A special Valentine's in France

February 13, 2010

Happy Valentine's from Strasbourg! It's so amazing that we can jump in the car and two hours later, we're in France. No wonder Europeans are so worldly and multi-lingual - it's so easy! The fact that I've been studying German has made my French abilities more or less a joke, but it gets easier. Perhaps we should consider regular jaunts to France, and then I'll really get back in the swing of things. 

Today we just walked around the city center and the Petite France neighborhoods. The freezing temperatures and light snow made it a little tough, but the scenery (and food!) made it worth the effort. The German and French-influenced architecture and Cathedrale Notre-Dame de Strasbourg were amazing! And it turns out Bailey is just as interesting here as in the states - at least three people stopped us to ask what kind of dog she is (one even assumed we were German, as I struggled to understand her French - yay, we're fitting in!). If only she had European dog manners ...

Along the river Ill in Strasbourg

28 different kinds of pudding-thick hot chocolate - we got banana and orange & cinnamon (some of the most expensive I've had, aside from snobby, upper east-side Manhattan, but definitely the tastiest!)

Cathedrale de Strasbourg

Even the drains are so detailed!

After a tasty petit-dejeuner on-the-go this morning of cafe au lait, a chocolate-dipped brioche (heart-shaped, of course!) and an apple-filled, sugary doughnut, not to mention our rich hot chocolates later on, we decided to head back to the hotel in the afternoon to give all our freezing extremities a break (including the shivering Bailey) and enjoy some bread, cheese and wine we'd picked up in town. Throw in some macaroons and chocolate, and we're spent. Not to mention the fact that we went all out at the hotel restaurant when we got in last night.

Expecting just an average hotel dinner to satiate our late-night hunger, we were pleasantly blown away by just about everything at the Chateau de l'Ile's restaurant. While we played it safe (I was tempted by the lobster with coconut and venison with berries and pumpkin mousseline!), everything was still wonderful, if not Bailey's behavior. The Alsatian wines - we both had a Muscat to start and I had a pinot noir with my beef - were incredible; I would love find some bottles of both to take home. Again, perhaps another trip during wine season is in our future! Perhaps most impressive were the desserts: a roasted pear with vanilla creme, caramelized hazelnut wafer and salted caramel ice cream, and the other a chocolate ball with all kinds of chocolatey goodness inside (see below). Perhaps we'll treat ourselves to some Valentine's breakfast room service in the morning and call this holiday a gastronomical success!

Can't wait for our next trip! Dublin or Prague? Decisions, decisions ...

*Daily Drop Cap by Jessica Hische