Notes on a Meal goes to Europe

Dinner in Barcelona

Hello to all our readers! The Notes on a Meal crew has finally returned to Toronto from a very epic European adventure and we’re full of ideas, posts and pictures. We’ve been quiet for the whole duration since eating and typing can get messy but we’re back and recharged. Over the course of the next few weeks we’ll be sharing recipes, pictures, tips and tricks for avoiding the usual tourist traps and more. Just as an overall thought, this trip has made us appreciate the multicultural nature of Toronto’s food scene. Although Europe has amazing ingredients and age old technique on it’s side, it believes in staying true to those traditions and is very closed to any change.

Of the handful of countries we visited, very few places offered the type of variety we take for granted here in Toronto and in North America as a whole. I’m not asking for the local rendition of pizza or a full English breakfast while in Spain but I feel that all xenophobic European nations need to embrace the influx of foreign immigrants that they each receive and celebrate these new found cuisines. For example, Prague has a very large Vietnamese community with a segregated school, a temple and a whole neighbourhood in town, however, there are very few Vietnamese restaurants to be found (mostly offering “Chinese or Thai” food). However, to it’s defence, the grocery stores in this Czech city had more international items than anywhere else we visited so people are experiencing new flavours and ingredients but only in the privacy of their own homes.

Anyway, I don’t want the readers to get the wrong impression about the culinary world of Europe. It has been and still is supreme. The ingredients are true in taste, food revolves around seasonal availability and gastronomy is a very large part of day to day life. Open air markets are predominantly used for fresh products (produce, meats and fish) while grocery stores mostly add the backbone of non-perishable food items. Bakeries are present in almost every block since fresh bread is a staple and a must with every meal. Locals go out for drinks and a meal/snacks on an almost daily basis and a meal is never to be rushed but enjoyed in great company. We can learn a few things from these traditions!

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