Dining with Little Miss Ling: Around Western Europe in 33 Days

Dining with Little Miss Ling

I know I’m a bit late to the game, but happy new year everyone!

How did everyone ring in the new year? I was sound asleep on an overnight train from Vienna to Venice!

I only got back on Monday from a five week trip around Western Europe with my family who were visiting from Australia! It was my dad and sister’s first time in Europe, and my brother had only been to a few European cities on a school tour. Since they had seen little to none of Europe, I wanted to organise a trip where they could visit the famous cities and sights, but still have opportunities to just wander around and explore the cities. We began our adventure in Berlin, spent Christmas at home in Würzburg, and finished off in Paris.

Around Western Europe in 33 Days

You all know that no itinerary of mine would be complete without dining options, and I’m here to share with you some of our food highlights of the trip!

Berlin:

The trip actually started with a food-related hiccup. I arrived in Berlin after my family had already checked into the hotel room, and when I walked in, my brother asked me,

“What can you smell?”
“Er… chocolate?”
“Guess what we’re doing?”
“Er… making hot chocolate?”

Then my brother led me to the bathroom where I was welcomed by this sight:

Chocolate explosion

Dad, bless him, brought some drinking chocolate from Australia for hubby and I, but it exploded in the suitcase in transit and chocolate powder ended up all over the clothes and in the suitcase!

Now, getting back on track, we had the most amazingly tender pork knuckle at the Berliner Republik. More often than not, the pork knuckle you find in restaurants are roasted. The meat is always gorgeous, but only once in my experience has the crackle been crunchy and not chewy. This pork knuckle, however, was completely boiled and the skin literally melted in your mouth.

Berliner Schinkeneisbein - traditionell mit Sauerkraut, Erbspüree und Salzkartoffeln (Berliner Knuckle of Pork - traditional knuckle of pork with sauerkraut, mashed peas and boiled potatoes) €12.90

Berliner Schinkeneisbein – traditionell mit Sauerkraut, Erbspüree und Salzkartoffeln (Berliner Knuckle of Pork – traditional knuckle of pork with sauerkraut, mashed peas and boiled potatoes) €12.90

I’ve only had Kohlroulade (stuffed cabbage roll) once, but I fell head over heels in love with it. Every time I go to a German restaurant, I look for it on the menu, only to be disappointed by its absence. You can imagine my ecstasy when I found not just any Kohlroulade on the menu at the Berliner Republik, but a Riesenkohlroulade (giant stuffed cabbage roll), and I was not let down.

Riesenkohlroulade nach Art von "Heini Holl" - mit Salzkartoffeln (Huge cabbage roll stuffed with grounded meat and boiled potatoes with homemade sauce) €12.80

Riesenkohlroulade nach Art von “Heini Holl” – mit Salzkartoffeln (Huge cabbage roll stuffed with grounded meat and boiled potatoes with homemade sauce) €12.80

Lastly, we had the most delicious mushroom soup at Sophieneck. It was so thick and creamy that it resembled a stew than a soup, but hey, semantics! What matters is that it was yum-o!

Waldpilzsuppe €5.70

Waldpilzsuppe €5.70

Salzburg:

You could probably order anything at Braurestaurant IMLAUER and it would be great, but do yourself a favour and make sure you get the Salzburger Nockerl for dessert. A giant sweet souffle that is unbelievably light and fluffy – I’ve never seen anything like it!

(Hover over the photos for the names of the dishes, and click to see full size image.)

Bologna:

I dined at Ristorante da Nello al Montegrappa back in 2007 when I was backpacking around Europe with a couple of girlfriends. We were recommended this restaurant by our hotel and being in Bologna, we were determined to have bolognese sauce of some sort. We had a hard time deciding between the Tagliatelle Bolognese and the Spinach Lasagne alla Bolognese, but we ended up choosing the tagliatelle. It was the best bolognese sauce we had ever tasted. When the waiter came to clear the table and ask if he could get us anything else, I’m absolutely sure he wasn’t expecting us to ask for an extra lasagne each! That’s right, we ate two plates of pasta each and it was glorious!

