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What are some International foods that an American might have never tasted?

 
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I was having fun in the other "What are some American foods that a European might have never tasted?" thread and wondered... what if the tables were turned?

What foods are out there that you don't think an American might of experienced?

I'm hoping this might give me a bucket list by the end of things to try...

Shoutout to Paul for the original thread idea.
 
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Haggis
(source)

Ngl it looks a lot tastier than the description
 
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Almond Thompson wrote:Haggis

Ngl it looks a lot tastier than the description


Had that back in 80s while on bicycle near
The isle of sky, the black pudding wasn't too bad either. Some how as an American i still haven't tried milk in hot tea....
John
 
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Quark....  You can find it occasionally in the US at some grocers, but not commonly.  Something of a cross between yogurt, cream-cheese, and cottage cheese.  Used as a spread or in baking.
Quark.JPG
[Thumbnail for Quark.JPG]
 
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andouillette sausages not to be confused with andouille, the former made with tripe
 
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I guess this has to do a lot with location (urban vs. rural) and your heritage.

I would say that the vast diversity of German bread, including rye breads, is unknown, vegetables like kohlrabi (in general many cruciferous including local varieties like Wirsing), black salsify and similar to some extent, all dishes made of redcurrants (like desserts and preserves) and also other berries, like elderflower dishes and those with elder berries, local mushrooms like chanterelles and others, many varities of sausage and cold cuts (including head-cheese and tongue), many varieties of cheese, smoked green spelt (Grünkern).
For meat, there is hare and game, including wild boar, and for beef and pork there was traditionally a lot of nose-to-tail usage which is getting more scarce with the younger generation, sadly. Traditional bavarian dishes include kidney, udder, oxtail, stomach, tripes, lung, spleen etc.

Dishes like savoury thin pancakes filled with cheese, savoury strudel.
For dairy, not only the mentioned quark but also the Bavarian variety Topfen which is a bit drier, almost like ricotta, then kefir, buttermilk (which is made in a different way in Europe as far as I remember), Dickmilch, Sauerrahm, Schmand... (fermented products with different fat contents).

When you talk about Bavaria and Austria in specific, there are all these "Mehlspeisen" made from flour and eggs above all, many of them famous, some sweet, some savoury, mostly eaten as main dish (not dessert): Strudel, Spätzle, Nocken, Knödel, Palatschinken, Kaiserschmarrn, Dampfnudeln, Fingernudeln... not only because people had little money but also because in Catholic regions many weeks of the year had lent regulations and no meat was allowed. Still today in company canteens you get non-meat dishes on Fridays.

In summary maybe not necessarily the original source/produce but the way it is prepared/cooked which varies vastly from region to region here in Bavaria and Germany as a whole.
 
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There are a lot of European foods that I have never tasted.

Like Scones and all the many different breads.

If I don't cook it myself I don't get to taste it.

Yorkshire pudding is one I have been wanting to try for a long time.

I did this post about British Foods and I still have not tasted anything mentioned there:

https://permies.com/t/148519/Favorite-British-Cuisine

Bangers and Mash, Welsh Pies, Cornish Miners Patries, and Scotch Eggs.

I found this Wikipedia of European Cuisines with foods I had not even heard of:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_European_cuisines

I have made Hungarian Goulash and Chow Mein lots of times as they are my favorite.
 
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Anita Martin wrote:
For meat, there is hare and game, including wild boar.....



The odd thing is that the U.S. apparently has increasing hot spots of feral/wild boar.  Even as I realize razorback/ferals are not the same as true never-domesticated wild boar, they will be similar enough in flavor I suspect since they remain the same species.  Yet my understanding is that wild/feral boar in the U.S. has a bad reputation even for eating, which seems strange if the same does not hold true for wild boar in Europe eastward through Asia.

But speaking of pork, another bread spread unfamiliar to most Yanks will be the solidified bacon drippings that are mixed with onions and spread on toast or some other form of bread....can't recall the name just now.
 
