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Best Fermented Foods from Around the World

Fermented foods have become popular again in recent years, largely due to health conscious individuals.

While Kimchi and Kombucha may have developed a new following in the west, fermented foods have been an integral part of communities across the globe.

Archeological evidence points out to fermentation being one of the oldest methods of food preservation. Its history dates back to the beginning of agriculture. From China and Fertile Crescent to Africa and Americas, vegetables, meat, fish, dairy, grains and fruits have been fermented into food and beverages.

Fermented processes were likely developed by women through trial and error. Food was not just preserved for winter, droughts or migration, but because these were considered as healing medicine beneficial to the body.

Fermented foods play an important role in gut health and growth of good bacteria. A study in Tanzania showed that gruel made with fermented grains reduced incidence of diarrhoea in children by 33%.

When you ferment grains and certain tubers, you reduce anti-nutrient compounds and increase absorption of vitamins. Active bacteria, yeast and mound cultures turn these foods into rich sources of Vitamin K, A, B12, thiamine, niacin, and protein-building acids like lysine and methionine.

Every region has at least one unique dish as a part of its cultural heritage. This food guide brings you unfamiliar foods other than yoghurts, sauces, pickles and cottage cheese.

Fermented foods from Asia

 

1. Kimchi – Korea

A Korean meal is incomplete without kimchi. Considered a national heritage, this fermented food has been prepared by families from the 7th century. Cabbage and other vegetables are cultured in their own juices/brine along with spices for 4-15 days.

2. Cheonggukjang/Doenjang – Korea

Source: James

Fermented soybean is blended into paste which is used to add flavour to different dishes. Cheonggukjang is a thinner paste that contains whole soybean, while Doenjang is a thicker and smoother paste.

3. Natto – Japan

This popular Japanese fermented dish is made with soybean and has powerful anti-inflammatory properties.

4. Miso – Japan/Korea

When a fungus (koji) meets soybean, salt and brown rice/barley, you get miso. This is said to have anti-ageing properties. Drink up your miso soup next time you’re at an Asian restaurant.

5. Tempeh – Indonesia

When live mold is added to soybean and left to ferment for 1-2 days, the resultant food is the cake-like tempeh.

 

6. Nem Chua – Vietnam

Source: Ron Diggity

Parts of lean pork are finely ground or boiled. These are mixed with roasted and powdered rice, salt, spices and covered with herbs. The mixture is then tightly wrapped in banana leaves and allowed to ferment.

7. Douchi/ Doubanjiang/Mianchi – China

Source: Food Mayhem

Douchi is a culinary paste made with fermented black beans, while Mianchi is fermented white beans. Doubanjiang is widely used in Sichuan cuisine and is made from fermented broad beans. This spicy paste also contains soybean, rice, salt, spices and sometimes, red chili.

8. Bagoong – Philippines

Source: Helga Webber

The fish sauce is made by fermenting salted fish or shrimp. When salted anchovies are fermented, you get Bagoong monamon.

9. Puto – Philippines

Source: Krista

This is steamed cake is made with fermented glutinous rice. Rice is soaked in water for 1-3 days and blended to a smooth batter. There are many variations of Puto which is usually eaten with coconut and butter.

10. Chin Som Mok – Thailand

Source: Takeaway

Pork (with skin) is fermented with glutinous rice. This is then wrapped in banana leaves and grilled.

11. Idli – SriLanka/ India

Source: Sakurako Kista

This south Indian breakfast dish has become popular across India. Rice and black bean are ground into a smooth batter. Batter is fermented overnight, steamed in special plates, and served with chutneys and sambar.

12. Dhokla – India

Source: Deapesh

Another steamed dish made with fermented batter, Dhokla is an essential breakfast food in Gujarat. Fermented batter contains chickpea flour, salt, spices and rock salt. The steamed cakes are served with hot and sweet chutneys,

13. Cahgem Pomba – India

Source: E-Pao

This healthy and delicious curry from Manipur is made with greens like spinach, mustard, dill, fenugreek, herbs like cilantro, and fermented soybean.

