One of the best things about travelling is learning about different cultures and food is a huge part of that.
Every country in Europe has its own unique cuisine, so you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to finding new dishes to try, whether you’re strolling the streets of London or sitting by the beach in Lisbon.
One thing is for certain — you won’t go hungry. Here are seven delicious dishes to get you started.
A full English breakfast in London
If you need a filling meal to keep you going for the rest of the day, few things beat a good fry-up. Ingredients can vary, but most include fried eggs, sausages, bacon, fried tomatoes, mushrooms, baked beans, hash browns and toast.
(Black pudding — a type of blood sausage — divides opinion but is also a popular addition for many (BBC Good Food breaks down the pros and cons).
A Full English is normally reserved for weekends and special occasions, and is often available at lunchtime too, with many cafes serving an all-day breakfast.
Crêpes in Paris
Who doesn’t love pancakes (also known as crêpes)? No one makes them like the French, so be sure to try them while you’re in the iconic capital.
Crêpes originated in Brittany, where they were traditionally served with cider. The batter can be made from white flour or buckwheat, plus eggs, milk, butter and a pinch of salt, which is then cooked on a hot plate (or in a frying pan over a gas or electric hob) and flipped with a spatula.
The wonderful thing about crêpes is that they can be eaten as a meal or a snack, with sweet or savoury accompaniments. Choose a topping or two, then savour the delicious combination of flavours — classics like lemon and sugar or ham and cheese always go down well.
Pastéis de Nata in Lisbon
Portugal’s most famous pudding, the pastel de nata is a baked egg custard tart, characterised by layers of flaky pastry, smooth custard, and a sweet lemon and vanilla taste.
They’re rumoured to have been created when the monks and nuns in the monasteries and convents in Lisbon needed a use for excess egg yolks (they used the whites to starch their laundry). The exact recipe is shrouded in mystery, but one thing is for certain — Pastéis de Nata make a tasty snack or dessert.
Bratwurst Mit Brot in Berlin
There are lots of different ways you can prepare bratwurst, a German sausage made with pork, veal, or beef. Bratwurst mit Brot translates as sausage with bread and this is, conveniently, the most popular way to eat them — sausage, white bread and mustard is a much-loved combination. Secret Traveller declared Bratwurst mit Brot as a food worth travelling for, and recommends eating it while drinking beer (or the morning after drinking beer, to soak it up!).
Pizza in Naples
Delicious pizza isn’t difficult to come by in Italy, but Naples is home to its own, wood-fired (original) version of this popular dish. Neapolitan pizza has a soft dough, with a pleasingly crisp crust and a slightly soggy middle — it was originally street food and had to be pliable enough to be folded and eaten on the go. It was known as pizza a portafoglio, which means it was folded wallet-style. Check out the Independent’s guide on how you should eat pizza properly.
Toppings range from the classic to the indulgent to the inventive, but you’ll appreciate the flavours of the fresh tomato sauce, stringy mozzarella cheese and fragrant basil all the more if you keep it simple.
Banitsa in Sofia
This savoury delight is made from eggs, feta cheese and filo pastry, and although it’s a breakfast food it can be served as a snack whenever you get peckish. You can eat banitsa hot or cold, but they’re delicious when warm and freshly baked. Choose the original version, or try one of the many varieties available, including spinach, pumpkin and egg.
Pierogi in Krakow
The ultimate comfort food, pierogi are Polish dumplings which are baked or fried in butter and onions and often served with sauerkraut. Popular fillings include potatoes, cheese and meat, but you can choose pretty much any combination you want, with as much sweetness or spice as you can handle. These dumplings are so popular that some countries even celebrate National Pierogi Day on 8th October.