A Foodie's Guide to Europe

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Europe is a culinary wonderland. From Italy’s world-famous cuisine to the homely, hearty dishes of Germany, there’s something delightful for every traveller and their tastebuds to uncover.

But where’s the best food in Europe? Where do the continent’s most famous dishes come from? And do they have interesting backstories?

Let’s explore these burning questions in the foodie’s guide to Europe below. We’ve featured favourite meals, snacks, desserts and drinks in:

  • Italy
  • France
  • Spain
  • Germany
  • Croatia.

Jump right in – and prepare to get very, very hungry.

 

Foodie’s Guide to Italy

Italy

(1) Lots of the best food in Europe can be narrowed down to Italy, and Fettucine Alfredo is a national favourite – so you know it’s good! The dish is named after Alfredo di Lelio, who created it before opening his own restaurant in Rome in 1914.

(2) Limoncello is an Amalfi Coast specialty. It’s usually alcoholic and quite refreshing, but some consider it an acquired taste. Try a glass at your own discretion!

(3) Coffee first landed on Italy’s shores via merchants in Venice. Italians tend to prefer their coffee strong, so it’s no surprise espresso is the most popular type here.

(4) Pizza as we know it today dates back to the late 1700s, when people in Naples first added tomato to the base. This famous food went global after WWII ended.

 

Experience Italy’s incomparable cuisine for yourself on our Italy, the Deep South & Sicily Tour.

 

Foodie’s Guide to Germany

Germany

(1) Several regions have their own unique recipe for sauerbraten (a pot roast), but the Rhineland variation is the most well-known. This dish was invented in 814AD as a way to make use of roasted meat leftovers.

(2) The delectable Black Forest cake is easily recognised by its combination of dark chocolate flakes, white cream, and bright cherries. This enchanting region is also famous for its cuckoo clocks.

(3) Foodies in Germany have a massive variety of sausages to choose from – Bratwurst is one of the most famous types. Most commonly made from finely chopped pork, this sausage can be traced back to Nuremberg, 1313.

(4) Germany has been a pioneer of the beer industry since medieval Bohemian towns perfected the use of hops in the brewing process. And Oktoberfest in Munich is the world’s most famous beer festival. Cheers to that! (Or just say ‘Prost!’)

 

Explore some of the best food in Europe – join us on our Black Forest, Bavaria & the Tyrol Tour.

 

Foodie’s Guide to France

France

(1) Fresh bread is a cornerstone of French cuisine and can be bought at just about any French corner store. Many believe the ‘birth’ of baguettes occurred when an Austrian officer journeyed to Paris in the early 1800s with the world’s first steam oven in tow.

(2) France has many world-class vineyards and wineries. The wine regions of Bordeaux are particularly famous for their excellent drops, both red and white.

(3) Frog legs as a French food was first documented in the 12th Century (though it was a delicacy elsewhere long before then). This arose because the church, worried about overweight priests, put a limit on meat consumption. So those sneaky priests found a way to classify frogs as ‘fish’ and add them to the menu. The dish is still widely available today, particularly in the Dombes area.

(4) Ratatouille comes from the Nice area, where it was originally a humble farmer’s dish. These days, it’s famous for being delicious – and for being the title of a Disney/Pixar movie.

 

Bite into France’s famous foods on our La Grande France Tour.

 

Foodie’s Guide to Croatia

Croatia

(1) The sheep living on the island of Pag have a unique assortment of plants to graze on. As a result, the cheese they produce is something special – the taste is perhaps not for everyone, but many people love it.

(2) The bakeries in the town of Split produce some of the most exquisite cakes in all of Croatia. Sweet tooths will find themselves right at home here.

(3) Crni rizot (or Dalmatian black risotto) is cooked with cuttlefish. The catch is: their ink sacs are left intact or re-added to the dish after cooking – that’s where the black colour comes from. Give this one a try because it’s scrumptious!

(4) Seafood connoisseurs, rejoice! This beautiful bay is where you’ll find some of the world’s most delicious oysters. They go great with a fine wine.

 

Enjoy the delicious dishes of Dalmatia and beyond on our Croatia & the Adriatic Tour.

 

Foodie’s Guide to Spain

Spain

(1) Tapas today come in a wide variety of styles and flavours, but the food format itself comes from Spain. The most popular tapas origin story says a King of Spain was seriously ill and could only eat small portions of food (along with sips of wine, but of course). And so, tapas came to be. Even though it’s just a legend, we’re glad it was created! Some of our favourite tapas bars are in the vibrant city of Seville, where we spend 3 nights on our ‘Magnifico’ Spain and Portugal Tour.

(2) History isn’t completely sure who gets credit for creating these delicious pastries. It could be the Spaniards, the Portuguese or the Chinese. But one leading theory is that nomadic Spanish shepherds plated up the first churros while herding their ‘Navajo-Churro’ sheep (whose horns look suspiciously churro-like). In Madrid, you can visit the churrería of San Gines, which has been making churros for over 120 years.

(3) Paella is a big deal in Spain. They even have a National Paella Day on March 27th each year. Paella de Marisco is a popular seafood variety of this Spanish cuisine staple, which originates from the city of Valencia.

(4) Typically made with red wine, sparkling water, brandy and fruit, the sangria we know today is a popular party punch around the world. But before it went global (thanks to the World’s Fair in New York in 1964), historians believe it first cropped up in the Andalusia region of Spain.

 

As you can see, if you want to eat the best food in Europe, you’ll have to visit quite a few countries! So update your foodie bucket list, make some holiday plans, and we’ll see you in the Northern Hemisphere soon.

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Julia Austin

Julia Austin is the Marketing Executive at Albatross Tours