Make The Most From European Food And Drinks

European cuisine and beverages

To appreciate the diversity and richness of European cuisine and beverages, we recommend full immersion; visiting these places, and seeking out authentic variations of this food and drink where you can. In this article, we’ll be covering some must-try dishes, unique beverages, and tips for an authentic European culinary experience.

Exploring classic European dishes

They’re beloved for a reason, and it’s because they can instantly evoke the sights, sounds, and smells of a particular European location. These are some classic European dishes that your bucket list won’t be complete without trying… 

French cuisine

French food is all about rich, indulgent flavours, dark meats, and spectacular wine pairings; standout national dishes include coq au vin, ratatouille, and bouillabaisse. The best places to seek fine examples of these dishes out when you’re in France is by visiting local bistros and markets, so you can sample the truly authentic flavours. 

Italian cuisine

Italians love to create something delicious using only a few ingredients – we all know how mind blowing their pizza and pasta offerings can be by using only the finest tomatoes, cheese, and herbs. Other Italian specialities include risotto, osso buco, and tiramisu.

The cuisine does vary between northern and southern Italy. For example, coffee and rich meats are found most often in the northern regions, whilst you’re more likely to find dishes based around vegetables, fish, and pasta in the south. 

Spanish cuisine

Spanish cuisine orbits a mainly mediterranean diet; think fresh salads, fish, bread, and vegetables, always with a healthy measure of olive oil. Significant Spanish dishes include paella, tortilla Española, and jamón ibérico.

Of course, there’s a huge sharing plate culture in Spain, referred to as tapas, which means appetiser or snack. By ordering several of these small dishes, you get to enjoy a wide variety of foods, satiating your hunger with a range of textures and flavours. 

Unique European beverages

It’s not all about food – there are some liquid delights to get excited about in Europe too! 

Greek sparkling wine

Thanks to recent investment in Greece’s vineyards, of which there are many, Greek sparkling wine is rising again in popularity, something the Ancient Greeks and their culture of wine making would be proud of. Roditis, Savvatiano, Xinomavro and Agiorgitiko are all grapes indigenous to Greece, and capable of producing some light, floral, and fruity wines that are deliciously drinkable on any occasion. 

Pairing Greek sparkling wine with traditional Greek dishes like seafood, salads, and mezes is the best way to enjoy it; many varieties go with desserts too, particularly the likes of strawberries and cream, ideal on a hot summer’s day.

Other notable beverages

French wine

We can’t mention wine without mentioning France, particularly the beloved Champagne, used to toast celebrations around the world. Other national specialities include Bordeaux and Burgundy, rich reds that go deliciously with the country’s cheeses. 

Italian wine

Italians know a thing or two about winning wines too. Chianti, Barolo, and Prosecco are all varieties that this beautiful country can boast, with the latter being a particular favourite here in the UK. 

Belgian beers

If beers are more your style, Belgium is a destination for you. Trappist beers and fruity lambics are national specialities, best enjoyed cold!

How to make the most of European food and drink 

Book culinary experiences 

To really soak up the culinary culture in a country you’re visiting, we’d recommend finding out what food experiences you can enjoy while you’re there. Vineyard tours in France and pasta-making workshops in Italy can furnish you with some behind-the-scenes knowledge that you can impress your friends with when you get home. 

Throw a DIY European dinner party 

Instead of only enjoying these foods on holiday, why not try to create them at home? Produce a menu combining dishes from different European countries, and research authentic preparation and presentation to really wow your guests. 

Find local specialties

There are hidden gems to be found off the beaten track, or simply by experiencing food culture in different countries through the seasons. Here are some highlights to consider: 

Portugal’s Azores – Where local seafood can be enjoyed with some truly tasty (and unique) pineapple liqueur.

Hungary’s Tokaj wine region – Where sweet wines pair with hot and spicy soups, caramelised desserts, and plenty of fruits and nuts.  

Summer in Greece – There’s no better way to enjoy fresh ingredients like tomatoes, feta, and olives than in the Greek sunshine. 

Winter in Scandinavia: Feel warm and cosy with hearty dishes like reindeer stew and berry competes.