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Exploring Europe at lunch time

Old Jan 12th, 2014, 02:29 PM
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Exploring Europe at lunch time

My teenage daughter is going to be traveling to Europe with a group of students. She will be visiting Switzerland, Austria, France, Germany, and Italy over the course of about 2-1/2 weeks. Their breakfast and dinner meals will be taken care of, but they are on their own for lunch.

The trip organizers said that they will encourage the students to eat like the locals...stop and buy some cheese and bread at a local shop or stand. I think that would be great. But, I know my daughter would be very intimidated and not know what to purchase.

I'd like to start introducing her some different types of cheese...other than the typical cheddar and mozzarella she is used to! Any suggestions on what to start having her try so that she will feel a little more "prepared" when she gets to Europe?
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Old Jan 12th, 2014, 02:44 PM
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If she's only going to eat cheese and bread at lunchtime, she'd better take some prunes to snack on. Honest.

Sorry, but I think the trip organizers are giving strange advice. Your daughter will find lots of inexpensive options for lunch that will be more interesting and nutritious than bread and cheese.
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Old Jan 12th, 2014, 02:46 PM
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You don't live somewhere where you can get your hands on cheeses from Europe?

First off, the best course of action is for her just to plunge right in when she gets there and try things; mommy doesn't need to manage this for her. Second, it will depend on exactly where she's headed in Switzerland, France, Germany, Italy, and Austria. Cheeses are VERY local in Europe, so if she's going to Provence she won't be eating cheeses from Burgundy. Same for all the other countries. Third, there are a thousand and one things to buy besides cheese. Will she not be trying some charcuterie and pastries and any of the myriad other food offerings in these countries?

I don't think a cheese preparation course is the best use of one's time before an international trip. I'd be more focused on language and geography and culture in general.
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Old Jan 12th, 2014, 02:47 PM
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I think this depends on what kind of stores you have access at home. Ones that she would probably need to get used to, if not already, are the soft/semi soft cheese with rinds, molds, sheep and goat milk cheeses.
Unless you live in a major city (in the US?) and have access to top end deli stores, the cheeses she would encounter at "interesting" stores will be nothing she has seen before. If she buys off a counter, she needs to specify the amount by metric weight, so it would be good if she knows just how much she would get if she asks for a 100g (unless you already live in a metric country.)
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Old Jan 12th, 2014, 02:54 PM
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I would also hope they eat more than bread and cheese!

Some of my best meals have been purchased in boulangeries where you get a ham on a baguette, a pastry and a drink (juice or soda) for a very reasonable price. It's very filling and I try to go where I see a line up of locals, so I know I'm getting a good deal.
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Old Jan 12th, 2014, 03:29 PM
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In Germany there are Bäckereien (bakeries) that sell made-up bread rolls and coffee. The rolls usually have ham and/or cheese, boiled egg slices and a lettuce leaf or bit of cucumber, or a variant on that. Sometimes schnitzel on a roll. There are also 1001 sweet things (Berliner (jam doughnuts), slices, cakes, etc), or just plain rolls, and also coffee, tea, hot chocolate or chocolate milk. I am sure she will find something to tempt her - the cheese that is typical is a fairly neutral kind, something similar to Emmenthaler. Every train station has a Bäckerei for snacks on the journey. Also, another common chain is Nordsee, where you can get fish-based rolls, fish soups and so on. Inexpensive. Döner Kebap - a big, round, flat roll (Fladenbrot) with spiced lamb and sauerkraut and some sauces, is a Turkish-German favourite; another typical street food is a Wurst (sausage), usually served with Pommes (hot chips or fries) or a bread roll. At a Wurstwagen you will get a lot more options which are largely regional. In Berlin, expect the Currywurst, which is a sausage with tomato sauce and a spicy curry powder. In Hannover and Hamburg, there are carts selling smoked eel (Raucheraal) on a bread roll. In the Rhineland (say, Bonn), you will find Reibekuchen (similar to hashbrowns) served with Apfelmus (apple sauce). That's just some of the street food your daughter may encounter in Germany, but of course there's much more.

