If you’re a foodie and travel lover, then why not combine your passions and challenge yourself to complete our 2020 food tour bucket list? Packed with delicious food from Europe’s awesome cities, we’ve pulled together a list of 20 things to eat in Europe in 2020. Eat your way around the continent and see how you like some of these national dishes or more unusual delicacies. You’re in for one delicious year ahead...
How many of these staple dishes have you already tried?
Never been to Poland before? Well, make pierogi your excuse to go. Pierogi are dumplings typically filled with potato, onion and cheese (or sauerkraut, cabbage and spiced meats), packed up into little dough parcels. These delicious, silky dumplings originate from Eastern Europe and they differ from Asian dumplings because they are cooked in boiling water, instead of steamed or fried. While traditionally eaten savoury, these Polish dumplings can be sweet too, stuffed with fruits and berries. You can try pierogi in pretty much every Polish city such as Krakow, Warsaw, Gdańsk, Poznan and more.
Pintxos are small snacks eaten in Spanish bars and restaurants, that resemble tapas but traditionally eaten in northern Spain. These delicious mouthfuls are canape-sized and consist of sliced bread topped with all kinds of tasty ingredients (think Spanish ham, cheeses, eggs, cod roe, spicy sausage, fish, omelette, prawns and more). The home of pintxos is the Basque country (a community of a few northern cities with their own culture and cuisine); we recommend visiting the mountainous region of San Sebastian, a beautiful city to add to your 2020 bucket list where you can indulge in all types of pintxos at the several pintxos bars - you can even book yourself onto a pintxos food tour.
Pay a trip to Scotland’s capital and experience your first taste of haggis. Haggis is made of sheep's heart, liver and lungs, and is similar to the texture of minced beef. While this dish can seem daunting to eat at first, many people are pleasantly surprised by their first meal of haggis. Traditionally served with neeps and tatties (swede and potato), most Scottish pubs in Edinburgh feature the country's national dish on their menus. It’s flavoursome because it’s seasoned with onions, oats and spices.
If you want to try pork knuckle, there’s no better place than Bavaria, the home of the world’s biggest beer festival Oktoberfest. Pork knuckle is a German dish made from the foot of a pig and it’s a tender on the inside yet crispy on the outside of meat. In Munich, there’s a really great 13th century beer hall called the Hofbräuhaus where you can dig into a pork knuckle. You can also try tasty pork knuckle in Berlin at the Bavarian-style beer halls such as Maximilians and Hofbräu Wirtshaus. This is a typical German dish that’s super flavoursome and usually served with mashed potatoes, sauerkraut and gravy.
Sweden’s most famous dish is Köttbullar, which is essentially meatballs served with a rich cream sauce. Often served with potato dumplings, boiled potatoes or mash, this is one of our favourite comfort foods in the colder months and definitely one to add to our food tour bucket list. Cooked in homes and restaurants across the country, Köttbullar has made a name for itself as Sweden’s national dish - and it’s super tasty! More of a reason to visit Stockholm this year!
This delicious French dessert is a must-try if you haven’t already had the pleasure of experiencing it. Tarte tatin is a puff or shortcrust pastry filled with caramelised apples that have been slowly cooked. Buttery, sugary and sweet - what more do you expect from a French dessert? Paris is the city to sample a slice of tarte tatin; we recommend Le Petit Fer a Cheval in the Marais neighbourhood to try the best authentic tarte tatin in the city.
Bread dumplings are a traditional part of Czech cuisine. Also known as houskový knedlík (in Czech), this dish is considered a massive part of the country’s food heritage and something you have to try when you’re in Eastern Europe. You’ll find bread dumplings at most Czech restaurants throughout Prague. They are served soaking in gravy with a meat accompaniment (usually duck, chicken or pork loin). Bread dumplings are made from flour, eggs, milk and stale bread, with a texture similar to Chinese bao buns with its own distinct flavour.
Heading to Greece this year? If so, don’t miss out on a packed out gyro. This hearty Greek wrap is similar to a doner kebab but packed with lamb, beef, or pork combined with tomato, onion, and a yogurt/tzatziki sauce on pita bread. A filling, delicious lunch that you can find on mainland Greece and or at a local taverna on any Greek island. Athens is our favourite budget Greek city to visit because it’s packed with culture, mesmerising architecture and good food. Or maybe you want to be near the beach? Crete, Mykonos, Santorini, Kos, Corfu, Halkidiki or Rhodes - there are so many picturesque places to choose from.
