How to Explore New Cultures Through Food

Written by Mallory December 19, 2016

Basil Risotto and tempura shrimp!

The best dessert I had the entire trip!

A really yummy omelet we ate in Barcelona, The Milk Bar. If you're in the area its a must!

We found a Chipotle in London!

I am a foodie, I’ll be the first to admit it. I love food. My Pinterest board is chalk full of new recipes I want to try or recipes I love. So it only makes sense that one of the things I was most excited for when I decided to study away was the opportunity to try a lot of new food! Though I did eat a total of 116 bowls of pasta over the course of the semester (yes, we did the math…), I have been able to taste a variety of dishes from many different cultures on the weekends. 

Of course I was excited to be studying in Italy because eating pasta and pizza all the time sounds like a dream. I have enjoyed my fair share of both of these dishes. Some of my best new memories now come from the local pizzeria in Paderno del Grappa. It was not a rare occasion that a group of us would go there for dinner and sit and talk for hours. The pizza is also super yummy! And you can’t talk about Italy without talking about pasta. The pasta here is amazing. All of the ingredients are so fresh. Emma and I had the opportunity to take a cooking class in Florence where we were able to make our own pasta from scratch. It was by far one of the top ten meals I have had while studying abroad. It was delicious. 

Another one of my favorite places for trying amazing new food was Lisbon, Portugal. There was an amazing market called Timeout Market. We ate there three times in two days. It sounds ridiculous but there were so many great options – we felt obligated to try them all! My favorite was a basil risotto and tempura shrimp. For dessert, it was a toss up between a salted caramel pie or a strawberry meringue pie. Both were delicious and like nothing I’ve ever had before. 

After being away and trying all sorts of new foods, it was nice to get back to some of the staples we have back home. We were always thankful when we were able to find a good American breakfast during our travels. (Europeans don’t really do hot breakfast.) We made sure to make a couple McDonalds trips during our time here. Another favorite was Chipotle in London. Its always comforting to get back to the things we are used to. Personally my favorite was the numerous Starbucks trips we took. I am an avid coffee drinker and love Starbucks. Yes, coffee in Italy is great, but there are just time it is not enough. The cups are smaller and though it tastes good, I could easily drink like five cups! Being able to walk into Starbucks and get a grande coffee was one of the nicest parts of the morning…or afternoon…or evening!

I’m so glad that I have been able to try some of the amazing food that Europe has to offer. I know that pizza and pasta back home won’t taste as good ever again!