A taste of Europe

by R.Bridger

Going out for a meal when you're on holiday is always a treat and within Europe there is such a vast range of foods and cultures. Wherever you go, you are likely to find some new foods that you may not have tried before as well as the more traditional meals you are expecting. Here are a few of the culinary delights that are on offer.

Street food

Street food is a great way to experience a bit of the local culture when you're on the move. Most European cities are full of street vendors selling local delicacies at half the price of the restaurants.

Snacks you may find throughout the streets of Europe

* Pulpeiro (octopus) sold in the streets of Galicia. This great Image was taken from the site Gringa Española, a travel and photography blog by Elena Vazquez that includes personal travelogues.
* In Florence, you can find Tripe Sandwches
* In Sicily they love Babbaluci - Baby snails marinated with extra virgin olive oil, a touch of garlic, grounded pepper, some wild fennel for flavour and maybe some tomato.
* Popular in Balkan countries, Cevapcici, hand-formed sausages also known as cevapi or cevaps, served on flat bread called Lepinje

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In Palermo, you are encouraged to eat off the streets (the vendors that is, not the pavement) With treats such as deep-fried pastries and Panelle, (deep fried chickpea flour batter) they don't always offer the healthiest of snack choices, but who cares? The taste makes it all worth it! Many of the street side vendors have been going for a lot longer than the nearby restaurants and deli's they compete with for customers.

Don't hold back when it comes to try the local street food dishes, it's a rare chance to try some of the best food in the world.

Traditional Eating

London is less known for its fantastic street food, but much more famous for variety of restaurants. Whether you are after a cheap curry for two, afternoon tea with your grandparents or a place to go for your 5 yr olds birthday party, you are sure to find it in England's capital. Being such a big place, it can be hard to make the right dining choice, but don't worry, there is lots of restaurant review sites around. Take a look at our very own London Expert, Simon Coppock's pages on where's good to eat in London.

You could also take a look at Restaurants OMH where you will find independent, unbiased reviews by people who love to eat, love to write and delight in mixing the two. Their main focus is for Restaurants in London, Rome and Venice but they are expanding. London Eater is also a great place to visit if you are looking for some advice. This is a visual restaurant guide that is always evolving but it will always be totally focused on building something special in the online gastronomy arena. The owner of the site, Kang, gives his opinions an a variety of different eateries in the capital.

If you want to find out more about the local foods in Italy, take a look at all-about-italian-food.com. Here you can find some great recipes for classic italian dishes as well as a few do's and don't for when your at an italian dinner table. For tips on how to tip in European restaurants, head over to "Tipping Etiquette: How to Tip Successfully Abroad" on TravelBlissful.com

Let's cook in Umbria offers cooking lessons, winery tours, gourmet tours, excursions to artisan honey and olive oil producers, truffle hunting and of course, very popular cooking vacation programs that include accommodations and excursions to remote villages throughout Umbria and Tuscany.


Deep Fried Panelle

Finding a local place to eat and be entertained on holiday can be a bit of a nightmare if you are surrounded by touristy places that entice you in with their cheap set menus but awful tasting food. But when you find a place where the locals go, you know you're on to a winner. One such example for Lisbon is Cafe Luso. They have a great mix of local tradition, fado music and gourmet food.



Local Traditions

*In the UK, You'll find tons of local pubs that serve a range of traditional British food as well as local pints of ale to help wash it all down. The most famous meals probably being Fish & Chips, Pie and Mash or a traditional Sunday Roast with all the trimmings.
* Spain is a great choice for indecisive dinners. Rather than having a standard 3 course meal, tapas lets you choose a number of smaller sized dishes of what the restaurant has to offer. A great way to get to sample a number of local dishes in a short space of time.
* In Italy, a tavola calda is a great place to visit for Pasta lovers. Here you can find steaming plates of spicy penne and herbed potato wedges, an italian favourite.
* In Vienna, try a konditorei if you want a snack such as a sandwich or a nice big piece of cake with a nice big cup of coffee.

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Want to really know how the locals eat?

One way to really get to know how the locals dine is by eating with them. Not in a fancy restaurant where you can't speak to the people sitting next to you, but in the home of a local. There are a number of different sites that connect people who live in cities all over the world that want to share their home-cooking with strangers. A private dinner like this may seem like a crazy idea to begin with but it is a great way to truly experience local cuisine. You can find out more information on Roman version of this type of dinning experience here – Rome Shopping Guide


In France, you can get quiche to go at a pâtisserie (pastry shop) or boulangerie (bakery). Most people would suggest that trip to a few of these local places and a bottle of wine are the perfect way to enjoy the amazing views france has to offer, especially in Paris sitting under the eiffel tower. They are also incredibly cheap, pick yourselves up a baguette, local cheeses, some fresh fruit, yogurt, and a pastry and you've got yourselves a 3 course meal and wine for two for less than 10 pounds a head, bargain!

A Rosticcerie is also a great idea, while most of the food you can find here is meant to be taken home to be eaten, you can also find a small selection of food that you can eat straight away, the most common of which are roast chicken pieces, sausages (perfect in a warm baguette) roast potatoes, and fried polenta. These are great snacks if it's a bit chilly outside.

One traditional dish in Italy is the Torta di riso,(Rice cake). This meal is most commonly enjoyed as an Italian finger food that goes great with picnic snacks because it's is eaten cold. Made up from mainly eggs and spinach, this tasty yet healthy treat is a must-try. If you're not planing a trip to Italy soon, you can find a great recipe here -www.explore-italian-culture.com/

Useful Sites

If you want to try making a few of these Italian dishes when you're back in your own home, visit www.Famousitalianfood.com where you can find an ever-growing recipe directory for the various famous Italian dishes that you may have sampled while you were away. And also take a look at this post on Italian Food Culture if you want to learn to eat Italian with the Italians.

Maitravelsite's Blog and Travelogue - Federico has been 5 times around the world. Visited 70+ countries. And is already planning his next trip. Check out some of his adventures and in particular, his post Top 3 food experiences (budget) in central Madrid, Spain.

My-italy-piedmont-marche-and-more.com also has a great page on Italian food and some helpful information on local cookery classes.

http://iloveflavourme.blogspot.com/ -This blog was set up by Ruth who is half Portuguese, half English. She has travelled the world for many years and now lives in the North of Italy. Read her experiences on the some of the best places she has been and her tips on where's good to eat.

Food and Travel are a great combination on any trip wherever you are in the world. Take a look at foodtravelblog.com for some more interesting stories from around the world.

If you've visited france and want to take a taste of it home with you. LeCafeShop.co.uk is an online coffee boutique dedicated to the celebration ofthier favourite drink. They provide high quality coffees you can afford to drink and enjoy all day, every day. From French Presses and cafetieres to French gourmet coffee and espresso makers, le cafe shop has something for all coffee lovers.

For more information on French Wine Tasting Breaks, Tours and Weekends, Visit Wine Tasting France. With a family background in French wine dating back over 3 generations, they specialise in flexible wine tasting packages around the famous wine regions of France.

If you’re travelling over to Amsterdam for a long weekend and want to find out where the best places to eat are then read some Amsterdam restaurant recommendations from a local. These recommendations include a range of cuisines from Indonesian to Dutch.

Your Friend In Italy will bring all of your five senses to life and help you create delicious italian dishes.

If you guys have any suggestions of great ways to eat in Europe, leave your comments below and I'll add them to the post!