Taste your way through the European culinary list

by Shereece Spain
Stripes Europe

When we spread the word that we were headed to Europe, everyone kept telling us about all the things we should see. All I could think about were all the different foods I wanted to eat. As I was doing my research, it occurred to me that my little ones are not as open to new foods as I am. As a matter of fact, my oldest was going through a “I don’t like pizza” phase at the time. Who ever heard of such? This sent me down my path to include foods that, hopefully, we will all enjoy (keeping in mind that Momma and Daddy still deserved some adult only treats).

My culinary adventurous side does have its limits. My husband still thinks I’m crazy because I don’t eat bell peppers or beans (although he should be thanking me for that one). However, I didn’t want to just stick to the typical foods either (e.g. schnitzel in Germany or crème brulee in France). Those are a given, in my opinion. This was an endeavor to reach beyond what I thought I knew and get the most out of my time here.

Here is my list to get you started on your European foodie experience. It includes a savory and sweet dish (sans peppers and beans) and a beverage from each country.

Belgium
Moules et frites – Succulent mussels and crispy fries.
Cuperdon – Traditionally, raspberry-flavored candies with a gummy center.
• Beer from a monastery – Pick one. It doesn’t matter. No one brews like a monk!

Czech Republic
Vepřo-knedlo-zelo – Roasted pork served with bread dumplings and stewed cabbage.
Ovocné knedlíky – Dumplings filled with seasonal fresh fruit and topped with butter and cheese curd.
Pivo – Beer! More specifically, a pilsner. After all, they were born in this country!

France
Coq au vin – Chicken braised with red wine and veggies.
Tarte Tatin – Upside-down caramelized apple tart.
• Absinthe or Pastis – It’s not the mind-tripping beverage you may think.

Germany
Rouladen – Thin beef stuffed and rolled with onions, mustard and pickles.
Lebkuchen – Gingerbread Christmas cookie with candied fruit peels.
Glühwein – Spiced wine served warm (don’t forget your commemorative Christmas market mug).

Italy
• Osso buco – Veal shank braised with white wine and veggies.
Cioccolata Calda – Real hot chocolate, not the imitation powdered knock-off.
• Gelato – More flavorful, lower in fat (bonus!) ice cream.

Greece
• Saganaki - Move over mozzarella sticks and make way for this delicious pan-fried cheese.
• Sweet Bougatsa - A sweet custard surrounded by phyllo dough topped with powdered sugar or cinnamon.
• Greek coffee - Thicker than the American version and be sure to watch out for grounds at the bottom of the cup.

Netherlands
Bitterballen – Deep-fried balls of meaty ragout.
Stroopwafel – Thin waffle cookies with a caramel center
Jenever – Juniper-flavored liquor.

Spain
• Paella – Saffron seasoned rice with seafood or sausage.
Leche frita – Sweet, fried dough topped with sugary glaze and ground cinnamon.
• Sangria – Red wine with fruit and spices usually served on ice.

United Kingdom
• The Fry-Up – Full English breakfast with a little bit of everything (eggs, sausage, potatoes, tomatoes and beans).
• Chelsea bun – Sweet, sticky bun similar to a cinnamon bun.
• Cream tea – Tea served with cream (you know …how Americans drink our coffee).

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