Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Eating our way across Europe

Continuing on my thematic journey across Italy, Switzerland and France, I thought I'd show you some of the food we encountered along the way. Now, just a couple of notes about this... First of all, because we were a large group, our meals at the hotels were, for lack of a better description, "cafeteria food". I didn't take any pictures of them. The breakfasts in one or two places were good, but I never took my camera to breakfast, so no photos of croissants or pain au chocolat. Sorry. My poor Italian friend was dismayed because she thinks the students did not get a good idea of what Italian cooking is about. In fact, she's planning on hosting a "real" Italian meal for them in the next couple of weeks so she can prove that Italians DO know how to cook! Second, it was not really my focus to take pictures of food. I didn't even think about it until the day we had calamari in Venice. Darn! I missed so many good opportunities. Lucky for me, one of the students, Allyson, took some great photos and is allowing me to use them.

So, without further ado, here we go. Bon appetit!

One of the first places the kids went when we got to Rome was the gelato shops. They are all over the place and serve a huge variety of flavours. I only had gelato twice ~ but I wish I had taken advantage of the ubiquitous vendors. Not only do the flavours vary, but so do the prices. A couple of the students really got fleeced and ended up paying 15 Euro for a cone. That's about $25 Cdn. Ouch!

(Picture taken by Allyson)

We found this amusing: stands full of "North American" food. Look at those Pringles and Gatorade. Yuck! I thought we'd escaped all that.

(Picture taken by Allyson)
This was by far the best pizza I have ever tasted. Authentic Italian thin crust, anchovies, tomatoes. YUM! We had this in Tivoli at this little stand where they treated us very well and were extremely friendly.

These are stunning pastries in a shop in Assisi. I was considering buying a few samples, but was saved from having to make a decision by a very rude shop girl who hollered at us when we took out our cameras. "Photos only for customers," she kept yelling. I guess it never occurred to her that we might actually be customers.

Beautiful Easter eggs were the feature in many store windows. I can't believe I didn't buy one! I was afraid it wouldn't make the trip home. No, not because I'd eat it; I thought it might get crushed.
A butcher shop in Siena. I didn't go in ~ meat is one of those things you can't bring back haha.

(Picture by Allyson)
More gorgeous Easter eggs. These were featured in a shop window in Montecatini. There were so many of them and we were in a hurry, so I quickly snapped the picture. No time to go into the shop; we were on our way to catch the train to Florence!

Here you go: the famous calamari from Venice, served with polenta. The real reason I even took this picture was because of the tiny little squid, cooked whole and served with the calamari rings. It was almost too cute to eat. Almost.

Aaaahhhh... the best meal we had on the trip was served at the hotel in Thonon-les-Bains, France. We only stayed there one night ~ pity. Just look at this appetizer. Salmon. (Fish-haters were served a ham appetizer.)

This was the main course (the other choice was chicken). Whenever I have the chance to eat fish, I jump at it. Mr. P and the OnlyChild are not fish lovers so we rarely eat it at home.
And for dessert... Crème Brûlée. Heaven!
Okay, moving on to more chocolate. We went into this beautiful chocolatier in Geneva... to ask directions to another chocolate shop. Duh! I took the time to snap a photo, but didn't buy anything. Don't ask... I have no idea what I was thinking. I mean, just look at these goodies. I should have at least bought one overpriced Easter confection instead of running to the cheaper store. Sigh.

I bought a crêpe when we were in Montmartre, but I forgot to take a picture of it. It was a work of art, too.
On our last night in Paris, we went to that crazy fondue restaurant. I have a few pictures of the food served there. Here is our appetizer ~ just little bowls of meat and pickles.

A pot of hot oil for cooking the chunks of meat (beef, I think, but who really knows?) and some sauces (I think one was ketchup mixed with mayonnaise). Fancy schmancy.

A boiling, bubbling pot of cheese. This was the best part of the meal. That greasy cheese and the bread filled me up.

I'd show you the dessert we had that night, but I'm sure nobody bothered to take a photo of it ~ it was fruit cocktail. You know, the stuff out of a can. I'm not kidding!
I know I took a picture of a beautiful cappuccino I was served in Tivoli, but I think I took it with my friend's camera. She's going to bring me in her pictures so I can steal some so maybe I'll post it later. We drank plenty of cappuccinos, mostly so we could use the bathrooms in the bars (for customers only). Not really, my friend is addicted to them. I am a decaf drinker, but I sure needed the caffeine to keep me going on that trip!
You've probably figured out from this post why I am having such dismal results in the Diet Challenge. Temptation is everywhere! Thanks for accompanying me on this Food Journey. I hope you've enjoyed the edible sights of Europe.


Pat said...

WOW.......you surely did find some great foods to photograph (and thanks to Allyson for loaning you some photos to show us). I'm not a seafood eater, either, so that calamari did NOTHING for me!!! LOL But you redeemed yourself by showing me the chocolate and the creme brulee.

Quilter Going Bananas said...

Creme brulee and chocolate? Sounds heavenly to me! Seeing and tasting food is part of a vacation. The "diet" will always be at home you know...coming from someone who gained weight while in FL recently....

goldenbird said...

Yum ... the pastries in Assisi look delicious, and so does the pizza. Thanks for the food journey!

Sara said...

When I vacation it is all about the food! And, the sights! I love being in new places looking at all the different and tempting foods.

PunkiePie said...

Oh DELISH! It looks like you had a great time! Now I have to go back and read your earlier entries...

LillySue said...

OH, Yes! On a once in a lifetime trip...dieting should be the LAST thing on your mind! Enjoy while you can because there is PLENTY of time to diet. I think I would have had to try every pastry I saw (and I don't usually eat wheat, heehe!) I do eat chocolate and those little bunnies would NEVER have been left out to be stolen by teenagers! Thanks for sharing!

Red Geranium Cottage said...

Love your photos. The cheese fondue and the creme brulee my favs by far. But the chocolate easter candy a close runner up.

andsewon said...

Was some YUM YUMs there for sure!!
Oh pooh diet later enjoy now..which is what you did!!! Besides all that walking had to count for burning some calories off!!
We love seafood here come on down..well we love all the rest too.. ;-)!!Baby back ribs on grill tomorrow!!!