Our “bests” in food from a recent trip to Europe
Back when we got married, almost 5 years ago, I had this plan to take a big trip for our 5th anniversary, to Europe. It was hard to narrow down where to go since neither of us had ever been and there’s so many places we’d eventually like to visit. I thought a good place to start was visiting countries of our ancestry, so that narrows it down to: Italy and Germany [Russ] and Hungary, Ireland, England, Scotland and The Netherlands [me].
We settled on Italy for this trip, and found it was cheaper to fly to Paris - so added 3 nights there. We visited Paris, Rome, the Teramo region in Abruzzo, Florence, and Menaggio in Lake Como. You can expect several posts about our time spent in these places - food was a huge part of our experience, and I took photos of almost everything we ate.
So, here they are. I only included categories we ate repeatedly throughout our trip to be fair.
Best Bread: Paris
Overall, we preferred Italian food, but hands down - Paris had the most consistently great bread and pastries. Crusty bread, buttery croissants, and flaky pastry. We bought Pain Aux Chocolat the day before we left Paris at a bakery down the street from the apartment we rented. Even the day after as we ate it on a bus to the airport, squished in a bag in my purse, it was amazing.
Pain Aux Chocolat at Boulangerie Berthollet, Paris, France
Best Dessert: Roasted Figs w/ Cinnamon Gelato at Le Tourbillon, Paris
Our first night in Paris, we had an amazing dinner at Le Tourbillon Restaurant, less than a block from our apartment. Russ ordered a dessert of roasted figs which came with a scoop of cinnamon gelato.
Best Dinner: Homemade Fusilli w/ Tomato and Basil Sauce at Osteria dell’ingegno in Rome, Italy
When Russ finds a place he likes he just wants to go back over and over to not risk disappointment elsewhere. This is why we have been back to where we honeymooned twice since, and never to Europe ‘til now. On this trip I didn’t want repeats, but then I messed up on a restaurant choice our last night in Rome [more on that later]. So, after eating somewhere sub-par, we went back to the restaurant from our first night, planning to get dessert. When we arrived, the table next to us had just received their food, and it was homemade fusilli with tomato-basil sauce; which Russ had ordered the first night. At which point we decided to have a 2nd dinner instead of dessert.
Best Tiramisu: Homemade at La Grande Quercia Bed & Breakfast near Teramo, Italy
Yes, Tiramisu and dessert are separate categories. We had Tiramisu several times, it’s Russ’s favorite! Our favorite was Sergio’s, at the bed and breakfast we stayed at near Teramo. We would spend evenings with he and his partner [another] Russ, drinking wine. Our last evening Sergio brought out a dish of Tiramisu for each of us.
Best Hot Chocolate: Bar Trattoria Tex’Sara in Menaggio, on Lake Como, Italy
I don’t like coffee, and I like certain tea, but hot chocolate - I love. Russ drank tons of espresso everywhere we went, and I kept up somewhat with hot chocolate. I will say, this is not only the best hot chocolate of the trip, it’s the best I’ve ever had. She frothed twice - once just the milk, then after she added the chocolate.
Best Gelato: Pane E Cioccolato in Menaggio, on Lake Como, Italy
I would have gelato in between almost every meal [as Russ would shake his head], and always after dinner. I didn’t want to regret that I didn’t eat enough gelato. Compared to everywhere else we traveled, Menaggio in Lake Como was disappointing when it came to food. But, it was here that we found the best gelato of the trip, and we went there at least once a day. In appearance their gelato wasn’t as bright and bloated [puffy?] as the other gelato places. Their signs said it was all natural and homemade. There was a girl that worked the entire day shift, so it was embarrassing to go twice in one day but I did. Each time we would go after dinner at night, the man working the night shift would have a cone in his hand of batches he was making/testing that night. They had a printed review from Lonely Planet [circa 2004], saying it could be the best gelato in Italy. It was never very busy!
Limone / Fragola