It’s not often a country’s most iconic ingredient is not native to the area; however, that is exactly the case with bacalhau, or dried and salted cod, one of the most popular ingredients in Portuguese cuisine. While the old adage goes, “There are 365 ways to prepare bacalhau in Portugal, one for every day of the year,” in actuality, there are said to be 1,001 recipes including bacalhau in the country. Typically produced in Norway, Iceland and Newfoundland, bacalhau was first discovered 500 years ago. Due to a lack of refrigeration, the Portuguese people tried salting and preserving the many varieties of fish found off its Atlantic coast. Eventually, they discovered the ideal fish for this process off the coast of Newfoundland and began fishing its waters. Soon, it was pervasive in Portuguese cooking, an everyday staple in many households. It became especially popular in the predominantly Roman Catholic country because it could be enjoyed on the many days per year the Church forbade eating meat. Today, due to overfishing, among other reasons, bacalhau is more expensive. It is now served mostly on special occasions and, in some parts of the country, is the traditional Christmas dinner. Before preparing any of Portugal’s popular bacalhau dishes, the soaking process is fundamental. In a large pot of cold, clean water, soak the fish for at least 24 hours, changing the water several times. The salted cod must then be boiled; to flavor, vinegar, carrots, celery, onions, parsley, peppercorns and such can be added before boiling for 15 minutes. Once skinned and de-boned, the bacalhau is ready to transform. From here, bacalhau can be broiled, fried, stewed, grilled, roasted — you name it — and is traditionally served with potatoes. Among the most common, and tasty, transformations are bacalhau com todos, served boiled with vegetables, hard-boiled egg, olive oil and garlic; bacalhau à Brás, prepared fried rice-style with potatoes, onion, scrambled eggs and olives; and bacalhau à Gomes de Sá, similar to the à Brás preparation, but the fish is soaked first in milk, then roasted and served with hard-boiled egg. Also frequently seen are bolinhos de bacalhau, fried balls of bacalhau and potatoes. Oven-baked varieties include à ze do pipo, when milk-soaked cod is baked with onion, mashed potatoes and mayonnaise and garnished with olives; and bacalhau com natas, like a potato gratin with cream and béchamel. Whichever way you prefer your bacalhau, there’s no denying the many ways this non-native ingredient has come to characterize Portuguese cuisine.
Welcome to Rhodes, a medieval treasure beautifully preserved throughout the centuries. Rhodes is the capital of the Dodecanese, an island ideal not only for those who want to relax, but also for those looking for an action-packed holiday! With its bright green hills, rich green valleys and uninterrupted line of golden beaches, Rhodes is truly a blessed place. “The sun island” has more sunshiny days and milder temperatures throughout the year than any other location in Greece. It is, after all, one of the country’s easternmost places and among the first to welcome summer on its impressive beaches. Add in the excellent facilities for tourism, the island’s special blend of cosmopolitan and traditional, and numerous cultural and archaeological sites, the most important being the Medieval (Old) Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and you’ve got the perfect holiday destination. While on Rhodes, don’t miss a daytrip to nearby Sými. An island of sponge divers and seamen, Sými used to have 30,000 inhabitants before the Second World War and was the richest island in the Dodecanese, despite its small size. Today, Sými attracts many visitors thanks to its beautifully preserved Neo-Classical buildings and the famous Archangel Michael monastery at Panormitis.
As part of Germany’s climate package, a plan to reduce emissions, the country will raise departure taxes at German airports. Taxes will go up as much as 60 percent, and are expected to raise up to €740 million. The funds will then be used to lower VAT on rail fares from 19 percent to 7 percent.
Norwegian Cruise Line took delivery of its newest ship, Norwegian Encore, ahead of its naming ceremony Nov. 21. The 1,100-foot-long ship boasts a guest capacity of nearly 4,000. Since Norwegian Cruise Line took delivery of the shi, Oct. 30, Norwegian Encore sailed from Germany to England before making its way to New York City, then Miami, where the christening ceremony takes place next week.
Thessaloniki is the second-largest city of Greece and the most important center of the area. Built near the sea, elegant and refined, the Greek “Lady of the North” is a modern, vivacious city that welcomes visitors eager to learn about its history and culture, and at the same time have fun, relax, go shopping or simply explore the cityscape by the sea.
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Swiss-Belhotel International boasts an impressive portfolio throughout 22 countries, including 10 ASEAN member countries. This growth is continuing with the group’s new plans to debut four properties in Thailand.