European breakfasts

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NYNM
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2005/07/16 23:34:08 (permalink)

European breakfasts

reading these posts brings to mind trips I've had in Europe where I've eaten breakfast in local friend's homes. It's always bee a treat, and tres different from US.

1. Italy
Light breakfast, espresso and Italian bread toast with increbile jam which was basically cooked apples and rum. Nice way to start a day. Then IMMEDIATELY after breakfast, my aunt began to cook lunch!. After lunch, a nap, then cook dinner. I guess it's true that Italians love food.

2. Germany
Buffet Delight. The common breakfast tradition is a sort of rotating store of staples, more like lunch that breakfast, replenished daily. The plan is to set out many foods on the table: breads, cheeses, meats, wursts, boiled eggs, maybe a tomato, cereal (meusli), yougurts, fruit. A big amount. Then you just pick and choose. What is left is returned to the fridge for the next day. However, each morning someone goes out early to but fesh bread and maybe a few other items. I have eaten breakfast in many German homes and it is similar. (The first time I didn't understand and thought all this food was for one meal!!!)
On my last trip, a German friend made great coffee by adding a teaspoon of chocolate powder to the coffee dripper as it brewed coffee. Hmmmmm
#1

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    Sundancer7
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    RE: European breakfasts 2005/07/17 08:00:55 (permalink)
    It ha been my experience that few hotels offer what is referred to as an "American breakfast". Most do what you have indicated with copious amounts of breads, cheese, jams and jellies and even pickled fish.

    It did not take me long to get use to it although at first, I missed the eggs, potatoes, grits, bisquits and gravy.

    I generally have a diet coke with my breakfast. That was almost more than the waitperson could stand. She finally found a couple but I could really feel the tension.

    We had a main office in Marburg, Germany and we had to meet there several times a year and often the meetings would last several weeks.

    European coffee is a whole lot different than coffee in the USA. A small cup will get you going.

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
    #2
    Tedbear
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    RE: European breakfasts 2005/07/17 08:38:18 (permalink)
    Overall, I have always enjoyed breakfasts in Europe. One of the few exceptions was Hungary, where the cold cuts that formed the bulk of the offerings were incredibly fatty (the white specks in them almost outnumbered the rest of the flesh), and as a result, I shunned them. But, the assorted yogurts, the fresh fruits, and the freshly baked breads were good enough so that I didn't have to go hungry. The yogurt in the Czech Republic was even better, especially the pear flavored yogurt!

    In Austria, the smoked salmon was a real treat for breakfast. In England, once I learned that broiled mushrooms can be substituted for the poor quality English sausages, I enjoyed the "full English breakfast" much more than previously. I have to confess that I have no recollection of the breakfasts in Germany, so I can't really comment on them.

    In France, the croissants and the freshly baked baguettes were a real treat. In Italy, my only problem with the breakfasts was that Cherry Preserves seemed to be the only flavor that was ever offered with the toast. I like Cherry Preserves, but after a week or so, it starts to become boring. And, needless to say, the butter in both France and Italy was far better quality than what is typically found in the US. It must have been what the Italians call "Triplo Burro".

    In The Netherlands, the cheeses were so good, that it was almost incredible. Along with some slices of fresh tomato, that made for a nice meal.

    Everywhere, the coffee is so much better than American coffee that there is almost no comparison!
    #3
    mr chips
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    RE: European breakfasts 2005/07/18 00:28:13 (permalink)
    I liked French breakfasts, especially omlettes and pastries. Actually liked English breakfasts where I stayed. And the coffee was made by Portugese women so it was actually good.
    #4
    nembrionic
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    RE: European breakfasts 2005/07/21 02:09:07 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Tedbear

    In The Netherlands, the cheeses were so good, that it was almost incredible. Along with some slices of fresh tomato, that made for a nice meal.

    Everywhere, the coffee is so much better than American coffee that there is almost no comparison!



    Being from the Netherlands I couldn't agree with you more
    Swiss, Italian and Dutch cheeses are pretty much the best in the world(some my argue the French cheese should be in there)

    We are generally referred to as "cheeseheads" (no, not potheads ) for a reason.

