Buon Appetito! Eating Our Way Through Milan

Although we saw some cool stuff in Milan, one of the main reasons to go to Italy is for the food and drink.  They are an attraction in and of themselves and did not disappoint.

We had at least two cappuccino for breakfast every day.  Italians only order cappuchinos until 10:00.  Although italians only drink cappuccino until 10:00 a.m., they pop in for expressos all day long.  If you run into a friend in the street, it is customary to pop into a café for a quick espresso at the bar while you catch up.  Ten minutes later, you’re back on your way.  Perfect for caffeine addicts like us who don’t always like to linger at a table.

Before dinner, Italian tradition is to have an aperitivo.  It is a pre-meal drink meant to stimulate appetite, but seems to be an excuse to go out for a drink, relax and chat with friends.   When in Rome, or Milan…

I loved the Antipasti, the appetizer course, because I usually hadn’t gorged myself yet so I could eat while I was actually hungry.  The food was so good that I did a good amount of eating when I wasn’t actually hungry.  It was so tasty that I just had to eat it.   Who knows when I’d have another chance to taste something like that?

One of his favorites was a cheese plate that included burrata, a fresh artisanal cheese made from mozzarella and cream.  Although people eat cheeses that are older than some of our nieces and nephews, you are supposed to eat burrata within 24 hours after it is made.  Ours came on a plate with fresh buffalo mozzarella and ricotta.  De-lish-us!

In Italy, pasta is usually the next course, known as Primo Patti.  Although they sometimes serve soup, rice,  polenta, etc., it’s usually a rich pasta dish.  Carbalicious.

Secondo, the main course, usually consists of chicken, meat, or fish.  With so many courses, thankfully the portions aren’t too large.  Most Italians don’t eat an antipastoprimosecondo and dolce at every meal, but the selections are always on the menu.  Just because we pigged out doesn’t mean you are required to.

The dolce (Italian for sweet), dessert, ends the meal.  People often order an espresso to help digestion and to finish off a meal.  Plus it gives them more time to sit and talk over food and drink.

Sorry, we couldn’t wait to take a picture before taking a bite out of our daily gelato.  We weren’t the only ones who liked gelato, just check out this cute little guy.  He was going to town on his gelato.  Notice how he is inside the restaurant.

Remember, friends don’t let friends serve each other packaged food.  Viva l’Italia.

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Grocery Shopping In France

 

I went grocery shopping in France.  It was a little bit different than in Switzerland.  The store was larger than I have become used to.  I confess, I was a bit overwhelmed.  I have gotten to know the Swiss grocery stores, but there were so many crazy French foods that I was overwhelmed trying to make sense of them all.  When I saw the butter… well, I froze.

 
There was a wall of it.  I have never seen that much butter (buerre in French).  Heck, over the course of my existence I have probably not consumed than much butter.  Actually, now that I think about it, Luciano Pavarotti probably never consumed that much butter.
 
 
I counted over 100 different types!  In actuality, I stopped counting at a hundred with more to go (including margarines).  
 
When faced with the seemingly insurmountable task of choosing the correct type of butter, I immediately started laughing at myself and whipped out my phone to surreptitiously take pictures for you. There were so many different types.  Each of the 27 regions of France must have had several of their own. Butter was salted, half salted, soft and types I can’t even remember. 
 
 
 
I ended up just picking one and hoping that our inexperience palates wouldn’t pick out the nuances of the my poor butter choice.  
 
 
 
While shopping, I saw a few familiar faces.
 
 
Your French lesson for the day géant = giant, vert = green.  Yep, it’s your old friend, the jolly green giant.
 
 
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out propre = clean and Mr. Propre is Mr. Clean.  I didn’t end up buying him.  He was more expensive than an organic herb scented cleaner.  Desole Monsieur Propre.*
 
* Desole means sorry.







 

Glad We Aren’t Lactose Intolerant

I am so glad that we are not lactose intolerant.  This is a country of dairy where the cow is practically a national symbol (not to discount the goat and sheep’s milk products you see everywhere).  The Swiss do dairy.  They do it a lot.  They do it very, very well.  As a result, we find ourselves constantly trying new, wonderful dairy products.  Delightful (and tasty).  If you are lactose intolerant, you can still easily enjoy the good food here. It is of high quality and very fresh. You will just miss out on some of the abundant dairy yumminess.

To prove my point that the Swiss do a lot of dairy, I took photos of just some of the dairy in one grocery store.  Mind you there is another one across the street.  Enjoy!

P.S. I pounded not one, but two delicious youghrts for breakfast this morning and having mountian milk in my coffee. Excessive? No, just a delightful, darylicious way to start your day.
 

 

Gruyeres

We went to Gruyeres. It is adorable. They have a castle and the Geiger Museum there.  The star attraction is the Gruyere cheese and the cheesemaking.  We were most excited about heading to the beautiful mountains that surround the town. After a tour around the adorable town, we hiked the “Sentier des Frommageries”, the Cheesemaker’s Path (which starts in town and heads up into the mountains).
We needed sustenance for the hike so we bought wonderful sugary waffles in the town to take with us.
The hike was steep, but stunningly beautiful.  We saw cows grazing at the high altitude.  The Swiss believe that cows that spend the Summer grazing at high altitudes produce a special quality milk.*
  
When we reached the top, we were rewarded with meringues in fresh cream. Yum.  
 
 
*We bought the alpine milk to put it our coffee and it was delicious. It is so good that it will make your leg shake. It definitely deserves its own special post.