I don’t care about shopping. Or museums. Or even getting that all-important Instagram photo. At least, not that much. No, for me the best part about travelling is the food. Each nation seems to have its own unique flavours and dining customs, and there’s nothing I want to do more than try every single one of them.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be taking you on a tour of all the essential foodie experiences every traveller must try around the world. Up first, it’s the land of cheese and wine, Europe.
1. Switzerland – Raclette
You thought I was going to say fondue, right? Don’t get me wrong, I’d never turn away a big vat of melted cheese, but some raclette would go over even better. For the uninitiated, raclette is a type of Swiss cheese, traditionally heated over a fire or on a specially-designed hotplate. The melted, gooey goodness is then scraped onto potatoes, gherkins, dried meats and more. Pair it with a glass of white wine and you’re pretty much in heaven.
Don’t want to fork out thousands of dollars for flights to Switzerland? If you’re quick, you might be able to catch our raclette dining deal with a bottle of wine at Swissotel Sydney before it disappears!
2. Czech Republic – Trdelnik
Two words: donut tower. Do we really need to say anything more? But seriously, a visit to Prague (or anywhere in Czech) isn’t complete without trying this delicious street food. Also known as “chimney cakes”, this sweet pastry is deep-fried, covered in sugar and walnut mix, and occasionally filled with ice cream or Nutella. Fun fact: I just gained 5kg writing that.
3. Belgium – Waffles
You’ve had waffles before, and possibly even “Belgian” waffles, but let me tell you – nothing can prepare you for the real thing. The Belgians use a much thicker batter than anyone accustomed to US-style waffles would be used to, but it makes for an even richer flavour. Chuck on some whipped cream, fruit, and maybe a bit of chocolate, and your taste buds will be on cloud nine.
4. Austria – Wiener Schnitzel
Aussies have been schnitty fans for decades – so much so that we’ve basically made it our own. But forget everything you thought you knew about this pub fave. Wiener (pronounced “veener”) schnitzel is typically made from a thin fillet of veal, crumbed, then pan-fried and served with lemon and occasionally salad. It’s a lot lighter than our thick, greasy chicken schnits, but still über tasty.
5. Hungary – Lángos
The Europeans really seem to have a thing for fried dough, and that’s totally fine with me. In Hungary, it’s all about lángos – a deep-fried flat bread topped with delicious additions like cheese, ham, sausage, onion, sour cream, or simply rubbed with garlic (or garlic butter) and served warm. This versatile dish can also be made sweet with a sprinkling of sugar, fruit, or drizzle of Nutella. Yes, please.
6. France – Crêpes
Between croissants, macarons, crème brûlée, and oh-so many types of cheese and wine, it was hard to pick just one French food to bear the badge of “must-try”. But if you can only try one thing, make it a traditional French crêpe. These delicious, wafer-thin pancakes come with your choice of indulgent, sugary topping – think strawberries, chocolate, and whipped cream. No sweet tooth? No problem! Savoury varieties include ham, cheese, eggs, mushroom, and more.
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7. Poland – Pierogi
If all these sweet treats are too much for you, may I recommend pierogi? These delicious, doughy, pan-fried dumplings hail from Poland and traditionally come filled with mashed potato, fried onions, cheese, minced meat, mushrooms, cabbage, or whatever takes the maker’s fancy. But don’t worry, dessert lovers, pierogi can also be made sweet with fresh fruit fillings.
8. The Netherlands – Stroopwafel
If your inner dentist isn’t horrified enough, wait till you try the sugar-tastic Dutch icon, the stroopwafel. This cookie-like treat is made from two thin, crispy waffle-like wafers, stuck together with a mixture of syrup, brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon. It’s basically a heart attack in a snack, but honestly, what a way to go.
9. Scotland – Haggis
A savoury pudding made from offal mightn’t sound particularly appetising, but Scotland’s national dish will seriously surprise you. Haggis is traditionally made from sheep’s liver, heart, and lungs, beef or mutton, oatmeal, onion, and spices, packed into a sheep’s stomach, then boiled and served with neeps (swedes) and tatties (potatoes). These days, you can get it deep-fried or even on a burger! Definitely not vegan (that said, vegetarian variations do exist), but a must-try in Scotland.
10. Portugal – Pastel de Nata
What’s better than a custard tart? A Portuguese custard tart. If you leave Portugal without trying a pastel de nata, you’ve made a huge mistake. These delicious morsels consist of a crisp, flaky pastry filled with a rich, eggy custard, and sprinkled with cinnamon. If you can, try to get them freshly-made and served warm – trust me, it’s worth it.
11. Germany – Currywurst
Yes, currywurst is exactly what it sounds like – pork sausages with curry ketchup. But often it’s the simplest things in life that are the best, and that’s certainly the case for currywurst. This German street food dish, usually served with chips seasoned with curry powder, is about as prevalent over there as burgers, pizza, and sushi over here, and once you try it, you’ll understand why.
If this post has left you as hungry as it’s left me, why not check out our dining deals for all the best international foods right in your own backyard? Alternatively, have a look at our holiday deals and go experience the real thing!