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Bread.  Not all bread is created equal.  Wonder Bread is a poor, misbegotten imitation of real bread like you can get in german bakeries.  When I was a kid living in Germany back in the 60s you could almost gain weight walking by a bakery.  It smelled so good!!!  I've made my own bread, had bread that was supposedly freshed baked.  For some reason it isn't the same animal as what I got when I was in Germany or France.
 
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This is because of all the preservatives that are in American commercial store-bought bread.

I have read that many of these preservatives are banned in Europe.
 
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Anita writes:

When you talk about Bavaria and Austria in specific, there are all these "Mehlspeisen" made from flour and eggs above all...


For years I've been looking for a sweet German recipe that my great grandmother made. She called it (or sounded like) "Mehlbeetle." Have you heard of this or is there a different spelling? Do you possibly have a recipe? The sauce was caramel-like that hardened when it cooled.
I'd be forever grateful for any clues regarding how to make this big sweet dumpling!
 
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It would be two categories:

Foods made from ingredients rather not available, for example:
-billberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) ice-cream
-wild strawberries and preserves made form them
-horse meat cold cuts

Food products made from widely available ingredients:
-steak tatar
-sour milk
The list could go on:
-various breads (made of 4 ingredients, not 30)
-various pastries (made of 5-8 ingredients, not 100)
-cold cuts: blood sausages, head cheeses, dried sausages (no preservatives, no smoking, like real chorizo or patatera)
-vast array of cheeses
-various pickles

A lot of products from the second group can be found in good ethnic stores.
 
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Lutefisk? I hear of this from people with ties to Norwegian heritage. By all accounts it is an acquired taste.

Kidney pie and other offal meat dishes are probably rarely known as well.

[Edit: on the subject of kidney pie, here is a rabbit hole you might like to go down:  https://www.nationalgeographic.co.uk/travel/2020/12/story-steak-kidney-pie ]
 
Anita Martin
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John Weiland wrote:
But speaking of pork, another bread spread unfamiliar to most Yanks will be the solidified bacon drippings that are mixed with onions and spread on toast or some other form of bread....can't recall the name just now.


Oh, Griebenschmalz of course, or if you add apples, Apfelgriebenschmalz. It contains not only drippings but also crunchy bits of crust, spices like marjoram and onions.
I like to eat it from time to time but it is hard to find without added palm oil these days unless you go to a good butcher.
It is also a common streetfood for fairs and festivals, on dark sourdough bread topped with chopped chives.


We have also the goose version which is very tasty as well.
Since a mix of saturated and unsaturated fats has been rehabilitated as a rather healthy food it has lost its bad reputation.
 
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Amy Gardener wrote:Anita writes:

When you talk about Bavaria and Austria in specific, there are all these "Mehlspeisen" made from flour and eggs above all...


For years I've been looking for a sweet German recipe that my great grandmother made. She called it (or sounded like) "Mehlbeetle." Have you heard of this or is there a different spelling? Do you possibly have a recipe? The sauce was caramel-like that hardened when it cooled.
I'd be forever grateful for any clues regarding how to make this big sweet dumpling!


Do you remember if these were baked or rather boiled? Where they filled with plums or apricots or plain?
And do you know where from your great grandmother was originally?

It is not something I grew up with, I only know Zwetschgenknödel (dumplings filled with plums):


and Dampfnudeln/Rohrnudeln/Buchteln:

But they don't come with a caramel-like sauce either.

Just let me know what you remember and we'll find out!

 
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John Weiland wrote:
The odd thing is that the U.S. apparently has increasing hot spots of feral/wild boar.  Even as I realize razorback/ferals are not the same as true never-domesticated wild boar, they will be similar enough in flavor I suspect since they remain the same species.  Yet my understanding is that wild/feral boar in the U.S. has a bad reputation even for eating, which seems strange if the same does not hold true for wild boar in Europe eastward through Asia.


