Food is one of the most wonderful parts of travel. Each culture, region, town or household has some food that differentiates and defines. When travel dollars are tight, a meal or dish can bring back old trips, or build excitement about future destinations.
One year I was in Barcelona for my birthday. As a passionate foodie who did not want to make the trek to el Bulli, I uncovered Espai Sucre. The restaurant, whose name translates to ‘Sugar Space,’ serves desserts in tasting menus with wine parings available. While there are a few ‘savory’ dishes available, the meal is about the desserts.
It was wonderful and decedent and at the time (2004) cost around US$60/person with wine parings, VAT and gratuity. I learned desserts do not have to be sweet and mixing sweet and savory could be heaven. (Sample menus are online.) At the end of the menu, when we could hardly move much less eat, they served a tower of cookies and jellies. I don’t remember all of the flavors, but they were exotic and delicious. The best, by far, were the curry cookies. It was like a standard sugar cookie with curry powder mixed in and rolled very very thin.
When I eat a wonderful dish traveling, I try to recreate it to bring my travels home. After the Espai Sucre dinner, I began experimenting. Using the Toll House recipe as a foundation (the best basic chocolate chip cookie recipe) I am continually tweaking and testing. Here is my favorite…..
Meg’ Cardamom Chocolate Chip Cookies
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
2 ¼ c flour
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
2T Cardamom powder (or to taste)
Combine dry ingredients and blend well.
1c (2 sticks) butter softened
¾ c granulated sugar
¾ c packed brown sugar
Mix together and beat until creamy.
1t vanilla extract
2 large eggs
Add vanilla, then eggs one at a time and beat well.
Gradually add the flour mixture.
2½ c Chocolate Chips
Add to batter and mix just enough to work in.
Drop rounded teaspoon onto ungreased cookie sheets
Bake 9-11 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and cool for 2 minutes. Remove from cookie sheet and place on cooling rack.
Best served with a Late Harvest Gewurztraminer or Apple sparkler (4 parts sparkling water to 1 part Apple cider).