The first Bristol pizza festival

Yesterday, we went to the first event Bristol pizza festival, organised by Foozie. Five of the region’s pizza vendors plus craft beers, and Prosecco. Honestly, with that combination it’s hard to go wrong!

It’s exciting to be part of something that is happening for the first time. Especially if it involves food!

Tickets were only £14 and included four pizza tokens (which could get you a whole pizza or four quarters). Thankfully, there were only 500 tickets available. Gosh, in Australia you’d pay $20 and you’d get nothing, plus you’d spend the day lining up and go home cranky because you only managed to get once slice.

On top of a good range of pizza options, each pizza vendor developed a Bristol themed pizza for the event and attendees could get a quarter as part of their ticket. I thought this was a stroke of brilliance because I’m a big fan of having a bit of everything so you don’t have to decide on just one thing!

I really liked the venue too – The Station on Silver Street! The beauty of being new in town means so many of these places are new to me and we often have nothing like them in Brisbane.

As a fussy pizza eater, I decided before I went in that I would judge each of the themed pizzas, so here goes:

Pizzarova
Bristol Temple Meats – Fior Di Latte mozzarella, pancetta, ‘nduja sausage and salami Milano topped with chilli or garlic oil
I really enjoyed the flavour and texture of the dough and as far as ‘meatlovers’ pizzas go, it was pretty good! I’m a big fan of ‘nduja, so I enjoyed its firey punch.

Bristol Pizza Festival - Pizzarova

Mission Pizza
Massive Cheese Attack – cream, fire-roasted pear, Cornish Blue cheese, Fior di Latte mozzarella, Fontina, cracked black pepper, a drizzle of honey
This pizza was my number 2. The base was well-cooked and I loved the combination of flavours – the stand outs, of course, being the sweet pear and sharp blue cheese – strong but surprisingly smooth (and I’m not usually a lover of blue cheese!).

Bristol Pizza Festival - Mission Pizzas

Woodchop Pizza
PeSSto Great Britain – pesto, salami from Somerset Charcuterie and sun-dried tomatoes
Unfortunately, I think they were too busy at the time we got our PeSSto Great Britain because the base just wasn’t cooked enough. Toppings-wise, I felt the sundried tomatoes didn’t add to the overall flavour and we couldn’t taste any pesto. The Somerset Charcuterie salami was really nice though.

Bristol Pizza Festival - Woodchop Pizza

Pizza Bike
Drizzle in Brizzle – sourdough base, tomato sauce, Cheddar cheese, fresh herbs, pesto, oils
Pizza Bike had my favourite tomato base – tangy and flavourful. Unfortunately, the pizza was really difficult to eat because the base was quite soggy or undercooked, I couldn’t tell which. I really like flavour of the base though. As a sourdough lover, I’m keen to buy some of their bases to make pizza at home without the mess!

Bristol Pizza Festival - Pizza Bike

Winner – Baz & Fred
The Young Mucker – tomato, mozzarella, fennel sausage and tenderstem broccoli
For me this pizza was the winner. The based was cooked perfectly, making it easy to eat (I could eat it one-handed without the topping going everywhere). I also loved the combination and taste of the toppings – aromatic fennel always goes well with pork, and the broccoli was perfectly cooked.

Bristol Pizza Festival - Baz and Fred

Thanks for putting together Bristol’s first pizza festival, Foozie; I’m looking forward to the next one!

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My new home – Bristol

If you’ve been following our Instagram feed and even our Facebook page, you’ll have noticed by now that I’m no longer travelling per se. We arrived in Bristol on 3 October and have been living in AirBnBs while job hunting and being tourists.

When I tell people we’ve relocated here they usually ask why. But not just, ‘why did you move to Bristol?’, it’s more like, ‘why the hell would you choose to move to the UK? It’s so much nicer in Australia!’. Obviously I then have to explain that a lot of Australians do it because it’s cheaper to travel all over Europe while living in the UK. Most people nod in understanding, but their faces say otherwise haha.

