In my travels, several of the meals that I have eaten stand out as favorites. Each of the meals I’ve highlighted below was one that may have been served at a traditional dinner or just for a weekday meal.
Travel enthusiasts encourage people to eat the local specialties – and I agree. You can eat a hamburger almost anywhere, but why not try what the people living down the street might eat?
Breakfast – German breakfasts include hard rolls, with jam or meat and cheese. I wish we could get these rolls around here – they are a great way to start the day. Germans make several varieties of delicious breads that can be eaten any time of the day.
Dinner – In a restaurant along the Rhine River, I ordered a beef and mushroom dinner. The meat was covered with sauerbraten gravy and it was delicious. I’ve been to Germany a few times since then, but have not been able to find the same meal. In looking for it, though, I have become a fan of sauerbraten. It can be served with beef or pork and is often accompanied by potato dumplings and red cabbage.
Lunch – Germany also has the best sausages – bockwurst, weisswurst, bratwurst and many more. They are served in restaurants, but also from street vendors or in a market. Be sure to sample some.
Lunch – My favorite lunch in Italy is a caprese salad. It is especially nice on a warm day because it is fresh and light.
Dinner – Italy is known for its pasta and I think the best pasta dishes are the ones that include seafood. Italy is surrounded by water, so one of the menu staples at restaurants is seafood. The best seafood pasta dish I had was at Trattoria de Bepi in Venice, but there were many that ranked a close second.
Dessert – When it Italy, you must try the gelato. It comes in many flavors – my favorite is dark chocolate. Strawberry, peach and stracciatella are also favorites. I remember a time when my daughter and I ate gelato four times in one day. (Don’t worry, we walked it off.)
Lunch – My heritage is Dutch, so I like most of the food served in the Netherlands. Pea soup is a favorite, but hard to find in the summer. I was able to order it once – and it was a good as I expected.
Anytime – Probably the most popular Dutch food, though, is pannekeoken, or pancakes. Pannekeoken can be sweet or savory. Savory ones usually have eggs, meat, and cheese. I love the sweet ones covered with fruit, ice cream, and syrup.
Breakfast and more – Croissants and baguettes are the bread staples in France. Croissants are mainly served for breakfast – plain, accompanied with cheese or jam, or chocolate filled. Baguettes are served with a meal and are usually on the table in any French restaurant.
Lunch – For lunch, I like French onion soup. The best I’ve tasted was at the Café du Bosquet in Paris. Served with a basket of sliced baguettes, it makes a satisfying lunch.
Dinner – My favorite little restaurant in Paris serves wonderful duck a l’orange – tender slices of duck with a sauce made of orange and clove. When I was in Paris with my husband this past spring we ate in this restaurant twice!
Dinner – Coq au vin is another poultry based dish that is traditionally French. The coq (chicken) and vegetables are cooked slowly in a wine sauce. This method produces a dish that seems to melt in your mouth. My daughter and I had coq au vin in Nice, France – I’d go back to Nice just for that.
Dessert – My favorite French dessert is crème brulee. I’ve had it several times in many different restaurants. I have never been disappointed.
When you travel – whether in the States or abroad – be sure to try the traditional or local dishes when you can. Skip the burgers and fries and instead eat German sausage, Dutch pannekeoken or duck a l’orange.