14. Jalebi – Pakistan/Nepal/India

Source: Risabh Mathur

This deep-fried dessert is made with fermented wheat batter. The translucent jalebis have a sweet-sour taste thanks to the sugar and bacteria culture.

15. Kombucha – Russia/Ukraine/Vietnam/Korea/Japan

A fermented concoction originated in Russia and Ukraine and is made with black tea, sugar and bacteria and yeast cultures. Sugar sources include honey, cane sugar or fruits. Use the same Kombucha starter to create fresh batches. The longer you ferment, the better the beverage.

 

Fermented foods from Africa

 

16. Injera – Ethiopia/Eritea

Source: Serene Vannoy

This national dish is fermented bread made with an ancient grain and a gluten-free alternative – Teff. The spongy bread with a tangy flavour is dunked into stews and eaten.

17. Togwa/Mahewu/Mabundu – Tanzanian/Zimbbawe/Africa

This fermented beverage or watered-down gruel is made with sorghum (chimera), finger millet, maize and cooked cornmeal (sazda) in a clay pot. The porridge is covered and placed in the sun for 2-3 days to ferment. It is drunk plain or with a little sugar.

18. Furundu/Ogiri– Sudan/Nigeria/West Africa

Source: Chnez blog

Sesame seeds are fermented with salt and water and pressed into cakes with a texture similar to tofu or miso. In Sudan, red sorrel seeds and Kawal leaves are fermented in the same way.

19. Garri/Gari – Nigeria/Ghana/Cameroon/Sierra Leone/West Africa

Source: David Hdez

Peeled and cubed Cassava roots are crushed into a pulp and excess water is drained out. The dried pulp is cooked in a large pot without or without palm oil to become the granular Garri. This is also pounded into a flour

20. Kenkey/Koneke/Dorkinu- Ghana/Guyana/benin/Togo/Jamaica

Source: Juxtapose^esopatxuj

This staple dish is essentially a sourdough dumpling made with corn or maize. Flour is fermented for a few days before the dough is wrapped in banana leaves and steamed. Other items like plantain, sweet potato, cassava, coconut or pumpkin are added to fermented dough in local variations of the recipe.

21. Dawadawa/Iru -Senegal/Uganda/Nigeria/West Africa

Source: Carsten ten Brink

Locust beans, fruit pulp and seeds, of the native tree, are fermented. These are pressed into balls or cakes (Dawadawa) and add to soups or a condiment. Iru is dried dawadawa flattened into discs.

 

Fermented foods from Americas

 

22. Sourdough Bread – USA

Different flours are mixed with wild yeast and water and baked into spongy breads with a distinct sour taste.

23. Poi – Hawaii/Polynesia

Source: Wikipedia

This fermented food is made from plant stems of taro. This is mashed and steamed or cooked into a thick liquid or dough-like paste.

24. Atole agrio – Mexico

Source: Marden Nolasco

A dough made with black maize is fermented for 4-5 days before becoming a tasty porridge. Bread is made from fermented maize dough in Peru(Tochos) and Brazil (Jamin-bang).

25. Curtido – El Salvador

Source: DLC

This is similar to kimchi and sauerkraut. This is a relish made with fermented cabbage, onions, carrots and, sometimes, lime juice.

Fermented foods from Europe

 

26. Kefir – Eastern Europe

Source: Wikipedia

A healthy beverage is obtained by adding kefir grains to milk and allowing it to ferment for 12 hours. Kefir grains are yeast and bacteria cultures that resemble clumps of cooked rice.

27. Sauerkraut – Germany/Europe

This fermented food, similar to Kimchi, is said to originate in China, but is a part of German and East European cuisine. One of the oldest traditional foods in which fresh cabbage pieces are left to ferment in its own juices or brine (salt water) for 3-4 weeks. The relish is added to many national dishes like Polish Bigos and Croatian Vepřo-knedlo-zel.

28. Crème fraiche – France

Sour cream is obtained by fermenting with lactic acid bacteria. Crème fraiche is used in hot or dessert sauces, as salad and soup toppings, and in desserts.

