Friday, December 30, 2011

Top Toast of 2011

Despite the monstrous tower of debt, there are a few truly fantastic perks to being a full-time student again. One is having the time to do things like... take a week to visit London and Paris. Which is what I did, just before Christmas. And it was there that I discovered My Two Top Toasts of 2011: Raclette and Macaroons.

First: Raclette.

Whilst in London (because, you know, they use words like "whilst") I met up with an American expat friend for a trip to the renowned Borough Market - a semi-outdoor farmers-type market teeming with only the freshest and most succulent sweets, meat, poultry, and cheese in all of London. As we tried to decide what to eat for lunch, a girl walked by us with a plate of small boiled potatoes covered with a thick layer of melted cheese. We knew we had to have one.

Raclette is both the name of a cheese and the name of a traditional Swiss dish featuring said cheese. In this preparation, large wheels of the cheese were halved and placed under burners so that just the top layer melts, bubbles, and toasts. The melted cheese is then scraped off with a knife, over a plate of small boiled potatoes. The dish is finished with a few gherkins and grinds of pepper.

The Borough Market is pretty particular about photo taking, so I've had to borrow some photos from others. Here's the cheese toasting, via

And here's a shot of the final product, via my super stealth friend Allie:

Second: Macaroons

I can thank my boyfriend for introducing me to these gourmet two-bite delights - which could easily unseat the cupcake as the next hottest "designer dessert" in the US. Paris has several shops dedicated to the sweet, and the craze is starting to spread across London too. We stopped by one of Paris's well known shops, Hugo & Victor, to pick up a box. We had the choice of a variety of flavors including the traditional chocolate and vanilla, but also clementine, praline, pineapple, and the delightfully lime-like combava. My favorite, however, was pistachio. Here's a few shots of the goods:

Here's to an even more delicious 2012!

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