People will usually tell you to try the local food. Travelling brings the opportunity to experience new cuisines and savour new flavours. There are plenty of food choices when you go to Europe, and if you wander far enough, you will find local delicacies that will make your holiday even more pleasurable.
Here is our top 10 must-try foods in Europe. Make sure to try them on your next holiday.
Churros con Chocolate (Granada, Seville and Cordoba, Spain)
Nothing beats a cup of hot chocolate on a cold night. In the Andalusian region in Spain, we found something else to complement this drink. Not marshmallows, they are churros. Churros are soft donut-like pastries (which you can sprinkle with granulized sugar) and usually served with a cup of hot chocolate for dipping.
Plenty of restaurants along the plazas serve this local delicacy. We even saw some specialty shops in Spain, where the price varies depending on your seat preference. The cheapest is to enjoy it at the bar.
Here’s a personal tip on how to best enjoy this treat: dip the churros, have a bite then have a small sip of hot chocolate. Delicious!
Kurtoskalacs or Chimney Cakes (Prague, Czech Republic)
Who doesn’t love sweet soft pretzels? This oddly shaped bread called chimney cake seems like a long lost sister to our favourite soft pretzels. Kurtoskalacs is a hollow cylinder-shaped bread, glazed with caramelized sugar and cinnamon. Unlike soft pretzels, there is no dip for this soft pastry, but you won’t really need one as the chimney cake is delicious on its own. We didn’t spot many bakeshops in Prague but there is a popular café located close to the clock tower square called Kratos which sell these chimney cakes. Make sure to grab one on your way to the Charles Bridge.
RELATED POST: Prague: A Stunning Beauty beyond Photographs
Pasteis de Nata or Custard Tarts (Lisbon, Portugal)
If you have walked the streets of Macau headed towards the ruins of St Paul’s, it’s likely that you’ve seen the Portuguese egg tarts. I have only been to Macau once, on a day trip from Hong Kong and since then I have been a huge fan of this delicacy.
The Portuguese tarts that you get from Asia (I tried them in the Philippines, Hong Kong, Macau and Singapore) are usually good, but you’ll feel like you’ve been conned by the Asian version when you get to try the ones from Portugal. They are sweeter and creamier. You can easily tell the difference after the first bite. The pasteis de nata, as they are called in Portugal are pretty good, even when they’re cold.
Apparently, this pastry originated in Belem, an area in Lisbon where the famous 500-year old Torre de Belem is also located. We went to Belem for a day but didn’t bother to queue in the bakery where it was supposedly first made. There are a lot of pastelerias (pastry shops) in Lisbon so you won’t have a hard time to find this local delicacy.
RELATED POST: 5 Days in Portugal: Lisbon, Sintra and Porto
Gelato (Venice and Rome,Italy)
There’s nothing better than to cap one’s day of sightseeing with a treat. In Italy, gelato is your best bet for a delightful dessert. Your standards for good ice cream will never be the same. Flavours range from chocolate varieties such as Nutella, Ferrero and Toblerone to real fruit flavours such as mango, orange and coconut. We’ve tried a few and dark chocolate is still my top pick. On the other hand, Jon prefers the orange, coconut and fruit mix. Italy is the best place to answer this question: What’s your favourite gelato flavour?
Macarons (Paris, France)
I still wonder why French women don’t get fat when there are so many pastries to choose from in France. Apart from the pastries, you must definitely make room for this dessert: the French macarons. This meringue-based confection comes in different flavours and beautiful pastel colours. You’ll instantly be mesmerized at the sight of them. However, like most things in Paris, this treat can be a bit pricey, especially when you go to specialty shops like Laduree. You can also get them at local bakeries if you are not very particular with the brand. We tried some from a local bakeshop when we were in Paris, and they were pretty good.
RELATED POST: A Weekend of Art and Romance: 2 Days in Paris
Beef Goulash Langosh (Budapest, Hungary)
Budapest is one of my favourite cities in Europe and the food is definitely one of the reasons. Hungarian food has an exquisite flavour, and one of the most popular dishes is the beef goulash soup. You can always stick to the soup, and I’m sure you will never go wrong with this. But if you’re up for something different, try the Beef Goulash Langosh. This Hungarian dish is made with the langosh, fried dough coated with cheese and sour cream and the beef goulash, a thick stew made with tender beef, and vegetables and seasoned with paprika. The combination of flavours in the dish is simply unforgettable.
RELATED POST: How to Fall in Love with Beautiful City Like Budapest
Sausage (Vienna, Austria)
If you are like me, you had been introduced to the term “vienna sausage” through the canned sausages from the US. To set the story straight, the Vienna sausage doesn’t taste like the ones from the US. It is very similar to the sausages in Germany.
There are different varieties of sausages depending on the meat. We tried the pork and beef sausage with cheese from a stand at the old city. It was so good.
Unfortunately we didn’t have the time to go to Germany. We did however, had a few hours layover at the Frankfurt airport, and got the chance to try the German sausage there. It was delicious. Let us know how the food is in other areas of Germany.
Francesinha (Porto, Portugal)
In the quiet city of Porto, Portugal there is another thing to try aside from the local wine, the Francesinha. At first we thought it was a simple grilled cheese sandwich but this dish is way more than that. The Francesinha is a mouth-watering sandwich made with a combination of ham, sausage and roast meat, covered with melted cheese and served on a hot thick tomato-based sauce. I have never tried anything like it. We didn’t see this in any restaurants in Lisbon, so if you happen to pass by Porto in your travels make sure to grab the chance and give this local delicacy a try.
Margherita Pizza (Naples, Italy)
I was pretty disappointed with the Italian pasta (it was nothing special), but then we arrived in Naples, and the pizza there is to die for!
I’ve loved pizza ever since I was a kid and it’s usually the toppings that claim all the glory. In Naples, however, we ate a lot of margherita pizzas, the most basic of the flavours, and it was really good. The way the dough is prepared, the fresh tomato sauce and the mozzarella cheese. It was perfect – I had never eaten a whole pizza by myself until I went to Naples! Dinner decisions were easy, we had pizza every night. Naples didn’t really stand out as a city, but the pizza (and the day trips) there makes it worth going to if you are in Italy.
Gyros and Souvlaki (Athens, and Greek Islands, Greece)
Gyros is probably the easiest dish to find in Greece. We arrived in Athens late in the evening and there were still gyros shops open to meet our needs. This local dish consists of meat (pork or chicken), onion, tomato, French fries and tzatziki sauce served on pita bread.
Souvlaki, on the other hand, is prepared with small meat cubes and vegetables grilled on skewers. We’ve tried the bacon wrapped chicken souvlaki when we were in Paros and they were really good. Souvlaki is served in bigger portions than the gyros, thus usually more expensive.
Have you tried any of these 10 must-try foods in Europe? Do you have anything to add to our list? Let us know.