29. Smetana – Central/Eastern Europe/Russia

Source: Iban

This sour cream is similar to crème fraiche. Milk cream is cultured by naturally occurring or introduced lactic acid bacteria. It is used as garnish in dishes like Borscht, Blini, salad and dumplings.

30. Kisela repa/ Sauer ruben – Croatia/Eastern Europe

Source: Chef Mema

Turnip shreds are fermented in a mixture of salt and water. This is eaten either as a side dish or added to soups and salads.

31. Kiviak – Greenland

Source: Orrazz

This Inuit food is made by fermenting auks (small birds). These birds are preserved in the hollowed out body of a dead seal and buried in the ground.

32. Hakarl – Iceland

Source: Audrey

This is a dish made with shark meat. The meat is fermented, hang up and left to dry. It is cubed and served with other food.

33. Kvass – Russia

Source: Bernt Rostad

This non-alcoholic beverage is made from rye bread that is stale. Loaves are added to a container with salt, water, yeast and sugar and left to ferment for 2-3 weeks. It is popular in Russia as a digestive tonic. In Ukraine this is made with beet and used in soups and vinaigrettes.

Fermented foods from Middle East

 

34. Kushuk/Tarkana/Tarhanas – Iran/America/Greece/Central Asia/Eastern Europe

Source: MRG90

The dried fermented food is made with cracked wheat flour, sour milk or yoghurt, salt, spices, tarhana herb, and groats. After fermentation, the mixture is dried and coarsely ground. Cooked vegetables are added in variations. Kushuk is turned into a nourishing soup with addition of water, stock or milk.

35. Torshi /Tursu – Iran/Turkey/Morrocco/Middle East

Source: Baha’i Views / Flitzy Phoebie

Vegetables are fermented in brine that also contains aromatic herbs, spices and vinegar. The ingredients include celery, carrots, cauliflower, bell peppers, cabbage, aubergines and green tomatoes. This is then paced in glass jars and stored in a cool place for 2-3 months.

36. Doogh – Iran/Syria/Lebanon

Source: Jason Lam

This cold fermented drink is basically yogurt, salt and water. It is also a national drink of Turkey and called Ayran there. You’ll find variations of this beverage in Armenia, Afghanistan, Balkan regions, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.

37. Shanklish/Surke – Syria, Lebanon, Egypt

Source: Charles Haynes

This fermented cheese is made from cow or sheep’s’ milk. It is turned into balls, covered with spices like aniseed, red chilli, Aleppo pepper and za’atar, and then dried and aged. The hardened cheese is eaten as a side dish, added to eggs, or as pita bread topping.

 

How many of these traditional fermented foods have your tried? Do you have a fermented food story to share with us?

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Top 28 Food and Travel Bloggers to Follow in 2017

Do you enjoy browsing through recipes online and swooning over enticing food images? Is it curiosity about other cultures or thrill of armchair exploration that finds you spending countless hours on travel sites?

Food and travel experiments enable you to see places, culinary traditions and culture from a vantage point – local point of view.

This immersive experience leaves you with a keen understanding of food, customs and people. We’ve attempted something similar with this top list of food-loving travel bloggers.

You’ll find bloggers who enjoy a variety of foods, experiment with local and exotic cuisine on their journey across the planet. The travel bloggers in our listicle showcase their adventures and experiences, while musing on food, dining spots and tourist activities.

1. Migrationology
Author – Mark Wiens

Probably the most famous food and travel blog out there, a creation (and passion) of Mark Wiens. More than through the blog itself, Mark became famous thanks to his You Tube Channel, that features food on camera from all over the world. It is an absolute must-follow for people who travel for food.

2. Legal Nomads
Author – Jodi Ettenberg

Jodi Ettenberg, a former lawyer, quit her job to travel and ended up creating a completely new career for herself, inspiring readers with her powerful story-telling. She shares her culinary adventures from places she visits, sprinkled with beautiful photography, resources and personal tips.

3. Bacon is Magic 
Author – Ayngelina Borgan

What started off a female solo-traveller’s chronicle has morphed into a culinary and travel blog about meals, people and places. With the contribution of her husband Dave, who is a professional chef, the blog features fascinating food guides and recipes – and don’t miss all the fantastic video food guides on their You Tube Channel!