    Unfortunately a lot of cheeses are not allowed to be brought into the US and CAN in your luggage due to health regulations. The ones you can buy at the airports aren't the best ones around and ofcouse, pricy.

    I also have to agree on the coffee. I've spent quite some time at your side of the big pond and the coffee tastes even a bit sour at time.
    Moreover, it's watery and lacks a certain 'kick' to it.

    A bit of ground coffee, a lot of water. Very cheap to make.
    It doens't surprise me AT ALL that you guys have the free refill thing going on. You will rarely, if at all, encounter an establishment over here where you get refills on your coffee.

    While 'over here' it's a good solid amount of ground coffee and a nice amount of water.
    But also more expensive. But hey, good food and drinks are OK to cost a bit more
    #5
    lleechef
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    RE: European breakfasts 2005/07/21 02:49:39 (permalink)
    I miss the country breakfasts in France where you are served that fabulous coffee in a BOWL and are served frothed milk and sugar for it. Then baguette, croissant, brioche, pain au chocolat, good smelly, ripe brie or camembert, farm butter, jam, and homemade pate. No eggs, no bacon. Divine!
    #6
    BT
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    RE: European breakfasts 2005/07/21 03:08:08 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by nembrionic


    I also have to agree on the coffee. I've spent quite some time at your side of the big pond and the coffee tastes even a bit sour at time.
    Moreover, it's watery and lacks a certain 'kick' to it.

    A bit of ground coffee, a lot of water. Very cheap to make.
    It doens't surprise me AT ALL that you guys have the free refill thing going on. You will rarely, if at all, encounter an establishment over here where you get refills on your coffee.


    I don't understand the knock on coffee in the US. I think that's a throwback to a time when coffee here meant that stuff out of a can from the supermarket. I suppose some restaurants (sadly, lots of Roadfood places) still serve that, but the available variety of coffee around the US these days is so tremendous you can't really say it's ALL good or ALL bad. For one thing, espresso machines and so-called French presses are no longer novelties and the old-fashioned percolator is nearly as anachronistic as the supermarket can. Then there's the fact that we don't just throw the world's reserve currency around to get oil--we also suck up much of the world's best coffee beans and we don't ruin them all. So at least in major US cities, if you want great coffee you shouldn't have any trouble getting it and if you want it elsewhere you should be able to get good beans (even if you have to order them on the internet) and make it yourself. You certainly don't have to go to Europe. And, as it happens, my personal favorite coffee anywhere is ALL-American: Kona from Hawaii.

    I will agree that as a rule the butter in Europe (and in countries with both a European tradition and large dairy herds like New Zealand) is really superior, but you can even buy imported butters fairly easily in US cities now and the artisanal cheese phenomenon has begun to expand to artisanal butters.

    But remember: MAPLE SYRUP is a North American thing. And it makes up for a lot of bad coffee and mediocre butter.
    #7
    nembrionic
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    RE: European breakfasts 2005/07/21 03:32:05 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by BT

    quote:
    Originally posted by nembrionic


    I also have to agree on the coffee. I've spent quite some time at your side of the big pond and the coffee tastes even a bit sour at time.
    Moreover, it's watery and lacks a certain 'kick' to it.

    A bit of ground coffee, a lot of water. Very cheap to make.
    It doens't surprise me AT ALL that you guys have the free refill thing going on. You will rarely, if at all, encounter an establishment over here where you get refills on your coffee.


    I don't understand the knock on coffee in the US. I think that's a throwback to a time when coffee here meant that stuff out of a can from the supermarket. I suppose some restaurants (sadly, lots of Roadfood places) still serve that, but the available variety of coffee around the US these days is so tremendous you can't really say it's ALL good or ALL bad. For one thing, espresso machines and so-called French presses are no longer novelties and the old-fashioned percolator is nearly as anachronistic as the supermarket can. Then there's the fact that we don't just throw the world's reserve currency around to get oil--we also suck up much of the world's best coffee beans and we don't ruin them all. So at least in major US cities, if you want great coffee you shouldn't have any trouble getting it and if you want it elsewhere you should be able to get good beans (even if you have to order them on the internet) and make it yourself. You certainly don't have to go to Europe. And, as it happens, my personal favorite coffee anywhere is ALL-American: Kona from Hawaii.

