European food is known around the world, especially French and Italian cuisine which seems to be found on every corner of the globe. So no matter which country in Europe is next on your list, there will be incredible foods your palate will love.
The European immigrants that settled in the United States brought their food traditions with them and many families to this day still have one or two favorites passed down from their ancestors. However, there is nothing quite like trying local foods in the region that they have been cooked since their conception using fresh ingredients.
Appetizer: Spain- Jamón serrano
Spain is famous for its tapas, small plates that are consumed as an appetizer or snack or sometimes even combined to create a full meal. One regular component of tapas is Jamón serrano, a cured ham eaten cold and often with local cheese (cheese in Spain ranges from the delicious and strong Manchengo, so be adventurous). This ham is similar in style of prosciutto from Italy, but cures a bit longer and has a sweeter flavor. Find a market food stand that slices directly off the leg and enjoy your jamón while walking the market, exploring more delicious Spanish foods.
First Main Course: Norway (Bergen) - Fiskesuppe
Scandanavian is known for its Fjords, the Northern Lights, and hand made sweaters, but the food is unique and a class of its own. The long cold winters mean the food of Norway is the ultimate comfort food with a stick to your ribs quality to keep you satisfied and cozy. The fiskesuppe (fish soup) of Bergen is a simple, no-nonsense dish that Bergens eat often and each family likely has their favorite recipe, but an easy favorite is from Sostrene Haglin in downtown Bergen which dates back to 1929.
Second Main Course: Italy (Florence, Tuscany region) - Bistecca alla Fiorentina
Usually, Italian cooking is famous around the world for pasta and pizza, and of course, these foods can’t be missed when touring Italy. However, its the Bistecca alla Fioretina, a steak famous in the Tuscan region around Florence, that is a must-try for any visitor to the region. Italians take their food very seriously and many rules need to be followed for a steak to be considered a Bistecca alla Fiorentina, including the type of cow, the cut, and the method of cooking. Seared over extremely hot embers and cooked on the bone, this steak is best served with some grainy salt and shared among the table, paired with a Chianti.
>> Read more about Tuscany for Foodies
Dessert: Czech Republic (Prague)- Trdelnik / Chimney Cake
This sweet treat is made from a simple dough which is then rolled around a stick or spindle (where the dessert gets its name) and grilled, then sprinkled with sugar and walnuts. Similar desserts can be found in neighboring countries including Hungary and Slovakia. Prague specifically has a variation where ice cream can be found in the middle of the pastry.
Spirit: Greece (Crete)- Rakomelo
For those who visit Greece during the hot summer months, Rakomelo may not be on their radar due to its popularity in the cooler winter months. This mixed alcoholic drink combines the brandy base of raki with cinnamon, cardamom, and other herbs to create a sweet and spicy drink. Often served warm, this spirit is used as a digestive after a meal or a home remedy for sore throats and coughs.
These foods are just a sampling of the delectable cuisine Europe has to offer. You’ll be amazed how even a known favorite like Lasagna, Perogies, or Fish and Chips tastes different (and better!) in its native environment. Discovering a new country using its food is an incredible way to connect to the local culture. I can help you plan an unforgettable and stress-free trip to Europe today.