There’s nothing more comforting than a traditional Irish stew in the colder months. When you’re in Dublin, pop into a local Irish pub to indulge in this folk dish that forms the backbone of Irish cuisine. A typical Irish stew is made of meat and root vegetables. The meat is usually lamb or mutton, accompanied by potatoes, onions, carrots and herbs such as parsley and thyme. It’s a simple dish that hits the spot when you’re in need of some TLC. You can order one of the best Irish stews with a pint of Guinness at The Hairy Lemon in Dublin city centre.
A Bath bun
The countryside city of Bath lies in the English county of Somerset, best known for its historic Roman Baths. But not many people realise that it’s also known for its Bath bun. This sweet roll is part bun, part cake and part bread, with a light, bouncy texture. Usually served with butter, jam or other preserves, you can taste one at Sally Lunn’s, one of the oldest tea houses in Bath.
French onion soup
When in the City of Love, you have to indulge in a traditional onion soup. The key to a good onion soup is the beef stock and caramelized onions. If made properly, this dish can take you to foodie heaven in one spoonful. Topped with melted Swiss gruyere, and perfect for dipping into with a crusty bread roll, we can’t think of a more melt-in-the-mouth soup than this!
A street food staple in Amsterdam, raw herring is a must-try for foodies. Raw herring is either chopped into little pieces or served whole on top of bread. Accompanied by onions and pickle, herring is traditionally eaten by holding the fish by its tail, dipping it in onions and putting the whole thing in your mouth. It’s salty, fresh and soft, plus you can’t get more Dutch than this dish.
While it may seem intimidating to eat at first, it’s simply delicious so you’ll have no regrets. You can find it sold on paper plates at fish stands and food trucks all around the Dutch capital.
Fried sausage and curry ketchup may sound strange, but this unique combo is a match made in heaven. You can’t go to Berlin without trying it’s staple dish. Currywurst makes for the perfect budget lunch, costing less than €5. You will find currywurst stalls and cafes dotted all over Berlin selling the German sausage which is covered in its famous spicy curry sauce with a portion of fries on the side.
Steak & Kidney Pie
When you visit England, people often try the fish n’ chips, Sunday roast or bangers and mash. And while these dishes are delicious and heartwarming, one of the more underrated British classics has to be a steak and kidney pie. Made from a mixture of diced beef, diced lamb kidney, fried onion, and hot brown gravy, this savoury pie is perfect on a cold day. Cut through the golden pastry and let the gravy ooze out onto your plate. Best enjoyed with a side of mashed potato, you can order this pie at most British pubs around London.
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A Spanish omelette (or tortilla espanola) is one of the most traditional things you can eat in Spain. Eggs are a massive part of Spanish cuisine, often incorporated in dishes that can be eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner. When you visit Barcelona, start your day with a tortilla espanola. Made with eggs, potatoes and onion, a Spanish omelette should be thick but still light and fluffy.
Lisbon is one of our favourite cities in Europe for eating - especially when it comes to seafood. And one dish you simply cannot miss out on is Portugese grilled sardines. Rich in flavour and lightly salted, these small little fishes are the perfect starter before your main meal. Served grilled with a slice of lemon or a roasted green pepper, sardines are sold at most restaurants and cafes around Portugal.
Another tasty Dutch street food has made it onto our list. Bitterballen are sphere-shaped balls of goodness, rich in flavour with a crispy outside yet gooey in the middle. Similar to meatballs, these deep fried balls contain a mixture of beef, veal and sometimes even chicken with a creamy, rich roux inside! In the Netherlands, these bite size crispy snacks are usually eaten as an aperitif. De Ballen Bar in Amsterdam is one of the best places to try bitterballen, serving up all kinds of fillings and flavours.
Sticky Toffee pudding
You can’t get more British than a sticky toffee pudding. The king of all English desserts, a sticky toffee pudding is essentially a moist sponge cake (served hot) covered in a sticky toffee sauce. It’s pretty dreamy and goes perfectly with vanilla ice cream or hot custard to cut through the sweetness. If you have a sweet tooth, this will be your new favourite dish. British pubs around the country will have sticky toffee pudding on their menus.
Another classic British dessert is bread and butter pudding, but we definitely prefer the richness of a sticky toffee pudding.
Head to the medieval city of Bruges to indulge in some Belgian waffles. The waffles in Belgium are better than anywhere else in the world. Topped with some chocolate, strawberries and whipped cream, it’s the perfect sweet treat in between exploring the city. Our favourite place for waffles in Bruges is Chez Albert - there’s something about the texture of the waffles here that makes them extra special. Certainly one for your bucket list.
A classic French dish that can’t go amiss on a trip to Paris. Steak frites are simply steak and french fries, a popular dish served as bistros throughout France and other countries across Europe. There’s discussions about whether this dish originated in France or Belgium - either way, it’s hearty, delicious and affordable. If you’re trying to cut down on your red meat intake this year, opt for the moules frites instead!