Around Europe in 7 days: a gastronomic guide to European cuisine
Europe is without a doubt the food capital of the world. Don’t get me wrong, there is amazing food in other parts of the world as well (India, Thailand and Mexico, just to name a few), but in Europe there is a wide variety of flavors and varied cuisines in many countries. You could literally have a different authentic dining experience every weekday. In no particular order except for the flow of our tour, here are 7 countries foodies must visit on a European vacation.
– With such celebrated master chefs as Marco Pierre White and Gordon Ramsay making their mark in England, this country is more than fish and chips and pub food. It generally allows simple dishes made with quality ingredients that are favorite of British cuisine, such as steak and kidney pie or Sunday roast, to stay true to the purest flavor rather than disguise themselves under elaborate sauces and spices. While not as fancy or extravagant as other exotic locations, England is home cooking well done.
– Always a leader in international cuisine, France is a destination where foodies could spend days gorging themselves on rich, creamy and flavorful dishes and (in a good way) never be satisfied. As technical as it is beautiful, it’s no wonder why most of the world’s best chefs have trained in France at some point in their careers. The many regions of France each have their own unique style and cuisine, but quality and flavors are always at the forefront. France benefits from having the best fresh ingredients on its doorstep, from seafood and meat to produce and splendid wine regions, it all comes together naturally. Crepes, cheeses, truffles, duck, snails … it is an endless list of ingredients, dishes or techniques that if the French did not invent they undoubtedly perfected.
– The seafood lover’s paradise is not the only reason to make a stop in Spain. As healthy as it is tasty, Spanish cuisine uses the abundance of the land and the oceans to create tasty dishes such as chorizo, tortilla, paella and various stews; however, no stop in Spain is complete without trying tapas. As fun to eat as it is delicious, tapas are a variety of hot and cold appetizers that use the best Spain has to offer, such as squid, cold cuts, breads, olives, cheeses, and many other delicacies. Like their antipasto and dim sum cousins, eating tapas is a social commitment and the Spanish take it even higher, as tapas can become a complete meal in itself.
– Pasta, Pizza and Passion are three words that could be used to summarize Italian food, but realistically, it goes much further. In Italy, food means family and it shows in the love they put into their kitchen. Fresh ingredients, time and generations of inherited family recipes are part of the tasty sauces and hearty pasta dishes that Italy is famous for. Experience a complete Italian dinner from the antipasto with the excellent cheeses and cold cuts to the full plate and followed by Italian delicacies such as tiramisu and annoli. Different regions of Italy have their own flavors and techniques, but wherever you go in Italy, pairing your food with their first-class wines will have you on the table for endless banquets.
– The Middle East meets the West in this colorful country of rich culture and heritage. The food is as exotic as the architecture and is presented with flavors that can only be described as refined and true. In Turkey, the dishes are simple, but the pure flavor of the ingredients is not masked by overpowering spices and sauces. Each dish tastes exactly how it should, but even with simple ingredients, the natural flavors of favorites like lamb, yogurt, eggplant, and other grilled meats and seafood come to life. While mostly vegetables and grains are used as the base for most dishes, the variety of kebabs is sure to satisfy meat lovers too.
– It would be difficult to find someone who has not eaten Greek food once in his life. Pass any major city and the smells of grilled souvlaki or slowly roasting gyros roam Greek neighborhoods around the world. With olive oil, olives, herbs, and a variety of meats, cheeses, and seafood, Greek cuisine is fairly simple to recreate but complex in flavor. As a typical Mediterranean food, Greek food carries flavors of many different characteristics and that is why it ranks among the popular foods around the world.
– On the streets of Brussels, there is a gem of a sandwich that is fried in baskets that are the most popular in Belgium. Simple and available all over the world, but in this country it has been perfected: French fries. French fries in Belgium are served in potato chip shops with a variety of sauces and toppings in a white paper cone. As a snack or meal, the fries are served alone or with a side of traditional meat like a frikandel. Making Belgium the last stop on the tour seems appropriate, as it’s all about the desserts. Belgian waffles and chocolates are favorites among visitors to the European capital of sweetness.