Last week I was fortunate enough to travel to Paris with three RDN friends of mine for two and a half days. We headed there prior to attending a food and nutrition conference in Amsterdam that we were invited to by Porter Novelli since we are all spokespeople for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. My friend, Toby, who traveled with me asked what my top three moments of the trip were. This is hard! Every day was amazing in its own way. But here goes. Disclosure: I am a foodie and I will eat anything. This trip was another fantastic example of multiple opportunities for me to indulge in my lust for culture and the foods that culture tempts me with. RDNs are researchers and this trip to Paris was no exception. The four of us had pages of notes with restaurant recommendations, and the only one that all of us had on our to-do list was: Breizh Café. It was a bit of a walking trek to get there, but holy smokes was that a great meal that included tons of vegetables, locally brewed cider and buckwheat crepes. And you know that meal was our favorite as a group. Personally, I still loved the most perfectly cooked cheese crepe with a side of hot wine on the streets of Montmartre. It was my first Parisian meal and it trumped the café meal simply because I was cold, starving and the culture surrounding it satisfied my appetite. It also nourished me enough to climb the steps of Sacre Coeur and witness the ultimate view of Paris. Sigh……so that is my #1 favorite moment.
Eiffel Tower? Check. Notre Dame? Check. French wine with every meal? Check. The best macarons from Laduree and pastry I tasted in my life? Double check. We walked, ate and shopped. Ultimately, I left Paris with a “see you next time, my love” thought.
And then there was Amsterdam. Disclosure: I was born and raised in the Dutch triage in Michigan of Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo and Holland. Amsterdam felt very comfortable to me because of this---except for that hash and hookers thing that I thought was unnecessary for the city….but of course many young people were there because of that….
Since we were at a food and nutrition conference, it was natural for us to try local cuisine. I tasted everything from locally grown greens to braised veal cheeks, but it really was being with friends and colleagues that made the experience memorable. My 2nd favorite moment was viewing the Anne Frank house…with Toby. It is the definition of war and tragedy and everyone needs to see it…..so it will never occur again. Since Toby is on my mind so much in this blog, I should share that she is the reason I was able to bring home a few of the chocolate candies we made in the Kookfabriek cooking school. What a day that was! Who knew that the traditional Dutch apple pie uses an almond filling similar to marzipan….my favorite flavor—yours too? This is why I adore pastry in Europe….and especially my German stollen…..bring on the marzipan!
Of course the main food you may think about in the Netherlands is cheese! We are a cheese-loving family and I tried everything I was offered. And I successfully packed a variety of wax-sealed goudas, edams and blue cheeses back to the US in my suitcase—yes! While walking the streets of Amsterdam and stopping in too many cheese shops, I also appreciated the lovely tulips, which I was surrounded by in my childhood. I will definitely go back again! Tasting, walking and smelling new cities is invigorating. This was my 3rd favorite moment. When you get the opportunity to travel, do it and taste everything in a new-to-you culture. You never know what will become your new favorite foods!