Do you ever think about that dish or dessert you had on your recent travels, or that glass of wine you just can’t get at home? You don’t have to be a foodie to long for that heavenly taste again. Sometimes you just want the moment back too. Let me tell you about three of my travel tasting experiences, for now.
Lisbon, Portugal. I remember walking into one of their pastry shops. If you know me, that’s no surprise. We were encouraged to try an Egg Custard Tart. Even though I have never liked any of the ones I’ve had my entire life, I’m all about trying local. So I purchased one and went to town. Oh, My, God! It’s probably a good thing I was only in Lisbon for a few days because the Egg Custard Tart became my staple breakfast and dessert go-to the rest of my stay. You could say it was the romantic cobble-stone roads and the roadside cafes but I know it was the tart that had me. It was like biting into rich vanilla ice cream – except it wasn’t frozen; the egg successfully hidden behind layers of vanilla, sugar and a melt in your mouth pastry crust. I vow one day I will experience this Lisbon Custard again. If anyone out there has the recipe, please email it to me because I have not been able to duplicate it.
New Orleans, Louisiana. I’m going out on a limb here to say beignets, red beans and rice are on the top of most peoples list but I have to say, every time I leave the city, there is one thing that sticks in my mind more – probably because I can’t get anything like it in the US. The French Bread. Just because it is a long loaf and made of bread does not make it French Bread people. In the middle you have nothing but a spongy, white inside. You can pull this out, roll it into balls, pop it in your mouth or butter it. No bread springs back so light and fluffy like the interior of French bread. Sitting it apart to the nth degree - the crust; light tan, shatters into little corn flake shapes when you break into the bread. Lift the shatters to your tongue and they melt there in a homemade goodness. Take the whole crust into your mouth and the crunch so offsets the inside of the loaf, it’s like a marriage made in bread land. Sop and crunch, sop and crunch. Beware the bread that calls itself French Bread outside of New Orleans (in the US anyway).
Pattaya, Thailand. I spent 10 glorious days there and the food that still ‘sticks’ in my mind is the Sticky Rice with Mangos. Have you had peach cobbler - peach cobbler with ice cream? This is a healthy version of peach cobbler with ice cream and not in a negative tasting way to reach healthy. If you put peach cobbler and Sticky Rice with Mangos in front of me, I’d choose the sticky rice every time. It has all the flavors of a peach cobbler with generous scoops of vanilla bean ice cream but it’s not so heavy ‘in your stomach’ feeling when you are done. What I really like about this dessert is the limited number of ingredients. Even I can make the recipe and have a hard time messing it up with sticky rice, coconut milk, mangos and a bit of sugar. You can look up Sticky Rice with Mangos recipe online and pretty much any of them will yield the same great taste. Just be sure you start with really good ripe mangos for the optimum taste. This is at least one food experience I can replicate really well during the mango months of April and May.
This is just part one. I’ll be serving up some more of my fantastic food experiences from around the world.