May 2015

Unknown Spirits: Akvavit

akvavit

Scandinavians, like their Viking ancestors, have a reputation of being hard drinking tough guys. Well, now you know why. Up in the frozen northern reaches of Europe are a handful of countries that claim Akvavit as their own. But, isn’t it just flavoured vodka?

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Unknown Spirits: Slivovitz

slivovitz

Slivovitz, slivovica, sljivovica, slivovka, or however else you want to spell it, I’m here to tell you that this stuff is good. Real good. While western Europe has more or less cornered the market on grape based brandies, the remaining central and eastern Europe are left with a myriad of different fruits to distill their hooch. In this case, plums are the star.

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Unknown Foods: Hungarian

hungarian food

Stuck right in the middle of central Europe, Hungary has recently come out of the shadow of communism after decades of rule. Because of its location in Europe, it received a lot of outside influence, especially to its food, from several different areas. Today, traditional Hungarian food clearly shows Germanic, Italian, Slavic, and even Asian twists to it.

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Unknown Foods: Tapas

tapas

Sometimes, it’s not the foods that we’ve never heard of that surprise us, but the ones we think we know. Spain’s “tapas” have been one of the most popular foods/restaurant themes in the last decade, but it seems few people really understand what tapas is all about.

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Unknown Foods: Peruvian

peruvian food

A lot of people in North America view everything below the US as “Mexico”. 90% of Central and South America speak Spanish, so that means it’s all the same right? Not quite. Peru has one of the most exciting cuisines in the Americas right now, and thanks to its access to the Amazon, most of the produce they use there isn’t seen anywhere else in the world. So, what else do you want to know?

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Unknown Foods: Ethiopian

ethiopian food

If you were to ask your parents what “ethnic” or takeout food meant to them growing up, it was probably either Chinese or pizza. Nowadays, from the languages we hear while walking down the street to the exotic faces, this can only mean a wider choice of food options. How about Ethiopian? It might even be more familiar tasting than you might think…

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Asian Hooch: Sake

sake

As the drink of choice at sushi bars from coast to coast, sake enjoys novelty status but not much attention is paid to it outside of Japanese restaurants. The thing is, wine is hard enough to understand, why complicate it by learning about sake? Well, sake is not complicated at all to understand, and is often cheaper than wine!

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Asian Hooch: Soju

Soju

Pop quiz: What’s the highest selling spirit in the world? Vodka, whisky maybe? How about Soju? Often lumped in with Sake at liquor stores, Soju is enjoying an incredible time at the top of the alcohol world. Even before Psy and his Gangnam Style, Korean exports have been making serious headway in mainstream culture for some time. But, what’s it all about?

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