A few months ago we challenged readers to concoct some unique dishes as part of our World on a Plate Challenge; and boy, they didn’t disappoint! Bowls of rustic Italian treats, French delicacies and a whole host of Spanish fiesta favourites graced the Expedia blog, providing inspiration for all who followed the challenge.
If you missed out the first time, don’t fret! Now is the time to re-visit some of the most delicious dishes we featured, and try some of them yourself. We’ve also added a collection of stunning wines to complement each meal, allowing you to impress your friends and loved ones next time you enter the kitchen.
According to Abi King from Inside the Travel Lab, Brits haven’t just been getting Gazpacho wrong, we’ve been getting it very wrong. What most envisage as a “cold tomato soup” should actually be a dish made up of vibrant colours and flavours that evoke sun-kissed Andalusian skies and scorched olive groves – quite a contrast. A mixture of beautifully ripe tomatoes paired with garlic and cucumber is topped off with scattered jamon oberico and boiled quail’s eggs, making this one of our favourite picks. Magnífico!
Recommended wine: The savoury garlic and jamon flavours of this luscious tomato soup, would perfectly complement a light red wine. Try a young Tempranillo from Rioja or even a soft Italian Barbera, both of which can be served slightly chilled. They’re refreshing, dry and savoury to the palate, medium bodied with good persistence: https://winerist.com/wineshop/la-luna-del-rospo-piemonte-doc-barbera-2013
Italian panzanella salad
What food springs to mind when you think of Italian cuisine? Lasagne? Pizza? Carbonara? In the UK, perhaps, but take a trip to the rustic towns and cities of Tuscany and nearby Bologna, and you’ll find a whole smorgasbord of lunchtime treats that go well beyond margheritas and mozzarella. Take, for instance, this healthy summer-inspired dish from vegan food blog, Hortus Natural Cooking.
Crafted with typical Tuscan ingredients, this panzanella salad is perfect when the Mediterranean sun is high in the sky, and hungry stomachs seek a fresh and light alternative. Modernised with balsamic vinegar, poppy seeds and pesto, this dish combines high-quality Italian ingredients like extra virgin olive oil and stone-milled flour, resulting in a sensationally quick dish to enjoy on lazy summer days.
Recommended wine: When dining on a summery salad, it’s best to enjoy a dry, medium, white wine. A Sicilian white or a rosé from the South of France would go perfectly, like this Mirabeau: http://www.mirabeauwine.com/our-wines/
Looking for the crème de le crème of meat dishes? Look no further than France. Steak tartare, veal, pot-au-feu, foie gras; the French really know how to cook up a plate of perfection.
One meal that shouldn’t pass unmentioned is local favourite, duck confit. Thought to originate from Gascony (the South-West region of France), the dish is famed for its lengthy curing process, resulting in mouth-watering pieces of delicate duck that melt on the palate. In a recipe created by Rosie of A Little Lusciousness, she experiments with this French classic by adding unconventional ingredients to her plum sauce, including star anise. Mixed together with coriander, pomegranate seeds, shallots and cream, this recipe is quintessentially French and très bon, indeed!
Recommended wine: This rich dish is full with gamey aromas and spices, pairing perfectly with a full bodied red like a Malbec from Argentina. Aged for 15 months in French oak barrels, hints of pepper, spice and fruits can be tasted in this wonderful tipple: http://ruta40.com/ala-negra-malbec-reserva-2007.html
Almond waffles with maple roasted apricots
In one of our challenges, readers were asked to create a dish that would complement a cosy night in on Valentine’s Day. Thus, we couldn’t describe a romantic evening of ultimate food without mentioning the city of love itself: Paris. Replicating the smells and flavours synonymous with the Parisian food markets of Marché Bastille and Marché Mouffetard, Bintu crafted an indulgent breakfast classic that tantalises the taste buds.
Made with a healthy handful of ground almonds and maple roasted apricots, these flavoursome waffles are combined with whipped cream and fruit; enough to turn the least lovey-dovey diner into mush.
Recommended wine: This stunning dish would be perfectly complimented by a white dessert wine from Tokaj (Hungary) or Sauternes (France). Both wines have aromas of stone fruit, matching roasted apricots beautifully and holding plenty of acidity to pair with the sweetness of the pudding.
Braised pig cheeks in rioja
When we asked readers to create dishes that would be right at home in a Spanish fiesta feast, we were pleased to find a whole host of creations that were far more original than cuts of chorizo and humdrum paella. One of the recipes that had us dribbling onto our keyboards was Guan Chua’s braised pig cheeks in rioja, with sherry vinegar and olives. A real taste of Spain.
Referred to as Carrillada de Cerdo by natives, this authentic Spanish dish incorporates tastes of the Iberian Peninsula. Patiently cooked cheeks that are darkened by black olives and sweetened with the help of vinegar and paprika, work perfectly to offer diners a hearty winter warmer that really packs a punch.
Recommended wine: Such a hearty meal should ideally be washed down with a Riojan red. Go for a Rioja Reserva or Gran Reserva with plenty of body and spice to match the tastes of the meat. Why not sample some different Rioja wines for yourself on this Winerist tour in Rioja?
Black forest éclairs
Butter, chocolate, sugar, cream and more chocolate: it’s definitely not the recipe to kick off your fitness regime, but my word, is it worth it! Steffi, of Always So Hungry, has created two modern twists on the classic Black Forest éclair, both of which are decadent and sensationally satisfying. Made with cherries soaked in kirsch, a shiny chocolate glaze and a crunchy biscuit exterior that’s mounted onto choux pastry, these delicate desserts would surely take pride of place in any patisserie worth its salt.
There are quite a few steps to mastering the éclair, so if you’re looking for something a little less time consuming, you may want to try using a plain vanilla pastry cream instead of chocolate or cherry.
Recommended wine: Cherries and chocolate perfectly match a red dessert wine, like Port. Taylor’s First Estate Reserve, a youthful and fruity wine that bursts with flavours of redcurrant and plum.
What’s your favourite dish from our WOAP campaign? Is there a meal that you think we should have included? Show us some of your concoctions by using the #ExpediaWorldOnAPlate hashtag!