It wasn't long ago that I was spooning creamy pesto onto my pasta in Italy or nibbling on a bretzel in Austria. The food in Europe is as delicious as it is diverse, and is as diverse as the countries themselves. If you're any sort of a foodie, you'll love trying different foods as you move through Europe. And if you're not a foodie, you'll be surprised how delactable each country's specialties will be. I've rounded up a few European countries with foods you must try while there - think of this as a teaser for your taste buds.
Ireland: Oh goodness, my Guinness!
Guinness is the dark ruby red beer (it's actually not black!) that hails from Ireland. While it's feels filling, it's surprisingly low in calories - only 125 per pint - making it a smart beverage choice when you pair it with heavier foods such as Shepherd's Pie or potatoes. Another staple to try in Ireland? A traditional Irish breakfast. And what's that black pudding stuff? ....Don't ask, just eat.
You'll find the best brews in the land of Oktoberfest. My preference is Hefeweizen for a wheaty, fruity flavor, which you'll find as well as the bock, pilsner, or alt beers, to name a few. Pair your beer with soft pretzel, bratwurst, or spätzle.
Austria, similar to Germany, has some of the best beers, sausage, and pretzels. You must try sachertorte, a specialty in Austria - it's a slightly dusty chocolate ganache cake that tastes fantastic with espresso. Austrian desserts tend to be lighter and fluffier, so the sachertorte is a slight break from that.
Italy: Where you cut the pizza yourself (and it's way better that way)
Ah, Italy, the food capital of Europe. Fresh tomatoes await, adorned atop Caprese salads or sandwiched between a panini. You'll undoubtedly want to try true Italian pizza, noted by how you slice it yourself. Drizzle olive oil on top after it's served for some extra flavor.
Hand-crafted pasta of all shapes and sizes are another obvious choice for lunch and dinner eats; try different types with new sauces and you'll never be bored with the limitless variations of textures.
When in Rome, do as the Romans do, and pair your meal with wine. Finally, finish it off with a sweet dessert, either with tiramasu or gelato for something satiating, or with a few sips of often-complimentary limoncello.
Turkey: Would you like fries with (in) that?
Besides shepherd's salad (diced tomatoes, cucumbers, and green peppers) the food in Turkey tends to be more meat-heavy. Meat and rice make for a tasty and filling combination, so make sure you come hungry. You'll find kebaps all around Europe, and they make for a nice snack after a night out. Though you don't have to save kebaps for just late nights post-party, and in Turkey you'll see them everywhere. Meat, rice, veggies, fries, and yogurt (it's different than American yogurt, more of a garlic-sour cream sauce), are delicious all combined in a wrap.
Have a sweet tooth? Finish your meal with baklava, Turkish tea, or freshly squeezed pomegranate juice.
Croatia: Fish...a whole fish
Seeing as the country of Croatia contains so much coastline, it's no surprise that the seafood is out of this world. You'll order fish at a restaurant, and it'll be incredibly fresh - so much so that it comes on a plate complete with the head, skin, and bones. If you haven't eaten fish that way and the thought makes you wary, at least give it a try - once you get past the skin you'll realize it is definitely worth it. And definitely delicious.
Other Croatian food is somewhat Italian inspired (they do share borders, after all), and you'll find variations of pizza, pasta, and gelato, as well as fast food restaurants.