Let Them Eat Cheese & Chocolat

by HEAB on May 7, 2010

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After posting all of your European falafel recommendations yesterday, I started reminiscing about my own travels abroad. I spent my junior year studying in London and travelled throughout Europe. After graduating from Auburn, I got a student work permit and went back to Europe with some friends to work and travel. We spent about a month backpacking around the Continent and then headed up to the UK to find jobs. I ended up doing database entry for Carluccio’s, an Italian restaurant that also sold imported Italian foods in Covent Garden. The work itself was a bit boring, but I will never forget the experience. Just getting up and taking the tube to my job in one of the coolest areas of London seemed so exciting. Eventually, I had to come home and join the “real world”, but my time spent abroad will always hold some of my fondest memories.

Anyway, I woke up with visions of a buttery flaky Pain au Chocolat, or chocolate-filled croissant, cheese, and European style hot cocoa. Have you ever had European style hot cocoa? If not, you must try it – it’s like a bowl of rich chocolate pudding!

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Yeah, definitely was not craving a salad for breakfast…this morning it was all about cheese and carbs. :) Of course, I had no chocolate-filled croissants on hand, but I did my best to listen to my body and satisfy those cravings.

First I popped one of these into our Keurig coffee maker

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Normally, my HEABified hot cocoa is my go-to hot chocolate of choice, but I wanted the real deal this morning. I love these little Green Mountain K-cups! All I have to do is pop it in the coffee maker and hit a button for a delicious mug of warm chocolaty goodness. :)

Then I popped two slices of this bread into the toaster oven…

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Half way through toasting, I added one slice of goat milk cheese to one piece of bread so that it could melt, and my other piece of toast received a nice heaping spoonful of apple butter.

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There ya have it, a lovely European inspired breakfast. What is about cheese toast? So simple yet so good!

If you’ve travelled internationally, were there certain foods you missed and tried to recreate at home?

{ 71 comments }

Jaya May 7, 2010 at 9:07 am

Sexy breaky!

Beth May 7, 2010 at 9:18 am

Mmmm. Chocolate filled croissants!! I’d love to see a HEABified croissant!

Do you find that sprouted bread tastes different than regular bread? I’ve never tried it but I’ve heard good things.

Heather Eats Almond Butter May 7, 2010 at 9:23 am

Beth, I think the sprouted bread is delicious and honestly, it tastes just like whole wheat bread if you ask me. However, it seems to toast up a bit more crunchy which I actually prefer. :)

thedelicateplace May 7, 2010 at 9:23 am

i lived in northeast india for a summer in 2007 while i was attempting to learn about nepali culture. it was there that i really got serious about tea & spices! one married couple i stayed with for a couple weeks in between my travels had a personal chef. he created some of the BEST mongolian/tibetan/nepali food i’ve ever eaten! one food in particular that everyone loved was the “momo” with yak meat. it’s basically a meat dumpling and let’s just say my replication looked like a dough turd and tasted like one too, no yak meat here :) ! looks like i have to go back!

Heather Eats Almond Butter May 7, 2010 at 9:27 am

Delicateplace, So sorry about the dough turd, but thanks for making me laugh. :)

eatmovelove May 7, 2010 at 9:28 am

I had no idea you travelled so much or studied abroad! Was that food-related or for Massage? Looks delish – love toast and jam…I eat jam by the spoonful – not cool I know ;)

Heather Eats Almond Butter May 7, 2010 at 9:31 am

Eatmovelove, It was related to neither. I was a history major in college with a focus on British history. The working and travelling after graduation were just for fun as I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I didn’t go to massage therapy school until I was in my late 20′s.

Carrie @ I See Monsters May 7, 2010 at 9:29 am

I went to Switzerland a few years ago and fell in love with their salads. They are these wonderful, fresh salads with little piles of beets, carrots, corn, and so much more! I especially loved the dressing, and I have no idea what it was (but it was the same everywhere). I ate a salad every day on vacation — not because I wanted to keep things light but because they were so darn good. If I could find a dressing like that here in the States (or a recipe) I would be in heaven.

