Tuesday, November 1st, 2011
If you like good food, moving to Europe gives you the chance to discover some amazing and authentic cuisine. You might miss the traditional British Sunday roast, the variety of pies and pasties, English sausages or the simple but delicious fish and chips, but Europe also has a lot to offer. And if you ever feel the need to have some good British food, you can prepare it at home, or visit one of the growing number of British food restaurants abroad.
What the best European food is, will of course be down to personal preference, but this list represents some of the best cuisines that you can find in Europe.
Britons may be wary of France’s reputation for eating frogs and snails but the country has a huge international reputation for delicious and sophisticated food and for a good reason. There’s an amazing variety of food in France, from Paris where you’ll find some of the world’s best and most exciting restaurants to the coastlines with rich supplies of fresh seafood and the countryside with an abundance of fresh vegetables, fruits and herbs. France has an excellent culinary education and an amazing gastronomy that was added to UNESCO’s list of the world’s intangible cultural heritage. France is not just all about sophisticated food though, it can offer the best of simple foods as well, including bread, cheese and locally grown vegetables that are inexpensive and abundant. Of course all this goes without mentioning the incredible wine that’s available as well.
Although not as popular as some other European cuisines, Denmark offers excellent and good quality food. Traditional Danish cuisine relies heavily on locally-available produce including dairy products, pork, seafood and potatoes. Some of the staple foods include the famous ‘Smorrebrod’, which is an open faced sandwich packed with pieces of meat, fish, cheese and dressings, pan-fried meatballs with potatoes and gravy and roast pork served with cabbage and potatoes.
Seafood and fish are also very popular, including plaice, cod, herring and fried eel. Eating out in Denmark can be relatively expensive compared to the rest of Europe, but meals are delicious and are made using high-quality ingredients so the higher prices are usually worth it. Danish cuisine is constantly evolving, and besides traditional Danish meals, you’ll find some of the most innovative food in Denmark, which fuses French and Italian influences with traditional Nordic cuisine. Noma, a restaurant in Copenhagen was ranked as the world’s best restaurant in 2010 by the renowned gastronomical magazine, Restaurant.
Whether you are a vegetarian or prefer an abundance of meat and fish in your diet, you’ll certainly find something you love in Greek cuisine. Sharing characteristics with Italy, Turkey, and the Balkans, Greek cuisine relies heavily on fresh vegetables, herbs, cheese, and yoghurt. A preference for simplicity and high-quality ingredients characterises Greek food, and olive oil is used in most dishes. Typical meals include the ‘mezes’, which is the collective name for a variety of small dishes similar to Spanish tapas. Soups made from lentils, beans and tomatoes, vegetable ratatouilles, aubergine moussaka, roast meat and a variety of seafood are all typical dishes. Local, good-quality and cheap vegetables are abundant, and eating out in tavernas is an integral part of Greek culture. If you move to Greece you should also of try some of the traditional drinks, like the Greek frappe, ouzo, which is flavoured with anise, raki, and the excellent local wines.
Paella, tapas, tortilla, chorizo – almost everyone knows at least the basics of Spanish cuisine, but there’s a lot more to it than that. Spanish cuisine offers great variety, with many regional variations, and is abundant in fish, fresh vegetables, herbs and olive oil. Some typical meals include the paella, stews, sausages, jamon Serrano, and cheeses, but how these are made will depend greatly on where you’re staying. Andalusia in southern Spain is well-known for its variety of seafood, including squid, shrimp, mackerel, and the cold soups, gazpacho and salmorejo, while Catalonia and Valencia are famous for their rice-dishes, paellas and variety of sausages. Eating out is an integral part of Spanish culture, and many bars will serve drinks accompanied by a variety of tapas.
Along with French food, Italian is one of the most famous cuisines in the world. Pizza and pasta are two of the most exported dishes worldwide and Italian coffee and wine are also very popular in many countries. In northern Italy in cities like Milan and Turin you can find some of the best and most sophisticated restaurants in the world. But if you travel to the south of Italy you can find some of the best street food available in Europe on the streets of Naples and Sicily.