Best Food in Europe

9 Jun

Last night, I was asked what was the best food I ate while in Europe. I was caught off guard, explained that I mostly ate bread and jam purchased from grocery stores, then made something up. But of course, it got me thinking. Was it….

The fake-paella I made the first time I ever really cooked dinner for myself? Yes, at twenty years old. Pathetic, right?

The cava in an underground tasting room on a tour in the Spanish countryside?

French pastries alone in my hotel room while watching downloaded television?

The amazing (EXPENSIVE) Italian restaurant in Barcelona my apartmentmate’s parents took us to?

The one euro gelato that was so good I had to go back for more before my train left just an hour later?

The real Italian restaurant in Florence where I ate in a back corner with my two brand-new Australian friends?

The day I went to the Sagrada Familia my last week in Barcelona, feeling totally alone in the world, decided to grab a snack at a fruit stand on the way home, and the guy working there gave me one perfectly ripe nectarine for free? At the time, it sure felt like a reminder that people care no matter where you are.

The cheap and perfect hamburgers from the food stand run by an Ethiopian family in Herräng? (I really need to write about Herräng soon)

“Tom Yum,” the amazing salty soup we found at three am in the free-food box?

Crunchy russin, a brand of granola sold only in Sweden that is possibly the most delicious granola on this planet?

Finding peanut butter in London after two long months without any? And if you know me at all, you know how difficult life without peanut butter was.

The free barbeque we ate on the campus of University College London and didn’t even get questioned for our American accents?

Belgian chocolates, which were so obscenely good I was unable to save the second bag to give the family who hosted me?

The feast at an outdoor family reunion in the Swiss countryside for a family that was definitely not mine, but treated me like I belonged?

Pringles bought at a gas station in rural Austria after a long day on a train and being completely incapable of finding a grocery store?

Fried apples in Vienna with new friends, in the rooftop cafeteria of the courthouse that’s meant only for employees?

Corn on the cob from a grocery store that was actually larger than my bedroom cooked with a good friend in her apartment in Budapest?

Most of the time, I had a collection of a few random food items in the bottom of my backpack. A banana, some cheese, deli meat … really whatever had been cheap and easy to carry. I ate red meat nearly every time I went out because I was afraid I wasn’t getting any protein. And, of course, the best food in Europe, the food I really remember, was the food with a story. 


One Response to “Best Food in Europe”

  1. ianmulligan08 August 3, 2013 at 5:45 am #

    I like everything about this post. A non-stop smile all the way through reading it. I agree with you that the best food we often have is the food that has a story to accompany it. Perhaps I will write a post of my own resembling this one. It got me thinking of my own food experiences and stories.

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