Good Eats: Europe!

French Patisserie Window in Strasbourg, France

I will be the first to admit, I am not a foodie traveler. I always make an effort to eat what the locals eat, but I’m pretty wimpy about trying new things and when it comes to dining out, I’ll take cheap over luxury any day. My siblings, on the other hand, have more refined and adventurous palettes than I and traveling with them in Europe was good for my appetite.

This raspberry tart was so beautiful, I didn't want to eat it. When I finally did, it tasted even better than it looked!

We had some great meals, without going broke. We ate at home a lot; my sister and her husband live in Freiburg and we made great use of their kitchen. Foreign grocery stores are always an interesting experience (eggs aren’t refrigerated! unique produce!) as are local markets.

In Europe, specialty shops are still the best sources for bread, cheese and meat. We had fresh bread almost every morning: there were six bakeries within walking distance of my sister’s apartment! I am still craving hot pretzel rolls and seeded croissants.

Germans love their sausages!

We also ate a lot of meals at the morning market in the square around the Cathedral. Since this is Germany, sausages are all the rage here. I don’t eat pork, but my brother tried wurst sandwiches from several different stands and declared them all amazing. My favorite marketplatz meal were the crepes. I usually go for sweet crepes, but I tried my sister’s savory cheese and mushroom creation and it was delicious.

The amazingly mustachioed crepe-maker

By far the best meal we had on our trip was in Zurich at Hiltl: the oldest vegetarian restaurant in Europe. My cousin Ben, who is a chef and a true blue foodie, told us we must eat at Hiltl and his recommendations never disappoint.

The buffet at Hiltl, feeding people since 1898

Hiltl was incredible! There was no menu, just a huge buffet of diverse, delicious food. You filled up your plate and paid by weight at the register. I was a vegetarian for 17 years before I started eating poultry and fish again a few years ago, and I really appreciate great vegetarian cuisine. It’s rare to have so many options!

This was the cold bar. I wish I could have captured the smells wafting from the hot bar. Mmmmm.

Hiltl popped up again on my flight home. The veggie lasagna on Swiss Air was surprisingly delicious and when I checked the packaging it said “designed by Hiltl”! Leave it to the Swiss to do airplane food right!

About theblondecoyote

Mary Caperton Morton is a freelance science and travel writer with degrees in biology and geology and a master’s in science writing. A regular contributor to EARTH magazine, where her favorite beat is the Travels in Geology column, she has also written for the anthologies Best Women's Travel Writing 2010 and Best Travel Writing 2011. Mary is currently based in western Colorado. When she’s not at the computer she can usually be found outside -- hiking, skiing, climbing mountains and taking photographs. Visit her website at
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