Weekend Cooking: ‘Sixty Summers’ in Six Dishes from Amanda Hampson

In my new novel ‘Sixty Summers’, the relationships of three old friends are put to the test when they retrace the steps of their youthful backpacking trip through Europe. I had my own memories of travelling in that era to draw on for the past story. The next task was to research the current day journey through Europe. I set off by train with my characters for company and share with you here a few of my food experiences.

Paris was my first stop in Europe. A city with many fabulous restaurants for those who are not on a tight budget, and know where to eat. I don’t fall into either category and had a couple of meals that were almost inedible. The best was one of my favourite French dishes, salade de chévre chaud. It is so simple it’s almost impossible to mess up. Grilled goat’s cheese on slices of baguette with ripe tomatoes and a little greenery – délicieux!

Next stop was Berlin. Known for wonderful breads and every kind of sausage, they also excel at knocking up a torte or two. Fresh and beautifully decorated, the slices are generous so the tricky part is deciding which kuchen to sample. One of my favourites is the unpronounceable zwetschgendatschi; a sponge cake topped with ripe plums and dusted with powdered sugar.

In Prague they are very keen on all things chocolate. It was 8 degrees below zero when I was there and I did indulge in a delicious hot chocolate to thaw my frozen hands out after a long walk. I didn’t have a chance to sample these rather strange concoctions. Chocolate rum I can understand, but chocolate wine and beer?!

In Vienna, I lashed out on lunch at the historic Cafe Central to check out the classic Viennese architecture. First opened in 1876, some of its regulars were Trotsky, Stalin, Hitler and Sigmund Freud – not sure if they shared a table! The cafe is justifiably famous for its exquisite pastries and gateaux. I had the Himbeer Harmonie – chocolate with raspberry and marshmallow – it tasted even better than it looks!

Bologna has some of the most amazing food shops anywhere in Europe and, after indulging in gateaux, it was time get into some fruit and vegetables. One fruiterer, unimpressed with my pronunciation of mela (apple) took it upon herself to give me some tutoring. Other customers stood around watching with interest as she corrected me and had me repeat the word numerous times until she was satisfied – no extra charge.

Crete was my last stop. There are so many classic Greek dishes that are good and the yoghurt and fruit I had in Chania was the best. This beetroot salad was one of those dishes that, when it arrives, makes you wonder what on earth you ordered. It was beetroot and was cold, so I guess that makes it a salad – but it was also very weird!


If you would like to read more about my research trip jump over to my blog: https://sixtysummers.net/


BethFishReads invites you to share any food related post in the weekly Weekend Cooking link up.

10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Review: Sixty Summers by Amanda Hampson | book'd out
  2. Theresa Smith Writes
    May 12, 2019 @ 20:42:50

    What a great post! Thank you. 😊

    Liked by 1 person


  3. Amanda Barrett
    May 12, 2019 @ 21:02:01

    What a mouth watering journey across Europe, I enjoyed it very much. Thank you Amanda and Shelleyrae 🙂

    Liked by 1 person


  4. Beth F
    May 12, 2019 @ 21:26:18

    Arghhh — now I’m hungry and I need to plan my next trip to Europe. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person


  5. Trin Carl
    May 12, 2019 @ 23:38:15

    What a beautiful market layout. One of my most memorable moments in France was talking to a Moroccan market owner. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person


  6. rhapsodyinbooks
    May 13, 2019 @ 00:39:56

    Everything looks great! Thanks for sharing the mouth-watering pictures!

    Liked by 1 person


  7. Jen | Book Den
    May 13, 2019 @ 02:07:23

    Wow! That all looks amazing!

    Liked by 1 person


  8. Trackback: It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? | book'd out
  9. Patty Magyar
    May 13, 2019 @ 23:25:43

    Lovely post!

    Liked by 1 person


  10. Vi
    May 14, 2019 @ 02:52:02

    That food and the sweets look so yummy! Could dive right into it *lol* Glad your mother is well again.

    Liked by 1 person


I want to know what you think! Your comments are appreciated.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s