Tag Archives: switzerland

Translation Trouble

This has the potential to take a lot of the fun out of traveling!

Isn’t a big part of the fun not knowing?!

What about the time in Brussels where I ordered fondue and out came mozzarella sticks?!

Isn’t part of traveling trying things you don’t know?

I spent the good part of an hour at a cheese counter in a supermarket in Switzerland just trying different cheeses I had never heard of before. The person behind the counter even got a kick out of it.

Would you ever try centolla? Or are you afraid of the name? Because it’s actually crab legs. And I had them in Argentina. And they were yummy.

Of course there are times when this back fires. There was a trip to Italy. We were in a town called Greve in Chianti. The restaurant was full of locals and if there were any other tourists, they blended in just fine. The boyfriend decided to try the daily special. The daily special was an array of meat, meat so fresh, the plate had an overwhelming smell of wet dog. But to the restaurant, they were so proud. And to not insult, my boyfriend ate the better part of the plate. Every bite was chased by a gulp of water and a sip of wine. But he ate.

I should say my gnocchi, the other house specialty, was delicious and required no such chasers.


WHY leave?

This week’s WHY Wednesday questions why some travelers leave their comfort zone, only to eat foods that they are familiar with and know.

This was in the NYT and is crazy! The best part of traveling is eating like the locals…I don’t travel to faraway lands so I can eat cheese fries.

I have so many fond food memories from my travels but some of my favorites are getting freshly sliced cheese from a Swiss cheesemonger, spicy sausage on a roll with the local sauce in Bosnia and some unidentified tapas plate in Spain that the bartender sent over.

Personally, I’m not traveling just so I can eat something that I would eat after a night out at the bars when I was 22.

Eating while traveling is about finding a local market, tasting things on the menu you can’t get at home and being offered foods that you wouldn’t otherwise try. I ate fruits I never heard of in Costa Rica, I ordered fondue in Brussels only to find out that was actually mozzarella sticks and drank locally sourced milk at a market in Denmark!

Yes, sometimes there can be a negative experience. Like the time the boyfriend ordered the daily special in a small town in Tuscany and wound up getting a plate of fresh meat. So fresh, and chewy, in fact that he, a meat lover, had to follow each bite with a glass of water and a sip of wine. The place was small, and the staff attentive. Not wanting to insult, he finished most of the plate. I went with the pasta special of the day. Even now, years later, I remember how good my gnocchi and wine tasted. But he tried his, didn’t like it and didn’t insult anyone either and now we have a great story.

If something is on the table that you’ve never seen or tried, at the very least, take a bite! You’ll find yourself eating foods you wouldn’t have otherwise found!

Now the exception to this french fry story is ordering pommes frites in Belgium…you’ll need to get them topped with a few squirts of mayo, just like the locals!

Do you have any fond food memories? Feel free to post in the comments section.