Saturday, July 2, 2011

Welcome Home!

And we're back!  Mr. PT and I successfully made it through western Europe, admiring ancient monuments, enjoying Mediterranean beaches, and, of course, eating some fantastic food.  I apologize for not being able to post as we were traveling.  Computers were hard to come by and buying time on the internet can get expensive!  But I can sum up the European way of eating in a few words: fresh and slow.  I truly believe these simple concepts are the secret to making their food so gosh darn irresistible.  The fruits and vegetables taste like they came from the garden next door, the bread is made the morning you buy it, and organic meat is the only option!

It appeared that Europeans did not rush with their food.  Sitting down at a cafe with a good cup of coffee and a pastry can take an hour.  A full meal could keep you occupied all night!  It seemed to me that the people really enjoyed and savored their food and used their flavorful dishes as a reason to spend time with family and close friends.  Sometimes, I feel that we Americans rush around so much and eat so quickly that we lose touch with the wonderful flavors, colors, and textures of freshly made dishes.  I am hoping to incorporate these two aspects of European food culture into my kitchen.

Being on a budget, Mr. PT and I did not formally dine every day, and I'll admit, I failed to take pictures of some of our more amazing meals.  But hopefully I can give you a good idea of the important role food had in our trip across the big pond. 

We spent a lot of our euros in bakeries, cafes, and fromageries (cheese shops).  We also utilized the local supermarkets for picnics and snacks.  I warn you, you will see a lot of foods that normally would not fall in the category of "exceptionally healthy."  However, life is to be enjoyed, and if you eat these wonderful flavors in moderation, I say go for it!    

A breakfast of cappuccino, espresso, and croissant with butter and jam

 Breakfast of fresh rolls with butter and raspberries, streusel, and coffee
*this streusel looks rich, but in fact, it was not overly sweet...a little sugar and fat goes a long way! 

Breakfast of fresh croissants, pain au chocolate (croissant with chocolate filling) and yogurt

 Mr. PT loved these!  Fresh milk bread filled with a custard (again, not overly sweet) and chocolate

This breakfast was actually rather disappointing...why?  Because none of these food items were fresh, they were all pre-packaged and processed.  Even the coffee came from a machine.  We felt kind of gross after this breakfast, which reminded us that fresh is always the better option.

 A lunch of baguette, cheese, and apples
*I wish I could figure out the mystery of the French baguette...perfectly crispy on the outside but light and fluffy on the inside, how do they do it??

 Lunch in the train station of baguette sandwiches (ham, cheese, butter) and espresso

 Picnic lunch in Strasbourg, France with baguettes and 4 types of cheeses (munster, goat, manchego, brie) accompanied with red wine

 We were welcomed to Germany with a lunch of sausage salad! Basically, pickled and sliced bologna with relish...I'm glad I tried it but I didn't feel the need to order this dish again!

 Mr. PT had a classic lunch of red sausage with mustard...yum!

 Lunch in Italy! An Italian pizza with a creamy mozzarella cheese topping...simple but delicious

 While hiking in Cinque Terre, Italy, we were bombarded by lemon trees!

 My favorite lunch of the entire trip...focacia pizza with fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, and pesto. Heaven.

 A lunch/mid-afternoon snack in Florence, Italy of veggie focacia and cafe au for Mr. PT

 We were welcomed back to Paris with a croque madam for lunch (toast filled with cheese and ham, topped with an egg)...this is a fantastic French dish I will be replicating!

Glenn got an omelet fromage (cheese omelet) with a salad topped with french mustard dressing...this was a little rich but still so yummy, especially after a long night spent on a train!

 A German snack of streusel and pretzels

 Enjoying a beer garden, looking down at the city of Freiburg, Germany with its beautiful vineyards

 One of many nutella and banana crepes!

Even the pigeons eat well!

 A German bread bowl with potato butter...I need to find a recipe for that one!

 Mr. PT's German dinner of white sausage and potato dumpling...he was not running a marathon after this meal!

 My German dinner of potato cakes topped with fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, and mushrooms...these were heavy meals that we did not eat often, but when we did, we enjoyed them!

 The German's version of a salad with fries, accompanied with 3 types of dipping sauces! Perfect dish for splitting!

 Dinner in our hotel in Colmar, France of cheese, bread, cherries and sausage...and red wine of course!  This was a great way to save our euros but still enjoy the local food!

 The Italian version of beer munchies...fresh olives, peanuts, and a plate of focacia topped with tomatoes, mozzarella, pesto, and thinly sliced sausage...this turned into dinner!

 Again, we think we're just ordering beers but are surprised with a sampling of local foods in Levanto, Italy!

 This might have been our favorite dinner.  We found a family owned restaurant in Florence, Italy that served simple, yet incredibly flavorful dishes accompanied with a carafe of no-named red wine.  Pesto pasta and fresh bruschetta...yum.

 An Italian dessert of lemon sorbet...served inside a lemon!

Those Italians have dinners down pat...pasta with red sauce and salad greens with avocado, pesto, cheese and pine nuts. Just perfect.

Hope you enjoyed this sampling of our culinary escapades in Europe.  Like I said, I was inspired by the European's perspective of eating, and will try to incorporate the French, German, and Italian ways of eating into my kitchen!  I'm sure Mr. PT won't complain. ;)

No comments: