Try something locally traditional in your van!
Trying something different to eat is always part of any motorhome journey to another country. After all you have a kitchen in your van and you can buy local produce. So here are some ideas to give it a go!
France – piment d’espelette
Piment d'espelette is a red pepper that can only be grown in 10 villages at the base of the Pyrenees thanks to its AOC status (appellation d'origine contrôlée). The peppers are sold whole in south-west France and also exported in a powdered form that due to its dark red colour, smoky yet sweet flavour and mild heat is similar to paprika.
Holidaymakers visiting the region will taste espelette pepper in cured Bayonne ham, as well as many Basque meals. Eagle eyed tourists will also see the peppers pop up in foods they don’t expect, including desserts such as panna cotta and chocolate. Local chocolatiers have created a fantastic dark chocolate with espelette pepper which is delicious enjoyed with champagne as an aperitif.
Those visiting in September, will see the garlands of the peppers hung over balconies and gates throughout the villages to dry out following the harvest.
Spain – calçotada
Holidaymakers visiting the Costa Dorada at the start of the season in April should sample calçotada – a traditional dish from the region that is only available in the first four months of the year. This local favourite takes calçots (seasonal long and sweet onions similar to leeks or spring onions that are grown in the area surrounding Barcelona and Tarragona) and roasts them over an open fire. Once cooked, they are served wrapped in newspaper to keep the heat in with a rich tomato, almond and hazelnut sauce called romesco.
Italy - Spaghetti con Sardine di Largo
You can’t visit Lake Garda without trying Spaghetti con Sardine di Largo, or ‘Lake fish pasta’. The fish can only be found in Lake Garda, making this a true regional speciality. It has a taste similar to trout and is popular in all the fantastic restaurants in the region. The sauce has an unexpected ingredient in it – a pinch of mild curry powder which gives the dish a really unique flavour.
Croatia - Blitva
Visitors to Croatia will quickly become familiar with Blitva, a staple on almost every menu. It is a mixture of Swiss chard and potato and it is paired perfectly with meat, fish or cured meat. Blitva is healthy and easy to cook, ideal to rustle up in the kitchen!