Categorized | Beyond Baking

A Culinary Adventure; Paris-London

Posted on 19 September 2009 by Mădălina

I have been in a really weird funk lately. I came back from my trip to London and Paris last weekend, but I still feel jet lag.

I suppose it doesn’t help that I am battling a new cold (after I had just finished with my last one—the one which left me bed ridden for 12 days.)

The trip was great—not only did I get to visit the glitzy landmarks; I experienced a new world of culinary adventure. It was nothing as I imagined; and to be quite frank, I was disappointed. I left Toronto imagining that all my meals across the pond would be elegant, full of flavor and creativity; this was not the case. Most of the meals I had fell short of what I had envisioned. This could be because I was selective of where I ate—the cost of food had a definite impact on what and where I could afford to eat.

[Traditional English breakfast; beans, hash browns, eggs, bacon.. overall a tasty meal]

Regardless, most of my meals in London were bland, often carb loaded, and way to greasy for my palate. This is not to offend anyone; it is just a mere observation of my experience. The one thing that I was impressed by in London was the wide array of selections in supermarkets. There was a wide variety of ingredients, spices, staples, meats, pastries—you had a million of choices. This is where I believe Canadians fall short; our choices in our supermarkets are quite limited in comparison.

[Bangers and mash at a London Pub]

[@YO!Sushi; Japanese conveyor belt sushi restaurant]

In Paris, I was shocked by the cost of food. I didn’t expect that most meals at the brasseries would range between 12€ and 20€. A burger and fries combo at such a place would ball park at 13€; that’s about 20 Canadian Dollars (which is effing NUTS!) The food in Paris, I can honestly say, was subpar. I can’t say for certain, but the really good stuff must be hidden in really expensive places (…the kind which my little student budget could not afford). The produce itself was of high quality; it just seemed to lack inspiration—as if the celebrity of being situated in ‘Paris’ alone can guarantee its success.

[Small little Patisserie in central Paris]

[This is my favorite kind of window shopping]

Similarily, I found that most corner shop patisseries lacked creativity. I was expecting to see some profound and innovative ideas, but instead it was your typical macarons, petit fours, and crème bruleees. Slightly underwhelming, but I can’t complain because they were truly delicious, and far beyond anything I have tried in Toronto.

[If there are cupcakes within a mile radius, chances are that I've spotted them. These were at Pearson International Airport]

I am back in Kingston, ON for the next 8 months, just finishing my degree at the school of Policy Studies at Queens; I mention this only for the fact that it will be the only thing preventing me from posting as frequently as I would like. My last few years in this program have made me realize that I really want to pursue my passion for baking. The question now is whether I am confident (and ready) enough to transform this passion into a career…(?)

[Store display on Champs-Elysées-- mammoth dessert? count me in]


2 Comments For This Post

  1. Nadine Says:

    Bummer that the food wasn't as good as you had hoped. I would have thought the same thing for France, that the food would be amazing.

    As for a career in baking, go for it!

  2. Mrs Barker Says:

    Follow your dreams! Your baking is fab and you should definitely go for a career you are passionate about :)

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