Dining Around Western Europe

bouillabaisse

Need some inspiration for dinner tonight? Maybe you would enjoy sitting down to a table of Old World cuisine, with family recipes of slow-cooked, sumptuous dishes handed down over the centuries. Take a culinary journey around Europe with us, and get some new ideas.

Here, we present common and traditional food and drink from different Western European countries (See our article on foods from Eastern Europe, too).

While not comprehensive, the dish selection provides an overview for country specific preferences, and hopefully, motivation for cooking creativity in your kitchen.

Whether you are planning a trip to Europe, or just appreciate learning something new about food, we believe you’ll find our list to be a useful, cultural and appetizing experience.

P.S. Enjoy!

Austria:

venison filet in red wine, beef escalope with crispy onion, roast pork with dumplings and cabbage, white sausage (veal and pork), fritattensüppe (consommé with crepes), liver dumplings, germknödel (yeast dumpling with plum jam and poppy seed), Salzburger-nockerl (cream soufflé with preserves), vanilla crescents (cookies), Linzertorte (lattice-top raspberry pie).

Drink(s): Stiegl, Gosser, Sipger (beers), Grüner Veltliner (fruity peppery white wine)

Belgium:

the original french fries, stewed rabbit with prunes, smoked duck and endives, eel in green sauce (mint, sage, savory), Welsh rarebit Belgian-style (eggs benedict with cheese and beer sauce), Herve (strong soft cheese), smoutebollen (beer-flavored apple fritters), cheddar cheese cake, chocolate cream St. Amand cake, Belgian sugar waffles, Godiva chocolate.

Drink(s): Stella Artois, Maes, Jupiler (beers)

Denmark:

smørrebrød (open-faced dark rye bread sandwiches), meatballs with brown gravy, roast duck, blood pudding (sausage made from animal blood), roast pork with crackling (crispy fat crust), beer bread, Gammel Ole cheese, danish pastry, ris a la’mande (cooked rice with milk, sugar, vanilla and almonds), koldskål (cold, sweet buttermilk soup).

Drink(s): Akvavit (spirit), gløgg (mulled wine with raisins and almonds), Carlsberg, Tuborg (beers)

Finland:

moose, cold smoked fish, spicy Finnish meatballs, chanterelle soup (mushroom), fish pie, reindeer stew, liver steak, pulla (sweet cardamom raisin bread), Runeberg’s tart (with almond, rum, and raspberry jam), lingonberry pie.

Drink(s): Sahti (juniper berry flavored beer), lakka (cloudberry liquor), Lapin kulta beer, glögi (mulled wine)

France:

onion soup, quiche Lorraine (cheese and ham), foie gras (duck liver pâté), crepes (savory or sweet), coq au vin (stewed rooster in red wine), gratin dauphinois (potatoes with butter and cheese sauce), salade Niçoise (salad with black olives and tuna), bouillabaisse (mixed fish soup with tomatoes and herbs), croissant (buttery pastry, plain or chocolate filled), mille-feuilles (puff pastry with cream and icing)

Drink(s): pastis (anise flavored drink), Grey Goose vodka, wines of highest quality are labeled Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC). Also excellent are; Appellation d’Origine Vin De Qualité Supérieure (AOVDQS).

Germany:

sausage varieties (bratwurst, bockwurst, bierwurst, etc.) with sauerkraut, fried potato cakes, wiener snitzel (fried battered pork filet), hot potato salad with bacon, soft pretzels, spätzle (buttered noodles), leberwurst (spreadable pork liver sausage), dampfnudel (sweet yeast dumplings in vanilla sauce), apple strudel, black forest cake (chocolate with cherries)

Drink(s): light Pilsener (lager), altbier (amber beer), schwarzbier (black lager beer) or weissbier (white wheaty beer), apfelschorle (apple juice, sparkling water)

Greece:

grilled squid

dolma (grape leaves filled with rice, pine nuts, and currants), moussaka (minced meat pastry), flavored olive oils, grilled squid, Greek salad, roast lamb, spinach pie, pita bread with tzatziki sauce or hummus, koulourakia (Easter cookies), baklava (dense nutty pastry).

Drink(s): ouzo (black licorice flavored spirit), Metaxa (sweet brandy), Retsina (golden-colored wine), Mavrodafni of Patras (port wine)

Holland:

sauerkraut with mashed potatoes, thick pea soup (with bacon and sausage), bacon-wrapped hamburgers, Gouda cheese, Leyden cheese (with cumin), hot pot (potato meat stew), syrup waffle cookies, whipped cream cake, poffertjes (tiny thick pancakes with powdered sugar), muisjes (candy-coated aniseed drops).

