Europe is abundant in its cuisine, with countries offering a variety of unique and traditional dishes. This part of the world is so famous for its food that many European tours are centred around visiting countries based on their cookery. Here is a rundown on Europe’s best offerings and where exactly to find them.
Italy’s cuisine is infamous worldwide. Pizza and pasta are well-known dishes to originate from Italy. Interpretations of the traditional forms available internationally, and for many, are a staple for week-night meals. If you are looking to visit the “epicentre” of Italian cooking, be sure to travel to Naples, where traditional Italian dishes are available widely and for a small price. Pizza-lovers are guaranteed to revel in this vibrant city. You can expect similar in Rome, where flavour, yet simplicity are emphasised . Stand-out dishes include Artichoke cooked “alla Roma” and “Pizza Romana” – a thinner and crispier based compared to Naples’s classic. Sardinia, on the other hand, deviates from what may be commonly associated with “Italian food”. The small island is famous for its unique offerings, and experimental twists on the classics. A typical Sardinian may start with “Pane Carasu”, a thin and crispy bread often paired with an array of antipasti, followed by the slow-cooked ‘Su Porcheddu’, and finished with the popular dessert drink, Limencello.
Paris, the French capital, is famous for its simple classics. Effortless pairings of tenderly cooked meats with vegetables and potato are an integral part of the Parisian experience. In many street-side cafés and local bistros, one can find a perfect steak and “pomme frites”, or perhaps a more upmarket “Coq au Vin”. Looking for a sweet treat after your meal? If you venture to world-renowned Pâtisserie, “Ladurée” you are sure to find Paris’s best offering of Macarons.
Another top destination for the French classics is Lyon. The national dish is arguably “Quenelles” which combines the finest meat with breadcrumbs and egg to form a dumpling. Chefs here pay attention to the quality of ingredients. Lyon offers the finest in meat, cheese, cream, and vegetables due to the strong presence of agriculture in the region.
Paella is one of Spain’s most famous delicacies, with its staple ingredients being meat, poultry, seafood, and arborio rice. Traditionally associated with the region of Valencia, you can be sure to find high quality dishes in the city and surrounding areas. However, Spain’s most popular city destination, Barcelona, is home to outstanding Paella. Güell Tapas is one of the Catalonian beauty’s highlights, with offerings of regional paella and tapas. Talking Tapas, essential dishes to try include Patatas Bravas, Gazpacho, Calamari, Olives, and Spanish cheese such as Manchego. If you are passionate about seafood, be sure to visit coastal towns such as San Sebastian. Locally sourced produce like anchovies and salt cod are guaranteed to impress your tastebuds.
At the mention of Denmark, a specific cuisine may not come to mind. However, Copenhagen is home to the world’s best rated restaurants, with Noma and Geranium taking up both the first and second spots. Famed for their Michelin-star status, these restaurants change their offerings in accordance with the seasons. For example, Noma offers seafood from January to June, focuses on vegetables during the summer and “game and forest” during the winter. Geranium follows suit and is also finely attuned to Denmark’s seasons. Seafood makes a common appearance at both establishments, alongside quail, potatoes, and herbs such as thyme.
If you decide to tour Europe, revolving your trip around local cuisine isn’t out of the ordinary and is sure to provide you with an authentic and rewarding experience.