I was thrilled to see this week’s WordPress photo challenge because I’ve thought about this post since last summer. I needed a reason to finally put the words into order and go searching for the images.
Yes, I’m using the example used in the challenge blog. Yes, I’m using the completely overused “food as art” concept and yes, I really did take pictures of most of the food set in front of me in the countries of France and Poland. I didn’t care that I was being an obvious food tourist because I knew I’d need the photos to remember all the dishes on my month-long trip.
I know, I’m a total cliché.
I’m completely guilty of falling into the trap of finding just about everything I see to be more infused with beauty and meaning when I’m in a foreign country. Things I’d walk past without a second glance in my own country become picture worthy. Colors seem more vibrant, houses are quainter, and food tastes better when I’m in Europe.
But honestly, when you look at these dishes, how can you not think of the art that went into not just the presentation, but also the unique combination of flavors and textures?
These are dishes I ate in the famed Jules Verne restaurant in the Eiffel Tower and at an amazing little place called Verjus which we almost didn’t find but which offered some of the best food we encountered in Paris. Click here for a more extensive review of Verjus. And seriously, go find it if you ever visit the city and want a fantastic food experience.
I expected “food as art” in France. I had no idea it also existed in Poland and because it was so unexpected it was even more of a delight.
We visited many gorgeous restaurants in Europe but the Belvedere Restaurant in the middle of Lazienki Royal Park in Warsaw took the art of atmosphere to a new level. After a day of touring and walking, lunch in this beautiful setting added a dimension to the art of dining that I’ll never forget.
Had I been able to get into the kitchen of these restaurants I would have documented the art of the cooking and been a very happy person. I didn’t do that but I did have the delightful opportunity to visit a fromagerie, owned and operated by Thea, a cheese maker from the Netherlands, who now practices the art of making cheese in Belgium.
Everything about eating can be elevated to art: the taste, the careful preparation and presentation, the table setting, the accompanying drink, the setting the restaurant is in. But in the end it’s really the people we break bread with who make all the difference in what kind of art experience we have when we nourish our bodies. What I remember most about the meals I had last summer was the people I shared them with. That is perhaps the most important component of what elevates the experience of eating to an art form.