Sunday, January 29, 2012

A Culinary Journey Through Europe - Apfelschorle

I'm so excited to be a part of the Foodbuzz 24x24 this month!  My little dinner party last night was meant to be a culinary journey through Europe, tracing the path of my most recent trip to the continent.  In the fall of 2010, boyfriend and I spent almost two weeks travelling by plane, train, taxi, boat, furnicular, gondola and bus.  Along they way we ate and ate.  We had some of the most wonderful food through our journey and I picked up several souvenirs along the way.  Cookbooks.

Our trip through Europe began in London, England and continued through France, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, Germany and The Netherlands.  It was a long and crazy trip, but I came home, exhausted, with cookbooks in several languages.  The recipes within their pages would allow boyfriend and I to relive our trip.  It was with these recipes that I introduced my family to Europe.

Let's take a walk through Europe!
With these foreign cookbooks, I was able to bring a multi-cultural dinner to my family back home. Originally I had planned on holding this dinner party in our new apartment with new friends from our new town. There was a small hiccup in the plan when I realized that I had to head home, to Buffalo, for the weekend. My dinner party guests would change from friends, to family.

Dinner started off with an English salad.  Our main course was an Italian ravioli with mushroom sauce.  The Dutch gave us poffertjes, tiny cheese pancakes, packed with major flavor.  Our drinks were of German descent (surprise, they are non-alcoholic). And of course, dessert was handled by the French pastry master, Gerard Mulot.

I was a little concerned that the flavors from five different countries wouldn't play well together.  Luckily, that wasn't a problem at all.  In fact each recipe had a few ingredients from another recipe.  Each person had their own favorite item from the menu.  Personally, I loved the poffertjes.  My mom loved the pasta dish, with its rich mushroom flavor.  My brother wanted to eat the entire chocolate tart, while his girlfriend went back for seconds of salad.  Dad?  He's a big chocolate fan too.

I think my family enjoyed their culinary trip to Europe.  If you can't take a European vacation this month, be sure to treat yourself to one (or more) of these recipes.  Today you'll find a quick recipe for our German beverage, followed by the remaining four recipes throughout the week.

Come with me on a trip through Europe and enjoy some tasty meals along the way!

Apple-Spritzer (Apfelschorle)

Germany many be known for Oktoberfest and beer, but my family isn't really the beer-drinking kind.  After some recipe searching, I found the apple-spritzer.  A popular German soft drink, combining a splash of apple juice with sparkling water.  Each person was given a glass and allowed them to mix their desired amount of juice with water.  I went heavy on the sparkling water to keep the flavor light.

Natural apple juice
lemon sparkling water (you can use plain)

Combine apple juice and sparkling water in your desired ratio.  Prost!

Additional Recipes (links will be active on the listed dates!)

England: Wagamama Salad (1/30/2012)

France: Milk Chocolate Tart (1/31/2012)

Italy: Ravioli with mushroom sauce (2/1/2012)

The Netherlands: Poffertjes (2/2/2012)
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