    I will agree that as a rule the butter in Europe (and in countries with both a European tradition and large dairy herds like New Zealand) is really superior, but you can even buy imported butters fairly easily in US cities now and the artisanal cheese phenomenon has begun to expand to artisanal butters.

    But remember: MAPLE SYRUP is a North American thing. And it makes up for a lot of bad coffee and mediocre butter.


    It's easy: being a tourist I go to restaurants and roadfood places. I have encoutered only one or two places where they served good quality coffee. But if I recall correctly that was one italian place and one 'expensive' restaurant.

    Please keep I mind I do not include Starbucks into this.
    Starbucks is just fine because they offer all kinds of flavours and extra shot stuff.
    #8
    caratzas
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    RE: European breakfasts 2005/07/21 08:19:34 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by BT
    I don't understand the knock on coffee in the US. I think that's a throwback to a time when coffee here meant that stuff out of a can from the supermarket. I suppose some restaurants (sadly, lots of Roadfood places) still serve that, but the available variety of coffee around the US these days is so tremendous you can't really say it's ALL good or ALL bad.


    A lot of it depends on the region of the U.S., too. Here in the Northeast the quality has improved tremendously over the past 20 years. I can get a good cup of coffee at the gas station.

    OTOH, I have much more trouble finding a good cup south of the Mason-Dixon line. Maybe I just don't know where to look (they do take their iced tea very seriously, though.)
    #9
    NYNM
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    RE: European breakfasts 2005/07/21 11:42:12 (permalink)
    RE: regional US coffee

    A while back I worked for General Foods in market research. There were actually different formulations of Maxwell House sold in different areas of US, but under the same name and label. The Northeast US Maxwell House was much darker; the reason they said was because being closer the Europe, Northeasterners preferred coffee that was more like strong European coffee. Pacific Maxwell House (pre Starbucks days) was much lighter and weaker.
    #10
    cindyloo
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    RE: European breakfasts 2005/07/21 12:17:37 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by lleechef

    I miss the country breakfasts in France where you are served that fabulous coffee in a BOWL and are served frothed milk and sugar for it. Then baguette, croissant, brioche, pain au chocolat, good smelly, ripe brie or camembert, farm butter, jam, and homemade pate. No eggs, no bacon. Divine!


    Holy cow... never thought of brie for breakfast! My life may have just changed for the better!

    Cindy
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    BT
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    RE: European breakfasts 2005/07/21 12:24:44 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by nembrionic


    It's easy: being a tourist I go to restaurants and roadfood places. I have encoutered only one or two places where they served good quality coffee. But if I recall correctly that was one italian place and one 'expensive' restaurant.

    Please keep I mind I do not include Starbucks into this.
    Starbucks is just fine because they offer all kinds of flavours and extra shot stuff.



    Well, see that's the thing. I don't even like Starbuck's. I think they are over-priced and pretentious. But that aside, the big reason I don't like them is that they take business away from places that you might call the "Roadfood of coffee vendors". Here in San Francisco, anyway, every neighborhood and, in some neighborhoods, every block has an independent cafe' selling everything Starbuck's sells and more but with a lot more personality and a lot more friendliness. In such places, you can buy a latte or a mocha or an espresso or just a cup of "regular coffee" (usually from a local roaster and decent but you can avoid it if you don't like the stuff) and, if you wish, a pastry (in fact, a whole "European-style" breakfast--or not if you just want coffee) and sit and read or work on a computer project for a few hours and nobody will bother you. Here, anyway, they function as alternative living rooms for people forced into having a roomate by the high cost of housing and most people have a favorite or two.