Meg May 7, 2010 at 9:32 am

Love this post! I live in Montreal, so croissants and pain au chocolat are everywhere, including spelt and whole grain versions that I’m yet to try
I lived in South Korea for two years, and have been teaching myself to cook lots of Korean food that I ate while I was there. I now make kimchi about once a month, and it has replaced yogurt as a regular source of probiotics in my diet. My favorite thing about Korean-style eating is all the little side-dishes that come along with every meal.
Have a great weekend!

Kelly May 7, 2010 at 9:35 am

That looks like a great breakfast!! Apple butter is my favorite thing ever!!! Pairing with goat cheese sounds just about as perfect as you get!

Heather @ Get Healthy With Heather May 7, 2010 at 9:36 am

From living in Holland it made me LOVE cheese sandwiches with butter! Something I rarely eat but love when I devour it.

L @ Whole-wheat or bust! May 7, 2010 at 10:00 am

This is going to sound like a lie, but I swear it’s true! A few years ago, I went to Paris over summer and found stracciatella flavored Dannon yogurts at the supermarket. Stracciatella is basically vanilla bean with chocolate shavings in it. I became literally addicted to them and ate at least 3 a day for the remainder of my trip. When I got back to Texas, I scoured the supermarkets for stracciatella yogurt and couldn’t find any, so I called and emailed Dannon probably 50 times about bringing it to America. AND THEN THEY DID! A couple weeks later the store suddenly had it! But only for a month or two, and then they were gone again :( I guess I was the only buyer. HA!

Heather Eats Almond Butter May 7, 2010 at 2:04 pm

L, I always ate Stracciatella flavored gelato in Italy, but never tried the yogurt. Ah, I bet it was amazing!

Jessica @ How Sweet May 7, 2010 at 10:21 am

I have never traveled internationally, but I always marvel over the breads and cheese…

operagirlcooks May 7, 2010 at 10:23 am

Looks like a tasty breakfast, HEAB!

The Coconut Mama May 7, 2010 at 10:23 am

I suddenly have a craving for chocolate =)

Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday May 7, 2010 at 10:23 am

Love sprouted grain bread. I’ve been baking my own as of late. Check it out:

http://gamereviewwiki.com/bikinibirthday/2010/05/03/day-97/

Evan Thomas May 7, 2010 at 10:24 am

Once you try a paella in Spain, all you want to do is make it at home every night until you realize how expensive saffron is. Le sigh.

Anna May 7, 2010 at 10:25 am

Ahhhhh, pain au chocolat!!!! Yes!!! I studied abroad in a small French village about an hour from Nice, and I indulged in MANY (too many) pains au chocolats. Lol– no wonder I came back fifteen pounds heavier! Totally worth it.

missyrayn May 7, 2010 at 10:28 am

I love to make pancakes with a bit of nutella and banana to remind me of the crepes with banana and chocolate.

And I love cinnamon mixed with chocolate to remind me of the chocolate in the chocolaterias in spain.

vanillavivante May 7, 2010 at 10:37 am

I have tried…and tried…to replicate traditional Indian chai tea, to no avail!! Methinks it’s because I can’t find fresh buffalo milk :-)

allison May 7, 2010 at 10:40 am

i studied in greece and i miss the greek yogurt i ate everyday over there – with real fruit chunks and muesli right inside. i also miss TRUE greek salads: cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, feta, kalamata olives, oregano, evoo, and a SPLASH of balsamic. i also ate a chocolate croissant almost every day hahaa

i studied in africa for 5 months and hated the food, but i miss their black tea (5 roses…if anyone knows where i can get it, please tell me!), rusks (little biscuit things to have with tea), and the entire grocery store called woolworths – full of the freshest produce ive ever had. YUM

Ameena May 7, 2010 at 10:41 am

I have tried to replicate the amazing omelettes I’ve had in Paris but they just don’t taste the same. Probably because I don’t use a stick of butter which I’m sure is the secret to great eggs!

VeggieGirl May 7, 2010 at 10:44 am

J’ADORE!!

Heather May 7, 2010 at 10:50 am

I haven’t travelled internationally, but been to most of the states :)
When I lived in New Jersey I was a nanny for a Jewish family and had kugel for the first time.
O.M.G!! So good.
Of course now if I had it, I’d have to use completely allergen free ingredients, seeing as I’m gluten, dairy, egg, and casein intolerant!
It’s do-able though…..hmmmm….sounds like a project!

Heather May 7, 2010 at 10:52 am

i might die of happiness if i ever get the chance to have a true French Pain au Chocolat!

Julie @ Pickley Pear May 7, 2010 at 11:09 am

Keurig machines are the best – we have them at work, and I kind of want a mini at home.

Amanda May 7, 2010 at 11:30 am

I studied abroad in Australia and they had these delicious “wedges” aka thick-cut, spicy fries that they served with sweet chili sauce and sour cream for dipping. They were SO. GOOD. and part of the reason for a weight gain over there :)

DiningAndDishing May 7, 2010 at 11:37 am

I really missed the breakfast museli we used to have at our hostels. I’ve tried to recreate it here…but something is just not quite the same!

- Beth @ http://www.DiningAndDishing.com

Holly May 7, 2010 at 11:56 am

I looove hot chocolate in Spain! I’ve tried to recreate it, but it’s just never the same. When I lived there, I made it my “you’ve made it through the week” treat. I miss it!

Hallie May 7, 2010 at 11:57 am

I am OBSESSED with my Keurig. Love it!!

Heather Eats Almond Butter May 7, 2010 at 2:13 pm

Hallie, Me too! :)

Diana (Soap & Chocolate) May 7, 2010 at 12:19 pm

Yeah, I lived in Madrid for a semester and there are definitely things I loved to eat there that I haven’t been able to quite replicate, with the exception of tortilla (egg-potato omelette thingie). Actually, I think it was the chocolate-filled croissants (napolitanas) that were responsible for much of my glorious weight gain! It was glorious because I was livin’ it up while I was there but once I returned to my USA habits I came back down to my normal weight. One of the luxuries of being young and a student, for sure.

christina May 7, 2010 at 12:21 pm

oh my gosh i want that croissant!! i went to italy in december/january and i reallllllly miss their coffee! and duh the pizza.

Kristin (Cook, Bake and Nibble) May 7, 2010 at 12:23 pm

I lived in Italy for a summer, and I have tried to recreate almost EVERYTHING I loved there! And I have recreated many of the dishes, some to more accuracy than others!!

xo
K

kristin May 7, 2010 at 12:31 pm

Hi Heather! War Eagle!!
You spoke to my heart with this post. My absolute favorite meal in Paris was pain au chocolat and a cappuccino. I miss it so much!! Second best was crocque madame. (Not sure if I spelled that correctly, sorry) which I think would be fantastic on your sprouted bread.

Heather Eats Almond Butter May 7, 2010 at 2:44 pm

Hey Kristin, Yes, War Eagle. OK, I had to google Croque-Monsieur, but now I totally remember eating those for breakfast in France. So delicious, and yes, I think it would be fantastic on the sprouted bread! :)

Katherine: What About Summer? May 7, 2010 at 12:59 pm

cheese on anything can make it good. people use it like a condiment these days…

rebecca lustig May 7, 2010 at 1:02 pm

i used to LOVE every kind of cheese. my dad and i used to seek out the most delectable cheese and wine shops.

and chocolate au pain for breakfast? what more could you ask for in a heaven? ;)

Mandiee May 7, 2010 at 1:46 pm

when i was in england this summer visiting friends, they introduced me to cheese toast. cheese and i have never done well together (and now i’m vegan), but that didn’t stop me from enjoying the lovely homemade bread they used. oh so good! and why is it that it’s a strange idea to just have cheese on bread in america? it seems like another piece of cheese and another piece of bread, slathered in butter with french fries on the side is the only normal way. strange. just like how eating a salad is “normal” while eating a mountain of steamed veggies is not. i do not understand this country! ;)

have a lovely day!
xox

Mimi (Damn the Freshman 15) May 7, 2010 at 2:06 pm

Churros + Spanish hot chocolate = party in Mimi’s stomach.

When I got back from France, I went on a crepe kick. Love those suckers! Never very good at stuffing them full of savory options though…mine tore easily.

Quix May 7, 2010 at 2:08 pm

That sounds so fun! I am impatient to get over to Europe someday. I did the good girl thing and got a job right away after college and since then – never had more than 3 weeks off (and that was moving 2000 miles right to another job). Oh well, guess I get to wait until I’m retired to do the traveling the world thing!

And sometimes, toast is just *exactly* what you need – and I love the sprouted stuff!

charlotte May 7, 2010 at 2:17 pm

Having lived in Spain, I’m still obsessed with their Empanadas. They’re just basically a pastry but a really really yummy one. And you can get them filled with chocolate like your croissant! Although my favorite way to eat them was filled with apples. Kind of like streusel. But not. Oh and I miss Turkish kebabs SO MUCH. And dark german pumpernickel bread. And camembert cheese. And sopa con pan. Okay, NOW I have about a milllion cravings thank you very much! Sadly I’ve never tried to recreate any of those dishes – I think I’m afraid of ruining a good memory:)

Carolyn May 7, 2010 at 2:26 pm

Heather I loved this post. I studied at LSE, not too far from covent garden. I used to go to a vegetarian restaurant called ‘food for thought’ on neal street. did you ever go there? it was amazing. also while traveling in spain, if was a daily mission to get some of that hot chocolate! in the container with the swirly things?? i dream about it.

Heather Eats Almond Butter May 7, 2010 at 2:31 pm

Carolyn, I loved Food for Thought – it was right across the street from where I worked as well as Neal’s Yard Salad Bar. Oh, the memories! So cool you studied at LSE. I loved in Kensington in undergrad and dreamed of often dreamed of going back to graduate school at LSE.

clairedille May 7, 2010 at 2:30 pm

I studied abroad in the netherlands in college so I had a lot of stroopwafels…yum. I also had a lot of nutella on bread with hagelslag (chocolate sprinkles that they leave on all tables…kinda weird, but yummy!). Our school (was in a castle) had “Toastie makers” which are a combo of a toaster and panini maker where many students ate ham and cheese (gouda) melted sandwiches. I was already a veggie then so I stuck with the veggies and nutella on bread. When we went out though I loved getting falafel or french fries that they serve with mayo.

In italy I definitely ate my fair share of gelato, nutella again, pesto pasta..bruschetta…and well, so much!

Mama Pea May 7, 2010 at 2:33 pm

I’ve never been abroad, unfortunately, but I am pretty excited about the fact that I just scanned your comments and read “dough turd.” Twice. Thank you.

Run Sarah May 7, 2010 at 2:43 pm

I would love a Keurig machine – so convenient! I haven’t travelled much internationally, unfortunately, but I do love trying ethnic foods locally. I’ve tried to recreate a few Indian dishes at home with some success!

Sarena (The Non-Dairy Queen) May 7, 2010 at 2:45 pm

Love the K cups! That is awesome that you got to go work and travel over there! What an experience. My husband competed in a web design competition in France, so we went to Paris and Limoges. I will never forget it! I could totally live there. The last day we were there, we stopped at a little cafe and had a pressed tomato and cheese sandwich that was seriously sent from heaven. The bread was amazing! We have attempted our version, but I have a feeling that a lot of it was the atmosphere too. Oh, I want to go back!

malpaz May 7, 2010 at 2:47 pm

chocolate and cheese… prolly this girls best friends one week a month!!! haha i am finally able to slowly and smally digest some raw goat cheese, and switched my cow dairy cream to coconut milk! its working too and makes the BEST scrambled eggs….and chocolate…yeah i go thru a bar of ghiradelli100% in one night about once a month…or so haha

Heather Eats Almond Butter May 7, 2010 at 2:49 pm

Malpaz, We often make our eggs with coconut oil, and yes, the are so good. Done the damage to the 100% chocolate bar myself…several times. :)

Carolyn May 7, 2010 at 2:55 pm

ah i loved neal’s yard salad bar too! they had these vegan spinach tofu ‘quiches’ that were incredible!

