6 items every #foodlover should bring with them on a trip
You’re a traveller. You like your food, like your wine (and beer) and like to explore the world around you mostly by tasting it. Sometimes you’ll afford an all inclusive package and you won’t have to lift a finger on your vacation but most of the time you’ll rent a cute Airbnb aware of the fact you won’t be able to eat that many meals out and there’s a possibility you’ll have to cook. Which is no problem for you, of course, you’ve picked out the accommodation with a decent looking kitchen and utensils. It will probably have the basic pantry supplies, especially if you’re in a gourmet country, such as France or Italy. But, if you’re heading for Croatian coast, be prepared that kitchen will be poorly equipped, especially if we’re talking about classical “in the season-overpriced-ex granma’s apartment kind of accommodation”.
So, you’re probably bringing your personality on vacation with you. And your personality knows exactly which items it cannot lower it’s criteria on. Therefore, you’re better off bringing them with you. Here they are:
SALT – Why salt, you can buy salt anywhere, right? That’s true, but have in mind that most of the “regular” salt in stores is nowadays mixed with some form of preservative against caking. It is very hard, almost impossible to find salt in Croatian stores that doesn’t have some form of preservative. Only the salt form Solana Nin is completely natural salt, while Solana Ston products are not widely available. If you’re not travelling to Nin or Ston I would suggest taking yours with you. I always say what is a traveller without at least 4 kinds of salt on him?!
PEPPER MILL – this one is easy. If you don’t bring your grinder with you, you will be destined to that peppery powder unworthy of the name. You do not wish to put that mess in your food. Yes, there are dispensable mills you can find in bigger supermarkets, but why would you want to waste your time going to big supermarkets while it is much more fun discovering and exploring the farmers’ markets at your destination.
EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL – Ok, if you’re coming from a non-Mediterranean country to Croatia you can probably skip that, it’s a more important item for us Croatians going abroad. But you’d be surprised how hard it is to find Croatian Croatian extra virgin olive oil in supermarkets, as most of the stuff is mixed with olive oil of unknown origin (and quality, ofcourse). If you’re buying it in a souvenir shop, it will be massively overpriced and if you manage to find a farmers’ market in Dalmatia it may be, well…let just say…not really extra virgin. So, to find the good stuff you should know ahead which producer is reliable and buy it with them.
WINE GLASSES – This one is a bit of a problem if you’re travelling by plane, but if you’re travelling by car, there’s no excuse not to have a set of two glasses in it. Cause there is a good chance your apartment won’t have wine glasses at all, or crappy glasses that will murder your wine. Buy them travel glasses, you do not wish to drink wines in a wine country from a water glass. That’s just sad.
BOTTLE OPENER – Also a problem if you’re travelling by plane and forget it in your hand luggage. You might be accused of terrorism and screened for explosive (true story). But definitely something every wine lover should have on them at all times. You never know when you might have to open a good bottle of wine. For every bottle of fine wine out there you need a proper corkscrew. The sommeliers corkscrew, of course. End of story.
GARLIC – that’s an extra item on this list. You don't really need be carrying it around on your trips like a crazy vampire figther, BUT, you never know if you’re gonna find good garlic where you’re going or you’ll have to buy that poisonous* Chinese supermarket crap. And once you have some salt, pepper, extra virgin olive oil and garlic, just buy pasta and a great meal is ready in a few minutes!
*I call all fruit and vegetables that come from intensive massive production poisonous. That doesn’t mean it is necessarily acutely poisonous, but in general, it might be if you don’t take a minute and think about what you’re eating.
I have a friend who doesn't go on a trip without a jar of estragon (yes, I know some weird people). And yes, I know I should have put knives on the list but that's a whole other story that deserves a separate article, so we'll leave it at this. What are your "must have" comfort cooking pieces of equipment/supplies?