Advertisements
Tag Archives: Cuisine

Paris v. Roma – Part I: Cuisine

15 Mar
If Paris is a Grande Dame, Roma is her rambunctious and unruly sister. After a week in Paris, we cannot help but compare and contrast gorgeous Paris to Bella Roma. Each city has much to love and other things that leave you shaking your head.
Great cappuccino at a neighborhood cafe, where locals go. This was not by a tourist attraction. We drank it at the bar and still it was €4.20 FOR ONE. I shudder to think of what they would have charged if we sat down.

Great cappuccino at a neighborhood cafe, where locals go. This was not by a tourist attraction. We drank it at the bar and still it was €4.20 FOR ONE. I shudder to think of what they would have charged if we sat down.

Starting with the obvious, food. On our first trip to Italy in 2010 Ric observed “There are no bad meals in Italy; some are just better than others.” While we can attest to having had one really terrible meal in Italy in the ensuing years, we had two crappy meals in Paris in our first three 3 days and during the week some that were just meh. There is bad food in Paris. Really bad. BUT THE BAGUETTES, oh-la-la! So good and so cheap! Both Roma and Paris have pastry shops and bakeries to be proud of. Baguette versus pizza bianca? Tough choice, but I’d have to go with baguette. French croissants and pain au chocolat beat Italian cornetti IMHO.
The espresso is good in Paris, but pricey by comparison to Roma where one has a God-given right to an inexpensive high-quality shot and a bar available every 300 meters where you can buy it.  They do have Starbucks in Paris but I am not sure that is a good thing; we did not bother to try one. We do like the Cafes Richard brand, of course.
There is ethnic diversity in the Parisian food scene. Walk down the street in Paris and you might see a pattern of restaurants like this
French  Vietnamese  French  Japanese  French  Kebab  Italian  French
In Rome it would look like this
Italian      Pizza     Bar      Kebab     Italian     Pizza      Bar     Italian
Wine is reasonably priced in Italy. We spend far less on wine in Roma than we ever did in the U.S. In fact our wine-and-coffee spending is a fraction of what it was in the U.S., and not because we have
Artful stacking at a cafe in Montmarte.

Artful stacking at a cafe in Montmarte.

cut back on either. In Paris, both wine and espresso are expensive by comparison.  Even house wine is quaffable in Italy, but some wine-by-the glass or carafe in Paris is, well, overpriced and barely drinkable. We have had some fantastic bottles, though one pays dearly at a restaurant.  We missed the Italian tradition of serving snacks with a glass of wine at aperitivo hour.
Water by the bottle, nice and sparkling if you like, is an expectation at every meal in Italy, and a litre will usually cost no more than €2.00 or 3.00.  When we ordered bottled water in Paris we were hit with a €6.00-7.00 price!  However tap water, ordered only by una brutta figura in Italy, is gladly handed out in a carafe in Paris. Free is a very good price.
It was quiet at Versailles the day we went. Only customers in garden cafe.

It was quiet at Versailles the day we went. Only customers in garden cafe.

We did have Boeuf Bourguignon that was practically life-changing. Served with a mountain of mashed potatoes, it was in a little oven-pot in a rich wine sauce heavily laced with bay leaves and bacon. We ate it with good French red wine and hunks of baguette. It was a good thing we had walked about 13 km that day! Quality vegetables beyond salads have been harder to find when dining out. In Italy there are fabulous contorni to be had that are not starchy and white. In fact I am craving a plate of cicoria ripassata now.
Watch for my next post Paris v. Roma – Part II: Street Scene and Getting Around

 

Guess where we are celebrating our 30th anniversary?

Guess where we are celebrating our 30th anniversary?

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: