There are so many things I love about life in Europe, but, as always, it's the simple pleasures that make life here so good. Today's simple pleasure: cheese.
Cheese, my friends, cheese.
I've been off and one vegan since I was 18, though certainly more off than on. I rarely eat cheese in America because, well, it's super expensive to buy the good stuff. And who wants to eat the average stuff? (I know, I know -- lots of people, but I prefer small amounts of the best rather than large amounts of the average.)
I was dairy-free pretty much the entire first year of the wee boy's life because he reacted very badly when I consumed milk products. Living in Europe while pregnant made passing by the neighborhood cheesemonger (of course there is a neighborhood cheesemonger) a tortuous struggle. All but two of the massive cheese selections were unpasteurized, ergo no good for a pregnant woman.
Thankfully, for this trip, I am neither pregnant, nor dairy-free.
My welcome to Paris snack provided by an amazing hostess was a wheel of Brie, a baguette, and croissants, accompanied by a bottle of champagne. Please ignore the toy tow truck in the photo.
Our meal for the evening was then an array -- and by array, I mean at least ten kinds -- of European cheeses, with various raw vegetables and the freshest bread you've ever tasted. Of course, there was wine and champagne. My hosts knew just how much I needed this trip, and the little bursts of luxury just made me swoon.
Tonight, though I come to you from Edinburgh, I plan on serving our favorite poor-student meal: a baguette, a wheel of Camembert, and a bottle of wine (maybe a head of broccoli thrown in for something green, but I'm not promising anything). Such a meal would be pure luxury back in the States, as I don't know where you can find a wheel of Camembert for less than $10. I picked one up here for $1.50. And a good bottle of French wine? Well, France is a lot closer to the UK than it is to the US, for you geographically-challenged people, so I can grab something delicious for $5.
It's the little things, friends. The price of cheese. Le sigh.