Friday, July 24, 2015

Europe: A Carousel of Flavors Part 2

On these days I take you on a journey from Germany through Austria, Italy and end in Switzerland.  

If you missed Part 1 follow this link!

Italian Countryside covered in vineyards.

Europe:  A Carousel of Flavors Part 2

Day 5

Our breakfast before we left Munich was huge!  This hotel really puts out the red carpet here.  All free!  Funny thing was that if you wanted wifi it was 2 Euro, it was for only one hour and you could only get it in their lobby.  Hmmm.. 

It started with scrambled eggs, wiesewurst (white wurst) and two other kinds of brats.

White asparagus wrapped in prosciutto, meats galore, cheeses including a peppery brie that was very spicy, a thick and semi sweet yogurt with honey and walnuts (I just found out it may be quark,) 5 kinds of cereals, juices, caprese salad, corn, pickles, and much more.    
You can't even see it all here!
We also had something I thought was French toast cut up and re-browned.  Turns out it was kaiserschmarrn. A type of pancake that is as it is cooked it is cut up and finished cooking until it is browned. Great way to fix a pancake flip disaster! I didn't catch a photo of it as my camera was already put away and we were heading out the door soon.
Today was our long ride to Italy.  On our way we stopped in Innsbruck, Austria. For lunch I had a cappuccino (adding a packet of sugar to counteract the stout coffee.)
It was at this Caffe del Moro that we also had dessert.  Yes, for lunch.   A couple from the trip and I each ordered a dessert to share bits of each with each other.  We had a sachertorte mit sahne. Our tour guide told us it was chocolate cake with orange.  I had no hint of orange with mine and further research of it I have found it is apricot not orange.  That makes more sense to the taste I was having.   We also had a apfelstrudel (apple strudel) and topfenstrudel (cream cheese strudel.)  
The apfelstrudel had raisins in it so I did not like it as much though it tasted like apple pie, the sachertorte did not live up the hype given and the topfenstrudel was my favorite out of all of them.  It tasted like a käse kuchen wrapped in pastry and served warm.
A view of the town Innsbruck. So many fun colors.
Castles are everywhere dotting the horizons of Europe.

After a long ride from Munich we arrived at our hotel in a beach town near Venice, Italy.

We were served pasta first.   It had a marinara sauce on it and served with Parmesan and a hard roll.  I noticed that they don't sauce up their pasta like we do here in the U.S.  They had just enough for flavor.  The roll was full of air and was tough to eat.  It was very different than the yummy brotchen roll from Germany.
The main dish was sliced roasted chicken with gravy and sliced carrots. I don't care for plain carrots so I skipped those and just ate the chicken.  It was tasty but again I was underwhelmed.
For dessert we had a moist apple cake.  It was a little denser than a coffeecake or a quick bread. A small scoop of vanilla ice cream to go with.
Day 6

We started off our morning in Italy with dessert..I mean breakfast.  Chocolate marble cake, fruit, yogurt, cereals and those hard rolls.
Cookies (which I was told some were savory.) 
Apple and almond cakes.
Sliced ham and cheese.
Breakfast of champions!  No, I'd never let my kids eat this for breakfast but when in Italy, right?
Venice, Italy was beautiful but so busy with tourists.
My traveling buddies and I found a fancy Italian restaurant to eat at.  Prices close to the square were expensive and as you went out further it got cheaper.  Sometimes just around the corner!

Water here is served in bottles and you must ask for "still" water or say "no gasses" otherwise you will get carbonated water, which I did not prefer.  A big basket of breads both soft slices and crunchy stick were places on the table.
Bob had Bistecca alla Pizzaiola (steak covered with tomato sauce, like a pizza.)   The meat was very tender.  Definitely a dish that needed a good slice of bread to go with it.
Wendy, her mom Fran and Bert had Lasagne Al Forno - this dish was so creamy.  It wasn't overwhelmingly tomatoy like our American version.  
Laura had tortellini with with Mixed grilled veggies on the side.  I enjoyed the tomato.  The char amped up the flavor of it.
I had a dish of Gnocchi pomodoro, mozzarella e basilico (Gnocchi with tomato sauce, mozzarella and basil.)  I called gnocchi "pillows of love."  If made correctly they are so fluffy.  This was my favorite dish of all of the bites I tried at this meal.
Again, thanks to my traveling companions from southeast Iowa for being adventurous with me and for sharing bites of your dishes!!

Bob, Bert, Laura, myself, Fran and Wendy

I couldn't leave Italy without having some gelato.  Caffe (coffee)  and carmello (caramel) for me!!
Dipping my toes in the Adriatic Sea.
Our supper that evening started with a creamy pasta dish that had ham pieces and pea.  You can't see the sauce but it is there.  They don't coat it like we do here in the US.  Just enough for flavor.  The ham and peas were a nice addition. 
Slices of beef and chunks of potatoes.  Filled the tummy but not my taste buds.
I bought this dessert myself to add to our Italian meal.  It is Bavarese alla fragola  (Bavarian Cream with strawberries.)  It reminded me of a panna cotta (gelatin, cream and sugar dessert.)  Very good!
Our traveling group was served this chocolate salami.   It has nothing to do with meat.  It is crushed up cookies stirred into chocolate, rolled into a log that looked like a salami. Cooled down to firm it up, sliced and served with a sprinkle of cocoa powder.  It was not overly sweet  I enjoyed bites of it with my Bavarese alla fragola.
Day 7 

One more day of a carb loaded breakfast in Italy before we headed out for Switzerland.
On our way we stopped in Verona, Italy.  Home to Juliet's balcony.
Such fun bakeries to see.
Lunch time in Verona and we stopped at a little cafe.  I had a Panino (tiny sandwich) of arugala, tomatoes and fresh mozzarella.  It was a very soft cheese and I asked the lady more about it.  She called it straeetti which I can't translate other than she said stretched with milk.   I also had a calzone with tomatoes and cheese.
I bought a little container of tiramisu from the bakery I showed you earlier. 
Oh my, it was so good!!
And then we were off to Switzerland!!

Our supper started with Bread Soup.  I talked with the waitress and chef and they told me steps and ingredients so I will be sharing the recipe soon! It was creamy and delicious.  Kohlrabi, potatoes, carrots and onions are the stars here. Here is my recipe!!  Creamy Kohlrabi Bread Soup
 A simple mushroom and chicken dish with veggies and rice.  Nothing fancy but still a belly filler.
For dessert, a caramel cream.  It reminded me of flan but without the runny sauce.  I was bummed to hear it was from a mix.  

Stay tuned for Part Three of my trip to Europe!

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