Saturday, March 26, 2011

Paris, Anyone? Part 4

If you’re just now joining us, we’ve been chatting about how anyone
(that means You!)
can travel to Europe, and on a frugal mama’s budget!

Here’s what we’ve got going on:

March 6th: Intro to Hopping the Pond
March 13th: Get Yer Transportation On!
March 20th : Where to Sleep?
March 27th : Eating your way through Europe...yummo.
April 3rd: Shop 'till Ya Drop!

This week we’re taking a peek at where to eat while in Europe.

Mama Mia…this subject always makes me hungry.

When in Rome, do as the Romans. In other words, while in Europe, eat like a European! Europeans are natural foodies (well, most of them are…) and they truly enjoy food.

My last trip to Paris was an all girls trip (actually it was an all mommies trip!) and believe it or not, my favorite part of the trip was our nightly evening meal. We spent hours over our meal with lots of wine and dessert included. We talked and talked and talked, with no interruptions.

It was bliss.

So be ready to relax a little over meal time – Europeans cherish food and good conversation and you should too!

Here is how our food is typically mapped out within a day. Remember that this is the frugal mama way to tour, to get the best bang for your Euro budget!

Breakfast: we grab a wonderful cup of coffee and a pastry from the local bakery (there are @ 3 bakeries on every corner) and we’re on our way!

Lunch: if we are in more remote area, we stop that morning at a local market and grab some bread, tasty cheese, fruit, and water (or wine!) and pack it with us for the day.

If we’re in a more metro area, we eat off the streets! (no, not literally…).
We find the most delectable paninis, crepes and such, made right there in little street stands - they are wonderful and cheap!

Dinner: We only have about two actual nice sit-down dinners a week. Most nights we will stop at a walk-up restaurant or grocery and purchase fresh baked chicken and scrumptious salads…oh, and of course wine and dessert!

Eating this way will save you a ton of money, you will enjoy a great variety of foods, and you will actually be eating like a real European!

Here are some notes about Food by Country, based on our experiences:

Switzerland Favorites

KaseKuchen. In Germany this is their version of cheesecake (I’ll get to that later…), but in Switzerland, this is an amazing thin-crusted cheese pie. It’s a nice combo of emmental, gruyère, and appenzell cheeses and it literally melts in your mouth. Here’s a recipe that I found that looks pretty close to the real deal.

Poulet Curry Sandwich. This is just a basic curried chicken salad served on some tasty bread. Most bakeries carry this and it’s a perfect grab for lunch!

Laugen bretzel.
These are basic pretzels that have been split and made into a little sandwich. I literally eat my weight in these – I can’t stop. These are found in local bakeries.

Bircher Muesli. This is a must-have for breakfast. I’m not a big muesli girl, but this is a major exception. A mix of muesli, yogurt, fresh honey, juice, heavy cream and fresh fruit. Most tea rooms and hotels serve this. You will also see it in little yogurt cups at the grocery, but that’s not the real deal.

Last on the list for Switzerland (and most important) is a visit to the Sprüngli store. They make the most killer macaroons. I’ve tried them everywhere I can find them and nothing compares to the Sprüngli version. Tons of sugar, but not too sweet and they melt as soon as you bite into them. Besides sending your taste buds through the roof, look how cute they are!

The best advice for Italy, is to stay away from Italian restaurants that advertise a lot or those that are in the heart of touristy areas – go to those found in side streets that don’t have many tourists eating there – eat with the locals!

Gelato: all I can say about this is eat as much as you can possibly stuff down! I realize that there are gelato shops in the States now, but there’s nothing like a scoop of pure Italian gelato- and for only 1 euro per scoop!

The fresh fish on the menu is always tasty and if you order a steak, it will actually be a side of beef – they believe in big portions!

For coffee, order a Latte Macchiato (tiny bit of espresso with lots of foamy milk) – it’s the perfect pick-me-up.

For olive fans, there are Turkish olive bars all over the place. I accidently spent a whopping $22 on olives the first time I stopped by one (my husband was not amused). But trust me, it’s olive heaven.

The pastries are not as good as they look – they don’t use much sugar in them, so their flavor is very floury. Their cheesecakes look divine, but the looks are deceiving . Try one if you like, but your best bet will be a pastry that includes some good ol' German chocolate.