4. Nomadic Boys
Authors – Stefan and Sebastian

The London-based gay couple has travelled to 25 countries so far. You’ll find an entire section on local food recipes, in addition to culture stories and travel advice on their site.

5. 2foodtrippers 
Authors – Daryl and Mindi Hirsch

This married couple combine their love for food and travel (over 30 countries all together and 38 States in the US) into a fact-filled website. You’ll find tips on cuisine, dining spots, accommodation and food festivals.
6. With Husband in Tow 
Authors – Eric and Amber

For this couple, adventure lies in food-related events from tasting local foods to exploring new cuisines, as they are experiencing the world through food and wine travel. Don’t forget to check out their delicious You Tube Channel.

7. Authentic Food Quest
Authors – Claire and Rosemary

Claire and Rosemary, who are both family, and business partners, set off on a mission through 32 countries and 29 US States to showcase authentic local food to the world. They want to inspire other travellers to experience other countries and cultures through culinary experiences.

 

 

8. Once in A Lifetime Journey
Author – Mar Pages

Having travelled to 90 countries so far, Mar reveals more about little-known places in the world, their cuisine, restaurants and her amazing experiences there.

9. Funnelogy Channel
Authors – Gabriella Zanzanaini and Nicolas Petit

These bloggers are foodies at heart searching for new recipes from local kitchens abroad – as they say, there is not better universal language than food! Their website has food and culture stories from their journey through Eurasia.

10. A Little Adrift
Author – Shannon O’Donnell

Shannon, who was named “Traveller of the Year” by National Geographic, has been exploring the planet from 2008. Her site has expanded to include guides on food, culture and sustainable tourism along with beautiful photography.

11. Eat Your World
Authors – Scott and Laura Rosen

Travel is all about immersing in new cultural and food experiences for this couple. Their blog documents and local foods and travel stories from 125+ cities, focusing on foods and drinks that are native and traditional.

12. Boy Eats World
Authors – Aleney and Raffles

A food-travel blog with a difference! Along with travel anecdotes, you’ll find restaurant reviews, food notes by mom, and special reviews by 8-year old Raffles.

13. A Table for Two
Author – Billy Law

This Masterchef Australia participant has been living his culinary travel dream. His posts cover tasty restaurant meals from around the world with drool worthy images.

14. Mrs. O Around the World
Author – Ana Silva O’Reilly

Do luxury settings figure in your travel essentials? This blog with travel tips, reviews and best lists of places, hotels and food will feel like home.

15. A Taste of Travel
Author – Jenny

Jenny’s love for new sights, delicious flavours and luxury travel spaces is evident from her food and travel stories – and it all started in Italy, but since then she’s been eating her way throughout the continents!

 

 

16. Food Travelist
Author – Sue Reddel, Diana Laskaris

Sue and Diana call themselves “ambassadors of food travel” and they’ve been touring the culinary world since 2011. They also specifically cover experiences that “offer welcoming comfort to the LGBTQ community”.

17. The Wandering Gourmand
Author – Bryan Richards

A stay-at-home dad, a craft beer and food blogger and a travel writer, Bryan takes you on a food and beer hunting journey across five continents.

18. Lonely Palate
Author – Jessica Rigg

Jessica shares food secrets gleamed from locals and chefs on her travels, along with details on food trends and eateries.

19. The Travel Bite
Author – Rachelle Lucas and Pete Wallace

Rachelle’s and Pete’s passion for exploring food and places is visible in there posts as they searches for tastiest meals on her travels. Through her writing and recipes collected from all around the world, she inspires people to explore the world of culinary vacations.

20. Cook Sister
Author – Jeanne Horak-Druiff

Jeanne, a South African food, wine and travel blogger, brings you restaurant reviews, travel tips and cuisine advice interspersed with gorgeous images of markets and delicious food.

