The most famous foods in Europe are characterized by being closely related to folklore and the climate of the country to which they belong. European kitchens have been sourced from local products for centuries, a trend that is changing due to globalization and changes in the lifestyle of today's society.
Below you have an index with all the points that we are going to deal with in this article.
Native foods of Europe
There are many foods that have acquired international fame, although there are numerous ingredients and recipes that can be considered originating in the sense that, over the years, they have become the representative foods of Europe par excellence. Among them, we highlight:
- Iberian acorn-fed ham
- Foie gras
- Portuguese sardines
- Belgian waffles
- German Sauerkraut
- Quiche Lorraine
Many of the best known kitchens come from Spain, Italy and France, as we have seen with the dishes mentioned in the previous list, where the Iberian ham comes from Spain, while the foie gras and the arancini They are originally from France and Italy, respectively.
What customs do Europeans have when eating?
At present, the gastronomy of Europe and the customs when eating vary greatly depending on the climate, the region and the immigrant communities that are in that place, since this leads to exotic foods with ingredients from Asia and America.
Different cooking recipes depend a lot on the meal schedule, since in each country they dedicate a certain time of day and time to cooking, so in some places dinners and lunch are more elaborate than in others.
Thus, while in Spain the usual thing is to have breakfast between 08:00 and 09:00, eat at 14: 00-15: 00 and have dinner at 21: 00-22: 00, in other European countries you eat at mid-morning and dinner in the period from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. approximately.
Traditional food and ingredients
The meals of the medieval Europe and the culinary practices of that time were quite different from those we know today. At that time, the use of the fork was associated with the bourgeoisie and the upper classes of Italy. Its use did not extend to all social classes until the fourteenth century.
The traditional ingredients of ancient foods were, among others:
- Agraz or Verjus
- Pork or chicken
- Almond milk
- Spices and herbs
Bread was the daily food, so the baker's trade He enjoyed high social consideration and was of great importance to the entire community. The most commonly used cereals were rye, barley, oats and millet. For its part, rice, although considered a native product of Europe, was too expensive at that time.
The foods that arrived in America from this continent were, among others, rice, sugar cane, bananas, coffee, oranges and beef and pork. Some examples of foods that mix products from America and Europe are empanadas, roast and pasta.
The European cuisine we know today began to conform to the so-called modern age, that is, between the fifteenth and nineteenth centuries. In this period the custom of adding sauces to dishes was born. They also started to consume potatoes, so typical today, which arrived in European territory thanks to the colonies from America.
Most European countries follow the famous Mediterranean diet, which is not only considered one of the healthiest culinary trends, but was declared Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2010.
The Mediterranean diet It is the one that probably attracts attention in other parts of the world. It is about the customs and the way of feeding of some countries of southern Europe, especially:
Spanish food is characterized by being a mixture between rural and coastal products, depending mainly on each autonomous community and its culinary habits. In addition, it is greatly influenced by Latin food since colonization. They highlight dishes such as Valencian paella and Spanish tapas.
The Italian recipes They are also one of the strong aspects of European food. Although it is known mainly for its most famous dishes, including pasta, risotto and pizza, the truth is that there are many recipes for pasta, meat and, of course, desserts and sweets.
A curiosity about the gastronomy of Italy is that in Sardinia, one of the most touristic Italian regions, gorgonzola cheese with fly larvae is known, known as casu marza. Without a doubt, it is among the rarest foods in Europe.
French food not only enjoys European prestige, but it is one of the main gastronomies of the world. It stands out for its regional variety and its original products, including the believe me fraîche And the foie gras. It is Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity since 2010 along with the cuisine of Mexico.
Perhaps its secret lies in the use of butter for cooking, contrary to what happens in Spain, where the base of almost all dishes is oil. Dishes such as quiche lorraine or ratatouille are among the most popular.
Among the most popular dishes of the british cuisine highlight the Sunday roast, the baked beans and the haggis Scottish Currently, it is highly influenced by Asian cuisine, as well as Polish, which has already become part of the culinary traditions of the United Kingdom.
Other gastronomic regions
The dishes of the Mediterranean diet are quite different from the typical foods of the Atlantic Europe (United Kingdom, Ireland, Norway, Denmark, Netherlands …). Sandwiches are typical in this area, such as the famous Smørrebrød from Scandinavian countries, fish dishes or large-scale breakfasts (eg English breakfast).
It also highlights the cuisine of the Balkan Peninsula, especially for its wide variety of traditional dishes. Below we show you a list with the most representative dish by country within the typical foods of Eastern Europe:
- Samobor Salami (Croatia)
- Potica (Slovenia)
- Byrek or Börek (Albania)
- Khorovats (Armenia)
- Dushbara (Azerbaijan)
- Ćevapi (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
- Tarator (Bulgaria)
- Knedlíky (Czech Republic)
- Halusky (Slovakia)
Finally, Germany, Austria, Croatia, Switzerland and Hungary, among others, make up the typical foods of central Europe. Since these are usually very cold countries, soups are very representative of their cuisine. Also the cheese fondue, originally from Switzerland, is designed to combat low temperatures.
Linz cake or Linzer Torte typical of Austria It is one of the desserts par excellence of the European scene. In fact, it is considered the oldest cake in the world, although the truth is that its origin is Italian. It is made with raspberry, almonds and cinnamon.
Christmas meals in Europe
Christmas meals stand out for their high caloric content, mainly because this holiday period takes place in winter time. However, the climate of European countries varies depending on latitude.
From Spain you could mention countless sweets and typical Christmas dishes. Possibly the wide variety of nougat, polvorones and marzipan What most attracts attention from an international point of view. Eating foie gras, although it is a typical French Christmas meal, has also become very popular in Spain.
If we move to the United Kingdom, we will see that Christmas desserts are the most varied. What stands out is undoubtedly the famous Christmas pudding, made with plums and nuts. Also the ginger cookies They are a typical sweet in British Christmas.
In Portugal, the consumption of dried and salted cod accompanied by cabbage and boiled potatoes, hard boiled eggs, onions, chickpeas and other vegetables is striking. This typical Christmas dish from Portugal stands out for being fish instead of meat, although there are homes where turkey or baked piglet is consumed.
He Panettone Italian It is another sweet that has crossed borders and is consumed today during Christmas of a large number of European countries. Christmas meals in Italy are divided into the northern and southern areas. In the latter the eel is typical capitone fried, in addition to other fish.
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