Food of Europe - European Cuisine

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European Cuisine


                    European Cuisine

European food has a distinct flavor and rich history. The food in Europe can be characterized by four categories: meats, sugar, cereals, and fats. Meats include tripe, fish, blood sausages, and wild game. Brought from India and the New World, cane sugar became a necessary ingredient in European recipes and foods. Europeans loved the sweet taste and the demand for sugar cane grew at the end of the 17th century. Cereals are the most important ingredients in European cuisine. Flour, bread, wheat, oats, and other grains provide people with the most nutritious and healthy meals. During the 18th century, though, new crops rose to popularity. Maize and potatoes were brought from the New World and became favorite foods in Northern Europe. Rice and pasta especially grew famous in Spain and Italy. Peas and beans are still a staple food in Europe. However, their popularity diminished over time as potatoes and cereals took their place as the main foods. The most used fats in Europe are olive oil, lard, and butter. Today, fats are indispensable as they are almost always used when cooking. Coffee, tea, alcoholic beverages, and chocolate are the most well-known drinks in Europe. Since water was not being purified until recently and was not safe to drink, it was not considered a beverage for a long time. Instead, wine, beer, ale, gin, and whiskey were the most popular drinks in Europe. Coffee, chocolate, and tea were brought from Africa, America, and Asia. Today, all of these drinks are popular, but pure water is consumed a lot more than it was a few centuries ago.


Austrian food is rich in texture and has a unique flavor. Austrian cuisine was influenced by the countries surrounding it. These countries are Germany, Hungary, and Italy. The most consumed meats in Austria are chicken, beef, and pork. Pastries, sweets, jams, and cakes are also Austrian favorites. Some famous Austrian dishes are Wiener Schnitzel and Apple Strudel. It is believed that the Wiener Schnitzel originally came from Milan, Italy and was introduced to Viennese cuisine in the 16th century.

Gabackene Champignons - popular dish in Austria

Salade Liegeoise - popular dish in Belgium


The Belgian cuisine is a mix of German and French food. Belgian food was also influenced by the Franks, Spanish, Vikings, and Austrians. Belgians love to use spices such as saffron, black pepper, ginger, and cinnamon. Beer is the most popular alcoholic drink, and Belgian chocolate is considered among the famous and best in the world.


Traditional Norwegian food is smoked salmon. It is cooked many ways and is served with dill, egg and different kinds of sauces. Other kinds of fish that are commonly eaten are smoked herring, sardines, cod and mackerel. Whale meat and horsemeat are often used to make Norwegian sausages.

Fiskesuppe - popular dish in Norway


                    Lancashire Hotpot - popular dish in England

The English have healthy and filling meals everyday. Because England began to trade with India in the 18th century, India had a great influence on English food. The food became more flavorful with many herbs and spices. Tarts, cakes, pastries, pies, and pudding are very common in English cuisine. Toast, coffee, and cereal are also often eaten, especially during breakfast.


The food of Wales has been strongly influenced by English food. Dairy cattle and beef are commonly raised and there are many sheep farmers in this land. Welsh cooking often uses seafood ingredients, especially near the coast. The leek is the national vegetable and can be found in many Welsh recipes. The food in Wales is diverse and full of contrasts and extremes. Throughout their history, the Welsh would often cook outside or over fireplaces.

Cawl - popular dish in Wales



Finnish food is very similar to Swedish and Nordic food. Germany and Russia also influenced the cuisine of Finland. Since the climate is harsh and most of the seasons are cold, there are not a lot of fresh vegetables or fruit. Spices and herbs are also hard to find during the winter. Fish plays a major role because there is a lot of water surrounding Finland. Mushrooms, meat, potatoes, and dairy products are some of the most popular foods.


Spanish food is a blend of Roman, Greek, and Celtic food. The Greeks and Romans introduced grapes, wine, and olives. Meat pies and fish came from the Celts. Ingredients such as garbanzo beans, lentils, and green beans are often used in dishes. Potatoes, rice, almonds, sesame seeds, onions, tomatoes, eggs, red bell peppers, and olive oil make up most Spanish dishes and offer Spaniards tasty meals.

Cozido - popular dish in Spain


                    Coq au vin - popular dish in France

French cuisine has a rich history of sophisticated dishes and plentiful feasts. Because of the rich soil, many herbs, fruits, grains, and vegetables are grown in France. Brandy and wine are the most popular French alcoholic drinks. Cheese is very important for French cuisine and is used in numerous dishes. Veal, chicken, goose, duck, mutton, and pork are great meats that French dishes have to offer.


Food in Germany is important to its culture. The most popular meats in Germany are pork, veal, and beef. Germans love to smoke or pickle meat since it gives a great flavor to the food. Germans typically eat breads, sausages, meats, vegetables, and cheeses. Potatoes are essential to German cuisine and are found in many dishes. Breakfast is made up of jam, eggs, cheese, and meat. The most famous German dish is considered to be Sauerkraut.

