''The Secret Spice''

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  • Published: 25 Mar 2016
  • Updated: 25 Mar 2016
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It's a culinary story. Enjoy!

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   A German family has decided not very long ago to travel the world in order to visit different places and taste various cuisines and then to gather their experience with food and dishes in a very special book.

Hans was 66 but his wife Muriel was 63 and together decided to cease spending their days mainly at home or in the garden but to organize something exciting. To organize culinary trips all over the globe.

In Germany they were living alone-their two sons were grown up, had their own families and lived far away. Hans and Muriel worked all their lives and had extra saved money for the planned culinary adventure.

Since the couple shared with their neighbours what intend to do, the people called them''Die Bauchreisenden''/''The Stomach Travelers''/. They liked that nickname very much and with no further ado, Hans and Muriel booked tickets to India.

 They have heard a lot about the Indian cuisine and wanted to taste firstly something distant and exotic.

Indeed, food in India was delicious-''Aloo Matar'',''Amritsari fish'',''Butter Chicken'',''Dal'',''Poha'',''Jalebi'',''Samosa'' and more. The list of the Indian dishes seemed endless for the old German couple. They were so different and colourful.

 Hans and Muriel have tasted so many of the traditional Indian dishes, that had no strength left to take notes for there future book. They did writing, though, the next day at the hotel room.

After that, Hans booked their next culinary stop. This time the chosen country was China. It was said and done. The flight from Delhi to Beijing lasted only few short hours.

With a long history, unique features, numerous styles and exquisite cooking, Chinese cuisine is one important part of the Chinese culture.

The first thing which Hans and Muriel ate there,right after landing, was sweet and sour pork. It had bright orange colour and delicious mixed tasty.

-What a classic!-exclaimed Hans

-Indeed!-added his wife.

 The next couple of days, the German couple tried also''Ma Po Tofu'',''Wontons''/they were popular since the Tang Dynasty/,dumplings, Peking Roasted Duck/of course/ and Spring Rolls filled only with vegetables.

Taking a Chinese food tour was one of the very best things the German couple has ever done. Of course, Muriel did not forget to take notes in the notebook about the tasty Chinese food.

The retired husband and wife were just at the beginning of their travels, but already gathered unique and tasty experiences they would never had in native Germany.

Until now, Hans and Muriel have regretted that they didn't travel earlier in their lives and now this mistake was being fixed.

 And without much speaking, Hans booked the next destination-Russia. They knew it will be cold there,especially in Moscow,that's why they bought two extra sweaters.

In the hotel where they have stayed in, there was traditional cuisine for foreigners. Firstly, the old German couple tasted Borsch,together with Russian salad. In Moscow that salad was known as''Olivier'' salad, named after the chef who created the secret recipe for the salad.

After that,Hans ordered ''Stroganoff'', while Muriel enjoyed a smoked salmon. The two Russian dishes were extremely delicious and mouthwatering even just seen on the plate. For dessert, the travelers tried Russian pancakes with large array of berries,served together with hot tea from samovar. The other dessert was honey cake.

While chatting about the Russian traditions in cooking, Muriel was taking notes again in the precious notebook.

The next visits for the two stomach travelers were some of the Balkan countries. The German family spent a day in Greece, Turkey and Bulgaria.

When arriving in Athens, Muriel knew that the Greek cuisine is a Mediterranean cuisine but did not know exactly what that means.

Well,''Horta Vrasta'',''Avgolemono'' chicken soup,''Tzatziki''/which is a creamy cucumber- yogurt dip/,''Pastitsio'',''Spanakopita''/spinach pie/, the Greek salad with plenty of olives and bread, called''Lagana'' showed the foreign culinary explorers what exactly the Greek cuisine look and taste like. It was another gem in the notebook,detailed described and stored.

There was no time for losing. The following country that awaits them was Turkey. Until now, Hans and his wife only have heard about the Orient,even though there are a lot of immigrants from that region in Germany but for better or worst, the retired man and woman did not have the chance to communicate with such people.

That's why the stomach travelers were already eager to try some of the Turkish food dishes. They had quite a choice-a baked potato''Kumpir'' was pretty unusual,''Pide''-a thin crust of pastry,covered with toppings,''Kofte'', street kebab,''Gozleme'',''Corba'' and for dessert the traditional''Baklava''.

Aside from trying the food, Hans and Muriel bought some souvenirs from one of Istanbul's famous markets-''Fatih'' Market. They also took pictures of the numerous mosques in the town. The German travelers felt like being part of the ''1001 Nights'' book. Turkey was an exotic and completely new world for them.

But the time for leaving was near. Bags, notebook,cameras-all was checked. Hans and Muriel took a bus from Istanbul to Sofia, Bulgaria. The trip lasted about seven hours. The hotel rooms were very cheap, so Hans and his long-life partner booked one in the capital of Bulgaria. After a while they went out to try the Bulgarian food. Even though Bulgaria was near Turkey, its cuisine was different.

The retired adventurers walked in a bistro. The menu there was rich-a salad with tomatoes,cucumbers and cheese,named''Shopska'' salad,''Tarator''-cold soup made of yogurt,cucumber and garlic, then followed ''Lyutenitsa''-a relish of tomatoes and peppers that it can be spread on toast,''Kebapche''. The last one was the king of the grill,served usually with French fries and cold beer. The next thing which the Germans ordered was banitsa. Banitsa with apples and walnuts,combined with the wheat drink''boza'' is a classic deliciousness for all who visit this lovely,small and beautiful country.

The stomachs of both were full. Tasty food,combined with pretty nature and polite people. Who could want more?

Hans and Muriel were delighted from Bulgaria and promised themselves to return back there one day.

From Bulgaria straight to Spain. Madrid was fabulous the day Hans and Muriel came there. The first thing they ate was tortilla Espaniola. It was a great meal for breakfast,especially when you are hungry. The Germans were definitely hungry. After the tortillas, they continued with the cold tomato soup''Gazpacho'' and the vegetarian version of the Spanish ratatouille-''Pisto''. Zucchini,onions, olive oil and garlic were the heart of this dish.

But the next dish would astonish the Germans. It was''Pulpo a la gallega''.

-This is my first time eating an octopus with paprika,honey!-said Hans to Muriel

-Me,too! Who would imagine an octopus can be so tasty!-she replied.

When finishing the dish, Muriel opened the notebook, getting ready to take notes.

The German folks could not leave Spain without trying the well-known Valencian dish-''Paella''. The chicken with white and green beans/or in some cases mixed seafood/ was the crown of the culinary adventure for them.

Surely, Hans and Muriel were penchant for desserts and sunny Spain offered them''leche frita''/fried milk/. This is a classic Spanish milk-pudding that goes along with''summer wine''.

The stomach travelers did not want to leave Spain. The country offered them so many goodies, amazing views and sightseeing. But like everything good in life, the culinary trip in Spain was about to come to an end and soon    Hans and Muriel found themselves in a plane,flying to another,unexplored continent-Africa.

Muriel named the cuisine of Africa ''The rainbow cuisine''. Indeed, different climates and cultures

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