Category Archives: Food

Skedaddle Twaddle about Food!!

A breakfast for cycling champions

Here’s our fifth instalment of a series of handy two-wheeled tips written by cycling journalist Hannah ReynoldsThis week she talks about what makes a good cycling breakfast and how it is different around the world…

Eating a good breakfast will fuel your day of cycling and help you to feel fitter and stronger.

One of the great joys of a cycling holiday is the food, particularly if you are pedalling in a different country to your home. You can relax and relish new dishes you may not have tried before and with a full day of cycling you can eat and drink without guilt!

Our mothers were right, breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day, particularly when you are on a cycling trip. At home we get used to same monotonous meals every morning; porridge, cereal, toast but on a trip you will be offered a whole host of different foods for your breakfast. Different cultures also put different emphasis on breakfast, many skipping it in favour of a mid-morning snack. This can feel strange if you are used to starting the day with a large meal, but we can guarantee a light breakfast has never slowed down Italian or Spanish cyclists! Here are typical cycling breakfasts from some of the many destinations Skedaddle visits.

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What makes a good cycling breakfast?
Fluids – If you are cycling in a hot country make sure you start drinking with your breakfast as you will have become dehydrated through the night.

Carbohydrate – Slower releasing carbohydrates ensure that your energy levels stay topped up for longer. Whilst porridge is a main-stay for UK cyclists you can also try rice, beans and some fruits or vegetables.

Protein – A little bit of protein helps you to feel fuller for longer and when you are cycling day after day is important for maintaining your muscles.

Caffeine – Not essential but nearly every culture in the world has some form of caffeinated drink to help wake them up in the morning!

When in UK…
Most places you stay will offer you the ‘full English’ or ‘full Scottish’ once you are north of the border. Fry-ups have a poor reputation but a cooked breakfast doesn’t have to be a bad start to the day. Select a few items instead of ‘the works’, eggs poached or scrambled instead of fried are a great protein source, tomatoes and baked beans increase your fruit and veg intake and granary toast is a good way to get slow release carbohydrates.

Scottish accommodations might offer your smoked salmon and scrambled egg on toast, a winner as far as healthy breakfasts are concerned thanks to the healthy fats in the salmon.

When in France – Petit déjeuner…
Breakfast in France is generally very simple compared with the rest of the day’s food options with many people skipping breakfast and opting for a mid-morning pastry and coffee instead. A coffee and pain au chocolat on its own will leaving you buzzing with caffeine and sugar but could see you running out of gas mid-way up the first climb.

In many French homes breakfast will be little more than bread, jam and coffee. Hotels however will offer breads, cheeses, cold meats, jams and preserves and of course croissants. You may get a boiled egg or yoghurts and almost always there will be fresh fruit. If you go easy on the pastries but make sure you eat some of the more savoury items and fruit as well then your protein and carb needs will be taken care of until picnic time!

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When in Spain – Desayuno…
Spanish aren’t hugely keen on breakfast first thing but will eat a bit more around mid-morning. A typical food to start the day off is pan con tomate – bread rubbed with the pulp of fresh tomatoes a bit of garlic and olive oil. It is simple but the fantastic olive oil and ripe tomatoes means it is bursting with flavour, vibrant and colourful. A little bit of meat or cheese might be added to this if you need some extra substance. Tortilla, omelette with potato and onion might also be served cold.

In Spain you are also allowed to enjoy cake for breakfast with little magdalenas often served with coffee. Churros are long donuts, sprinkled in sugar while still hot and then dipped into thick, rich hot chocolate. Delicious at any time of day and a favourite street food for the night owls on their way home in the early hours of the morning.

When in Italy – Colazione…
Italy is another country famed for its cuisine who opts to take it easy at the breakfast table. With larger meals at lunch time than we are used to in the UK Italians are reputed to go to work on nothing more than a coffee and a cigarette and it may not be that far from the truth!