Steckrübeneintopf - popular dish in Germany


                    Fasolada - popular dish in Greece

Greek cuisine is very old and began thousands of years ago. Most of the foods eaten by Greeks today were influenced by the foods eaten in Ancient Greece. However, the Romans and Persian also had an effect on Greek food. Pasta and sauces were brought by Romans, and the Persians introduced pastries, sweets, and yogurt. Greek dishes often include fresh fruits, vegetables, fish, cheese, and bread. Olives and soup are well-known in Greece as well.


The Anglo-Normans brought peas, beans, and wheat to Ireland in the 12th century. The main staple food in Ireland is the potato, which was introduced to the Irish in the late 1500s. Irish cuisine is full of meats such as goose, mutton, chicken, beef, and pork. Because Ireland is surrounded by bodies of water, seafood such as oysters, scallops, mussels, lobster, and salmon are quite common in Irish dishes. Biscuits, pancakes, muffins, and porridge are often eaten for breakfast in Ireland.

Colcannon - popular food in Ireland


                    Lasagna - popular dish in Italy

France, Austria, and the former Yugoslavia had a great effect on the cooking techniques and food of Italy. Italian cuisine is based on a few dishes. These famous dishes are pasta, lasagna, ravioli, and pizza. Italian food is very spicy and often includes ingredients such as crushed red pepper, black pepper, red bell pepper, and green bell pepper. Cheese is also an indispensable ingredient. A few types of Italian cheese are romano, parmesan, mozzarella, ricotta, and gorgonzola.


The food in Portugal is often filling, rich and full of flavor. It is very much like the food of the Mediterranean. The former colonies of Portugal contributed many different spices that include piri piri (small, spicy chili peppers), as well as cinnamon, black pepper, saffron and vanilla. Olive oil is also one of the common bases of the foods of Portugal.

Bolinhos de bacalhau - popular food in Portugal


                    Boerenkoolstamppot - popular dish in Netherlands

Throughout history, the food of the Netherlands has been closely linked to the food of northern France. This can be seen throughout the Netherlands in Dutch restaurants and the cuisine of the Southern region. Around the 17th century, many of the most popular dishes today became available for the upper class. These foods contained lots of meat, nuts, cheese and fruits as well as wine.


Throughout history, France had a strong influence on the culture and cuisine of Denmark. Other influences came from countries such as Greece, Italy and Spain. American culture has begun to have an influence on those who live in Denmark.

Millionbøf - popular food in Denmark


                    Kalops - popular dish in Sweden

Some of the traditional dishes of Sweden are hundreds of years old, but are still an essential part of the everyday meals of the people. There is a very long coast and many rivers and lakes. This makes seafood and fish a large part of the Swedish diet and most Swedes love seafood including salmon that is usually marinated or smoked. A common Swedish breakfast is a sandwich made of different kinds of soft breads, cottage cheese, cream cheese, cold cuts, eggs, goat cheese, cucumbers, tomatoes or toast. All this is often served with juice, coffee and honey.


French foods have influenced Scottish cuisine way back to the time of Mary Queen of Scotts. Much of her staff, including the cooks were French and it is thought that they brought many French ingredients and cooking styles with them. Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, there was a lot of immigration of Italians to Scotland and in later years those from Pakistan, India and the Middle East also traveled to Scotland. The addition of these cultures has dramatically affected Scottish cooking.

Mince and tatties - popular food in Scotland


                    Rosti - popular dish in Switzerland

The food of the Swiss is unusual in that it has so many regional influences from the cuisine of its neighbors. This includes the French, German and Italians. Historically, Switzerland was a farming country, and the most popular crops and foods include cheese and potatoes as well as chocolate.


Throughout its history, the island of Cyprus has been invaded and occupied by many different civilizations. Because of this, the traditional cuisine of Cyprus has been affected by the different people who have lived there. While the food in this country does carry strong Turkish and Greek influences, it is also widely affected by the climate, history and geography. Fast food and other kinds of western cuisines have also carried a strong influence on the day to day eating habits of the people in this country.

Kleftiko - popular food in Cyprus


                    Perde pilavi - popular dish in Turkey

Turkish food is usually not spicy, but some regions do enjoy spicy dishes. Sauces and seasonings are often used but tend to be light and simple and don't overpower the natural flavors of the foods. Most common seasonings include garlic, cinnamon, mint, dill and parsley. Yogurt is often used in meals with both meat and vegetables. Vegetables, wheat and rice are often the basis of Turkish foods. Eggplant is the favorite vegetable of the country and zucchini is a common second in addition to cabbage, beans, and artichokes that are made with olive oil.

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