A Week in Food

One of the best parts by far about traveling through Europe is getting to taste different types of food—especially because little Paderno del Grappa has no variety in food. One of the top five reasons I love travel weeks is because we get to eat something other than pasta and red sauce.

For my second travel week, nine friends and I traveled to Barcelona, Dublin, and Paris. I was so excited, mostly about the prospect of Spanish food. Having an abundance of Mexican food is something I’ve really missed about America. So boy was I excited to eat my heart out in Spain, Ireland, and France!

The first stop was Barcelona. Here I enjoyed a delicious quesadilla at our hostel, authentic Spanish tapas with sangria, and AMAZING paella with chocolate cake to top it off. I also tried hot chocolate with churros, one of their favorite desserts.

Tapas – meatballs, crab and potatoes
Chicken quesadilla
Crushed tomato bread
Veggie + meat paella dish
Couldn’t resist this chocolate cake

After experiencing Spanish cuisine, we headed to Dublin where we were met with good old comfort food and a variety that almost matched America. Ironically enough, our first night in Dublin we ate at a restaurant called Mexico to Rome that served Mexican, Italian and Irish cuisine. Odd, but their burritos were delicious! The server there even brought us glasses of water for FREE, without us even asking! Another thing I really miss about home.

Oh burritos, how I missed you!

The next day we took a trip through the countryside and west coast of Ireland and saw the Cliffs of Moher—quite beautiful! One of the best parts though was, of course, the food. We got a tour of a family farm that’s been there for over 100 years. Afterward, the young couple served us homemade cake and coffee in “Granny’s Cottage” where their grandmother used to live. It was a very welcome treat after walking in the freezing cold and wind for an hour.

Enjoying homemade cheesecake and coffee at Granny’s Cottage

Later that day I had seafood chowder and fish n’ chips. It reminded me of home in Seattle, where we love our seafood. The next day I had perhaps my favorite meal in Ireland—Guinness beef stew at the Guinness Storehouse. Absolutely amazing and perfect for the cold, blustery day.

Good ol’ fish and chips on Halloween

After three days of homey food, we were off to Paris. I started my Parisian food experience with a banana and Nutella crepe for breakfast (embarrassingly followed by a McDonald’s cheeseburger because I was still hungry). Later that night three of us treated ourselves to a nice three-course meal. My friend Mike ordered escargot and we all tried it—it actually tasted pretty good, but the sliminess made it something I would not order again.

Escargot – not as bad as I thought!

I chose to order a French version of Caesar salad, followed by flammekueche, a thin pizza like dish topped with onions and slices of cheese. Not bad! Then I topped it all off with my dessert of choice—three scoops of ice cream.

French Caesar salad
Raspberry, chocolate and Madagascar vanilla :)

Now as if those first seven days of food weren’t good enough, the best part was my last day in France. I made it my goal to seek out a Ladurée shop, the famous French macaroons that I had heard of and been told to try. First, however, we stumbled upon a fancy bakery where we couldn’t pass up their bread. I tried the chocolate and orange bread…a weird combo, but somehow tasted absolutely delicious.

Amazing chocolate + orange bread

A couple hours later, we found it—Ladurée on Avenue des Champs-Élysées, otherwise known as the most popular street in Paris. There was a huge line out the door, a promising sign yet surprising because I did not realize how popular these macaroons were. After standing in line for a good 45 minutes before I finally got to buy some, I soon realized just how worth it the wait was.

Our first bite into a Ladurée macaroon! Pure bliss!

Having never eaten a macaroon before, I had no idea what to expect. But my first bite into my chocolate macaroon was pure, decadent bliss. I have never tasted something so delicious and flawless, I can’t even explain it in words. A crispy outside cake layer with the smoothest ganache filling…these were TO DIE FOR. And the flavors, oh the flavors! I splurged on chocolate, coffee, raspberry, and green apple macaroons. Every single one was amazing, even the green apple.

Raspberry macaroon

To make it even better, I enjoyed my last bites at the Eiffel Tower during sunset. It was perhaps my favorite moment of the entire week. Absolutely priceless. :)

This post was cross-posted to https://www.biz.uiowa.edu/cimba.