    Here's a list and map of places offering free Wi-Fi most of which are neighborhood cafes: http://california.metrofreefi.com/city/San+Francisco.htm . There are also many more that don't have that. Here's another list that includes many without Wi-Fi: http://www.graffiks.com/sf/coffee.html

    Here's the picture of Cafe Trieste, among the best known but not really the best, of the breed (but it looks typical):
    #12
    Williamsburger
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    RE: European breakfasts 2005/07/22 15:24:14 (permalink)
    In Ireland we'd usually have a full fry (fried fried eggs, black & white puddings, bacon and toast or brown bread). That would take us through most of the day. I usually left off the pudding or gave them to my husband.
    The B&B in Howth (N. of Dublin) had homemade raspberry jam from raspberries grown in the back garden. Yummy!
    Oatmeal, dry cereals (first place I've ever had Wheatabix) and boxty could also be had if you asked nice. Yoguart and pancakes occured once. I love Ireland!

    Cathy
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    michaelgemmell
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    RE: European breakfasts 2005/07/23 16:47:12 (permalink)
    My only experience of a "European breakfast" is aboard Princess cruise ships, which I believe are still run by the venerable British shipping line P & O. While there was some "Americanization" of the breakfasts, I was delighted to order a breakfast with beans on toast on our SF-Alaska round trip cruise. I already sang the praises of European butters before our subsequent cruise around Ireland and the British Isles, but imagine my amazement at the fried eggs (my fave) with the ORANGE yolks! Princess serves Président butter, which I like nearly as much as Kerrygold from Ireland. My friends here in Boulder say their local Costco stocks it, and I find it at Trader Joe's in SF for $2.39/8 oz. Have a European breakfast at home!
    #14
    NYNM
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    RE: European breakfasts 2005/07/23 18:19:59 (permalink)
    I'm glad I started this thread: so many interetsting replies.
    As to 'have a european breakfast at home', that's exactly what I did - for a party!! I invited a bunch of friends over for a EB and they loved it!!
    #15
    meiguoren
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    RE: European breakfasts 2005/07/24 15:19:44 (permalink)
    I lived in Scotland for a time and worked at a few hotels, so not only did I eat a European breakfast every day, I got to cook it, as well. I have a feeling, though, that breakfast in the rest of Europe isn't quite as heavy as in Britain.

    Standard Scottish breakfast seemed to be bangers (small mild pork sausages), which kind of taste like bratwurst. Black pudding, bacon (more like thin sliced ham...what we would call bacon they call 'streaky bacon'), fried egg, toast, and a grilled tomato or mushroom cap. Other items are porridge (served with salt and milk, brown sugar is blasphemy) and flounder or halibut. I never opted for the fish, as I'm not a huge fish fan to begin with, especially not for breakfast. I used to have to wake up early to let in the fishmonger...those halibuts are massive. There's also 'fried bread' which is basically a piece of bread soaked in the drippings from the fried breakfast. Scottish breakfast is a heart attack waiting to happen.

    At the end of breakfast the patrons would return to their rooms or leave, and we'd get the left overs. Toast with black pudding, butter, and bangers is to die for. Black pudding, if you know what it is, sounds pretty gross but it's so good. I've searched and searched for places in the US that make it but I can't seem to find any.

    The Scottish woman who owned the hotel did most of the cooking. She told me 'We only fry eggs one way in Scotland...none of that eggs flapty do like you have in America!'
    #16
    tacchino
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    RE: European breakfasts 2005/07/24 15:40:20 (permalink)
    Those English breakfasts were just too much for me when I lived in England...the fried bread, the sausage, the bacon, the baked beans, the eggs; my arteries clogged just looking at them!