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Breakfast is the only time it is really acceptable to drink your coffee milky, accompany it with bread or pastries and you have a fairly typical breakfast, that would often be eaten at the counter of a bar or bakery on the way to work. If you are asking for coffee avoid saying ‘Americano’ even if you want a long black coffee, in most instances asking for this will get you a jug of filter coffee that has been left to stew. Freshly made Italian coffee is one of the perks of a trip to Italy.

When in Costa Rica – Desayuno…
Breakfasts in Costa Rica are proper meals with vegetables, rice, beans, meat and fish on the menu. Delicious fresh fruits such as bananas and pineapple are freely available and the perfect way to round of your meal. Gallo Pinto is the most common dish for breakfast, although you may get different variations the key ingredients are scrambled egg, rice mixed with beans and stir fried plantain. This is one of the healthiest and generous breakfasts you can get with a great combination of slow release carbohydrates, protein, fibre and vitamins from the fresh fruit. If you are more used to a coffee and croissant type of breakfast this larger meal may seem unusual but as the day heats up, you will feel less inclined to eat a big meal at lunchtime.

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12 hours in… Cagliari!

Welcome to Cagliari! In Sardinia it is known as Casteddu and translates simply as castle, the island’s capital is packed with steep streets, where medieval meets modern, and it’s here where you will discover the most peculiar mix of customs and traditions influenced by many different inhabitants who have called the city home over the years.

In a nutshell…
Cagliari is the largest city in Sardinia. As the island’s capital, it has been very important throughout history, particularly because of its harbour, which is one of the largest ports in the Mediterranean Sea. Cagliari is built over seven hills, just like Rome, so be prepared for a few cheeky ascents as you explore!

Cagliari’s beautiful Poetto beach extends for 8 km and is one of the longest beaches in Italy and interestingly all of Southern Europe – perfect for finding a spot to lay your towel down for the day! Right behind Cagliari, Molentargius Natural Park is also home to thousands of pink flamingos. See if you can spot them flying over the city skyline.

Sights not to miss…
Castello is the main historical and symbolic district in Cagliari. In the fourteenth century, it was a fortified area, safeguarded by two towers. Many of the original medieval walls were torn down, but you can still enjoy a stunning view from the top of the Tower of San Pancrazio and the Elephant Tower today. Not far from here, you will find the stunning Cagliari Cathedral and curious National Archaeological Museum.

Also in Castello, you will find Bastione di San Remy, the most important fortification in Cagliari. Pop in and you’ll be spoilt with an open rooftop terrace, complete with a view of the city, surrounding mountains and the sea.

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Santuario di Nostra Signora di Bonaria is a hugely popular pilgrimage site. It is the largest church in Sardinia and is definitely among the best places to see while here.

For those eager to explore beyond the city, we recommend heading to Poetto. One of the best things to do is a walk down the promenade (that also has a new purpose built cycle path) and take a short hike to the Sella del Diavolo – one of the most recognisable features of the city and well worth the walk!

Flavours of Cagliari…
From intense to gentle flavours, Cagliari is full of temptations for the taste buds. The island remains tightly rooted to its social and cultural traditions and is blessed by a constant flow of fresh seafood.

Pop in to Sabores to get a taste of traditional products like wine, beer, cheese and meats! It’s a great place to start your education of Sardinian foods. The owner and staff will be more than happy to share their expertise and answer your food and wine related questions too – local recommendations are, of course, always the best.

Dishes to try…
– The Fregola is a type of dry semolina pasta, which is prepared following one of the most ancient traditions of the island. In Cagliari it is typically served with clams.

– Porceddu is a suckling pig and one of the most cherished traditional dishes of Sardinia. The best ones are those cooked using lard and served on a bed of fragrant myrtle.

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For a sweet tooth…
 Arantzada is composed of only three things: orange peel, honey and almonds and is a firm staple at Sardinian weddings and christenings. A luxury delicacy, if ever!

– Sebadas once were a starter, but now it’s preferred to be eaten for the dessert. Filled with fresh sheep’s cheese or ricotta, mixed with lemon or orange zest and different herbs, it typically comes served warm with honey or sugar on the top. Another unique Sardinian treat.

