“Food is the ingredient that binds us together.”
Food connects and unites people of all backgrounds and religions across the world, and be it a bad mood or anxiety; there are very few things that a tasty dish can’t fix.
A great man once said, ‘if you wish to explore and grasp the vibes of a place, explore its cuisines, not the tourist destinations and landmarks”. And anyone who has ever traveled knows this rings true.
When it comes to food, Europe presents the unique opportunity to sample a diverse range of tastes; a patchwork of more than 40 compulsively individual countries, this Michelin-starred continent is not only famous for its gourmet scene, but also mouth-watering street foods.
From savory foods like schnitzels and goulash to sweet dishes like waffles and pastries, Europe will satisfy any and all food cravings. The following are five delicious dishes to try at least once in your lifetime!
European Food To Try At Least Once in Your Lifetime
Meet the overlooked godfather of European street food
Originating in medieval Hungary, goulash is one of the most prominent dishes in Europe. It is a flavored stew that contains meat, vegetables, and is seasoned with generous amounts of paprika and other spices.
Also known as shepherd’s delight, this dish is a national symbol of Hungary. Combined with a loaf of freshly baked bread and a glass of chilled beer, the recipe will liven up your taste buds.
Some of the best variations of goulash include Betyar Gulyas, Mock Gulyas, and Csango Gulyas.
Expose your taste buds to the ubiquitous sweetness
Belgium might be known for its national dish Moules-Frites (fries) or beer, but the crème de la crème here are the sweet waffles. The Belgian waffle is a crispy and light sweet cake, made with batter or dough that can be eaten either cold or hot.
The waffle is cooked in an iron that gives it a characteristic ‘holey’ look. It is often served with toppings of fresh cream, fruits, chocolate sauce and a dusting of sugar. Waffles are mainly of two types, Brussels and Liege.
A juxtaposition of culinary delight in the city of love
It has to be said you haven’t visited Paris until you’ve eaten a crepe. Served in both sweet and savory flavors, this pancake is a staple dish in the French cuisine.
Sweet crepes are usually served with a variety of fillings; which include bananas, Nutella, salted caramel and cheese. On the other hand, the savory crepes are served with fillings of meat, eggs, cheese, ratatouille, mushrooms, ham, and eggs.
You can enjoy this dish while walking through quaint Paris streets or at formal sit-down cafes.
Pastel de Nata, Lisbon
A smorgasbord of gustatory escapade
Well-known as the Portuguese custard tart, pastel de nata is one of the best delicacies in Portugal. Nearly every street in Lisbon hosts a pastry shop that offers these little bites of heaven.
The tart consists of a flaky and fresh pastry added with a sweet filling of egg yolk. The best way to enjoy a pastel de nata is by adding a pinch of sugar and cinnamon powder as a topping.
Tear into the undiscovered treasure of Austrian delicacies
There’s something comforting about a chicken swathed in loads of crunchy breadcrumbs and then fried. A single thought about such a dish can make your mouth water instantly!
You may have tried a breaded cutlet before – American chicken-fried steak, Japanese tonkatsu or even chicken nuggets. But none of these dishes hold a candle to the crispy juiciness of the Austrian schnitzel.
Served with cucumbers, vinegary coleslaw, mashed potatoes or barbeque sauce, the dish is one of the most loved dishes in the Schengen region.
Where pizza was first invented
You can’t claim to have traveled to Naples without having ordered pizza, and when you get to Naples, you’ll quickly realize that pizza is no joke!
This is where pizza was first invented, and there are hundreds of specialty restaurants which make pizza and nothing else. Special ingredients along with a wood-burning oven are traits of authentic Neapolitan pizza, and when walking the streets of Naples your senses become overwhelmed.
The traditional wood-burning ovens used today are identical to those used several hundreds of years ago, producing an entirely different taste to that of an electric or gas oven used in many fast food chains. And strict protocols are in place for oven sizes and temperatures, enforced by the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana.
Wondering what to try? Marinara is the most basic form of pizza, topped with only tomatoes, garlic, oregano and olive oil. Margherita is your classic pizza topped with red tomatoes, white mozzarella cheese and fresh basil. Pizza is more than just a dish in Naples. It is an art form.
Image credit: uıɐɾ ʞ ʇɐɯɐs / CC BY-SA 2.0 / Flickr
Protect Your Stomach
You can find incredible food everywhere around the globe, but there is no denying the fact that Europe hosts a high concentration of the world’s most amazing dishes.
It’s always important when trying new and exotic foods, that you make sure your travel insurance covers you in case of unexpected medical emergencies.
Schengen travel insurance from insurers like TATA AIG General Insurance offer benefits like cashless hospitalization, payouts for distress allowance in case of an eventuality, and trip interruption and cancellation reimbursement.
Hopefully though, those airy waffles and fluffy crepes will agree with you!
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