Wild boar is not easy to get. You have to go to a specialized restaurant or butcher or to the hunter directly. You can get roast, cooked goulash-like strips, cured ham, paté and sausage made from wild boar. It is also highly prized in France and Italy (and Spain).
Our wild boars look like this:

(sus scrofa)
Edited to add:
Just read up on the origin and history of razorbacks in the US. Very interesting, not something I had ever thought about ;-)
https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Razorback
 
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Thank you, Anita, for your curiosity about this childhood food memory!

Do you remember if these were baked or rather boiled? Where they filled with plums or apricots or plain?
And do you know where from your great grandmother was originally?


The big dumpling was plain (no fruit), wrapped in cloth then tied to a stick and left to boil in a kettle. She would unwrap the big white loaf then slice it like bread (without a crust). The big dumpling had little holes like cheese. The slices were served warm. As I recall, the sauce was like a brown sugar candy syrup but if it was fruit it was probably a prune syrup. The original family home was in the Alsace-Lorraine region. She spoke German.
 
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As well as offal (black pudding and haggis) we have our share of additive containing 'foods' (Irn bru anyone?) I was half thinking of this earlier, and the British foods thread, so thanks Timothy for starting it.
Apparently our UK bacon is quite different to US bacon, from what we have gathered from visitors to Skye. I suspect maybe you just have what we would call 'streaky' bacon - the fatty thin end, whereas our bacon these days is usually back bacon using the thick end of the rasher, or middle - with both ends.
middle bacon

source (post about UK bacon)
I was wondering about kippers?

source
We had kippers for breakfast today. just grilled with a couple of slices of fresh bread - yummy! I always reckon the omega oils in herring make it a healthy meal. Very tricky to eat though - all the fish bones are in them, although the little bones are safe enough. Just make sure you get properly smoked kippers, not ones that have been sprayed and dyed. Do you see other hot smoked fish at all?


 
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Nancy Reading wrote:
I was wondering about kippers?

source
We had kippers for breakfast today. just grilled with a couple of slices of fresh bread - yummy! I always reckon the omega oils in herring make it a healthy meal. Very tricky to eat though - all the fish bones are in them, although the little bones are safe enough. Just make sure you get properly smoked kippers, not ones that have been sprayed and dyed. Do you see other hot smoked fish at all?


Interesting, never heard of kippers before.
As we live a fair distance from the sea, the more common fish are trout and carp and some other (also smoked) and then matjes herring in the Dutch style.
 
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Amy Gardener wrote:
The big dumpling was plain (no fruit), wrapped in cloth then tied to a stick and left to boil in a kettle. She would unwrap the big white loaf then slice it like bread (without a crust). The big dumpling had little holes like cheese. The slices were served warm. As I recall, the sauce was like a brown sugar candy syrup but if it was fruit it was probably a prune syrup. The original family home was in the Alsace-Lorraine region. She spoke German.


OK, now we are on to something. I have to admit that I know very little of the Alsace-Lorraine region apart from some random meals.
But the dumpling very much sounds like Serviettenknödel (napkin-cooked dumpling). I love the kind that my bohemian grandmother used to cook and last summer when we were in the Czech Republic we had to find a restaurant who offered Bohemian dumplings with meat gravy because middle daughter was craving them so badly.

On their own they are quite bland but they absorb gravy like crazy.

Here is an English recipe:
https://mygerman.recipes/bohemian-dumplings/
Here is a recipe with more pictures:
https://www.cooklikeczechs.com/houskove-knedliky-czech-bread-dumplings/
(if you do some googling you will also find YouTube videos on them)

I googled a bit about Alsace style dumplings but could not find any sweet dish that resembles your description. Maybe your great grandmother improvised?
You could try the Böhmische Knödel (bohemian dumpling) recipe and invent a sauce made from cream and sugar to serve with them.

I have only found one recipe where this kind of dumpling is eaten as a sweet dessert:
https://www.essen-und-trinken.de/rezepte/58615-rzpt-suesser-serviettenknoedel
You can try google translate or DeepL to see if that resembles your childhood dish.
 
Anita Martin
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I know the thread is asking about food, but I would find it interesting to expand to other things as well: spices and drinks for example.

