Program 338: Tastes of Italy, Paris, and Basque Country

Release Date: 09-14-2013

On Air Description

Your travels can open up your taste buds to entirely new adventures.  But sometimes, people eat, and even shop, a bit differently than you're used to back home.   

On this week's Travel with Rick Steves, guides from Paris and the Basque Country in Spain introduce us to their local food traditions.  And Fred Plotkin serves up another helping of appreciation for the cuisines of Italy, and how to  make every bite a celebration, Italian style. 

Whet your appetite for the world each week, with Travel with Rick Steves.


  • Fred Plotkin, author of Italy for the Gourmet Traveler and Opera 101
  • Mary Bouron, tour guide based in Paris, France
  • Agustín Ciriza, tour guide based in San Sebastian, Spain
  • Francisco Glária, tour guide based in Pamplona, Spain

Related Links

  • Fred Plotkin's "Italy for the Gourmet Traveler" is published by Kyle Books in Britain, and is scheduled to soon be available as an e-book.
  • The Guardian lists many of its recent articles on food and travel in the Bologna region of Italy. 
  • Mary Bouron’s blog archives are called “How To Marry A Frenchman,” and includes a link to her Paris tours called “Walk Like a Parisian.”
  • Mary Bouron recommends the English-language online Paris food guide called Paris by Mouth, and the French language guide called  Paris By Mouth also has an arrondissement-by-arrondissement listing of top-ranked neighborhood bakeries.
  • Yelp has a list, and user reviews, of many of Paris' food trucks
  • Agustín Ciriza leads Basque Country and adventure sports tours from his base in San Sebastian, Spain.  
  • Francisco Glaria lives in Pamplona, and guides with Novoturs in Spain's Navarra region. 
  • Rick summarizes the highlights of Basque Country in Spain and France. 


  • Caller is going to Verona and Bologna.  "I'd like to do some cooking on my own, buying food in the market and cooking it at the apartment -- especially as I'll be traveling with a one-year-old, making those long Italian dinners out nearly impossible. What tips might you have for good markets in the area?"  (Ben in Toledo, Ohio)
  • My husband and I are considering traveling to Paris with our 7 and 10 year olds. We plan to rent an apartment but hope to enjoy restaurant cuisine as well. What are some Parisian dishes that kids might enjoy?    (Kristen in Arroyo Grande, California)
  • What's the best way to find out about great restaurant deals in Paris using my smartphone? Is there a Groupon-like service there?   (Karen in San Francisco)
  • "I was in Paris two weeks ago and had the most amazing food off of the new food trucks.  I heard restaurant owners are trying to get them banned. Will they stay?"   (e-mail from Crash, aka Mr. Brown, in Sindelfingen, Germany)
  • "The Basque country is high on my list of places to visit! I am a sommelier and would like to know your recommendations for exploring the wines of this region."   (Cynthia in Grimsby, Ontario)
  • Co-owner of Epi's, a Basque Restaurant in Meridian, Idaho, discusses Basque culture in the United States and their food. "All four of my grandparents came from Basque country."  (Gina in Meridian, Idaho)
  • Regarding food in Italy, "my favorite is faggotinni containing parmigiano, thinly sliced pear, and smoked prosciutto."   (in extra - Brad in Toano, Virginia) 

Incidental Music

  • The Women's Philharmonic, Gillian Benet, harp, Jo Ann Faletta, conductor, "'Rondo' from 'Concertino for Harp and Orchestra' (Germaine Tailleferre),"  The Women's Philharmonic:  Boulanger, Tailleferre, Mendelssohn, Schumann / Koch International Classics
  • Tony Murena, "Caprice musette," Paris Musette (collection) / Soldore (France)
  • El Domingo, "I Cacciaturi I Muntaltu (Hunters in the High Mountains)," Il Canto di Malavita (collection) / Play It Again Sam
  • Giulio Regondi Guild, "Leisure Moments No. 7 - Allegretto-Larghetto (Giulio Regondi)" The Great Regondi, vol. 2 / Bridge
  • Louis Prima and Keely Smith, "Enjoy Yourself," On the Radio:  Early 50s Transcriptions / Future Noise Music
  • Thomas Beckman, "Napoli March," Charlie Chaplin / Jaro Records
  • * John Zorn, “The Sicilian Clan,” Naked City / Nonesuch
  • Orchestre du Capitole de Toulouse, Michel Plasson, cond., “Le Picadillyl (Satie),” Satie:  Orchestral Works and Transcriptions / EMI Classics
  • Orchestre de l'Association des Concerts Colonne (Georges Tzipine, cond.), "'Le Hameau'' from the Jean Françaix film 'Si Versaille m'était conté'," Le Film Français:  Honegger, Françaix, Sauguet, Thiriet / EMI Classics
  • Jacques Tati (F. Barcellini), "'Super Market' from the film 'Play Time,'" The Films of Jacques Tati / PolyGram (France)
  • Dimitri from Paris, "Sacre Français," Sacrebleu / Atlantic 
  • Henri Salvador, "Bon appétit mademoiselle," Saint-Germaine-des-Pres, disc 1 / Rym Musique (France)
  • * Les Baxter and His Orchestra, "The Clown on the Eiffel Tower," A Bachelor in Paris: Ultra Lounge 10  (collection) / Capitol
  • David Shostac, "Le basque," The Romantic Flute, vol. 1 / Resort Music
  • Enrique Ugarte, "Donostiako-Iru-Damatxo," Music of the Basques (collection) / Arc
  • Jimmy Bidaurrota, "Exotic Urbanen Bezpera," Hotsak Danzan 2 (EP) / Gaztelupeko Hotsak
  • Prefab Sprout, "Appetite," The Collection / Epic

Dated References

  • Fred Plotkin uses Silvio Berlusconi as an example of untrustworthy politicians, at 11:20 in segment A. 
  • Mary Bouron notes at 24:08 that customary times for small food shops in Paris to open are 10:30am-12:30pm and they re-open around 4:00pm for dinner shopping.
  • Rick reads an e-mail from a listener in Germany at 34:47, asking if the trend in food trucks is going to continue to grow in popularity in Paris.   (The number of regularly-scheduled food trucks in Paris has grown from just two trucks to more than a dozen, since the interview was conducted.)

Program Extras

Program 338 Extra #1 - Caller Brad from Virginia follows up on Ben's call in this weeks show, to describe visiting a beautiful villa built by Palladio in rural Italy, and the wonderful pasta he had there. Fred Plotkin also defines his pursuit of "pleasure activism" for Rick with an example from a recent trip to The Netherlands. (runs 4:13)

Program 338 Extra #2 - Mary Bouron explains some of the etiquette for shopping at supermarkets in Paris. (runs 1:44)