One cannot describe a trip to Europe without describing the amazing food.
While some people like the comfort of home, and like to eat the same things when they travel, I love to experience what local people eat when visiting different areas of the world.
Our recent trip to Switzerland, Germany and France provided plenty of opportunity for delicious experimentation.
In Switzerland, we were in an area heavily influenced by German food, so there was schnitzel (fried veal or pork), spaetzle (fried dough), rosti (fried potatoes) and other German standards at most restaurants. But we also experienced traditional Swiss fondue, the breakfasts of cheese, meats and breads, and of course wonderful cheese and chocolate from the region. One of my favourite meals was ravioli made with local gorgonzola cheese.
In Germany, we enjoyed more schnitzel, bratwurst, sauerkraut, and some wonderful beer. I also sampled the local calf’s liver and a roasted pork dish. We were invited into a German home and served kasespaetzle, a casserole combining layers of spaetzle with layers of blended mountain cheese (often Emmentaler, but in Oberstdorf we ate it with the local cheese), and served with fried onions.
That home-cooked dish was amazing. My favourite restaurant meal there was Schupfnudeln or potato fingers. This delicacy from Southern Germany is a potato noodle that is fried crispy, and was served with sauerkraut and slices of bacon.
At the top of the mountain in Oberstdorf, we had a traditional pastry called Kaiserschmarren. The sweet batter is split into pieces while frying and sprinkled with powdered sugar, then served hot with fruit.
In the Alsace region of France we had tarte flambé (we saw this in German restaurants, called flammkuchen, but didn’t sample until we got to France), raclette, and newly harvested wine with the traditional onion tart – along with several bottles of wine from the region.
And in Paris we enjoyed crepes in the Montmartre region, mussels and frites at a Belgian bar near our flat, and a tasty little lunch on the Champs d’elysee.
My favourite meal in Paris was penne with Roquefort cheese, chunks of prosciutto and walnuts. Not everyone likes blue cheese, but the sauce was tasty without being overbearing.
Seems that most of my photos have a beer in them! Of note is a comparison of beer prices. Beer is served in half litres (a little less than a pint) or the smaller size of .33 litre. In Berne, Switzerland, which was an expensive area, a half litre of beer was 6.50 Swiss francs, which is worth a little less than a Euro. In Oberstdorf, Germany, the same size of beer ran about 3.10 Euros. At Oktoberfest a litre of beer was 10 Euros. And on the Champs-Elysees, a half litre of beer in one of the fancier cafes was 13.50 Euros. Of course we could, and did, find it cheaper in Paris.
Is it any wonder that since my return home, I have had to downsize my portions and get back on an exercise program? It’s worth it after a delicious vacation in Europe.