So for spices, in Germany we use mustard (different varieties from spicy to sweet, coarse to creamy), horseradish, marjoram, lovage, dill, caraway, juniper berries, mugwort and I guess the rest is quite the same as in other countries.

For drinks, there are the common soda companies but often with a specific recipe which differs  from the US one (there are tons of internet threads on this topic) but also more unique flavours like Spezi (coke premixed with orange fanta), Karamalz (sweet malt beer), Almdudler (a herb-based soda) and of course Apfelschorle (natural apple juice mixed with sparkling water) or more "hipster" drinks like Club-Mate (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Club-Mate)
(I forgot to add that many Germans will have simple tap water as their beverage of choice and wherever you go - to a private home - will get served a jug of non-carbonated tap water, and if you go to a youth hostel the dreaded signature drink is rosehip tea!)

Then of course hundreds of beer varieties including wheat beer (Weizen), rye beer, smoked beer etc.
My part of Bavaria is not mild enough for cultivating wine (you would have to go to Franconia or other districts of Germany) so I leave that out.

For harder liquors there is no whisky or similar.
In the north of Germany, Korn is quite popular which is a clear grain-based distilled liquor, I think they also drink Kümmel (based on caraway).

In Bavaria, you will find more fruit-distilled Schnaps (made from cherry, plum, apple, pear, quince, sloe etc.) or from plants that are more local like Enzian (from the gentiana plant), Bärwurz (made from the spignel plant), or Kroatzbeere (made from a specific variety of blackberry, but not a clear distilled liquor but which apparently is called liqueur in English?).

We also have very good local sparkling wines (local from Germany, not Bavaria).
 
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Anita Martin wrote:....... we were in the Czech Republic we had to find a restaurant who offered Bohemian dumplings with meat gravy because middle daughter was craving them so badly.

On their own they are quite bland but they absorb gravy like crazy.



It's interesting that the recipes I've seen for Hungarian goulash typically are served with a large dumpling ball in them.  My wife grew up in central Pennsylvania and her ancestors were from the Alsace region.  The German side of her family were coal miners so I don't know if that fits with that region of Germany...?  But it was interesting to me, having grown up with "pot pie" as a meat-filled pie crust, to learn from her that 'pot pie' in her region of Pennsylvania was a soup with large, flat dumpling-like noodles in it.
 
Thanks for the Griebenschmalz reference.....brings back a memory!  And the wild boar photo is a good one.  Although razorbacks do not look too different, many of them have interbred with domestic pigs and retain domestication traits, especially in their large size.  Nevertheless, we do see occasional wild boar in the U.S. that escape from hunting reserves.  These have been known to migrate even from Canada down into the U.S. on rare occasion, and cross-breeds with domestic pigs that are running wild are increasing in numbers.

Nancy, kippers are most often found in our northern plains region as a canned item....are they also sold as a smoked, un-canned fish?  I'm imagining lox and cream cheese on a bagel with smoked kipper as a substitute!  As Douglas A. noted, lutefisk is another item perhaps not so common in most of the US., but well known in our region with the large population of Scandinavian origins.
 
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Anita Martin wrote:..... and of course Apfelschorle (natural apple juice mixed with sparkling water)



Yes...I surprised a visiting German friend one day when we went to our local supermarket and picked up bottles of Gerolsteiner Sprudel .... a sparkling water great for mixing with apple juice to make Apfelschorle.  He was not aware that it was popular enough to be exported.

A Brazilian friend also mentioned cashew juice to me one day....make from the fruit of the cashew tree.  This seems to be something rather hard to find in the U.S., although I think it can be purchased through places like Amazon....?
 
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John Weiland wrote:
It's interesting that the recipes I've seen for Hungarian goulash typically are served with a large dumpling ball in them.  My wife grew up in central Pennsylvania and her ancestors were from the Alsace region.  The German side of her family were coal miners so I don't know if that fits with that region of Germany...?  But it was interesting to me, having grown up with "pot pie" as a meat-filled pie crust, to learn from her that 'pot pie' in her region of Pennsylvania was a soup with large, flat dumpling-like noodles in it.


