Are you a big fan of culinary? Whether you’re someone who cooks professionally or just as a hobby, or simply someone who enjoys eating, dining out, or even photographing food — I’ve got 5 recommended countries for you if you’re heading to Europe soon!
This list will include 1 country in Northern Europe, 1 in Western Europe, 1 in Eastern Europe, and 2 in Southern Europe. So whichever part of Europe you’ll be exploring, there will be at least 1 country in the area that is worth the visit to satisfy your appetite!
Drooling already? Don’t say I didn’t warn ya!
- DENMARK — Northern Europe
If you’re claiming yourself a “foodie”, it’s time for you to be fully aware that Denmark has been seen as a culinary destination for the past few years. Copenhagen, the capital city of the country, is even named Europe’s gastronomical capital, thanks to the fast growing number of Michelin-star restaurants in the city — especially Noma, a restaurant with the concept of New Nordic cuisine run by Chef René Redzepi. This restaurant won the list of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2014 (4 times!).
But hey, not only those fine dining restaurants that turned Denmark’s food scene as fascinating as it is now. The street food in Copenhagen has also stolen food lovers’ attention with its innovative dining options and super cool food trucks all over the city. For budget travellers, no need to worry about not being able to afford the high-end diners, you can still have a lot of fun and food in this Scandinavian country. Considering a one-stop-shop? Try Copenhagen Street Food!
Must-try Danish dishes: Smørrebrod (open sandwich), Boller i Karry (dumplings in curry), and Æblekage (apple charlotte).
- FRANCE — Western Europe
One should NOT visit France without trying the French cuisine. If you have any friends who visited the country but only dined at McDonald’s, seriously, unfriend them — LOL! Paris, the capital city of France, is (arguably, still) the food capital of the world as well (despite the fact that a lot of cuisine experts have said that London’s revolutionary food scene now has taken over the charm of Paris… and Tokyo has beaten Paris for having more Michelin-star restaurants!).
Regardless of this competition between world food capitals, Paris still stands strong. There’s also something about the way French people are so into culinary. They treat the food from its making process to its dining experience religiously… with a lot of respect and love. They just know how to live their life, with good food… accompanied by good wine. France will always be the home of the classic and the elegant side of the food industry. Not to forget, of course, that it’s where Michelin guide came from!
Must-try French dishes: Boeuf Bourguignon (beef burgundy), Confit de Canard (duck confit), and Soufflé.
- HUNGARY — Eastern Europe
Hungary rose to fame in the last few years, thanks to its charming capital city, Budapest. The city’s known for its beautiful Danube River, hot thermal baths, and the amazing architecture of Hungary’s Parliament Building. However, I think it’s also about time that more people should pay attention on how great — and unique — Hungarian cuisine (a.k.a. Magyar cuisine) is!
Paprika and sour cream are strongly associated to Hungary and, indeed, typically found in Hungarian dishes. Hungarians eat a lot of soups, meat, and sweets! Their cuisine is generally hearty and quite heavy — very suitable for cold weather, I would say. They also have this local liquor called Pálinka which they believe to be ‘the cure of all’. Pálinka is a go-to remedy for almost any ail… from simple headache, menstrual pain, to broken hearts (ouch)!
Must-try Hungarian dishes: Gulyás (goulash), Lángos (fried dough), and Kürtőskalács (chimney cake).
- ITALY — Southern Europe
Well… we can’t create a list of countries in Europe for Foodies without mentioning Italy, can we? Italian cuisine is one of the most well-known cuisines in the world, and in my opinion, also the most flexible one! Cause even outside of Italy, you can find Italian food everywhere — from a fine dining restaurant, local bistro, street food trucks/stalls, to local people’s houses, cooking either instant or homemade pasta. But hey, Italian food is not only about pasta!
Each area/region in Italy also has its own specialities — for instance: south Italy (e.g. Naples) is popular for the pizzas and spaghettis, while north Italy (e.g. Milan) is known for the risottos. The main ingredients used for the dishes also vary depending on which part of the country you visit. Italy is also home for coffee variations that you must be very familiar as of today, like espresso, cappuccino, latte, macchiato… and many more. Just get yourself prepared to be overwhelmed by how delicious everything is!
Must-try Italian dishes: Pasta alla Genovese, Pizza Capricciosa, and Tiramisù.
- SPAIN — Southern Europe
If I really have to play favourites, I’ll definitely choose Spain as my favourite culinary destination! Not only because I’m lovin’ Spanish food so badly, but also due to the facts that eating out in Spain is generally very affordable and their meal times quite late. If you’re also the type of person who wakes up after 10AM and goes to bed after 2AM like me, you’ll adjust so well in Spain. It’s a culture in Spain to have lunch between 2-4PM and to have dinner between 9-10.30PM. It’s also normal to see Spaniards stay at the dining places until midnight!
Talking about prices, you can find places in touristy areas in Barcelona, for example, where you can get a set menu (including appetizer, main course, dessert, and wine/coffee) for only 10€! That’s just insanely awesome. If you’re not super hungry or not such a big eater, all restaurants will have tapas for approximately 1-3€ per portion. Oh and by the way, Barcelona just declared itself as a veg-friendly city last year — so there are tons of options for you, vegetarians and vegans! 🙂
Must-try Spanish dishes: Paella, Tortilla Española (Spanish omelette), and Crema Catalana.
As you can see, the images I’ve attached here are not mine. If you click on the sources in the brackets, most of them will link you to the recipes — just in case you want to try making those dishes at home!
I feel like I should have included Greece in this list, but unfortunately I have never been there so… 😦 I’m definitely looking forward to visit, though! I have a Greek couple as my very good friends in Indonesia and they cook amazing Greek food all the time! I can’t wait to explore their lovely country and try the local cuisine someday… *fingers crossed*
What about you? What do you think is the best country in Europe for a culinary trip?
Please share your thoughts by leaving a comment below! 🙂