21. Ever in Transit
Author – Cassie Kifer and Kevin Adams

California-based duo, Cassie and Kevin, takes you on a culinary journey across continents, featuring unusual foods, global recipes, beers and wine from all around the globe. Explore their (mostly) vegetarian foods and enjoy their travel tips!

22. Travel Bites Deep
Author – Jessica Colley

The bloggette takes you on a journey across Europe exploring food, luxury settings and locale, while sharing unique tips with readers.

 

 

23. A Cook Not Mad
Authors –Tim and Nat

When a photographer and a chef decide to share their travel stories, you’re sure to find tantalising tales of food and culture among the pages.

24. The Culinary Travel Guide
Author – Laura Goyer

This Culinary Travel Professional shares top food experiences with her readers. You’ll find news, reviews, and personal food reminiscences on this magazine-style website.

25. Travel This Earth
Authors – Mica and Mike

Mica and Mike have been living all around the world since 2007. When they’re not busy volunteering, this duo explore the rich culinary scene in their destinations and share them with their readers.

26. The Food Pornographer
Author – Cynthia Chew

This Australian food-and-travel aficionado showcases her culinary experiences, restaurant reviews and market tours with beautiful images.

27. Will Fly for Food
Authors – JB and Renee

The traveleaters, as they call themselves, talk about their culinary exploits on the road. Their website also provides guides on dining spots and local food.

28. Deliciously Directionless
Author – Prachi Joshi

This India-based traveller’s site is filled with restaurant reviews, food notes, interesting recipes, and travel anecdotes.

Bonus blog!

Food Perestroika
Author – Floran Pinel

Floran writes about authentic recipes from East European (Eastern bloc) cuisines and restaurants serving them. You’ll also find travelogues from countries like Armenia and Moldova.

Did you enjoy this round-up of food-based travel blogs? Ready to embark on your own culinary cum exploration trip?

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Red or White: How to Choose the Right Wine for Your Dish


 

Red wine goes with meat, white wine goes with fish – A myth or reality?

Our lives are all about important choices and decisions that we make on a daily basis.  Some of them are easy to make, others take more time to consider. To pick a good bottle of wine to match your dinner is certainly one of them. And I bet that at some point we all have relied on the advice that red wines go with meat and white wines go with fish. So is it a myth or reality? It is one of the most popular questions I’ve been asked through my wine career and tasting experience.

When it comes to wine one can never give a definite answer. Many world famous sommeliers would even say that it’s a complete nonsense. At the same time such a notion does exist and can be fairly useful. For example rich red wines are able to make fish have metal taste. And delicate white wines can lose their charms at the presence of a good steak.

What are the basic rules of pairing?

Let’s try to look more closely on the menu and the wine list to see how they can work together. Albeit the best pairings are those selected during your own tasting experience, there are certain rules that I will recommend to follow.

 – Don’t try to make wine taste the same as your food. Take into consideration how heavy and acid to your palate the wine is, or if it’s oaky or crispy. If you are about to enjoy a delicate food, don’t pair it with oaky and powerful Shiraz as it’s going to kill the food taste. Pinot Noir would be a better choice in this case. Fatty meal will go very charmingly with crispy white wines like good Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc.

 – Always consider sauce as an important part of your dish. When you pick a wine think of what kind of sauce it goes with.  For example, grilled or oven baked duck/goose will go fine with rich whites from Alsace region, mature Bordeaux and Burgundy reds. Fatty marinated duck pairs with young tannin Bordeaux, Californian Cabernet and Merlot, as well as some white wines like Alsace Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris. Duck with apples and oranges with sweet sauce will go interestingly well with some sweeter whites like Riesling Auslese and Sautern.

More pairing examples

 – Best wines to pair with chicken

Grilled or baked chicken has a great variety of both red and white matches: white Burgundy wines, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, light red wine from the North of Italy, Bordeaux, Spanish sparkling wine and easy going Champaign.

 – Best wines to pair with red meat

Full bodied, tannin red wines are perfect with rare beef, lamb, and steak with fruit or sweet & sour sauces. Grilled lamb is great with red Bordeaux, New world Cabernet Sauvignon, Spanish Rioja and Ribero del Duero wines, if lamb has herbal or spicy sauce it makes a wonderful match with Pinot Noir.

