If you’re a lover of food and travel, then a food tour covering lots of different countries will be nothing short of a dream come true. And Europe is the perfect place to do this. With so many different countries being next to each other, you can visit lots of places in one trip with each one being completely different. Each country in Europe has its own very distinct history, culture and climate which all reflects in the food and there are many interesting dishes to try. Whether you’re from Europe or are visiting from further afield, here are some of the countries you’ll most definitely want to add to your trip, and some of the foods you won’t want to miss.
The Best Dishes Not to be Missed
Here in the UK we’re often criticised as having no culture and no real cuisine – however, that’s not the case at all. As a multicultural society, cuisine in the UK tends to be a real melting pot of different countries, ingredients and techniques, which can make for some really interesting eating. Classic British meals include things like cottage pie – which is minced beef with vegetables in a meaty gravy topped with mashed potato. Toad in the hole, which are sausages cooked in a light, crisp Yorkshire pudding batter. Roast dinners are popular, with roasted meat, vegetables and potatoes all coming together with gravy, and if you’re a visitor from outside the UK, it’s well worth trying a carvery on your trip. Here you’re served up delicious roasted meat of your choice, and can help yourself to all of the trimmings including stuffing, Yorkshire puddings, cauliflower cheese and a selection of vegetables. Fish and chips is a popular take away, but with so many different cultures coming together you can find everything from kebabs to Thai and Chinese curries. And, there’s no shortage of Indian curries too, with Chicken Tikka Masala being one of the UK’s most popular dishes. Cities such as Birmingham are especially popular for Indian food, probably due to the high population of Indian people living in and around the area. Many of the world’s most famous chefs have their restaurants in the UK in cities such as London, Manchester and Liverpool. You could visit a bustling town or city and check out some of the world’s most famous eateries, or you could go somewhere a little quieter. A charming Gastro Pub or why not enjoy an afternoon tea in a little country tea room, which would be a great experience.
Just a stone’s throw from the UK you could visit Ireland, which is three hours on a ferry or a short hour and a half plane ride. While there’s some overlap with UK food, Ireland does have its own distinct dishes and is a wonderful place to visit for the food, scenery and friendly locals. The cuisine tends to be relatively simple yet hearty with meat and vegetables at its core, you’ll find things like boxty, colcannon and champ which are potato dishes, Irish stew and seafood chowder in the cafes and restaurants. Black and white pudding are both popular and feature on Ireland’s famous fry up breakfasts – complete with bacon, sausage, egg, potato cakes and more. What a way to set you up for the day. You can’t visit Ireland without taking a visit to the Guinness brewery in Dublin, this is a popular tourist attraction and is a great way to find out more while sampling the goods. Hearty pub grub is tasty and will fill you up, but if you’re after something a little more fancy and refined you’ll have no problem finding high-end restaurants too. Particularly in the Irish cities which are geared towards tourism.
There are some foods that instantly spring to mind when you think about France. Baguettes, cheeses, quiche and French onion soup to name but a few. French food is known for being rich and flavourful, with cooking techniques being legendary and something that only highly trained chefs usually manage to master. The food you will experience in France will depend on the region that you visit, the south of France for example relies on seafood, fish soups, tians and elegant pates. Think foie gras, flavourful herbs and different kinds of mushrooms. In other areas of France you’ll see more of a farmhouse style of cooking, with local ingredients being utilised. Poultry, beef, lamb and veal are popular meats, along with apples berries, squash and stone fruits all being popular. You can’t visit France without taking a trip to a vineyard, and sampling what has long been described as some of the best wines in the world. Merlot, champagne, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot noir grapes are all grown and bottled in various regions in the country.
With it’s tropical climate and stunning terrain, Spain is an extremely popular vacation location, and one of the things that holidaymakers love is the fresh, delicious food. If you’ve ever been chances are you’ve sampled the paella – a seafood rice mixed with saffron and vegetables. The dishes in Spain tend to be split between coastal and rural. If you were staying in a location like Benidorm such as in one of these Interhome villas for example, you can expect plenty of fish, mussels, cockles and lobster. Further inland such as in Alcoi and Ontinyent there are a lot of meats consumed, with processed meats such as sausages and hams, as well as duckling, chicken and chicken livers, black pudding and much more. You’ll really enjoy trying out all of the different tapas restaurants, enjoying olives, olive oil and plenty of fresh and delicious fruits and vegetables. The fertile soils and tropical weather makes for incredible crops and great ingredients that speak for themselves without too much fuss needed in preparation.
The home of pasta and pizza but so much more, Italy has one of the world’s most loved cuisines. There are famous cheeses that are only produced in certain regions of the country, fresh and delicious ingredients as well as processed meats such as prosciutto, fiocchetto and pancetta. You can’t visit Italy without trying the pasta and pizza, but don’t overlook dishes such as risotto which are incredibly popular in certain regions. In places like Palermo, meats including lamb, pork, veal, and rabbit are common, you can even buy skewered entrails from street vendors if you’re after something more unusual. Then of course in Bologna you have Bolognese, a meat based sauce with tomato, which is part of the ubiquitous Spaghetti Bolognese. However, it’s worth being aware that the original is quite different to the family favourite that we call Bolognese here in the UK. It’s really nice to visit these places and taste the authentic versions, which are often very different to what we know here in the UK and the USA.
Realistically, you could fit all of these destinations into a two week trip without all that much travel time from place to place. You get to experience the completely unique locations and try the cuisine with different dishes and ingredients that each has to offer. You’ll certainly return home with plenty of ideas for recipes and menus for your family.
Where would you most like to visit in Europe, and which dish sounds the most appealing? Do you like travelling to expand your palette and learn more about food?
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A very nice food tour you took us on today.
Me, I want to visit Scotland and have haggis and mash and lots of Glen anything Scotch. Then a traditional Scottish Breakfast.