As the days grow short, some faces grow long. But not mine. Every autumn, when the wind turns cold and darkness comes early, I am suddenly happy. It’s time to start making soup again.” – Leslie Newman
There is a chill in the air. Warm summer breezes have been swept away by the cooler autumn winds and with it, has brought an air of nostalgia and a need for warmth. Mittens, large scarves and cozy hats aside, the essence of warmth is best evoked through food, or more precisely, comfort food.
We’ve rounded up some of our favorite comfort foods from around the world. Laden with history and filled with traditional ingredients, each dish in our tour tells a story of humble beginnings and simple ingredients. Take the journey and explore the traditional, typical fare that makes every destination so special!
Croquettes in Spain
The croqueta, or croquette, is one of the most beloved homemade dishes in Spain. Bathed in tradition and originating in the nineteenth century, the croquette recipe is often passed from mothers to daughters, grandmothers to granddaughters, and each with a particular adaptation or family secret. To many, it’s an extraordinary tapa: Perfectly crisp and golden with a warm, silky center. It is a favorite in all Spanish bars and can be made with a variety of fillings, though ham, cod and chicken are popular. If visiting Madrid on holiday, the warmth and authentic flavor of the croquette at the El Quinto Vino from a day of visiting popular destinations like the Prado Museum, one of the world’s most valuable monuments, or the Parque del Retiro, is just what you need. The cold winter temperatures in Madrid, the coldest region in Spain with temperatures as low as 1C, make this tapa the ultimate comfort food. The restaurant’s selection of wine, along with other dishes is also great. Give it a try; it will warm your bones and melt your heart!
Paratha: Flavor of India
A journey to India provokes rich flavors and warm spices; a traditional, yet simple fare. After a day of touring India’s landscapes and visiting the Golden Temple in Amritsar, quench your hunger on Paratha. Paratha holds its place as one of the most common street foods and is comprised of disks of dough (round or hexagon-shaped) that are filled with a variety of ingredients. The paratha’s foundation is a common staple in many comfort foods: potato. The potato provides a rich creaminess that is truly soothing to the palette and quite savory. The disks are fried and served with an array of delicious dipping sauces or simply, with a spat of butter and are sure to bring comfort to the most weary of travellers.
As American As Apple Pie
Chicago, also known as the windy city, boasts cool breezes, and cold temperatures, especially along the shores of Lake Michigan. Temperatures in the fall and winter drop dramatically, making comfort food more of a necessity than an indulgence. After sight-seeing through the city and going to the top of the John Hancock Center Building or visiting the famous Navy Pier, indulge in one of the most iconic North American comfort food staples: Apple Pie. Our top pick in the city? The delicious and very popular apple pie at Hoosier Mama’s Pie Company. The apple pie is made with the freshest apples, homemade crust and gets a kick with Chinese five-spice, which adds a twist and an extra layer of warmth to the classic recipe. Grab some pie and sit in the location’s quaint setting or take it to go. Warm apple pie is the perfect complement to a cup of tea, fireside, wouldn’t you agree?
A Dubliner’s Cottage Pie
It’s one of the most traditional dishes of Ireland and definitely one we love to have. Truly a celebration of the country’s history, Cottage Pie or Shepherd’s Pie was originally a dish created to make the most of leftover meats. The pie was lined with mashed potatoes, filled with the meat and vegetables, then topped off with a mashed-potato crust. Indulge in a delicious Shepherd’s Pie at Gallager’s Boxty in Dublin’s Temple Bar neighborhood and try their boxty, another staple at the restaurant. On your next holiday to Dublin, come for the shepherd’s pie, stay for the amazing destination. Dublin is a great place to visit anytime of year, and tops our list of top 10 destinations for 2014
Proper Fish -n- Chips
For the finale of the tour of our favorite comfort foods around the world, we conclude with the oberservation that, sometimes, the sensation for a comforting taste of home is right where it should be, at home! For Londoners taking a break from the business routine for a short holiday, or to those who simply love a great, comforting meal, look no further than a great batch of fish-n-chips. For a taste of proper Yorkshire fish–n-chips, go to Quayside’s Fish-n-Chips. Located in the heart of the harbor in Whitby, North Yorkshire, their fish and chips is winner of Best Independent Fish and Chip Takeaway 2014. This third generation chippy is a must see and a must try!