European Escapades

I recently returned from a much-needed overseas holiday in which I ate an ordinate amount of food and had an incredible amount of fun!

In order, the trip included: London, Norwich, Norfolk, Paris, Bordeaux, Carcassone, Andorra, Barcelona, Marseille, Lyon, Milan, Leeds, Bradford and then back to London.

Lists of the restaurants and cafes that I most enjoyed can be found in the “Tasty Travels and Foodie Finds” section of the blog. Alternatively, many of my reviews can also be seen on Trip Advisor under the name ‘oatsandcheesecake’.

A quick summary though;

  • Favourite city: Lyon, because you know what they say, if Paris is the heart of France, then Lyon is the stomach. A true gastronomical delight and a rather peaceful city, with a beautiful balance between the cosmopolitan new city and the old city with its cobblestone streets and rustic charm.
  • Favourite foodie experience: Cooking school at La Cuisine Paris, because why eat like a Parisian when you can learn to cook like one?! Two days at cooking school taught me that French cuisine isn’t anywhere near as complicated as first thought, and that it’s all about getting the balance right (and, with pastry, follow the recipe!!).
  • Favourite fine dining meal: an equal tie between Petrus by Gordon Ramsey and Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, both in London, both fine dining at their absolute best! The former involved a 7 course dinner menu of mainly French influence, while the latter involved a four course lunch (three entrees and a dessert) which involved ‘modern English’ reconstructions of  known historical dishes, with an element of food theatre thrown in. Both amazing!
  • Most interesting meal: Au Vilain Petit Canard in Lyon, more like a beautiful swan in disguise, this was a three course duck sensation in a restaurant that specialises only in duck. Amazing foie gras on spiced toast, beautiful duck breast with fruits rogue and the most rich chocolate fondant made this a meal to remember.
  • Favourite street food: La Boqueria markets in Barcelona, a true feast for the senses!
  • Favourite breakfast: Brunch & Cake in Barcelona, with the best acai bowl ever, served in a pineapple!
  • Favourite sweet treat: Petrus by Gordon Ramsey in London and their banana peanut butter mousse dessert. If this was my last meal, I would die happy!
  • Favourite alcoholic beverage: La Chateau de Tallin in Bordeaux and their stunning red wine. Even if you’re not much of a drinker like me, you can truly appreciate this beautiful drop.
  • Favourite non-alcoholic beverage: Escriba Ramblas in Barcelona for their 70% dark hot chocolate that was thick enough to eat with a spoon…..

And because not everything goes according to plan…..

  • Least favourite city: Milan, not related to the food; only for my difficulty in getting a dinner reservation at short notice
  • Least favourite foodie experience: Expo2015, it was such an interesting and insightful look into different cultures of the world, but the crowds made it a nightmare at times!
  • Least favourite meal: Marseille and the worst boullabaise I’ve ever had. Ever. Anywhere. It was practically inedible. Rule of thumb; when in Marseille, unless it has a Michelin star, DO NOT eat the boullabaise, it’s a tourist trap!

Whether you’re travelling abroad or happy at home for now, here’s to many enjoyable culinary adventures to come!

xx K

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