Well I have crossed Europe and back again. I’ve eaten some good food, some excellent food, some indifferent food and some bloody awful food but all in all a good time was had by my stomach.
We crossed several regions of France, German speaking Switzerland and Northern Italy and back again so a real cross section of food on this trip. On one day we had breakfast in Italy, Lunch in Switzerland and Dinner in France. I have to say that was probably my favourite day because I had Brioche for breakfast, which is a sort of breadier Italian croissant. Then came vienna sausages and chips for lunch, which in England would have been awful but they were proper german sausages with bite and continental chips always taste better than their English counterpart, we just can’t make proper french fries!
And finally in Alsacian France I had my dinner, which started with a glass of cremmant d’Alsace and a warm tarte d’oignons.
Then came a main course of what the menu translated as meatballs with a mushroom sauce served with roast potatoes. In no way did that description do it justice. Visually it wasn’t much to look at but, frankly, German food never is that tempting visually, the taste, however, was sublime! The meatballs were huge, hearty and full of flavour and the mushroom sauce was a delicious forestière sauce full of weird and wonderful mushrooms you’d pay through your nose for in England in a wonderfully germanic cream sauce. The potatoes weren’t just plain roast tatties but they also had delicious smoked bacon pieces and were sort of crushed together in a way I’ll never be able to create. Hearty and simple food but utterly satisfying in every way. For dessert I had an ice cream which included plum ice cream, which I really must try with some of the plums as it was very nice. All of this was washed down with a local rosé wine from a vinyard about a mile away, bliss!
I love the Alsace region of France. I love France but it’s also so very German, the perfect melding of the two. We traveled up the Route des Vins through dozens of picture perfect villages passing caves left right and centre. It was harvest time and driving through some of the towns with the windows down was a positively intoxicating experience and the scent of wine making wafted in. We followed more than our fair share of tractors pulling along trains of buckets filled with grapes. I managed to find myself a kugelhopf mould too. You see a lot of these moulds sold as decorative items but I wanted one I could actually cook with and I managed to grab myself a bargain at 9€80. I’ll be experimenting with that as soon as I’ve tempered it. I’ve got to get some Alsacian wine glasses next time I go back, I love the green stems on them.
Other foodie highlights of the trip included another thrown together picnic in idylic surroundings, the fresh peaches that are always 10 times better over there than here and the patisseries, without which I would never have gained half as much holiday weight!