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Now browsing: Hometown News > Travel > Geraldine Blanchard

Geraldine Blanchard
This Week | Archive

Know the lingo when visiting European locations
Rating: 2.79 / 5 (198 votes)  
Posted: 2007 May 18 - 02:58

My column on Canada was so well received, I decided to keep the same spin, but focus on Vienna, France and Scotland.

Vienna coffeehouse tradition

Since the 1680s, the kaffeehauser has been the Viennese equivalent of the Parisian literary café or English pub, a local gathering place for convivial conversation or solitary sipping.

Today's coffeehouses may be traditional, with coffee served on a silver tray with a glass of water or more modern.

Some call themselves konditoreien and offer a wide assortment of baked goods.

You'll want to order in the local dialect. Popular orders include: schwarzer or mokka, strong black coffee like espresso; brauner, coffee with a dash of cream; mélange, equal amounts of milk and coffee with froth; and fiaker, espresso with sugar and kirschwasser topped with whipped cream.

French gourmet

France lays claim to a culinary heritage so rich, it would be impossible to present it in a single setting. Think of it as a gastronomic buffet in which each region presents its own wines, cheeses, breads, sauces, desserts and special cooking techniques.

Globus and Cosmos pride themselves on giving you a taste of these regions when you take one of their escorted tours. They assure the experience will astound the taste buds and change how you think of eating.

Just for kicks, try this easy, delicious chicken recipe from the Bordeaux region.

Chicken Bordeaux

2 (3-pound) broiler chickens, quartered

3/4 cup flour, divided

Freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup salad oil

1 cup canned tomatoes

1-1/2 cups dry white Bordeaux wine

1 cup sliced mushrooms, cooked in butter until wilted

1 clove garlic, finely chopped, cooked in butter

Dredge the chicken with 1/2 cup flour, seasoned with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a heavy skillet. Add the chicken and brown on all sides. Cover the pan and cook slowly 25 minutes.

Combine remaining flour with a little water and stir into simmering tomatoes. Cook, stirring until mixture thickens.

Add the wine, mushrooms and garlic.

Cover and cook until the chicken is tender, about 20 minutes. Serve hot.

Here are some key words that will help you order properly.

. Le menu: This is not what we consider the menu, but a fixed-price meal with limited choices.

. A la carte: Ordering straight from the menu options.

. Entrée: This is an appetizer or starter

. Plat principal: The main course.

. Fromage: Cheese, usually served between the main course and dessert.

. Un croque: A ham and cheese sandwich.

. Deux cuisses de grenouille: Frog's legs

Now here are some tasty tidbits about France:

. There are 29 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in France including: Mont St. Michel Abbey, Versailles Palace, the Pont du Gard Roman Aqueduct and the prehistoric cave drawings of Lascaux.

. The Loire Valley has more than 1,000 historic chateaus.

. The American Cemetery in St. Laurent sur Mer, Normandy, is the final resting place of 9,386 American soldiers who fought in World War II.

. The Millau Viaduc is a 1.5-mile suspension bridge in southwest France that is 885-feet high. It is taller than the Eiffel Tower and 1,500 feet longer than the Golden Gate Bridge.

. France produces more than 500 types of cheeses.

. Frederic August Bartholdi, sculptor of the Statue of Liberty, was born in Colmar. The statue is said to resemble his mother.

. Harry Houdini took his stage name from Jean Eugene Robert Houdin, a famous 19th century magician from the Loire Valley.

. The guillotine was devised as a more humane form of execution. It was used on more than 40,000 victims during the French Revolution.

And now to Scotland

What is an Edinburg military tattoo?

No inks or needles here, this tattoo is a soul-stirring presentation of Scottish military pipes and drums.

The word "tattoo" comes from the closing time cry in 17th-century inns, meaning to turn off the taps.

Today, the tattoo takes place for three weeks every summer. It is conducted each evening in the Esplanade of the historic Edinburgh Castle.

Complementing the massed bands of traditional pipes and drums are international performers.

Each night, the colorful kaleidoscope of dancers, musicians and singers gives way to a lone piper, playing his haunting lament from the battlements of the castle.

Hope this stimulated not only your taste buds but your desire to visit those countries. Let your travel agent connect the dots so that you may see as much as possible during your stay abroad.

Geraldine Blanchard is vice president of Global Tours and Travel, at 559 W. Eau Gallie Blvd., Melbourne. She can be reached at (321) 676-6040 or gerry@globaltours.com.

For more information visit, www.globaltours.com.

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