You are right, Alsace was one of the mining regions in Germany. But I know very little of their tradition and dishes. It is at 300 km distance and as you know that is a looong distance for a European, lol.
 
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OK, the last one, seems like I monopolized this thread...
As I just got an ad in my feed for Krapfen I will mention this typical German baked item. It is a bit like a donut but fluffier and with jelly filling (usually, there are more options today). We are approaching carnival season and there are two peak times for Krapfen, one New Year and one Carnival.


Depending on the bakery there are various types, but the plain ones just have apricot jelly as filling and sugar as coating.
I can't eat deep-fried stuff but if pressed I will eat half a Krapfen but never a donut, sorry! It really doesn't agree with me.
 
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Amy Gardener wrote:She called it (or sounded like) "Mehlbeetle." Have you heard of this or is there a different spelling?



Maybe the name is knedle as this sound similar:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knedle
 
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Anne Miller wrote:

Amy Gardener wrote:She called it (or sounded like) "Mehlbeetle." Have you heard of this or is there a different spelling?



Maybe the name is knedle as this sound similar:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knedle


Thanks for chiming in, but the mystery has been solved in the meantime. The dish is Mehlbeutel/Mehlbüddel which is typical for the northern coastal regions and which I had never heard in my life before:
https://herzelieb.de/mehlbeutel-rezept-mehlbuedel-mehlbueddel/
I am sure this is true the other way round for many Bavarian dishes!
 
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John Weiland wrote:
A Brazilian friend also mentioned cashew juice to me one day....make from the fruit of the cashew tree.  This seems to be something rather hard to find in the U.S., although I think it can be purchased through places like Amazon....?


I didn't know that you could juice cashew fruits.

I guess there are foods and drinks you are so used to that you can't imagine that they are not sold everywhere in the world. I am not sure if rhubarb spritzer is popular in North America? Here you get it almost in every restaurant. Elderflower spritzer is a bit less frequent but also popular, as are redcurrant and morello cherry. And in the high-end fruit juice sector you will also find juices from some pure special apple or pear varieties.
 
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Anita Martin wrote:I didn't know that you could juice cashew fruits.


Nor did I! But I love cashews, and when I was on the Hawaiian islands a zillion years ago I got to see  a cashew plantation. And carry away some of the rather large fruit that contains the nuts. I'm not surprised that someone figured out how to extract value from all that plant flesh, which would otherwise be compost.
 
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Snails, which I've eaten in soup at a French-style restaurant and which I found to be agreeable.  Bear, a goal of mine.  Horse, not a goal of mine.  The black and white pudding, I avoided this when visiting Ireland, my father tried it and disliked it mightily.  
 
Anita Martin
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Riona Abhainn wrote:Snails, which I've eaten in soup at a French-style restaurant and which I found to be agreeable.  Bear, a goal of mine.


We get (frozen) snails in the supermarket, but they are more common in Baden-Württemberg which is closer to France.
Regarding bear: I am curious why you would expect bear to be a European dish? I would guess it is way easier in the US and in Canada to get bear meat from a hunter. In Europe, you would have to travel quite into the east to find a bear population that is big enough  for hunting permissions to be issued. Maybe Romania, Moldavia or Ukraine?
 
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Anita Martin wrote:
I didn't know that you could juice cashew fruits.


Cashew fruits are large and juicy and lovely for eating out of hand or juicing. You can also make juice out of cacau fruit, the pulp surrounding the cacau seeds (from which comes cocoa). In South America you could literally have a juice of a different fruit every day and probably not run out for a few years.

I'm a big food tourism person, and love to try whatever is new. I've lived in very multicultural places for quite some time and it's hard to find something I've never seen or tried before, but this year I was in northern Italy and had sweet pickles with mustard oil that were absolutely amazing. Some made with fruit like apples or figs, others with onions and carrots and such, but all just in a simple sugar syrup with this mustard oil. Fabulous and very different.

