5th January, 2015
Here at The Carter Company, we absolutely love tea and cake. It's no secret there's a serious case of sweet tooth going round our office.. and it's not just members of the Carter family who are guilty! Emma, our Office Administrator, is an absolutely stellar baker in her own right. For evidence of her amazing skills, see this blog post which features a photo of the incredible personalised cake she made to celebrate our rebrand as The Carter Company. It's quite a creation.
Wherever we travel, we always keep our ears (and noses) to the ground in search of the local sweet specialities. Our top tip for anyone travelling to a new region is to do a bit of research online first - there's no place quite like the internet to uncover some useful nuggets of information, especially when it comes to niche products - and talk to the locals once you get there. Sometimes you need a bit of help to find the real gems, and no-one knows the area like a longstanding local resident. Of course, it goes without saying that a self-guided, gentle cycling or walking holiday offers the perfect opportunity to sample the local sweet treats, as you can stop whenever and wherever takes your fancy, indulge in a bite or two to eat, hound the proprietor of your chosen establishment for the recipe (to varying degrees of success), and then continue on your route until you work up enough of an appetite again to warrant the next pit-stop. Ideal!
Without further ado, below we share our favourite discoveries for anyone who is similarly inclined to the occasional/hourly sweet treat whilst travelling.
1. Apfel strudel, found on cycling holidays in Austria
An all-time favourite of the late John Carter, loved as a symbol of heartfelt Austrian hospitality as much for its delicious sweet yet sharp flavour, this country takes the simple apple tart to a whole new level.
2. Macaroons, found on cycling holidays in France
Excuse the pun, but for us, macaroons take the biscuit. Cooked right (and yes we have been known to visit several patisseries in one day in a French town just to track down the perfect specimen), they have a lightly crisp shell, a soft chewy inside and a melt-in-your-mouth creamy filling. And they look just gorgeous! Pierre Hermé make our favourite colours and flavours. See our new tour through Provence and the wild Camargue if all this talk has you salivating at the mouth!
3. Tinginiai, found on cycling holidays in Lithuania
Tinginiai, literally meaning “lazy bones”, are half-moon shaped dumplings with a filling of freshly crushed blueberries. An unusual variant on koldūnai (dumplings), which are pretty much the national dish in this part of The Baltics.
4. Mandolato, found on cycling holidays in Greece
Mandolato is black and white nougat, and a local speciality in Corfu. It's a traditional delicacy which combines the gorgeous natural flavours of almonds and honey. We love the soft, chewy variety. Taste it for yourself on our 'Jolly around Corfu' bike tour
5. Castagnaccio, found on cycling holidays in Italy
Castagnaccio is chestnut cake. It's a local speciality in Tuscany, it's typically eaten in the autumn. Try it with ricotta for an authentic touch. It can also locally be known as baldino, ghirighio or pattona, so make sure you take your phrase book with you so you don't miss out on this one, because it's worth it!