European Favourites

Some of the things people look most forward to when visiting a foreign country are the breathtakingly beautiful sites, the crystal blue waters, the splendour of historical buildings, the amazing ruins and of course, the food! Here we will explore a sampling of some European favourites dishes, and invite you to join us on a virtual tour of their most favoured foods.

Greece

Among a backdrop of vineyards, olive groves, fig and citrus trees, Greeks are known for their use of aromatic spices, such as Greek oregano, cardamom, cinnamon and anise, in addition to their native olive oils when cooking some of the best “soul” foods. Pastitsio and Moussaka are the top two favourites!

European Favourites - Greece PastitsioPastitsio

Thou somewhat difficult to pronounce, there is no mistaking what people are talking about when they say “Greek Lasagne. This hearty favourite is layers of special noodles, topped with savoury meat sauce and finished off with a béchamel cream sauce that melts in your mouth. Just thinking about the buttery, cheesy flavours makes your mouth water.

European Favourites - Greece MoussakaMoussaka

Although somewhat similar in outward appearance to the Pastitsio, Moussaka is loaded with thinly sliced eggplant, potatoes, a flavourful meat sauce and topped with a creamy béchamel sauce. This recipe can be made with lamb or beef. It is the use of a perfect balance of garlic, onion, cinnamon and other spices that makes this dish an all-time favourite.

Italy

Italians are world renowned for their delectable desert creations, decadent and sinfully rich. Sharing one of these deserts at a roadside café with your friends or family, along with a cup of espresso or demi-tasse coffee, is the perfect way to end the day!

European Favourites - Italy CannoliCannoli

This Sicilian desert is like no other on earth-it literally melts in your mouth. Close your eyes and it will take you away to a deserted isle.

Cannoli are made of delicious crispy crust (like shells)and filled with creamy mixture of ricotta, cinnamon and citron. There are many variations that incorporate mascarpone, amaretto, candied fruits, pistachios, Italian crème, chocolate mousse, etc. Your imagination is the limit. It’s all in the crème.

European Favourites - Italy TiramisuTiramisu

Tiramisu is now on almost any respectable menu around the world.  This sweet, light and airy cake is filled with loads of mascarpone, whipped cream, Lady Fingers soaked in strong brewed coffee and liqueur, cocoa powder and chocolate shavings. Yum!

Germany

When people talk about German food, some of the first foods that come to mind are bratwurst, red cabbage, new potatoes and sauerkraut. German food is rich, substantial and delicious, with each region having its own speciality dishes and traditional cuisine.

European Favourites - Germany SauerbratenSauerbraten

Germans love their meat – and sauerbraten (meaning ‘sour’ or ‘pickled’ roast) is a pot roast that’s regarded as one of the country’s national dishes. It can be made from many different meats (originally horse), which are marinated in wine, vinegar, spices, herbs and seasoning for up to 10 days. Schweinenbraten is a delicious roast pork dish, usually served with braised cabbage or sauerkraut and dumplings (knoedel), and washed down with a pilsner beer.

European Favourites - Germany KasespatzleKasespatzle 

Spatzle, noodles made from wheat flour and egg, are popular especially in the South. They’re often served topped with cheese (kasepatzle) – rather like macaroni cheese – and sometimes with roasted onions as well. They are served boiling hot -add some butter and cheese, pair it up with Sauerbraten, boiled potatoes and red cabbage and you have a hearty meal that will warm the soul!

European Favourites - German ChocolateGerman Chocolate                                    

Everyone knows that some of the world’s best chocolates come from Europe, especially Germany, Italy, and England. From white chocolate with macadamias to milk chocolate with marshmallow filling, crispy cookies on the bottom, to dark, sinfully delicious liqueur-filled chocolates, the assortment is amazing!  So much chocolate…so little time!

France

French food isn’t all about haute cuisine and fine dining – some of the best food to be enjoyed in the French capital can be bought for a couple of euros from a humble boulangerie.

European Favourites - France SoupSoupe à l’oignon (French Onion Soup) is easily an all-time favourite. This is a traditional French soup made of onions and beef stock, usually served with croutons and cheese on top.

 

 

European Favourites - France CroissantCroissant

Walk past any bakery in the wee hours of the morning and you’ll be instantly spellbound by the warm buttery smell of fresh croissants escaping from the air vents at pavement level. This is your cue to step in and get your savory croissant and savor on your morning walk.

European Favourites - France Jambon-beurreJambon-beurre (ham & butter)

Like all city dwellers, Parisians often need to eat on the go, and the Jambon-beurre is the most Parisian of sandwiches. You can buy it from corner bakeries or order it from the counter at most cafés; in both cases it will come as a fresh half-baguette, its insides smeared with cool butter and garnished with ‘Jambon de Paris’, a pink-hued cooked ham, with optional cornichons (tart French pickles made from small gherkins pickled in vinegar and tarragon).