Bristol food
Eat a pitta falafels from St Nicholas markets + Moroccan from St Nicholas markets + salad from The Stable, Bristol

Once past the moving to the UK question, they ask why we chose Bristol over London. It’s probably a fair question because London is effectively the centre of everywhere. And that’s exactly why we didn’t want to live there – too big, takes too long to get anywhere, too expensive, too many people vying for the same jobs…you get the idea. Coming from Brisbane, I wasn’t sure we could handle something so massive. When I researched, Bristol popped up in a lot of ‘great places to live’ lists and it seemed like it had a really great cultural feel. I say ‘we’ a lot, but Husband didn’t really have a lot to do with it, he was happy for me to choose.

Bristol food
A lane near our first AirBnB + eating a locally made sausage roll at Bristol’s harbourside market

So far, we’ve loving it here. Even Husband is keen to stay (though finding a job has been a tough task for him). The food scene is so vibrant – there are pop ups, new restaurants (and the old ones), markets and events. I know Brisbane had all of those things, but it’s on a smaller scale here. For example, we’re going to a pizza festival on Saturday and they only sold 500 tickets. In Brisbane, an event like that would be open to thousands of people; making it a crowded experience with more time spent in queues than actually enjoying the atmosphere and food.

Bristol
Blaise Castle + picnic in the park

Regardless of the food, every day feels like an adventure as we walk around finding new and interesting things. We’re yet to make new friends, but I’m sure we will. I went to a food blogging event on Monday night and there’s so much camaraderie within the blogging scene here – it’s lovely to see. There will be plenty of posts on here about Bristol, Bath and beyond, as well as the places farther afield (we’re still trying to work out what to do for Christmas at this point!).

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The Georgian kitchen at Bristol’s Georgian House Museum + breakfast at a new ‘Melbourne-style’ cafe in Stokes Croft where we are staying now

My favourite adventure to date was meeting Hugh from River Cottage. As many of your know, I’m a big fan! We went to the launch lunch of his new book, The River Cottage A-Z, at River Cottage Canteen and I basically gushed at him (poor guy). The food was really amazing too – simple, full of flavour and very very British. I’m looking forward to going back there for a celebratory meal once I’ve been offered a job.

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Me and Hugh + Hugh’s autograph + one of the taster platters from the lunch at River Cottage Canteen

Expect to see more of our adventures in the English West Country!

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The pastries and breadbased goodies of Prague – Part 2

As promised in part one of this post, I wanted to write more about the delicious things we ate while in Prague. By no means is this is a complete guide, but it might help you make some decisions when there are so many things to choose from.

Medovník

One of the sweets I enjoyed the most was medovník – Czech honey cake. It’s layers of biscuit and caramelised condensed milk that create a sweet treat with a unique texture and flavour. Surprisingly, it wasn’t too rich and we didn’t walk away feeling sorry for ourselves. We got it at Artisan Cafe & Bistrot next door to where we stayed. They make all their cakes, which is a definite plus!

Medovník at Artisan Cafe and Bistrot Prague
Medovník at Artisan Cafe and Bistrot
Vetrnik

This particular pastry sent us on bit of an adventure. I googled to find the best in Prague and the results showed that the vetrnik at Cafe Savoy was heads above the rest – thankfully Taste of Prague did the work for me, so it didn’t take me long to decide where to go. Vetrniks are made from a choux pastry, filled with cream and topped with a caramel sauce/glaze. It’s very much like a profiterole, but certainly richer. I can recommend sharing one if you buy the size in the photo below, otherwise just buy a small one and enjoy it slowly.

Cafe Savoy in Prague
Vetrnik (and a strawberry cake) at the Cafe Savoy
Czech fruit dumplings

Fruit dumplings are exactly what they sound like – fruit inside a flour-based dumpling, and served with ‘dry’ cottage cheese (or curd cheese) and sugar. If we were in Australia or the UK, I’m sure there would have been cream or ice cream involved too. It’s simple fare, but homely and you could just imagine someone’s grandmother making these lovingly for a big family feast. The dumplings in the image below had plums in the middle, but they can be made from any fruit (I’m keen to have a go making apricot ones myself). I really enjoyed these and I was a bit disappointed that I waited until our last night in Prague to try them. I’ve read that Cafe Savoy has excellent fruit dumplings, but we got these at Restaurant U Karla.

