Food Journeys: Global Dishes and Their Origins
Updated: Apr 6
Who doesn't love exploring a new place through traditional cuisine?! Here are a few fun facts and the origins of dishes from across the globe:
Scones - Scotland
While many think of England and a traditional British tea when hearing the word scone, the biscuit-like cake can actually be traced back to Scotland, as the first known print reference was from a Scottish poet in 1513. Scones are closely related to the griddle-baked flatbread known as bannock, and were first made with oats, shaped into a large round, scored into four to six triangles, and cooked on a griddle.
Today, travelers to Scotland can enjoy a Scottish afternoon tea, complete with an abundance of scones and cream, at The Glasshouse in Edinburgh. Hosted each day in the property's cozy Snug, the menu offers a Scottish twist on tea time with local delicacies and traditional staples which are the perfect treats after spending they day exploring the capital.
Muesli - Switzerland
Developed around 1900 by Swiss physician Maximillian Bircher-Benner for patients recovering in his hospital, muesli was created as a dinner appetizer to replace bread and butter. The original recipe, which included apples, nuts, rolled oats, lemon juice, cream, and honey, later became a standard breakfast dish throughout the country before making its way to other parts of the world where it is still enjoyed today.
Nestled in the Alpine region of Arosa, the Tschuggen Grand Hotel offers guests an amazing Swiss breakfast each morning, complete with staples such as muesli. Although not served for dinner, travelers can still enjoy this traditional dish each day, providing fuel for skiing, a mountain hike or biking the many trails that lie just outside of the hotel.
Ceviche - Peru
Typically made with fresh raw fish cured in citrus juices such as lemon and lime, ceviche originated in Peru and is the country's national dish. With archaeological records suggesting that something similar to ceviche has been around for over 2,000 years, the dish has made its way throughout Latin America and is now also a staple in Ecuador, Chile and Cost Rica, among other countries.
Today, travelers to Peru can experience a traditional ceviche for themselves while on a tour with Quasar Expeditions. A leader in travel throughout Latin America, the company offers multi-day tours throughout Lima, Cusco, Machu Picchu, the Incas Trail, and more, where guests dine on the finest dishes in the area including plenty of ceviche.
Curry - The Seychelles
Curry refers to not just the spice, but a spiced meat, fish or vegetable stew. The dish traces back to as early as 2500 BCE in what is considered modern-day Pakistan and has evolved around the world ever since. Curry dishes in Africa tend to have a fiery, oily and robust red curry that is made with chicken, crab, fish or lamb.
Located in the middle of the Indian Ocean, Fregate Island in the Seychelles offers visitors their take on curry with their Creole Curry Chicken, a popular island dish which can easily be made at home or enjoyed anywhere on the island. Guests can choose to dine on Fregate’s beaches or their highest mountain point before retiring to their one of 17 villas sprinkled throughout the nature-rich island.
Bruschetta - Italy Bruschetta, the antipasto dish consisting of grilled bread, garlic, salt, oil olive and often times tomato, originated in Italy during the 15th century but can be traced back to the Ancient Rome when olive growers would bring their olives to a local olive press and sample their oil on a slice of bread. Bruschetta in Italy means toasting bread and dipping it in olive oil, but variations of toppings have included tomato, cured meat, cheese, basil and others.
As a part of Tuscany, Sinalunga is known for its rolling hills and plenty of scenery and of course, amazing food. After days filled of bruschetta, wine and other Italian specialists, guests can unwind at Villa Leonardo, which is available through luxury travel and property club THIRDHOME. The villa, designed by Leonardo da Vinci, is a historic residence dating back to the 15th century. The villa was completely restored in 2011 to give guests the best comfort possible. The house is situated on a large plot of land overlooking the valley below.
Biltong - South Africa
Biltong is a form of dried, cured meat that originated in South Africa during the 17th century and since has been a delicacy and staple of the South African lifestyle. Various types of meat are used to produce biltong, ranging from beef to game meats such as kudu, impala or even ostrich. Originally biltong was made outdoors from game hunted in the South African bushveld and dried in breezy, cool rafters or hung from a shady tree to dry over a few days. The cool dry winter months of the hunting season were the most ideal for producing biltong outdoors. The name biltong comes from the Dutch words “bil” for butt or hindquarters and “tong” for strips. The cut can either be fillets of meat cut into strips following the grain of the muscle, or flat pieces sliced across the grain. Similar to beef jerky, biltong is spiced and rich in protein and iron and also low in fat. While biltong is native to South Africa and the primary market is within the country, many travelers to South Africa and Southern Africa discover the tasty dried meat and develop a new love for it.
The ultimate hotel experiences in South Africa celebrating native culture and providing complimentary biltong for guests are Ellerman House in Cape Town, The Saxon Hotel, Villas & Spa in Johannesburg, and Tswalu Kalahari in Northern Cape. Ellerman House is an iconic hotel located in Cape Town showcasing the best in South African culture through art, wine, and food. The Saxon Hotel, Villas & Spa is an 5-star, all-suite hotel emulating the essence of the city and country with a property that is a unique blend of rich, cultural history with contemporary touches throughout. Tswalu Kalahari is the largest privately-owned game reserve in South Africa with the highest standards of comfort, aesthetics, design and service and a world-class conservation initiative, where research is integrated into every part of the experience. Each of these South African hotels offer biltong to guests as part of the traditional South African lifestyle and experience.
French Onion Soup - France
While popular foods like French fries, French toast and French dressing are all deceptively named, as each are not originally from France, French onion soup is! French onion soup is a a traditional French meal made of onions, beef stock, and served with croutons or a large piece of bread covered with melted cheese floating on top. Dating back to Roman times, the soup was traditionally a peasant dish as onions were abundant and easy to grow. The modern version recipe the world knows and loves originated in Paris during the 18th century when the French put a twist on it and made the soup with caramelized onions and beef broth. The unique flavor of the soup comes from the caramelization of the onions which often has brandy or sherry added at the end of the slow-cooking process. French onion soup is a meal that is truly authentically French and internationally popular, served and made at home around the world.
Leading French lifestyle and hospitality brand, Maisons Pariente, offers hotels in Provence, Saint-Tropez and Meribel for an authentic local experience, complete onsite French cuisine dining. Hotel Crillon Le Brave in Provence, and Hotel Lou Pinet in Saint-Tropez and Hotel Le Coucou in Meribel are charming, chic hotels with unique identities, each aligned with their respective locations. Each hotel celebrates world class gourmet and French cuisine with bold flavors that pay homage to the country’s native roots, harvest and produce.