Drink(s): Heineken, Grolsch (beers), advocaat (creamy egg brandy), Ketel One vodka

Ireland:

potato lamb stew, salmon, fresh shellfish, bacon and cabbage, spotted dog (dried fruit bread), champ (buttery mash potatoes with scallions), Irish breakfast (bacon, sausage, fried egg, black and white pudding), soda bread (buttermilk), rhubarb crumble, Baileys chocolate chip cheesecake.

Drink(s): Guinness stout, Murphy’s stout (nutty flavor), red ale, Irish coffee (with brown sugar and whiskey)

Italy:

risotto (cheesy rice), gnocchi (potato dumpling filled with cheese or spinach), olive oil with prosciutto (dry cured thinly sliced ham), black truffles (mushrooms), steamed mussels in tomato sauce, Neapolitan pizza (with anchovies), spaghetti a la carbonara (with bacon, egg, and pecorino), linguine with clam sauce, stuffed calamari (fried squid), tiramisu (coffee, kaluha and Mascarpone cheese dessert), sfogliatelle (shell shaped pastry filled with orange ricotta cheese or almond paste).

Drink(s): café (espresso), highest quality wines are labeled Denominiazione di Origine Controllatta e Garantita (DOCG), Also excellent are; Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC)

Norway:

poached or smoked salmon, trout, codfish, reindeer with juniper berries, cured leg of lamb, mutton stew (with cabbage), Jarlsberg cheese, egg dishes with caviar, herring in curry or tomato sauce, cloudberries with cream, waffles with jam and sour cream.

Drink(s): Carlsberg-Ringnes and Hansa-Borg (beers), akevitt (spirit)

Portugal:

grilled swordfish, fish burgers, suckling pig, salt cod, stuffed crab, mussels and scallops stewed in tomato wine sauce, stewed pork and clams, lemon cinnamon rice pudding, thick chocolate mousse, custard tart.

Drink(s): Super Bock, Sagres, Coral (beers), port wines (tawny, ruby, white, or LBV)

Scotland:

Arbroath toasties (smoked haddock, egg and cheese), Angus beef, hotch-potch (boiled mutton and root vegetables), fish sausage, partan bree (crab soup), roasted grouse, oatmeal rolled trout with parsley butter, black bun (rich dried fruit cake), Caledonian cream (dessert drink with cream cheese, marmalade and rum), caramel shortbread.

Drink(s): Scotch (whisky), Indian Pale ale (IPA), hot toddy (hot drink with honey and whisky)

Spain:

tapas

paella (saffron rice with mixed seafood), tapas (rich appetizers of every food group), gazpacho soup (cold vegetable soup), chorizo (spicy pork sausage with pimento), huevos a la flamenca (egg dish with ham, sausage, and tomatoes), baked mackerel, squid and potato casserole, crema catalana (caramel-topped cold custard), baked bananas (with rum), cinnamon ice cream.

Drink(s): sangria (wine punch), horchata (sweet tiger nut milk), sherry, Rjoja wines

Sweden:

varied flavored herrings (pickled, mustard, saffron, garlic, dill), moose, spiced meatballs with lingonberry sauce, salmon with crème fräsch and lemon, boiled crayfish, Jansson´s temptation (anchovy potato cream casserole), pepparkakor (ginger cookies), semlor (bun filled with cream and almond paste), Princess cake (cream and raspberry jam filled, coated in marzipan), spettkaka (tower of meringue).

Drink(s): Absolute vodka, snaps, Pripps Blå, Norrlands Guld (beers), glögg (mulled wine with raisins and almonds)

Switzerland:

rösti (grated potato patty), zürigschnätzlet (veal strips in mushroom cream sauce), papet vaudois (leeks and potatoes), saucisson (cabbage and smoked liver sausage), raclette (hot cheese with potatoes, pickles), zopf (braided white bread), chestnut cake, Graubünden barley soup, walnut cake, cheese (Gruyère) or chocolate (Lindt) fondue, Basler leckerli (Basel honey cookies).

Drink(s): Rivella (soft drink), Pinot Noir, Merlot, Riesling

United Kingdom:

fish and chips (i.e. french fries), Yorkshire pudding (puffed pastry from pan drippings/gravy), Shepherd’s pie (mash potato-topped, minced lamb and vegetables), toad-in-the-hole (batter dipped sausage), roast beef with horseradish sauce, bread and butter pudding, sweet custards, Bakewell tart (raspberry almond), sticky toffee pudding with ice cream, tea with scones (biscuit eaten with butter and jam).

Drink(s): Old Speckled Hen, Spitfire, Abbot Ale (beers)