Plzen, Czech Republic, offers a wealth of architectural marvels, performance art and paintings of various styles, enough for it to be designated as one of two European Capitals of Culture in 2015. The 700-year-old city is set to celebrate the award with an array of events including circus shows, performances and art exhibits.
Chefs often disagree about the proper way to cook gumbo, debating the merits of the meats, the veggies and the seafood. Some chefs include sausage, shrimp and chicken, while others create a more austere soup with simple salt pork. Equally argument-worthy are the seasonings and the thickening agents. Some chefs rely on a roux, while others let okra stand alone in bringing body to the hearty Southern stew.
Cioppino, the fish stew that originated in Liguria, Italy, is an institution along Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco, but it also can be made at home. The emphasis is on fresh and local ingredients, which in Northern California include Dungeness crab and other seafood, combined with tomatoes, garlic and wine.
Pilsner Urquell, the high-end Czech beer owned by SABMiller, is expected to post sales volume growth in the U.S. of "medium to high single digits," after a drop in 2009. The pale lager has a strong hoppy taste and is sold in kegs. The company is designing menus of food to complement the beer and teaching bartenders how to draw it to create a traditional thick foam head.