We’ve all heard of, and perhaps even experienced, the “Continental Breakfast.” On occasion, I’ve encountered it in hotels and it has generally left me unimpressed with its often dried out bread items and unimaginative accompaniments. If I were from “the Continent” and was presented with one of those bastardized versions of what should be the most simple and satisfying meal of the day, I suspect I would be inclined to drop the uber-American phrase “Have a nice day!” liberally, and with increasing sarcasm, throughout the day. You see, bad food makes me cranky.
During our visit with family last month we were spoiled by a version of the Continental breakfast. It began with a trip to the bakery in town where we pointed, with increasingly difficult to maintain restraint, at the array of baked goods in the glass case. Our chosen items were placed in a large, low-sided wicker basket to make keeping track of our selections easier. Personal favorites were the pumpkin seed topped rolls and the pretzel bread. It ain’t all pumpernickel and rye, my friend.
Once back at home, the breads were placed on the table along with a dazzling array of meats and cheeses. The meat selection included a smoky Black Forest cured bacon, ham, pâté, pimento studded bologna, and liverwurst. Basically, more German cold cuts than can be found in any single Capital Region locale other than Rolf’s. Also on the table were some cheeses, although these were primarily French except for a semi-firm Black Forest cheese which was pleasantly mild with a thick thread of smoke in the center. I need to talk to the Cheese Traveler about that one. The other cheeses were a St. Andre triple cream, a bleu and a camembert, each beautifully spreadable and delicious.
To round things out (my stomach, more specifically), there was some fantastic yogurt with way less sugar than its American counterpart, cereal, fruit and some sweet cherry tomatoes from Spain. This type of breakfast is leisurely – one has a small plate and fills it maybe a couple of times. The coffee is strong, with a nice crema layer on top, and each cup is brewed to order. It all has a very Continental feel to it and I think it buries the French petite de jeuner. Frühstück – it’s breakfast.