Other gems…
Explore the colours and flavours of Cagliari civic markets. It’s a great opportunity to discover traditions and stories of the neighbourhoods, while enjoying the most authentic taste of Cagliari too. Cagliari is home of the largest covered market in Italy and one of the largest in Europe, the market of San Benedetto. Here you will find everything from fish, meat, fruit and vegetables to groceries and other produce too.

Our team says…
‘My best advice would be to head into the area of narrow streets to the south-east of the Monumento a Carlo Felice and explore – lots of narrow streets, full of boutique shops, cafes and little piazzas to get lost in.’ – Olly, Skedaddle videographer.

‘Be sure to hang around historical districts of Marina, Villanova and Stampace. Have a coffee in Piazza San Domenico, take a break in Orto dei Cappuccini and have a special dinner in Stella Marina di Montecristo. Check out Cagliari Unofficial Guides Facebook page for inspiration and latest going-ons.’ – Noemi from Skedaddle Italia, a true Cagliari local!

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Feeling inspired? Experience Cagliari yourself…
Most of our trips across all types of cycling start and end in Cagliari, so you always have an option to come here a day early or stay a bit longer after the trip to enjoy the city!

For Roadies we recommend our Coastal Explorer or Sardinian Mountains holidays that explore two very different parts of the island.

If you’re looking for a leisure ride, take a look at our Island Flavours and Gentle Island Cycling holidays. Or choose Family Flavours for an itinerary more suitable for kids.

For a mountain biking adventure, look no further than our La Costa Verde or Sardinia Traverse holidays!

India and Sri Lanka – two tea–rrific destinations for a cycling holiday!

Are you a tea lover? If, like us, you can’t imagine a better way to start a day in the saddle than with a finely brewed cuppa, then we suggest you read on…

Whilst most might think that us Brits are the chief tea drinkers of the world, you might not know that tea is also something engrained within Indian and Sri Lankan culture too. On our Classic Kerala and  Backroads and Beaches cycling holidays, we explore endless tea plantations and even a Tea Museum, then cycle through the very tea estates that provide the leaves for your morning brew.  With tea on the mind (and a brew firmly in hand) we take a closer look at this classic beverage loved by millions across the globe.

National Treasure…
Did you know that tea is a second most consumed drink in the world? Beaten only by water! It’s more loved than coffee, beer and even Coca-Cola. Today, India is the world’s second largest tea producer and is widely exporting its vast selection of teas to many countries around the world. Alongside this, over 70% of tea grown there is actually consumed by Indians themselves. Obviously, tea is a top beverage of choice for the locals!

Sri Lanka is not far behind India and is the world’s forth-largest producer of this much-loved drink. Interestingly, it’s the British who started the development of tea production in Sri Lanka, by bringing seeds from China back to the country in the 19th century. Today it’s one of the most prominent tea producing countries in the world.

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A Tribute to Tea…
As part of our cycling tour in India you will visit Munnar, a major plantation centre, rich with tea estates and is a must see stop in South India’s largest tea-growing region. Here you’ll be greeted by miles of lush plantations and will have an opportunity to take a fascinating look into the history of tea production in Munnar during the visit to a Tea Museum. Feed your curiosity about everything it has to offer and discover the many stages of processing– your chance to learn a thing or two about your beloved beverage.

On our adventure to Sri Lanka you will head to Nuwara Eliya, a district in the Central Province best known for its particularly fine quality tea. This region is quite different from anywhere else in the country due to high altitudes, hills and cool breezes – a lovely contrast to the tropical landscapes you’ll encounter during your last few cycling days with us in Sri Lanka.

Feeling Inspired?

Experience the beauty and serenity of the local tea plantations, which accompany an abundance of beautiful scenery and delicious local cuisine on our cycling holidays to India or Sri Lanka. To learn more about the trips, check out the current availability and departure dates click here.