(Hover over the photos for the names of the dishes, and click to see full size image.)

Six years on, I was excited to take hubby and my family there, but was anxious as to whether it would live up to my memory. I don’t think the bolognese sauce was as good as I remember, but who knows? Maybe it tasted extra delicious to me back in 2007 because I was a starved backpacker who had been living off stale ham and chip sandwiches! Even though the bolognese sauce wasn’t quite as good as I remember, the meal was still really tasty!

(Hover over the photos for the names of the dishes, and click to see full size image.)

Florence:

Pecorino and pear? A winning flavour combination at Trattoria Ponte Vecchio.

Fiocchi Ripieni al Pecorino e Pera alla Crema di Robiola e tartufo (Fresh pasta stuffed with cheese and pear served in soft robiola cheese and truffle)

Fiocchi Ripieni al Pecorino e Pera alla Crema di Robiola e tartufo (Fresh pasta stuffed with cheese and pear served in soft robiola cheese and truffle)

At Osteria Tripperia Il Magazzino I had to, of course, order the Tagliatella al Ragu Bianco again, but we also tried some new dishes. It never occurred to me to use chicken liver in pasta, but it works and it’s delicious!

(Hover over the photos for the names of the dishes, and click to see full size image.)

Barcelona:

Caravelle

Morryssom

(Hover over the photos for the names of the dishes, and click to see full size image.)

Restaurant 7 Portes

"Rich Man's" Paella - invented especially for the wealthy but lazy gourmet, all the ingredients are shelled, boned and ready to eat! (€21.90)

“Rich Man’s” Paella – invented especially for the wealthy but lazy gourmet, all the ingredients are shelled, boned and ready to eat! (€21.90)

Lyon:

How could I go to Lyon without visiting one of my favourite restaurants, Les Fils à Maman?

Unfortunately, Charlie, the cute waiter with the British accent wasn’t there, and the staff working that night couldn’t speak English, so we were more than a little baffled by the French menu. But a Frenchman sitting at the table next to us voluntarily came to our aid and translated the whole menu for us! How lovely is that?

(Hover over the photos for the names of the dishes, and click to see full size image.)

Paris:

Some funny stuff went down on this trip. After a long day in Rome, I was changing into my pyjamas while singing my own little jingle.

Me: Pyjama time – the best time in the world!
Brother: No. Autumn.
Me: ??????
Brother: Wait. Did you say summer was the best time in the world?

The silliness wasn’t limited to the kids. We were playing a word association game on the train in Italy, and it was dad’s turn. The previous word was “stationery”.

Dad: Dirty.
Kids: What?! How is “dirty” related to “stationery”?!
Dad: Stationery can be dirty!
Kids: ……

In fact, could it be that dad was the silliest of us all?

We were heading towards the Notre Dame in Paris when we came across Saint-Jacques Tower.

Dad: Is that Notre Dame?
Me: Nope.
Dad: Why not?
Me: ……

The silliest of them all was probably the woman that sat at the table next to us at La Timbale. As she was leaving, she turned to us and said, “Itadakimasu!” She was so proud of herself, I didn’t have the heart to tell her we weren’t Japanese. So I flashed her a quick smile, waited till her back was turned, and then rolled my eyes.

Tarte au Citron Sur Lit de Spéculoos (€7)

Tarte au Citron Sur Lit de Spéculoos (€7)

Le Manege

Noix de St Jacques (€20)

Noix de St Jacques (€20)

For our last dinner in Paris, we went to Au Pied du Sacré Coeur, a restaurant I dined at back in 2007. It was just as delicious as I remembered it.

(Hover over the photos for the names of the dishes, and click to see full size image.)

Ah… so much good food, so many laughs, so many good memories. I’m so blessed to have such an awesome family!

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