Europe is a food lover’s dream come true. With dozens of nations perfecting their cuisine over the centuries, travelers today are delighted with the absolute best iterations of meals that have been around for ages. But like all things, not all food types will be worth trying at every outlet. The true foodie addictions can only be reserved for the very best, and those can be hard to come by.
The following are four of the best foods not to miss on your next trip to Europe. But be sure to go with an empty stomach, you just may find yourself eating these dishes over and over again.
The Greek Gyro is like the traditional fast food sandwich found in other countries. Instead of a bun you have a warm pita, and thinly sliced meats replace the traditional burger patty or lunchmeat.
In many restaurants a stack of sliced meat is found rotating in an open-air oven. As the orders come in the chef slices off thin slices of cooked meat to top the pita which is then filled with toppings such as red onions, tomato, and tzatziki sauce (yogurt with cucumbers, garlic, dill, and oil).
The gyro can also be found in other nearby countries and may be known as shawarma or doner kebab depending on location. Typical prices for a gyro in Greece range from 3-4 Euro.
Traditional fondue in Switzerland is not the giant pot of chocolate or boiling oils for meats for which other countries have coopted. The idea is the same, with skewers of food soaked in a boiling hot pot of liquid and quickly eaten, but one feature is different.
Swiss fondue is focused on one item and one item only: cheese. Lots of cheese.
A typical pot of fondue will contain about 200 to 250 grams of cheese per person. White wine is mixed in and heated until a uniform and gooey mixture is ready to be eaten. Many restaurants only serve this dish with a heaping pile of bread, but others may also add in potatoes or other vegetables.
Regional specialties exist for fondue that makes trying this rich dish in every Swiss city a must. Each shop may have their own multi-cheese specialty, with mixtures of 2-4 unique cheeses. Local seasonings, fresh tomatoes, or even bacon may be added which gives this dish a unique taste.
Interested in trying fondue? Most servings will range between 18 and 24 Francs per person.
If one country can lay claim to perfecting ice cream, Italy would be a strong contender. Gelato is the internationally acclaimed ice cream type that blends milk, cream, sugars, and flavorings into a perfect scoop.
For the freshest gelato, look for shops that store their flavors below the counter. All you may see are the lids, but what these lack in advertising they often make up for in flavor. Below the counter storage allows for the gelato to be stored at colder temperatures, minimizes cross-contamination risks, and limits the batch size considerably.
When a master craftsman goes to that level of detail, you know it'll be good. But if you really want to be blown away, make sure to order based on the flavors that are in season. Much like the fresh fruit at a market, the increase in flavor translates over to the gelato in a way you have never experienced before.
Craving gelato on your next trip to Italy? Three scoops of this tasty treat will range in price from 2.5 to 4 Euro depending on the shop.
The French are experts at making bread, and a visit to any neighborhood bakery will easily explain why. They are crazy about it. From the simple croissant to the crunchy baguette, each piece of bread found in a French bakery is like a piece of art. Simple on the outside, but entirely complex on the inside.
To truly understand the art of French bread the best way to enjoy them is by sampling a wide variety of types. Force yourself to pick that new kind of bread, look it over, listen to the sound it makes when you break it, and smell the aroma at every chance. Do this all before tasting and the subtle intricacies will present themselves.
Of course, if you get stuck getting the same style over and over again, don't worry! Each bakery has its own take on each bread type and you'll hardly ever have the same flavor twice!
French bread is one of the cheapest items you can enjoy while visiting the country, with baguettes, croissants, and more artisanal bread types ranging anywhere from 0.50 to 1.5 Euro for simple loaves, up to 4+ Euro for the most complex.
Whether you crave fresh bread, a big pot of cheese, ice cream, or a complex sandwich, Europe is full of great food that is sure to excite your taste buds.
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Jeremy is a long-term traveler who writes at the blog Living the Dream. Along with his wife Angie, the two are currently on a trip around the world for 1.5 years that is set to visit over 40 countries on 6 continents. They seek out adventure and good food wherever they go in order to live their dream. Follow Jeremy's adventures on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Google Plus.
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