This summer I was fortunate enough to be able to spend a month in (and around) Strasbourg, France. The city is gorgeous, and the historian in me died a little every time I looked up at the colorful half-timbered houses reminiscent of Elizabethan architecture.

But what really made my experience unforgettable was the city's rich culinary culture. More specifically, the fact that I could emotionally connect with people I had just met over a delicious latte, or a mouthwatering tartine. So where did I spend my lunch hours, evenings and weekends chatting away over foodgasmic fares?

1. Strasbourg's numerous cafés

I'm honestly not much of a coffee drinker, but something in Strasbourg's cappuccinos made me melt inside. I don't know whether it was the sweetness of the milk or the rich flavor of the coffee beans, but whatever it was definitely hit the spot. 

Marie Chantal Marauta

And cappuccinos weren't the only hot drink I got hooked on, despite the 35 degree (Celsius) heat. From the explosion of flavors in Café Bretelles' chai lattes, to Au 5's scrumptious and satisfying matcha lattes, I found a caffeinated drink for every mood. 

2. Sampling Alsatian goods in Petite France

Petite France is Strasbourg's iconic and idyllic fairytale village. After a long day, my friends and I would walk along the tranquil canal and admire the architecture that looked like it was straight out of Beauty and the Beast

The best part of my Petite France experience, however, was sampling the mouthwatering Alsatian dishes that traditional restaurants such as Au Pont Saint-Martin had to offer. Below is one of my summer favorites, braised pork knuckle. It was tender and tasty, and I still think about this beautiful dish around three times a week. 

Marie Chantal Marauta

3. Hipster restaurants with allergen-free desserts

As someone who can't eat egg or dairy (amongst many other things), I was disappointed that I wouldn't be able to indulge in the French pastry scene. It was an absolute miracle when I discovered that a number of new, hip cafés made desserts that accommodated my allergies. 

Marie Chantal Marauta

From Le Café Potager's vegan cookie cakes (pictured above), to Bistrot et Chocolat's scrumptious vegan sweet & salty brunch, to Vélicious' array of creamy and crumbly vegan tarts, I ate my weight in dessert. 

4. Happy hour in chic bars in the city centre

What better way to enjoy a Strasbourg summer sunset, than through happy hour food adventures? My friends and I tried chic bar-eateries like Square, as well as more pub-like spaces such as Atelier d'Grand Père, where we had scrumptious yet filling nibbles to accompany creative alcoholic beverages. 

I'll never forget the evenings we talked the night away, stuffed our faces, and laughed until we cried. 

5. Trying out (and soon becoming obsessed with) creative tartines 

I need to dedicate an entire section to L'Épicerie, a small and cosy restaurant tucked away in a cobblestoned alley that serves the most exquisite tartines (tartine = a slice of bread with various toppings, whether sweet or savory). 

Marie Chantal Marauta

Above is a tartine I had four times a week, composed of white bread, a type of candied prune purée, and thick, creamy and salty Bleu cheese from the region of Auvergne. It was a concoction of flavors that I wasn't expecting to fall in love with, but that soon become an obsession. The foodgasmic tartines paired with the restaurant's familial ambience to create one of the best experiences of the summer. 

6. Tasting French-ified versions of international cuisines

Eating French food all day every day would have gotten a little too monotonous for me, so I was glad that there were a few #international restaurants in the area. Harmonie Bowl & Juice's bowls (pictured below) spoke to my Asian heritage, white Tzatzi's creamy hummus brought me back to Greece for a lunch hour. 

Marie Chantal Marauta

Nothing was too spicy or too abstract, and these restaurants provided a nice midway point between foreign cuisines and what is usually consumed by the French.

All in all, I had a pretty amazing summer in Strasbourg. Good food and good company made the stress and lack of sleep completely worth it. In my opinion, these new friendships and shared culinary experiences were the best summer romance I could have asked for.