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Old Jan 12th, 2014, 03:45 PM
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pizza is available

How old is this child?

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Old Jan 12th, 2014, 04:35 PM
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Agree that this is odd advice for lunch - unless the tour is giving them only 20 minutes and aiming them at a local market to pick up lunch to eat on the bus.

She should explore casuale local cafes, pizzerias, bier gartens, sandwich shops etc. I would make sure she has a multi-language menu reader on her phone so she can pick out what she wants. Also let her know that soft drinks at eating places tend to be VERY expensive, VERY small and have little ice. She is better carrying her own bottle of water - fizzy or flat as she prefers to avoid wasting a lot of money.

Also wine and beer - depending on her age (legal age is 16 in many countries), varies by country - is usually less than soft drinks.
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Old Jan 12th, 2014, 08:09 PM
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And in France she should look filled baguettes with delicious chicken salad etc.
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Old Jan 12th, 2014, 08:14 PM
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No wonder they only have 20 minutes for lunch visiting all those countries in 2 1/2 weeks. With that itinerary I assume they will be hitting the big cities, so they will not starve. It all depends where the tour dumps them. There are certain areas that specialize in certain types of food.

You can order cheeses by mail. Here is Murray's which could be the cheese monger in NYC, even if it is expensive. There cheeses are well chosen and genuine.

http://www.murrayscheese.com/
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Old Jan 12th, 2014, 08:45 PM
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Europeans don't eat only cheese at lunch. Your daughter can have yogurt, salad, fruit, sandwiches. If she's intimidated, tell her to get whatever her friends get.

If she is set on having cheese for lunch there is no way to prepare her for the hundreds (thousands) of cheeses made in Europe.

Murray's does have great cheese. Well worth the price.
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Old Jan 13th, 2014, 10:52 AM
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I do not see the point of preparing for lunches in unknown places. When I am in a new place, I start looking around about 1 hour before lunch. Tell your daughter to keep her eyes open. Sometimes I ask locals - I had excellent suggestions from museum officers or shop keepers.

Just in case, almost all supermarkets offer ready dishes. In Switzerland it may be a bit more difficult to find small eateries, often self service restaurants in shopping malls are the best choice - look for a large Coop or Migros. In Italy so many people have to eat something for lunch that almost any bar will offer a simple choice. And frankly, she is not bound to starve in Austria or Germany.
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Old Jan 13th, 2014, 02:29 PM
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"Eat like the locals"????? They usually have their main meal around noon, and believe me, it's not just cheese and sausages. I agree with the others, that the tour advise is pretty dumb. But I trust in the group intelligence of teenagers (if this is your daughter's age group), to discover quickly ways to keep from starving. That's part of the education and fun of tgravel.
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Old Jan 13th, 2014, 02:41 PM
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Forget about the bread and cheese.

I'd look into "street food" for the cities where she'll be. That's usually inexpensive and easy to find. Would she be too afraid to buy a crepe or a sausage (hot dog) from a vendor on the street in Paris, for example?
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Old Jan 13th, 2014, 02:44 PM
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Or you can buy already prepared sandwiches in bakeries most places (for sure in Paris, Venice, Switzerland).
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Old Jan 13th, 2014, 02:48 PM
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ps- I also think it's strange "advice" from the leader. People in Europe don't all eat only bread and cheese for lunch, that's just dumb.
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Old Jan 13th, 2014, 02:53 PM
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We got on the train one day going to Munich and about 50 students boarded with us. I was watching them in the train station, two choices, Burger King or the Bäckereien. They all bought pretzels and coffee or juice. No Burger King. some kids pulled out their packed lunch from home. I would tell her to go to the grocery store also for decent take away. You get breakfast and dinner, I'd probably go for a big gelato.
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Old Jan 13th, 2014, 06:16 PM
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>>>My teenage daughter is going to be traveling to Europe with a group of students. She will be visiting Switzerland, Austria, France, Germany, and Italy over the course of about 2-1/2 weeks.>>The trip organizers said that they will encourage the students to eat like the locals.
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