I love to travel and cannot resist my wanderlust. It’s inherited from my favorite travel companion, my mother. She and I are looking at our next trip. We’re deciding between her choices of an excursion to Hawaii or Alaska. As the matriarch, she gets first dibs.
As I was looking over the latest brochures with my Saturday latte (whole milk, of course), I got to thinking… I have experienced some unique breakfast dairy pairings across the world.
Here’s my unofficial list of my favorite use of dairy in breakfast around the world.
Ukraine: Cornmeal Porridge
Ordering authentic cornmeal porridge in my native language was surreal. I got to taste this traditional Ukrainian breakfast dish – made with locally sourced heavy cream – during a pilgrimage to my father’s homeland, Ukraine. Mom used to make a variation of it for us when I was a kid. It was on the sweet side, and I couldn’t get enough. At some point, though, cold cereal with wholesome milk seemed a simpler way to “dine and dash” to school.
Poland: Protein-Laden Breakfast
Planning ahead, mom and I set aside a few hours just for breakfast while visiting family in the cities of Wroc, Katowice or Kraków. My mother was born in Poland, where breakfast consists primarily of protein-rich cheeses and cold cut meats with fresh fruits and vegetables. Another traditional option is hot oatmeal or muesli made with milk.
Czech Republic: Rohlík ‘n cheese!
On one of our trips to Poland, we hopped the border to Prague in the neighboring Czech Republic. Luckily, English is widely spoken, and we ordered a traditional breakfast of rohlík (think dinner rolls) with fresh cheese. Mesmerized by the taste of European-made butter, I ordered mine with butter and honey, with a side dish of yogurt.
Surprising to me is the popularity of cottage cheese, another breakfast favorite among Czech’s.
My longtime friend, Flo, and her husband flew in from France to partake in my wedding day – what an honor!
France: Butter Me Up with French Bread
Nothing says “Bonjour!” like a breakfast of fresh French bread served with either local cheese or butter and jam. I fell in love with Aix-en-Provence, in southern France, when I was 17. There on a high school student exchange program, I came to forge a lifelong friendship with my host family’s daughter, Flo, over breakfast. There’s nothing like bonding over freshly baked French bread paired with assorted soft and hard cheeses or jams, and café au lait.
Instead of jumping into the Sea of Cortez in the southern Baja California, my husband and I dove into a crunchy, saucy, spicy breakfast staple: chilaquiles. In Cabo, the locals make it with a heavy cream-based sauce, not quite a sour cream, called Mexican Crema, and pile it high with Mexican cheese. Hola!
“When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” And Rome just might be my next venture, after my mom and I cross Hawaii and Alaska off our list. Wherever my wanderlust takes me, I always energize myself for a day of adventure with breakfast paired with anything dairy. Locals willingly share their favorite breakfast spots – foods and places they consider their cultural treasures.
Have a favorite dairy breakfast pairing from around the world? Share your experience!
Ania Stilwell is a digital marketing specialist with American Dairy Association North East. Her blogs focus on farm life, animal care, and sustainability. Prior to joining the dairy industry in 2013, Stilwell served 17 years in communications, mostly as a broadcast news producer at the ABC-affiliate television station in Syracuse, New York, and managed communication, marketing and public relations at not-for-profit organizations in the Finger Lakes and Central New York regions, including a local food bank. She lives in New York with her husband.