I wish I could’ve taken all of my friends with me on my recent trip to Europe, but since that wasn’t practical, one of the best ways I can think of to give you a taste of the trip and the cultures is to take you on a food journey. I’ve already written about some of the delicious cuisine I experienced at Frankfurt Airport, so I will start a few days later in Italy.
You’ve never had hot chocolate until you’ve had cioccolata calda in Italy. Bar Fontana in Bobbio Pellice served the most decadent hot chocolate I’ve ever had. Sinfully dark and thick, it was served with cane sugar and if you were lucky, you could make your spoon stand up straight!
Most of the time in Italy, Forterocca made our meals for us. However, one evening, a group of us ate at the local pizzeria that had just opened for the season. I’ve always heard that Italian pizza was significantly different from American, but this four-cheese pizza was quite familiar. However, the tiramisu that followed was AH-mazing!
The Saturday that we were in town, we had a chance to visit the town of Saluzzo. After feeling a little cooped up in the teensy village of Bobbio, it was nice to walk the streets and not be finished in 15 minutes! We enjoyed a large market, and then went to La Taverna Dell’Artista for lunch. I had the spinach ravioli, which I liked, but commented that it tasted like Chef Boyardee. My roommate, Kate, agreed with me. Perhaps the canned stuff is more authentic than we knew!
On the way back to Bobbio, we stopped in Torre Pellice for gelato. The guy that owns this place has some kind of degree in ice cream. We called him “Dr. Gelato.”
Fast forward a couple of days to my first day in England; I went to the brand new Morrison’s (grocery store) to get groceries for the week. I just had to indulge in the cherry sultana scones and clotted cream. The raspberry jam was already in the fridge. Thanks, Becky. 🙂 This is what a scone is supposed to be.
On my first full day back, I had a meeting in Glasgow, so I scheduled my train back for later in the evening and gave myself time to do a little sight-seeing. I decided to try the fish & chips at a local public house, complete with peas, of course. Actually, this beat out anything I had the entire year that I lived there! J2O is a local bottled juice drink (50% juice), so I thought I’d try a new flavo(u)r, apple & raspberry.
Back in Carlisle the next day, I met my old supervisor & his wife for an early dinner at Gosling Bridge. This gluten-free cauliflower cheese tart sounded delicious and it was! The gluten-free choices have definitely expanded since 2010.
Since dinner was early, I stopped at The Crown Inn for some dessert—chocolate chip cheesecake with ice cream. I used to live up the street from this place and would go there to work occasionally because they have free wi-fi (not as readily available in the UK as in the States).
I worked from my old stomping grounds at OM for a couple of days, and did the ritual of going to Asda (Wal-Mart) to buy a sandwich for lunch. My choice? Chicken & stuffing with mayo, a bag of crisps and Orange Fanta (as my friend, Jason, can tell you, it’s different than in the States).
The absolute best steak pie & chips I’ve ever had is from The Near Boot in Carlisle, a quintessential English pub.
On Saturday, I trekked through the Lake District and started my day at Lowther Castle & Gardens in Penrith. This castle only recently opened to tourists, so it was a new experience and very enchanting. The gardens are only partially restored, so that they take on an abandoned feel. But of course, they have a new restaurant & store so they can make some money.
I had to stop in Grasmere for the famous, unique Grasmere Gingerbread. It’s sort of hard and chewy and crumbly and potently gingery. Delicious. I’m still saving a couple of pieces.
After Grasmere, I headed to Keswick for some shopping and walking. I ate dinner at The Oddfellows Arms. This is a local favorite—Cumbrian sausage with new potatoes in Yorkshire pudding. Very good.
My friend, Esther, was recently married and I stopped by her house to catch up and meet her husband. They offered me a piece of wedding cake, which was sort of like a light fruitcake with fondant. Really good!
Starbucks in the UK has the right idea. Scottish chocolate chip shortbread. With tea, of course. To die for!
I took the train to Edinburgh for the day and toured the Royal Yacht Britannia. It’s attached to a mall, and a restaurant called “The View” has these gigantic windows where you can relax, eat, and gaze at the ship. So I did. I had tuna mayo (tuna salad) with cucumber and salad bar.
On the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, I stopped at Mimi’s Bakehouse for a lemon cupcake with lemon creme filling. Sorry I don’t have a picture—I ate it too quickly!
I don’t remember the name of this place, but I had to snap some photos of the window display.
On my last day, my friend Dawn and I went to Hadrian’s Wall for a walk. We stopped at the team room next to Lanercost Priory in Brampton before the walk. This photo is of the tea room. I’d like to go sometime for their afternoon tea package.
Have you ever had any of these foods or eaten at any of these places? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear about it!