Kebab goes well with Zinfandel, Shiraz, Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon. But if it has intense garlic sauce try Sauvignon Blanc.

If you choose to enjoy a burger with a glass of red wine, it will match with young Beaujolais, Chianti, Zinfandel, or light Cabernet.

 – Best wines to pair with fish

This may come as a surprise to you, but salmon makes a perfect match with elegant red wines like Pinot Noir, Merlot, light Bordeaux. If you look for more conservative marriage on your palate then treat it with white Burgundy: Mersault and Chablis, Rieslings, Chardonnay, especially from New Zealand.

Red mullet is a Pinot Noir delight as well as most good full bodied whites. Sardines go well with white Greek wines, Soave, Verdicchio.

Somber (mackerel) pairs wonderfully with Sauvignon Blanc, English whites, white Rioja.

Remember that delicate fish demands delicate whites like those from Burgundy, Rieslings from Alsace and Mosel areas.

Fish and chips find its fans as well. As a matter of fact it’s quite liberal in terms of wine matching. You can start from simple whites to more interesting ones like Sauvignon Blanc, Gavi or Pinot Blanc. Or simply go for sherry or beer if we are in an English mood indeed!

It is all about following your own palate

As you can see when it comes to wine there is always a choice that is unlikely to be limited. Red or white the choice is yours. Follow your own palate. We gave you a range of recommendations and food pairing examples that you can fire away with.

The food is able to influence and even alter the taste of wine, it can make it taste better and worse that’s why a thoughtful concept of food and wine relationship can promise a pleasant marriage with a good aftertaste. We’ll continue speaking about it next time.

Bon appetit!

Disclaimer: Remember that wine contains alcohol that is bad for your health

 

Svetlana_Kasparova

This article was written by Svetlana Kasparova, a wine expert who has been working with wine estates across Europe for over eight years. She is a graduate of the famous wine school “Entoria” and a Wine Games medalist.

Svetlana runs an online course “Become a wine expert in 3 days”, you can learn more about it here:

 
 
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World’s Biggest Pumpkin Festival in Ludwigsburg: Photo Essay

Happy Bellyfish got a chance to visit the world’s biggest pumpkin festival in Germany – here are our impressions in a short photo essay!

Pumpkin needs no extra introduction: everyone is familiar with this giant berry, that takes a prominent place not only on our plates. Even if where you grew up pumpkin wasn’t a staple during the autumn months, you probably still remember an image of Cinderella’s carriage, a giant pumpkin turned a into a golden vehicle, just on time for the ball.

 

pumpkin-festival-ludwigsburg-6

 

Truly, it is difficult to find a berry, which has more applications than a squash! There are numerous pumpkin recipes, turning it into soups, pies and even curries. It is a world-famous decorative item, and a central piece of Halloween celebration. Carving masters can turn a pumpkin into a masterpiece! In some countries, dried squash is used as vessels and even as musical instruments.

pumpkin-festival-ludwigsburg-24

 

No wonder, that pumpkin has become such a celebrated berry, with numerous festivals held around the world.  The biggest pumpkin festival in the world is held in Germany, in a small town of Ludwigsburg near Stuttgart. The event is set in a beautiful Blühendes Barock Garden of the Palace.

pumpkin-festival-ludwigsburg-14

The grounds are covered with the countless types of pumpkins of all shapes, colors, sizes and flavours. Almost all are available for sale – but one should be careful, as not all of them are edible!

… some of them resemble melones
pumpkin-festival-ludwigsburg-16

 

… some of them are so fragile that they might break when you simply lift them

 

pumpkin-festival-ludwigsburg-15

 

… some of them take exact same color as tree leaves, transitioning from summer to autumn colors

 

pumpkin-festival-ludwigsburg-20

 

…some of them have more familiar shape, but it doesn’t make them less fascinating

pumpkin-festival-ludwigsburg-18
pumpkin-festival-ludwigsburg-12

 

A big part of the festival is dedicated to the pumpkin art – you won’t believe what kind of figures can be made fro these oh so familiar berries!

pumpkin-festival-ludwigsburg-8

 

pumpkin-festival-ludwigsburg-39

 

This year’s theme was largely dedicated to circus.

pumpkin-festival-ludwigsburg-31

 

pumpkin-festival-ludwigsburg-41

 

One of the highlights of the festival is pumpkin carvings – it is unbelievable what can a real artist do with it, giving a pumpkin such a real shape and faces expressions, that it almost looks alive!

