|Pastries displayed beautifully at Angelina's.|
|A croissant on my way to class from my local boulangerie. So delicious I couldn't wait to take a bite before taking the photo!|
This one might seem like a no-brainer, but don't think just because you can get a croissant at home that you should skip out on getting one in Paris. It would be an absolute travesty to miss out on trying this flaky pastry while abroad. For one thing, it's the perfect on-the-go breakfast for a student: quick, portable, and cheap. At your local boulangerie you can pick up a delicious fresh baked croissant in the morning for about a euro.
Fun fact: Real croissants, like the ones you'll find in Paris, aren't crescent-shaped! A straight croissant means its made with real butter. If it's crescent shaped, that means it's made with a butter substitute. It is an actual law in France that only real croissants made with real butter can be straight.
2. Croque Monsieur or Croque Madame
A croque monsieur is a toasted ham and cheese sandwich and makes the perfect afternoon snack or a light lunch. If you're feeling adventurous, try the croque madame, which is the same thing but with a fried egg on top! It's the perfect savory meal.
As a girl who goes to school in Wisconsin, I like to think I've had quite the cheese education. But let me tell you, cheese curds are in a whole different realm than French cheeses. At CEA we are lucky enough to have a wine class where we learn about the French wine regions and how to appreciate wines, and sometimes it feels like I could benefit from a class on cheese too! Just so I know how to navigate the dairy section of my local marché, if anything.
Anyways, a French fondue experience is way different than what you'll find at your local Melting Pot. First of all, I have found that it is rare, if ever, that fondue in France is talking about melted chocolate. Usually they will serve a rich mixture of melted cheeses and herbs, and give you a basket of bread that doesn't end until every last glob of cheese is scraped off the bottom of the pot. You will leave feeling like you never want to eat another meal again. Until the next morning when you're craving your routine croissant of course.
If you go to France and don't try the lightweight cookie-like dessert that makes me think of the scene in Marie Antoinette where she indulges in pastries to the tune of "I Want Candy," you're doing something wrong. The most famous place in Paris to get macarons is La Durée, but don't be afraid to try other (cheaper) places too. And don't just stick to the classic flavors! Some patisseries love to experiment with different flavors. I've had crazy ones like cotton candy flavor and olive oil and tangerine.
The last on my top five is an absolute must. This thin pancake can contain anything your heart desires, from Nutella and strawberries to ham and cheese, or even a simple butter and sugar mixture. Though I'm sure there are a million crepe restaurants to try in Paris, I've found that my favorite ones are always bought from a stand on the street. There's something about watching them make it right in front of you that gives you that authentically Parisian feeling. Not to mention it tastes so much better when it goes straight from the griddle into your hand and then you can wander around the streets of Paris enjoying your crepe the way it was meant to be enjoyed.
Kacie Diamond is the Spring 2015 CEA MOJO Blogger in Paris, France. She is currently a junior at University of Wisconsin – Madison.
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