Amy May 7, 2010 at 2:59 pm

For me, nothing compares to the Thai food I ate when I lived in Bangkok, and the Vietnamese food in Vietnam. Heaven. I haven’t tried to recreate it because I just wouldn’t be able to! I’ve never been much of a bread and cheese girl, but give me a spicy Panang Curry, some white rice, and a young Thai coconut, and I’m a happy camper!

Allie (Protein Girl) May 7, 2010 at 3:21 pm

I was a happy girl in Korea with my kimchi, rice and coffee for breakfast! I miss that odd combination.

jqlee May 7, 2010 at 4:21 pm

When I was in guatemala, they made some BOMB eggs with tomatoes and onions. Before that I never had eggs any way but plain. Now I make them with tons of diff veggies. And my host mom taught me how to make tortilla when I was there too. We mixed the dough, rolled it out and cooked it on a open fire flat stove too. It was awesome! I don’t think I can make it here though. I totally forgot how to do it!

Katie May 7, 2010 at 5:04 pm

I try and try to make nutella crepes, but they just taste better in Paris! Same with rice and beans. And mojitos.

I used to eat cheese toast like that in high school all the time – but I used Kraft american singles. I loved those things.

Jenny May 7, 2010 at 6:48 pm

Pain au chocolat is amazing!!! As is most European food!

Dea May 7, 2010 at 7:34 pm

I lived in Korea for a couple years and have since taught myself to make pretty much everything that I loved. so yummy!

Samantha May 7, 2010 at 7:39 pm

Oh my, the food in Europe was wonderful! The main thing we recreate often is Limoncello but we’ve been brewing it on our own years before we visited Italy. (Funny, I got yelled at by a waiter in Maestre when I ordered it with my meal, not realizing it was an after dinner cordial. Oops!)

My husband and I both agree our favorite eats during our Germany-Switzerland-Italy trip were the pastries and coffee we had at a tiny little cafe in Bern, Switzerland a block from our hotel. We went there daily (sometimes twice!) during our stay.

We eat a lot of Chamorro food too (native to Guam), red rice (well, HE does, hurts my tummy), chicken keleguen w/ finidini sauce (my fave) and tons of things with coconut.

Sarah (cocoanutshakes) May 7, 2010 at 7:47 pm

That looks like SUCH a satisfying breakfast!!! Fruit & cheese is always so elegant together.

After spending a semester in Florence I got hooked on making a little snack of pears, drizzled honey and pecorino toscano.

But my favorite re-creation is from a recent trip to Thailand–BANANA MELON shakes….so creamy and delicious!

Sara May 7, 2010 at 7:53 pm

Peruvian stew with cassava, lentils and quinoa (plus veggies, of course).

livelifeeatright May 7, 2010 at 8:48 pm

cheese and fruit spreads are my FAVORITE combination. I love nut butters too but something about that wonderful cheese :)

Gena May 7, 2010 at 9:15 pm

Tres European looking! Reminds me of my chocomole+guac combo on two slices of toast.

Whoa. Only you and I would really get that comparison.

elise May 7, 2010 at 9:27 pm

why is food in europe so much better? its so rich and i dont know, yummy. anyways, i just HAD to comment about my fave thing when i lived in spain. a fresh baguette and tortilla espanola. i could have had the same thing every day and been utterly content. alas, my senora wasnt as into food ruts as i am, so i guess they remain special treats in my memory.

Mel @ She Runs Brooklyn May 7, 2010 at 10:39 pm

I recently traveled to Ireland for a week in November and drove from coast to coast (highly recommended). It’s completely true that the food in Ireland is NOT good. This is especially true of the coffee, and I imagine this to be because of the preference towards tea of the locals.

Every morning I suffered through a cup of what tasted like burnt water. When I got back home, my appreciation for good coffee skyrocketed!

This definitely isn’t a unique bfast as you requested, but thought I’d share that if you ever take a trip there, be sure to bring some Starbucks instant coffee packets. You’ll thank yourself.

Michelle May 8, 2010 at 12:34 am

I lived in France and miss the bread mostly. I think if I went back now, I would appreciate the food much more!

We travel to England once in a while and you can’t beat the fish and chips and puddings (esp. sticky toffee pudding! yum!)

Italy: definitely the pizza and gelato!

Meg May 8, 2010 at 8:59 am

Hi Heather! I love this new kick you are on…I am learning so many fun foods ;) .

I have two questions for you.
1) do you stay satisfied until the next meal? Do you find that you are so excited to eat really exciting food, that you don’t mind being hungry until the next meal? I am not sure if that makes sense…but I am currently in the same boat here and experimenting with tossing out the rules.

2) this might be too personal, but do you and CD ever want to live overseas (again)? We lived in Japan for 1.5 years and I would love to live other places. I love the States, but would kill to live in Europe for a while or even other parts of Asia (though, the Europeans have MUCH better food!).

thanks!!

Heather Eats Almond Butter May 8, 2010 at 10:21 am

Meg, I’ll email you. :)

kelsey@snackingsquirrel.com May 8, 2010 at 9:25 am

im such in awe of ur brilliantness hehe. cheese and chocolate! ur trying to kill us all i knew it! hehe. ur so amazing! have a fabulous weekend love!

Laura May 8, 2010 at 5:10 pm

Oooops, late to the game, work swallowing me up- but you know me, I just had to comment… please tell me you took the lifts at Covent Garden tube station and not the 200 or so steps every day?! CG is one of my favourite places in London… if you know of LSE, did you ever walk past UCL? Thats where I did my first degree- Planet Organic was too close for a poor student! This was in the days before the only Whole Foods in the entirety of the UK opened in Kensington. And also after I worked for a year at Imperial College in Kensington ;( We also had a Carluccio’s close to my parent’s house- courgette gnocchi+calzone?! How could I possibly go about recreating?! Cheese on toast is classic! I’m curious- did you love or hate marmite? If I left Britain I think I would miss crumpets the most. My favourite holiday foods so far have been real Greek yogurt-unbelivable-+pitta, souvlaki+pastichio from Greece, proper just-that-morning-baked French bread in Normandy, in Spain- paella, churros con chocolat and chocolate covered oreos (I know, but I just can’t get them here!) and blueberry pancakes from the Shenandoah Valley- also smoothies , frozen yogurt and anything Reeses. We couldn’t get over the concept of ‘doggy bags’ in the US though… End of essay! I always write waaay too much ;( I hope you are having a lovely, sunny weekend- its 7C and torrential rain here in a government-less hung-parliament England, joy!!

Heather Eats Almond Butter May 8, 2010 at 5:22 pm

Laura, You know I love your essays, and yeah, what’s going on with your elections over there? I’ve been watching the coverage. No new PM yet?

I spend my junior year living right up the street from Imperial College. I was on St. Alban’s Grove W8 5PN. I will never forget my time there, and it was before Kensington had a Whole Foods. We always walked up to Gloucester Road tube station and got groceries across the street – Hearts or Harts – can’t remember, but it was open 24/7, and I would buy fresh baguettes, a container of hummus and go to town. :)

I had totally forgotten about all the stairs at Covent Garden. I think I rode the elevator most mornings. Oh, how I miss it, but yes, I do love our fro-yo here in the U.S. The one dairy I can’t seem to stay away from. ;)

Enjoy the rest of your weekend Laura!

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