I’ve always found the croque madame and croque monsieur concept hilarious. A croque monsieur being a ham and cheese toasty (French style), and a croque madame being the same, but with the addition of an egg making it female.
Unsurprisingly a Croque Monsieur (or madame, I’m not fussy) was on the bucket list, and the one we had happened to be exceptionally gourmet. With ham off the bone, fresh bread and blue cheese. And all from the nearest cafe we could find when we left the hotel one day. What a find!
One of the novelties of spending a few weeks living in central Paris (well, the 11th arrondissement) was that your daily routine became all very Parisian. Especially because our awful, tiny hotel room didn’t have a fridge, or any kind of cooling, just a giant window with constant sun streaming in to make it feel like a sauna. Not ideal for food storage. So every morning when we woke up (usually closer to lunchtime, as we got stuck there for so long that our timetable became quite leisurely) we would head down to the local fromagerie, pick out a new cheese to sample, the bakery for some fresh croissants (and occasionally other beautiful looking pastries/desserts), pop in to the local green grocer for fresh veges and the charcuterie for some ham, where the butcher was one of the few people who nodded in encouragement as I tried to order in French, rather than scoff rudely at my lack of knowledge of what was obviously the only language one need ever know in the world.. Not the most time- efficient routine, but great for a fresh, cheap, gourmet breakfast, and oh so novel!
When in Paris, one absolutely must try the macaroons! In Galleries Lafayette there was a macaroon stall by the name of Pierre Hermé, which had some incredibly delicious looking flavours, that definitely tasted every bit as good as expected. I tried a pistachio and cherry one, which was just amazing! Claire had a passionfruit and chocolate one, which also got a pretty good review.
I’m glad the parisian style gourmet macaroons have become such a fashion trend around the world, because they are just great!
The Netherlands are famous for their delicious Gouda, and all through town there are marvelous cheese shops offering all kinds of special varieties. Most of them have samples too, which is handy because they seem to only sell wheels of cheese in large and extra large.
The most exotic version of Gouda I had tried before was with cumin seeds, so fairly standard. Much to my delight there were many more varieties on sale, especially a green one! The basil pesto Gouda was very delicious (not to mention novel, being green and all) and I most definitely would have bought some if a wheel of cheese wasn’t such an awkward thing to backpack around with.