For breakfast, milchreis is amazing. It’s a version of rice pudding that is both filling and sweet.

A note about pizza – in both Germany and Switzerland, pepperoni is actually banana peppers. If you want our version of pepperoni on your pie, you have to order your pizza “mit salami”.


If you’re in a more metro area (Paris!), a quick bite can be found at Brioche Dorée. This is a little in and out café that has something for everyone, and you’ll see them all over the city. Prices are very reasonable and the food is always fresh and tasty. This is a no-frills eating experience, but if you’re looking to get back to the shopping district in a flash, this is where you’ll want to eat!

My personal favorite food in France is the Croque Monsieur or Croque Madame. Let’s just say it’s the gourmet version of a grilled cheese.
The Croque Monsieur is the simple version,

and the Croque Madame includes a fried egg on top.

My husband was the brave one to first order the Madame version and we ended up fighting over his sandwich. True story. It was worth the fight.

The Croque Monsieur/Madame is amazing for either lunch or dinner, and you can find this little foodie in both walk up cafes and nice restaurants as well.

So our trip down Euro-foodie lane was more extensive than I had planned, but it was deliciously worth it. Be sure to take a peek here next week - it's all about the frugal way to shop Europe. You won't want to miss this one!

Now that I’ve been through all these favorites, it looks like I’m heading to the store to stock up on some Euro cheeses. Mmmmmm…..I can’t get enough. Now if I could just find some Turkish olives as well…

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PCovi said...

I'm so glad you came and introduced yourself! I've been out and about meeting today also.
I am obsessed like most people with Europe. I learned a few things in this post! Us madame's get more calories and fat grams...

cocoa and coconut said...

I love this post! Food and Europe is an inevitable topic! I love their style of eating, as you've described, eating from markets or stalls on the streets. What fun you would have had with your friends just chatting and finding the next good meal. Thanks for these tips.

Ps. I've never heard of a laugen bretzel before, but oh my god, it looks so good. I could eat heaps of these too :)


Thanks for all the fun ideas and tips for traveling to Europe, I will certainly keep in mind. Food and Europe, my favorite subject, as I am a total fan of Italy and the ALL the rest of the European Union. Love it.

Style, Decor & More said...

The food looks wonderful!
Love your blog!

I'm a new follower from the Sunday hop!
I would love it if you could hop by and visit, and maybe even follow me.

Krissy said...

Omg all those foods are making me hungry1 :)

Following you from Sunday Blog Hop! I hope you can visit us and follow back! Have a great week!

Krissy @ Mommy Misc

Chari at Happy To Design said...

Hi Diane...

My friend, this was another fabulous post on traveling to Europe...very informative and sooo much fun! Ohh my...I don't even know where to begin but I will say that eating in Europe was the best part of the entire trip! Hehe! We ate at restaurants where we could not even understand the menu and just pointed to dish when ordering! We are pretty adventurous that way! We had some of the very best food that I have ever tasted in Europe! My favorite was all the fresh fish...Mmmm!!! Ohhh...and of course...all the desserts!!! One dish that I would love to try (that you listed) is the Croque Madame. I missed that! Hmmm...maybe on the next trip!

Well dear lady, thank you again for sharing this fabulous series of Europe with us for the Sunday Favorites party! I am really enjoying it! And...welcome home! I see that you have just returned to the states!

Warmest wishes,
Chari @Happy To Design


Hummm...your post is sooo very yummy!

Thank you for passing by and for the lovely comments. Yes, my whole kitchen had a total make over. Thank you again.

Anonymous said...

Hi! Thank you for following my blog! I am returning the favor. If you’re ever interested in a blog makeover please let me know. Take a look at my portfolio and packages when you get a chance. Have a Sweet Week!

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Expat with Kids said...

I stumbled across your blog via "Still on the Verge"'s Follow Me Friday. I love your design and content. Fun and entertaining to read.
Greetings from Switzerland.

Expat with Kids said...

If you discovered the Sprüngli shop, you've discovered it all!!!! ;)

Sarah @ Baby Bilingual said...

Wow! I love your descriptions and photos.

Lattes and Juice said...

My mouth is watering! Sprungli is my absolute favorite and can never seem to eat enough luxemburglis! Love your paris shopping tips too and definitely need a trip there soon.

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