    My favorite still: a delicious cup of rich black coffee, fresh bread spread with Nutella, and a glass of that wonderful red Sicilian blood orange juice...a glorious memory of time in Italy.
    #17
    V960
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    RE: European breakfasts 2005/07/26 07:04:40 (permalink)
    Read this thread and all it reminded me of was how much I dreaded Euro b'fasts and loved Japanese b'fasts. Euro ones were artery clogging heavy gut bombs while a Japanese one was low fat, broiled fish and rice w/ green tea.
    #18
    Spudnut
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    RE: European breakfasts 2005/07/26 08:14:50 (permalink)
    When I was a student in Paris, I began almost every day with a baguette with fresh butter and jam, and a bowl of hot chocolate. Very simple, and incredibly delicious. I never think to do that here even though I could get high-quality foods (although not likely AS high quality), in part because for me, that breakfast is most enjoyable when I have the luxury of time to take it all in. Too often, I eat quickly in the morning.
    #19
    BT
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    RE: European breakfasts 2005/07/26 12:13:06 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Spudnut

    When I was a student in Paris, I began almost every day with a baguette with fresh butter and jam, and a bowl of hot chocolate. Very simple, and incredibly delicious. I never think to do that here even though I could get high-quality foods (although not likely AS high quality), in part because for me, that breakfast is most enjoyable when I have the luxury of time to take it all in. Too often, I eat quickly in the morning.


    2005 US equivalent: a cup of decent coffee and a fresh-baked chocolate croissant. Had that Sunday morning.

    #20
    santacruz
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    RE: European breakfasts 2005/08/15 13:54:10 (permalink)
    Just got back from Canada and had really great European breakfast foods at IKEA. Yep Salmon on different breads and rolls, Shrimp, Cheeses etc.
    Good coffee and regular breakfasts just get this 1.00. I know they must be a loss leader but you can't beat the price and very good quality. Also they have a really decent lunch for a good price.
    Way better than chainfood.
    #21
    BT
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    RE: European breakfasts 2005/08/15 14:20:16 (permalink)
    Uh, it's hard to let IKEA get away without being classed as a "chain" even if it does sell mostly furniture. If you like the food there, then maybe it's just a chain with good food. I've long maintained that that is a possibility. Anyway, you don't have to go to Canada to enjoy IKEA chow. There's one in Emeryville and soon to be one in San Mateo County I think. I haven't checked, but I'd be surprised if there isn't one in San Jose somewhere also (hey Frank!!).
    #22
    mayor al
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    RE: European breakfasts 2005/08/15 15:07:01 (permalink)

    Guys, All that you describe sounds like a tasting exhibition at Epcot Center. That can be a wonderful experience, But give me a double order of Biscuits and Gravy with some Bacon on the side, and a liter of Mountain Dew and I will run for 'Hoosier of the Month'(and win) !!

    Score one for the Old Timer in the 'Cracker Suit'!
    #23
    MilwFoodlovers
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    RE: European breakfasts 2005/08/23 20:57:23 (permalink)
    I've had breakfast at Brennan's and country ham, grits, eggs every way, Irish breakfasts, ackee and saltfish, great toasts, British breakfasts, pancakes, Mexican breakfasts, and waffles with real maple syrup and the single best breakfast I've ever had was here in North America but in Quebec; it was a perfect "real" croissant with a fried egg, ham and cheese packed in it. It was the best croissant I'd ever had (still remains so).
    #24
    Mark in VT
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    RE: European breakfasts 2005/08/23 22:43:22 (permalink)
    I have to agree the breakfast offerings in Ireland are supurb !
    I even found the coffee to be far better than I expected. With or without the whiskey !
    I found everything to be the freshest of quality !
    Can't wait to go back to Ireland !

    #25
    Rev.Bucky
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    RE: European breakfasts 2005/09/03 15:55:01 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by nembrionic

    Being from the Netherlands I couldn't agree with you more
    Swiss, Italian and Dutch cheeses are pretty much the best in the world(some my argue the French cheese should be in there)

    We are generally referred to as "cheeseheads" (no, not potheads ) for a reason.



    Wow, when did the Netherlands become part of Wisconsin? Who knew, ya Cheesehead!!

    Man, some of these breakfasts sound excellent. I especially like the idea of a variety of meats, fresh fruits and bread and pastries. I would eat breakfast if those were the options.

    My Breakfasts usually consist of a Cola beverage, or Mountain Dew, and cigarettes! Caffein, nicotine and sugar, that's a healthy choice, eh!?!?
    #26
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