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We are going on a virtual European food tour. I choose ten countries that I have traveled to and ten foods which I have fallen in love with and would highly recommend everyone to try. I think that they all offer something special and most importantly they are all delicious. These are all dishes that I dream about on a regular basis. Yes, I know I have a weird food obsession.
Meat Pies – England
Specifically, I remember this beef and stilton pie with mashed potatoes and cabbage that I had at an inn just outside of Bristol. My mouth is watering writing this. Just be mindful (Americans) when ordering a kidney pie it does not mean kidney beans, it literally means kidneys haha. They say pie dishes have been around since the time of the Romans and Egyptians but the recipe shifted to what we see today when it traveled to Northern Europe and olive oil was much scarcer. Meat pies are one of the reasons I miss living in England, along with a good Sunday roast. There are so many variations, there is something for everyone!
Paella – Spain
Paella comes from Valencia, a city in Spain, and the word paella means pan in Valencian. There is your random trivia fact for the day. The original recipe of paella consists of white rice, green beans, meat, lima beans, saffron, and rosemary. It had its beginnings as dish for farmers and workers, cooked over a fire in a big pot for lunch. You can also find seafood varieties or mixed (seafood and meat). If you travel to Spain you will surely find this dish, the fresher the better.
Cheese Strudel – Austria
Okay, honestly, there are a lot of foods I really enjoy in Austria but this is my all time favorite. I do love a good schnitzel or spätzle, but I tell every single person I can about a topfenstrudle (cheese strudel) and specifically this one pictured above that I ate in Vienna about four or so years ago. I cannot wait to go back this year to finally have it again.
Spaghetti Carbonara – Italy
I remember the first time I had this dish many years ago before I lived in Italy and it was a whole new experience. It quickly became a personal favorite while living there. Carbonara has its roots in Rome and the sauce is made with eggs, pancetta, shredded pecorino and parmesan, and pepper. Long pasta, like spaghetti, is used because it helps to cook the raw eggs when it is mixed. Its roots are not known exactly, but carbonara in Italian means charcoal burner and it is said that it was a pasta dish for the workers.
Fritule – Croatia
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This delicious dessert is new to my vocabulary and food dreams but it deserves a spot on the list. Fritule are small round donut-like pastries seasoned with rum and can be found around Christmas in Croatia. They are covered in powdered sugar and often drizzled with chocolate or Nutella. The perfect reason to plan your visit to Zagreb’s award-winning Christmas Markets later this year.
Irish Stew – Ireland
Irish stew is a traditional dish in Ireland made of meat and root vegetables. It is said to date back to nearly 7th century AD when the cauldron made its way to Ireland. The original often contain mutton or lamb, but in recent times you will find just about anything. This is a beef and Guinness stew from The Brazen Head, the oldest pub in Ireland and one of my favorite places in Europe.
Lángos – Hungary
Lángos is the one food I tell everyone they must try when they travel to Hungary. It is incredibly simple just deep fried dough with sour cream and shredded cheese on it, but it is the perfect combination of flavors, textures, and temperatures that you will not regret going out of your way to find it. It is a popular fast food dish in Hungary and surrounding areas so it won’t be hard to find. The perfect accompaniment to a night out at the ruin bars in Budapest!
Pierogi – Poland
I am biased because pierogi are my all-time favorite food. I grew up eating them, a few years ago I traveled to Poland specifically to eat them, and I continue to love them after all of these years. Pierogi are filled dumplings, they can be savory or sweet, boiled, deep fried, or sautéed. They are an important and popular dish in some central and eastern European countries. Commonly they are filled with potatoes, onions, sauerkraut, cheese, or meat. There is a lot of contention as to where this dish originated but that is common in some parts of Europe, the most important part is that it is delicious!
Žlikrofi – Slovenia
Žlikrofi are these delicious little dumpling meets ravioli gems that you can get in Slovenia. Idrijski žlikrofi is a specific style made in Idrija, a region of Slovenia. This dish is the first Slovenian dish to be granted a protected geographical status and rightfully so! You can eat them just boiled and plain or with different toppings like a stew or cracklings. Better yet you can check out the žlikrofi festival this August in Idrija. I’ve been and it is a good time to try as many versions as your stomach can handle.
Haggis – Scotland
Haggis is the national dish of Scotland and probably the most well known, but for very good reason. Not because it is made of sheep heart, liver, and lungs and seasoned with onions, spices, and oatmeal, but because it is really, really delicious. It is commonly served with a mixture of mashed potatoes and rutabaga known as “neeps and tatties” in Scotland.
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Thank you so much for taking the time to read this post. I have lots more Foodie Friday articles coming up over the next couple months so I look forward to sharing them with all of you.
If you have an interesting food story that you would love to share with the world please send me an email to be featured. -Helene