Remember that amazing tapas you had in Spain or that melt-in-the-mouth baklava in Greece? Discovering new dishes and local delicacies is one of life’s greatest pleasures.
We look at some of the best culinary specialities on offer in the continent in our foodie’s guide to Europe.
One of the great things about eating out in Spain is the chance to leisurely graze on several different small plates in vibrant tapas bars. Homemade Spanish meatballs, or albondigas, are a big hit with all ages. What sets them apart from standard meatballs is that they’re flavoured with garlic, parsley and paprika and served in a spicy tomato sauce. They’re the perfect accompaniment to patatas bravas.
Greek sweet bread
If you haven’t tried tsoureki, you’ve been missing out. Soft and fluffy with a brown crust and an amazing springy texture, this sweet bread is enriched with egg and aromatic spices. It’s traditionally served at Easter in Greece but can be found throughout the year as a breakfast staple or tea and coffee companion.
The Germans love a sausage. They have hundreds of varieties, but one of the best fast food versions is the iconic currywurst. It’s so popular that there’s even a whole museum dedicated to it in Berlin. This tasty fried pork sausage is cut into slices and served with ketchup and curry powder sprinkled on top. Have it with either bread or fries – it’s the ultimate comfort food.
Don’t limit yourself to pizza and pasta while holidaying in Italy. When in Rome, do as the Romans do. This savoury delight contains slices of chicken or meat topped with prosciutto and sage, cooked in dry white wine and butter. Saltimbocca literally means ‘jumps in the mouth’ – and you’ll see why when you taste it. Not surprisingly, it’s a favourite among locals and tourists alike in Italy, particularly Rome where it originates.
The banitsa is an absolute classic in Bulgaria – a flaky cheese pastry served either warm or cold. It’s traditionally eaten for breakfast, but we reckon it’s delicious any time of day. You can get variations on the classic recipe, with spinach, egg, meat or cabbage added to the filling. Homemade ones served in restaurants are the best – avoid those sold at street kiosks as they’re a pale imitation of the real thing.
If you fancy a sweet treat, it’s hard to beat these Portuguese gems – baked pastry tarts filled with egg custard and flavoured with cinnamon. They’re believed to have been developed during the 18th century by Catholic nuns, who baked them to raise funds for the upkeep of their monastery. The Pasteis de Belem bakery in Lisbon was the first shop to start selling them, but they’re now commonplace all over Portugal. They’re very moreish so one really isn’t enough.
The French are extremely proud of their cheese – and rightly so. There are so many great ones to try. Epoisses is not for the faint-hearted. It’s one of the stinkiest cheeses there is, although its flavour is not nearly as strong as you might expect. It has a distinctive orange appearance, with a creamy, fruity taste. Louis XIV was said to be a huge fan.
Posted: 27th Apr 2019.