Some works of the finalists of the carving competition:

pumpkin-festival-ludwigsburg-38

pumpkin-festival-ludwigsburg-40

A real “pumpkin village” with cute and funny characters was on display:

pumpkin-festival-ludwigsburg

pumpkin-festival-ludwigsburg-30

The most prominent place is given to the most special Pumpkin of the event (yes, I have to write it with capital “P”) –  the Europe’s biggest pumpkin, which weights over 1100 kg. Here are the Pumpkins which are only half in size:

pumpkin-festival-ludwigsburg-26

On the last day of the festival everyone is invited to smash the pumpkins, which have been displayed during the event – a pleasure not worth missing!

pumpkin-festival-ludwigsburg-27

pumpkin-festival-ludwigsburg-36

How many types of pumpkins can you name? 

pumpkin-festival-ludwigsburg-3

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Gingerbread Man: Healthy Recipe and History

Gingerbread man is one of the iconic images of Christmas, but who is he and why we associate this cookie with the holiday season so much? This cute festive treat has a curious history (and you can find a simple and healthy recipe at the end of the article!).

Before ginger came to Europe via the Silk Road, it was already used for sweet treats in other parts of the word, and the very first recipe of gingerbread is considered to be coming from Ancient Greece. It became a common festive treat in England in the Middle Ages and it was a favourite item sold at the markets. In those times there was no gingerbread man though, and the cookie was often made in the shapes of different animals, or even kings and queens.

Queen Elizabeth I is believed to have been the first “creator” of gingerbread men – for her entertainment, the cookies were made in the shapes of her favourite suitors. It was a fun and delicious treat at the royal dinners during the festive season!

In some part of England it had a different symbolical meaning: young maidens would bake and eat gingerbread men on Halloween, believing that it would bring them luck in finding a real husband soon.

At some point human-shaped cookies found its use even in witchcraft. Witches would bake the avatars of their enemies and simply eat them!

Its status of a modern holiday season symbol gingerbread man owns to an American St. Nicholas Magazine publication “The gin-ger-bread Boy”. The story tells about a living cookie (a gingerbread man) who runs away from everyone who wants to eat him, but finds his unfortunate end in the fox’s mouth. The author of the publication claimed that his children heard this story from a servant girl, and similar tales indeed exist in folklore of different countries.

Nowadays, gingerbread man is not just a favourite Christmas cookie, but also a famous character in popular culture, who even took a prominent role in the famous cartoon “Shrek”. No wonder, that one of the favourite family activities during the festive season is to “dress up” a gingerbread man with colorful frosting, and imagine that he comes to live!

Healthy Recipe of Gingerbread Man

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of fresh whole wheat flour (you can replace with oats flour for a gluten-free option)
  • 1 cup of dry grated coconut or coconut flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tbsp of ghee (purified butter) or regular butter
  • 1/2 cup of jaggery (you can replace with “dry” sweetener of your choice)
  • 2 tsp of grated ginger
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon powder
  • 1/2 tsp of baking soda (you can skip it, but then the cookies will be slighter harder)

Method:

Step 1. Mix together flour, coconut, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda and ghee.

Step 2. Whip eggs together with jaggery (you can just do it with the fork). Mix together with the rest of the ingredients.

Step 3. Knit the dough and roll it out to a 0.5 cm thickness.

Step 4. Cut your cookies with your favourite cookie cutters and bake at 180°C for 15 minutes. Your gingerbread men are ready!

 

7 Days of Healthy Breakfasts

Starting your day healthy and delicious is easier than you think, we’ll show you how to do it!

Get super fast healthy breakfast recipes daily, for 7 days in a row:

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