European cuisine is as varied as the continent itself, with a range of dishes to suit every palate. Some are steeped in tradition, some have been appropriated by other countries and still others are little-known delicacies – but we’re sure they’ll have your tummy rumbling! Take a look at our favourite foods of Europe that you can sample on your European tour, and let us know your favourites in the comments below!
Germany – Eisbein
There’s just no way for me to pick a favourite from this list, but this would definitely be one of the top contenders, for sheer scale if nothing else. Essentially a boiled pork knuckle, Eisbein is best enjoyed with sauerkraut and mustard, and washed down with a tasty German beer. This meal is a serious commitment! Head to a beer hall in Munich for the real thing.
Italy – Pizza
Having a pizza on a tour of Italy is probably on a par with seeing the Coliseum or the leaning tower of Pisa in terms of ‘must-dos’. But the origins and styles of pizza making are incredibly varied, making it hard to know what a ‘real’ pizza should be like! The idea of adding toppings to hot bread probably dates back to the cavemen, and it was actually the Greeks who probably debuted what we think of as pizza today.
But the word ‘pizza’, meaning ‘pie’, was coined in around 1000 AD near Rome and Naples. By the end of the 18th Century, people had discovered that tomatoes (which were brought over from the New World) were edible, and had begun to top bread with tomatoes, essentially creating pizza as we know it. In around 1889, Italy’s Queen Margarita and King Umberto I toured their kingdom, and the queen developed a taste for the flat bread. Her chef created a variety of pizzas for her, including one that featured basil, tomatoes and mozzarella cheese – the colours of the Italian flag. She loved it, and even today the ingredients for a Margarita pizza remain the same!
However you like your pizza, Italy is definitely the place to eat it.
Belgium – Moules-frites
A classic from Belgium and also enjoyed in Northern France, moules-frites is a pretty simple dish, consisting of a load of mussels (typically cooked in white wine and cream) and a load of fries. The mussels are often served in the pan, making for a rustic – and very tasty – traditional meal. Try moules-frites on your tour of Europe when you stop over in Belgium!
Spain – Faves a la Catalana
This one comes recommended from a real Spanish person on the Expat Explore team, and it’s a great example of Catalan cuisine. In fact, it’s considered one of the three most important dishes in Catalonia! Traditionally it’s made with butifarra negra, Spanish blood sausages, fresh garlic shoots, fava beans, pancetta and a range of herbs and spices. Look out for Faves a la Catalana in Barcelona on your tour of Europe.
Switzerland – Fondue
Another dish that’s shared with the French, fondue is an alpine dish that will chase away those winter chills. Never was there a more comforting food! The simplicity of this dish (and those above) is their real appeal, to me anyway. You just can’t go wrong with a big pot of melted cheese and chunks of hearty bread. You don’t have to have spend a day on the slopes to dig into ‘apres-ski’ activities.
Eat, drink and be merry with us on a coach tour of Europe.