From my understanding, these dumplings can be served as the main meal or as dessert – my kind of food!

Honourable mention: Kofola is a cola soft drink produced in the Czech Republic. Apparently it was created when other cola brands weren’t available. I’d been on the look out for it at most places but never saw it until we walked into Restaurant U Karla, where they had it on tap. It’s got nice flavour and definitely worth a try.

 

Sweet tooth in Prague
Fruit dumplings + Kofola at Restaurant U Karla
Kremrole

A light (weight-wise, not calorie-wise) pastry filled with cream. While not in the shape of a horn, it’s very similar to cream horns you’ve probably seen. I usually don’t go for pastries full of cream, but these were small (and quite cheap!) and they had made it on to my list. It was light and the cream was quite tangy, which I wasn’t expecting. We found the bakery we bought them from while wandering back to the Old Town Square from the Jewish Quarter – it’s on Dlouhá.

Tredlnik

This was our end-of-trip treat (let’s be honest, we didn’t actually need any more treats, you’ve seen the rest of the list!). We had seen 90% of the tourists in prague walking around with them, so FOMO got the best of us. Plus, our next stop was London and we thought we should use our Euros. While they looked really nice, the tredlnik itself seemed stale, but perhaps the ice cream in the middle of it changed the texture. I don’t want to give you any recommendations on where to go for one of these, but if you want something super naughty, I think this would be the way to go and you can find them pretty much anywhere in the city.

Sweet tooth in Prague
Tredlnik + Kremrole

I hope my posts have given you bit of an idea of the treats you can find in Prague. I’m currently in the middle of writing about the savoury dishes so you don’t think we lived on sugar for five days.

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The pastries and bread based goodies of Prague – Part 1

Our next stop on our recent travels was Prague in the Czech Republic. We booked an apartment in Staré Město – or the Old Town – which was very central.

Much like Tallinn in Estonia, the Old Town is made up of old buildings and cobbled streets – if you’re a history buff like me, there is so much to see you won’t know where to start.

Of course, checking out a few historical aspects of every place we stop is important, but so is the food. When I did my pre-travel research on Prague (read: looked at the food I could try), I noticed a number of delicious-looking pastries and bread items. On the list they went! I got through a few of them, but I’m sure there are many more I could try if I went back.

Kolach

On our first morning in Prague, we set out from our apartment with a random walk in mind – we decided to see where the day would take us. It wasn’t long before we came across a bakery. We grabbed a couple of things, but the tastiest was the makovy kolacek (or kolach). I guess we would compare this to a danish of sorts in Australia, though not as sweet – it’s a brioche-style dough, shaped into a circle and filled with various ingredients (jam, fruit, poppy seeds). As with my dishes in this part of the world, many neighbouring countries have their own versions too.

Kolach in Prague
A makovy kolacek (or kolach) + the view over the Charles Bridge
Honey bread

Later, we found ourselves in a little shop (part of someone’s home) near Prague Castle called Sweet Prague – where they make and sell honey bread. The lady in the shop informed us (rather strongly) that we shouldn’t ever confuse honey bread with ginger bread as they are two very different beasts. The honey bread – in various shapes and sizes – is used as gifts and many people give them for a range of events from marriages to Christmas, and they last for twenty years (as decorations). It has a very different flavour to ginger bread, so if you’re in Prague make sure you try both.

Sweet Prague

Hořické trubičky

Something neither of us enjoyed were hořické trubičky – or horice rolls – thin sweet wafers rolled and filled with sickly sweet cream (to me, it tasted like eating a piece of cardboard filled with very very sweet buttercream). We found these in a gingerbread shop and asked the lady what they were, in response we received “they are traditional Czech food”. Not knowing what we were getting ourselves into, we each chose one and left. I ended up eating only half because it was too sweet for me. When I googled them later, I found that people really enjoyed them and I wondered if maybe we’d just had bad ones. Maybe we’ll try again next time we visit!

Horice rolls in Prague
A hořické trubičky + the Astronomical Clock in Old Town Square

EDIT: Here’s part two of Prague for sugar lovers.

What’s your favourite pastry?

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