Archive | October, 2012

Food Culture in Italy/Paris

23 Oct

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(In Paris, outside the Louvre)

Obviously, as a self-proclaimed foodie, I was looking forward to trying all sorts of dishes during our honeymoon in Italy and Paris.  After months of dieting, I was ready to let loose and let my food-obsessed flag fly high.  And to be honest with you, in Italy especially, it seemed like everyone we met wanted to talk about food, eat food or make food.  What a wonderful country!

Our itinerary included: Venice, Florence, Cinque Terre, Rome and Paris.  We spent the most time in Florence, and we were in Europe for a total of two weeks.  Each city had some high notes and low notes in terms of food, and we loved being tourists in every city.

 

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(In Venice… the canals here are breathtaking)

Since 10 out of our 14 days were spent in Italy, I felt like we really got to participate in Italian love of food.  There is a whole romance about it. Everywhere you go — at any time of day — Italians were smoking (everyone smokes there!), sharing a glass of wine, and eating something delicious. Beautiful cafes and wine bars lined every block — none of them chain restaurants — and even the humblest of cafes still had amazing food. I could seriously relate to those food sensibilities; my Italian-Hungarian family very much shares those ideas. Food should be lingered over, savored, never rushed and always delicious.

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(from a small cafe in Florence)

Everything was delicious there, almost decadent.  Everything was also portion controlled (Chris and I joked that we couldn’t find a decent cup of coffee anywhere — the cappacinos, although delicious, were miniscule).  No super-sized fries. It seemed like almost every restaurant had extreme pride in their food (the only exception we found was in Rome; however, although we couldn’t find a good restaurant there — except for this random amazing Indian restaurant — that doesn’t mean that there aren’t good restaurants, we just could not find any!).

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(Croque madame sandwich in a Parisian cafe/bar)

There is a real celebration of local cuisine and fresh ingredients. We had the best pesto in Cinque Terre smothering a bed of freshly-made gnocchi and an amazing carpaccio in Venice surpassing anything I’ve ever had before.  There was this life-changing burrata in Florence (check out La Giostra if you’re headed to Florence any time soon!) served with honey and nuts and jams. We found pear and pecorino raviolis in multiple restaurants in Italy and fell in love with the salty-sweetness.  We had amazingly flaky croissants in Paris, and delicious crepes at 10pm in our quirky Marais neighborhood. 

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(pulled burrata — best 40 euros ever spent)

I reconsidered the obvious, but rarely utilized in the US, pairing of salad with almost everything in Paris (quiche, egg dishes, sandwiches).  I thought about how sometimes we rush through dinner, even eating it while multi-tasking (I am especially guilty of multi-tasking while eating lunch at the obvious). I thought about how gelato should be present at every meal (only slightly kidding). 

(deliciously fresh pasta with simple ingredients at a small restaurant on a square in Florence)

My goals: to savor food more every day, living in the food moment. To consider lighter sides with heavier entrees. To continue to eat locally and in season. To get back to Europe as soon as possible. To spend longer with loved ones over dinner.

My elopement, picnic and honeymoon were literally the three most magical weeks of my life. I hope to continue to travel and be romantic with my husband for all the years to come.

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