Cooking for Couchsurfing

Throughout my 6-month adventure in Europe, I was lucky to have couchsurfed 9 times. For those of you aren’t familiar with Couchsurfing, it’s essentially a global community of amazing people who are either seeking for hosts to accommodate them for a brief period of time during their travels, or hosts who are opening their homes to travellers in return for meeting new people and vicariously experiencing the world through others.

All 9 of my couchsurfing experiences were positive and remarkable. I had a chance to connect with the host in all 9 occasions and it meant a lot to me that each host trusted me with their personal space and were extremely hospitable – they all gave me a great impression of their respective city/country.

During my last couchsurfing experience in Portugal, I was invited to the home of Ana and her family. It was a beautiful home in Vila Nova de Famalicao, Braga, which was north of Porto. Ana and her family had a small farm, filled with amazing fruits and vegetables, chickens, a pony, a couple pigs, ducks, two lovely dogs, a cat, and a ton of kittens.

I wanted to somehow give back to the couchsurfing community for this new experience and so I decided to cook a 3-course meal for Ana and her family. It took me a while to think of something that would be easy, quick, and tasty. Lucky for me, Ana and her family offered to pitch in on ingredients from their farm. This was what the meal turned out to be:

First Course:

Assorted Cured Meats with Cheese, Cherry Tomato, and Arugula on Sliced Baguette

Second Course:

Oven Roasted Chicken (raised by Ana’s father) with Vegetables seasoned with Rosemary and a butter glaze

Third Course:

Chocolate and Vanilla Ice Cream with Fresh Apple and Peach slices, topped with a Dark Chocolate Ganache

The coolest part of cooking this meal was roasting the chicken in a traditional fire-wood oven (there’s no way of controlling the heat). It was an eye-opening experience and we had a complete blast eating the meal together, talking, laughing, and enjoying the experience.

If you’re travelling and thinking about couchsurfing, I’d love to share my experiences and help you make the most out of it!

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