Spain

Food is as integral to Spain as its rich history, with each of Spain’s regions home to a range of unique cuisines and flavours. Here’s a selection of the top 10 foods to try in Spain.

Each regional specialty is worth trying, and restaurants from different regions bring their local delights to most main cities. Besides the usual tapas, for example olives, Manchego cheese or a plate of Spanish bravas (fried potato with spicy tomato sauce), here are a few foods you shouldn’t leave without trying.

European Favourites - Spain CroquettesCroquettes 

You can find a plate of Spanish croquetas in almost any restaurant or bar, each made to the establishment’s own recipe. It makes food comparison throughout Spain a delight, and not at all a bad idea for judging up a restaurant’s quality. While the creamy cheese (queso) croquettes pack a smooth flavour, try croquettes filled with a mixture of béchamel and Spanish cured ham (jamon), or the local sweet-spiced black sausage (morcilla) for something stronger.

European Favourites - Spain PaellaPaella

This rice-based Valencian dish is well known internationally, and comes in many variations that equally vie for attention. The traditional version is a mixture of chicken or rabbit (or both), white and green beans and other vegetables, but mixed seafood is also common, where you will find an array of seafood surprises among the flavorsome rice – calamari, mussels, clams, prawns, scampi or fish, for example. For the adventurous, a black rice stained by octopus ink is a must try. 

Poland

Traditional Polish cuisine is rich in various kinds of meat (pork, chicken, beef) and famous for its excellent bread and delicious sausages. The basic ingredients used in Polish foods are beetroot, sauerkraut, cucumbers (pickles and gherkins), mushrooms, sausages, kohlrabi, sour cream and different herbs and spices (marjoram, dill, caraway, parsley and pepper).

European Favourites - Poland Pierogi (Polish dumplings)Pierogi (Polish dumplings)

Dumplings are made of thinly rolled-out dough filled with a variety of fillings. The most popular fillings are meat, sauerkraut and mushrooms, seasonal fruit (blueberries, strawberries and cherries), buckwheat, sweet cottage cheese or boiled potatoes with fried onions. Pierogi is served for Christmas, but is prepared quite often throughout the year.

European Favourites - Poland Gołąbki (cabbage roll)Gołąbki (cabbage roll)

Gołąbki is a typical traditional Polish food made with minced pork, some rice, onion, and mushrooms wrapped in white cabbage leaves. There are also other variations of fillings such as poultry, mutton or without meat. Before serving cabbage are simmered / fried in fat. Most often they are smothered in a wonderful tomato sauce.

European Favourites - Poland Polish Gulasz (Goulash)Polish Gulasz (Goulash)

Every country has its version of the perfect stew – it’s all in the seasoning! Although the same vegetables are used from one stew to the next, for example carrots, mushrooms, onions, peas, etc. the accompanying sauce and exotic spices can change the flavors dramatically!

Turkey

Istanbul might be a goldmine of culinary variety, but it’s no secret that dining at the city’s most fashionable restaurants can leave a hole in your wallet. Whether you’re in a hurry to fill your stomach or your funds are running a bit low, street food is sure to come in handy. Street vendors are ready to please your palate.Istanbul’s highly developed infrastructure, coupled with the public’s insatiable hunger for hearty fast food, means that visitors can eat obscure Turkish specialties typical of distant villages without ever leaving Turkey’s cultural capital.

European Favourites - Turkey SimitSimit

It’s a well-known fact that even the most elite of Istanbul’s population have a hard time resisting the tantalising scent of this freshly baked, molasses-dipped and sesame-crusted dough. The simit is a staple of breakfasts on-the-go. Even day-old simit has its use as seagull feed.

European Favourites - Turkey Lahmacun Lahmacun

Often referred to by tourists as “Turkish pizza’, lahmacun is a very uncomplicated meal of thin dough topped with a minced meat-onion-red pepper mixture, slid in the oven for a few minutes and served piping hot. It’s customary to top it with a handful of parsley and a squirt of lemon juice, then roll it into a wrap and enjoy with a glass of cold ayran.

European Favourites - Turkey KokoreçKokoreç

This grilled offal delicacy, which is popular throughout Turkey, Greece, and the Balkans, consists of lamb’s intestines wrapped around innards such as sweetbreads. The resulting loaf-like product is roasted, then sliced, chopped, and cooked on a grill with diced tomato, spices, and dried herbs. Kokoreçis best when made from young lambs, but the demand by large chains often leads to older animals being used instead, leading to a gamier quality than the milder, younger offal. Kokoreç stalls are particularly present near the city’s bazaars, offering a cheap and quick lunch for shoppers to enjoy on the fly.

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