is where I belong:

– They love snacking

– They eat and sleep late

– They love eggs. Served all day, everywhere

– Cheap and delicious coffee

– Dogs everywhere! Big dogs. Big mutts! They’re well behaved and trained.

I don’t know if I’m going to leave. I might just stay here…. 😂

Spanish omelettes are one of my favourite foods here so far!

If you want to try this style of food in Barcelona, I highly recommend hitting up Blai Street or Carrer de Blai. There are more than a dozen restaurants and bars serving food in this style!

My only word of caution: bring an appetite!!!