I woke up thinking of danish. Then I wondered if they actually eat danish in Denmark. Then I thought of croissants, and France, and big pottery bowls of café au lait.
My curiosity led me to 31 Breakfasts Around the World, not to mention the answer to my original inquiry about the Danes.
This culinary quest introduced me to traditional Danish recipes for the holidays – duck with apples and prunes (doesn’t that sound delicious?) – and Christmas doughnuts. Perhaps they eat these doughnuts rather than what we call “danish.”
In fact, I found recipes for bubble, round pancakes, and kringle – all of which looked scrumptious! Fattening, sure. But those little round pancakes called ebelskiver, pictured above?
Very tempting, don’t you think? They’re filled with apple, they need to be flipped several times in their special pans while cooking, and they look like fun to make as well as to eat. (Youtube videos and recipes abound.)
So much for the waistline this time of year, if one is going for global comfort food!
Of course, some think that the usual breakfast in France is a croissant, but in all the times I lived in France that wasn’t what was usually eaten. As I said, coffee or café au lait along with good fresh French bread (baguette) and a bit of butter and preserves was more like it. On occasion, there was pain aux raisins, a pastry we can find easily in the US as well.
I recall years of traveling back and forth to Belgium, a country I love, where “oeufs à la coque” along with bread or semi-sweet honey bread accompanied good, strong coffee.
In case you’re wondering, oeufs à la coque are soft-boiled eggs served in egg cups. (3 minutes in boiling water, scoop them out, pop them into cups, crack lightly on the shell to remove the top. Yummy. Part of my breakfast of champions at home from time to time, dipping a bit of bread into the soft yellow center.)
Galettes de sarrasin were a special breakfast my French significant other recalls from childhood. These are buckwheat pancakes, which some fill with heavy fare (pork, smoked fish, meats) and serve as dinner, as with other sorts of crèpes.
However, my man about the house describes them with great fondness, served simply with butter. And if you wish, a light sprinkling of sugar. These are on the list to try soon, the ingredients now easily found in the US.
He also speaks (hungrily) of the traditional English breakfast. After the more typical baguette and café au lait he had as a child, a trip to the UK at 12 left him with a life-long lust for the English morning menu: eggs, toast, bacon, sausage… and porridge!
Personally, I can’t conceive of eating all that at any time of day, much less in the early a.m., but to a growing 12-year-old boy burning off everything, I can well imagine his eyes weren’t bigger than his stomach. And I bet he enjoyed every tasty moment.
Other international breakfast treats?
If you visit the article on 31 breakfast foods, you’ll find a surprising variety from sweet to savory. Be sure to check out every last bit. It all looks amazing, though for me, not for the start of the day. As one who prefers to eat light (or not eat until closer to noon), I’d be comatose after some of these meals!
My own preference remains coffee and grainy toast, possibly with a small piece of fruit – apple or orange. Better still, when feeling especially sociable, the traditional brunch with all its splendid abundance of options. And of course, the beauty of brunch is also in that very sociability.
If I am so fortunate as to be brunching, then I’m most likely to choose a veggie-filled omelet sprinkled in parsley, or possibly a bagel with a bit of smoked salmon. And coffee, more coffee, and… you got it… more coffee.
As for liquid refreshment, brunch Bloody Mary’s and Mimosas aren’t too bad either. But best of all is gathering around a table with friends and family over comfort food, which is always a pleasure, and most particularly, when you have time to linger.
Now about those ebelskivers (with a nod to my sudden Danish desire)… I just may need to note the ingredients and make a run to the store. These look too good to pass up during the holidays.
What’s your Breakfast of Champions? Does it include an international flavor?
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