When we planned our trip to visit our exchange student, Ilim, this summer, we didn’t really envision it being a culinary adventure, but every day we tried something new and exciting and my taste buds have never been happier.
Each morning we all gathered together on the patio to enjoy a hearty breakfast. Before we were even out of bed, Zübeyde and Ramazan, Ilim’s parents, would have made a trip to the bakery to buy fresh breads and pastries. We’d usually wake up to the smell of eggs and sausage cooking, come downstairs to find the table filled with cheese, jams, honey, glazed apricots, sun dried tomatoes, capers, and olives much of which was grown in their family’s garden in Turkey.
Eating all those amazing meals was a gastronomic experience in and of itself but then, we traveled to Belgium.
The chocolatiers in Belgium are some of the best in the world, and not only did I get to taste their creations, but I was able to see the magic happen in several of the kitchens.
I could eat chocolate everyday, but there was so much else to try, like Belgian waffles and apple fritters in Ghent, coconut baklava and fresh cherry ice cream in Hamburg, crepe like pancakes in the Netherlands, freshly baked speculoos cookies in Bruges, and Poffertjes, tiny little puffed pancake like morsels, in Amsterdam.
Thankfully we had a suite case that came to Europe full of presents, so it was empty and waiting to be filled with cheese and chocolate and jam and cookies and apricots and sun dried tomatoes to be brought home.
Our trip wasn’t all about food. Our hosts were not only wonderfully gracious, they were amazing tour guides. We saw so many beautiful places, like the Baltic Sea pictured above.
Would you like to hear more about my trip and see more pictures? I’d love to share.