Another thing that I didn't see much of in the US was the idea of making your own pasta (spaetzle style) as an everyday, no-big-deal endeavor. I brought back a spaetzle press with me and we have made it a much more regular part of our menu (a good way to use eggs as well). It is much easier for me than the cutting-strips method I learned before (hard on my hands). Generally in the US homemade pasta is seen as a bit more of a production-- my mother grew up eating spaetzle and has a press, but it only gets used when I'm up there to visit, lol.


 
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Tereza Okava wrote:I've lived in very multicultural places for quite some time and it's hard to find something I've never seen or tried before, but this year I was in northern Italy and had sweet pickles with mustard oil that were absolutely amazing. Some made with fruit like apples or figs, others with onions and carrots and such, but all just in a simple sugar syrup with this mustard oil. Fabulous and very different.


I only knew pickles with mustard seeds, so the mustard oil was new to me. Apparently I am not a typical Bavarian as South Tyrol is the second home to many of them (in all seasons) and this kind of pickle is often served there as well.
Mostarda is apparently available in specialty shops here but you can also find recipes to try yourself - the original is a bit pricey...
https://www.alpenweit.de/magazin/mostarda-italienische-senffruechte-fuer-kaeseliebhaber/
 
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I really want to try some proper European breakfast foods.

If I could just do a breakfast themed trip I would be forever pleased haha!
 
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Tereza Okava wrote:...I was in northern Italy and had sweet pickles with mustard oil that were absolutely amazing. Some made with fruit like apples or figs, others with onions and carrots and such, but all just in a simple sugar syrup with this mustard oil. Fabulous and very different.


Like this: https://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Classic-Mustard-Fruit-Preserves/
 ?
 
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Christopher Weeks wrote:

Tereza Okava wrote:...I was in northern Italy and had sweet pickles with mustard oil that were absolutely amazing. Some made with fruit like apples or figs, others with onions and carrots and such, but all just in a simple sugar syrup with this mustard oil. Fabulous and very different.


Like this: https://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Classic-Mustard-Fruit-Preserves/ ?


what i had was more of an almost crystal preserve thing, like this https://www.lazzaris.com/en/mostarda/

The fruit-based ones are beautiful, but I had one formal work dinner where the appetizer included this made with onions, carrots, and some other sort of bland vegetables, it had that nice thick "bounce" like we get in Brazilian green fig or green papaya desserts (made me wonder if the veg had been soaked in lye or similar like we do with these fruit) and the syrup was so thick it felt like it was just a hair shy of crystallizing. I found it so much more intriguing in the vegetable version than with the fruit-- especially the onions. One of these days I'll make myself a mustard-scented thick sugar syrup and do some experimentation with whatever veg I have in my garden.
 
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Timothy Norton wrote:I really want to try some proper European breakfast foods.

If I could just do a breakfast themed trip I would be forever pleased haha!


I went on a tour of Wales, Scotland and England with two friends and we tried to have a "full" breakfast and high tea every new place we went (skipped lunch and dinner, but had a pint later, of course). I bet I had a dozen different kinds of scones/cakes/baps/etc, almost all amazing. Thought it would get boring, but never did!
 
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Timothy Norton wrote:I really want to try some proper European breakfast foods.


You mean like a French breakfast?

That is a really mean joke with a grain of truth, I apologize. A croissant would also be typical.
I just wanted to illustrate that breakfast habits vary wildly across countries.
 
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Anita, I've been told that in Russia they eat bear at fancy restaurants.  Maybe I have been told wrong.  In The States bear is hard to come by unless you hunt it yourself, so I've never gotten to have it yet.
 
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Timothy Norton wrote:I really want to try some proper European breakfast foods.

If I could just do a breakfast themed trip I would be forever pleased haha!



I remember being pretty impressed at the age of eighteen when I went to Spain and discovered they had cake (with jam) for breakfast! Croissants are hard to beat too! Although the French way seems to be to tear off bits and spread with jam, rather than cut the croissant, as you would a roll.
 
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