Personal favorites: food edition

Meat on plate.
Meat on plate.

Personal favorites: food edition

by Jessica Zen
Stripes Europe

Running around Europe for the past few years has given me some incredible opportunities to try some truly amazing food. From the sweets in France to the savory sandwiches in Portugal, I have zero regrets about eating my way through many of the countries. Though you simply can’t try everything, here is a list of foods that I highly recommend searching out on your travels (in no particular order). 


Flammkuchen - This pizza-like dish is made up of a light and flaky crust, classically topped with crème fraîche, caramelized onions and bits of bacon. 

Delicious Kaese Spaetzle. 

Kaese Spaetzle - Think of a German macaroni and cheese dish, but better. Instead of noodles, spaetzle is used, which is like a tiny dumpling. The spaetzle is then covered in melted Emmentaler cheese and topped with caramelized onions, then baked.

Schäufele - A pork shoulder dish, this piece of meat is roasted in the oven with vegetables and often doused in beer. Recipes vary, of course, but the product is always delicious. 


Brioche French toast - French toast is good with any bread. Add brioche bread and it really kicks it up a notch! This fluffy, melt in your mouth concoction is a simply divine breakfast or brunch option. Eat it with salted caramel, ice cream and whipped cream for one of the most amazing desserts you’ve ever tasted!

Chocolate cake - For some reason, chocolate cake tastes best in France. It’s something about the consistency that’s not quite a cake, brownie or mousse; it’s the most perfect combination of all three! It’s so moist and decadent that you can’t help but devour every morsel. 

Czech Republic

Marinated cheese - If you’re from the Midwest like I am, you are sorely missing cheese curds and all the other dairy products that are constantly consumed in the area. Never fear! The Czech Republic has marinated cheese with onion, spices, garlic and chili peppers. Though it’s not exactly the same as a cheese curd, it will satisfy your cravings. 


Mouthwatering trdelnik. 

Trdelnik- Also known as chimney cakes, this sweet treat can be found in food stands throughout Prague. It is made by adding layers of dough on a spit and forming a hollowed-out cake. It is then covered in sugar and baked over an open fire, creating the perfect combination of crunchy and soft. Fill it with any combination of sweets, ranging from strawberries to ice cream. 


Carbonara - You simply cannot leave Italy without eating pasta, and carbonara is at the top of my list. This creamy pasta is made with egg, hard cheese, cured pork, and black pepper. When in Rome, or anywhere else in Italy, be sure to stuff yourself! This amazing dish just doesn’t ever taste quite as good outside of Italy. 

A refreshing Hugo Spritz. | Photo by shopartgallerycom 

Hugo Spritz - The Hugo drink is made up of the perfect combination of Prosecco, elderflower syrup, seltzer and mint leaves. Though I’ve had it in many places, Italy does it best. It’s so fresh and crisp that it pairs perfectly with any meal, especially in the summer heat. Do not be fooled when you find this concoction bottled in your local grocery store. It’s not the same and fresh is always best! 


Gyros are best served with fries!

Gyros - This one is so obvious it almost doesn’t bear mentioning. However, you can get the best gyro you’ve ever tasted from a food stall for about 2.50 euros in Greece. This Mediterranean treat is served on a pita with the meat of your choice (usually chicken, lamb or beef), lettuce, onions, tomatoes and tzatziki sauce. 


The beloved Churro.

Churros - One of my fondest memories of Spain was having churros with chocolate for breakfast. These dough pastries are fried and covered in sugar and served with a warm cup of chocolate sauce for dipping. I’ve also had chocolate-filled churros in Portugal. They are delicious either way. 

Tinto de verano - This refreshing drink translates to “red wine of summer” and is simply a mix of red wine and a carbonated drink, served over ice. The best part is that you can buy this in plastic bottles at the store like soda. It’s similar to sangria, but doesn’t contain fresh fruit and is generally less expensive. 


Pastel de Belém - This egg custard tart was invented by monks centuries ago and is still relevant in the world of sweets today. The caramelized top almost looks burnt but tastes like heaven. The center is a creamy consistency wrapped in a flaky crust that dances on the edge of perfection. Eat these bite-size treats whenever you get the chance. 

The Francesinha sandwich. 

Francesinha sandwich - Originally from Porto, this sandwich is made with ham, smoked sausage and beefsteak. It is then covered with melted cheese and a thick tomato and beer sauce and completed with an egg on top. Though the name of the sandwich translates to “little Frenchie,” it is not for the faint of heart. This massive sandwich is 100% worth every calorie.

Whether you find these different types of food at food truck festivals or sit-down restaurants, they’re sure to be delicious. Nothing compares to savoring any type of food from its country of origin. Whether you’re after a sweet treat or a hearty dinner, you’re sure to find the perfect food in just about any country! Let your taste buds dance and sing as you sample your way through Europe!

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