Travel Photo Thursday: “Eating Europe”

Travel Photo Thursday: “Eating Europe”

“Let them eat cake!”

Cake, KaDeWe, BerlinDid Queen Marie Antoinette of France say that before losing her head during the French Revolution? Apparently not, even though the phrase—displaying disdain for peasants who had no bread on their plates—is often attributed to her.

“An army marches on its stomach,” declared Napoleon Bonaparte, who undoubtedly took French food with him to war.

Today, as you march across the European Continent with your camera in hand, pause now and again to photograph its food while you enjoy seeing and eating it.

Going to Market

Albert Cuyp Markt, AmsterdamVisiting a local market is a great way to experience how Europeans feed themselves at home.

Some are small, open-air affairs, like the Albert Cuyp Markt in Amsterdam.

Others are mirror images of American supermarkets with huge indoor displays of meat, poultry, fish, and produce, and aisles filled with paper products, household cleaning supplies, and tons of other inedible necessities of life.

If a hotel is your home base, you can feast your eyes on the wide variety of foodstuffs you’ll likely find in both street and “super” markets.

If you are staying in a rented apartment, farmhouse, or villa, go to the market to shop, and “dine in” on some evenings during your stay.

Produce, Altmarkt, DresdenIf you’re ambitious, cook your meals from scratch. If not, just buy prepared food, like a roast chicken or lasagna, some side dishes from the deli or salad fixings from the produce section, and a bottle or two of wine.

Following “market etiquette” will keep you from running afoul of local customs. Just observe what other customers are doing when they select food, or ask for help.

At a street market in Venice, our American-born tour guide told us not to handle the produce ourselves. “Just tell the vendor when you plan to eat it, and he’ll pick something that will be perfectly ripe when you have it.”

In a Tuscan supermarket, we donned clear plastic gloves pulled from a roll in the produce department, put our vegetables in plastic bags, and weighed them on a scale that printed out a price tag, just like the “locals” did.

“Street Food”

Wafflen Stand, Dresden AltmarktThroughout Europe you’ll run across street-side markets, fairs, and food stands where you can get an in-between-meals snack.

But instead of something as familiar—but as mundane—as a chocolate chip cookie, your treat is likely to be something you’ve never had before, and won’t find at home, like these crème-filled “waffeln” served up at the Sunday Altmarkt in Dresden, Germany.

Dining Out

One of the pleasures of vacation travel relished by many is the joy of leaving cooking and kitchen clean up chores behind. No meal planning, no grocery shopping, and no pots and pans to scrub.

Lunch at KaDeWe, Berlin But dining out in an unfamiliar place raises a not-so-easy to answer question: “Where can we eat well tonight?”

The good news is that Europe offers a wide-range of dining-out options. The bad news is that except in the smallest of villages, you’ll have almost too many restaurant choices.

Guidebooks can help narrow down the number of possibilities, provide ratings and recommendations, phone numbers and street addresses, and maybe even a locator map to help you find your way to lunch or dinner.

Cha Cha Moon, LondonDon’t hesitate to ask your innkeeper, hotel staff, or tour guide, to steer you to a good meal. In London, the Liberty department store concierge sent us off to an enjoyable and reasonably priced lunch just down the street at Cha Cha Moon, where we were surrounded by office workers enjoying their midday meal.

If you are dining out in France, don’t turn down selections from a restaurant’s cheese platter, no matter how full your stomach feels. If you decline to sample the proffered fromage, your server will no doubt believe that you are seriously ill, and will immediately send for a doctor.

Let Me Eat Cake!

Being a tourist is hard work. So many cathedrals to visit. So many museums to wander through. So many cobblestone streets to amble.

Pastry Case, KaDeWe, BerlinSo during your “tourist workday,” do what you do back home at the office: Take a mid-afternoon “coffee and cake” break.

In some European cities, such as London, you’ll find a Starbucks on nearly every corner. And yes, even though Vienna is famous for its own coffee, Starbucks has “invaded” it, too. So, if you want a “Triple shot, soy milk, vente latte,” you can get it in Europe.

But for a better experience, look for a locally-owned, non-franchised, only-in-this-location, place to get a cuppa. Odds are good that it will make its own heavenly pastries.

Snack Break, Fortnum & Mason, London

Which European country serves up the best sweet treats? Of those that I’ve visited, Germany tops the list. And a friend and I agree that in Munich, taking a “Cake Break” every 15 minutes sounds like a terrific, albeit fattening, way to spend your time between lunch and dinner.

So to paraphrase Marie Antoinette’s famously misattributed line, “When in Europe, let me eat cake!”

(Click on an image to enlarge to full-size. Visit Budget Travelers Sandbox for more of this week’s Travel Photo Thursday shots.)

Get more travel news! Subscribe to our e-mail updates!

[button link=”http://talestoldfromtheroad.com/” color=”red” shape=”rounded” size=”large” align=”left”]Back to Front Page Stories[/button] [button link=”http://talestoldfromtheroad.com/blog” color=”red” shape=”rounded” size=”large” align=”right”]Explore This Blog[/button]

11 Replies to “Travel Photo Thursday: “Eating Europe””

  1. I blame my husband for taking me into all those beautiful coffee/cake shops in Spain in April 2012. My tastes used to lean to wine and cheese, but I couldn’t resist the fantastic coffee, and once you have the coffee, then you have to have the cake. So now I diet. Markets are a huge favourite of mine wherever I go and your photos are making me wish I was there.

  2. So glad I read this AFTER eating dinner! I particularly love to shop in markets in other countries. You learn a lot about what they eat, and also you can pick up souvenirs to take home that will cost 4 times as much as if you wait until the airport. (Noticed today an article that said some New York restaurants are cracking down on people taking pictures of their food. THEN what will we do????)

  3. I really like the tips on how to shop for food. It would have never occurred to me not to touch the produce. And now you have me salivating over a trip to Europe.

  4. I ate mostly sandwiches when I was in Europe, although I did eat at least once whenever I arrived in a new city. Loved the pastry with coffee in Vienna!

  5. I was in Europe twice last year (gasp…seems so long ago!) For me, in Spain it was the churros and hot chocolate; in Prague the coffee and any kind of cake was delicious. I loved the local market in Budapest. Right now, in Thailand, I am always looking for mango and sticky rice. I am addicted!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *