Today I’m going to concentrate on southern Europe food and the culinary delights this region has to offer for the food-obsessed traveller. Food oh glorious food!
With many budget airlines operating throughout Europe, your options are wide open for last minute holidays from Ireland. You have the whole of Europe at your feet, but it’s too much to talk about in just one blog post.
Southern Europe Food – Culinary Delights
With its famously healthy Mediterranean diet, Spanish food has to be tasted to be believed. Spain is renowned worldwide for Ibérico ham, olive oils, seafood, wines and tapas.
I personally think that Spain has the best food in whole Europe, it is not only healthy but each regions has its specialities, ways of serving, it is all vibrant and delicious!
Tapas is a series of small plates, both hot and cold, which can be eaten individually as a snack or appetiser, or ordered in numerous quantities to make up a main meal. And there are some basic tapas which you should never miss!
1. Tortilla. An omelette with onion and potatoes and I always found the best one in Madrid! Believe me I lived in Spain and Madrid just know how to make it to perfection!
2. Albóndigas. Meatballs with sauce. But not just normal meat balls you know from your home. They are filled with many spices and herbs. Cooked to perfection in the yummy sauce. I can never say no to albóndigas.
3. Calamares. Battered squid rings. It doesn’t get more perfect than having them for lunch with glass of crispy white on the hot summer day!
4. Patatas bravas. Fried cubes of potato served with a spicy tomato sauce. And when I say spicy I meant it.
Also famous for its healthy but hearty Mediterranean diet, Italy’s culinary fare has spread worldwide,do you ever met anybody who actually didn’t liked Italian food? And it is a rhetorical question.
Traditionally when you go out to enjoy a meal in Italy you will eat three fours courses. Starting with a primo (first) course including a small hot dish such as pasta or risotto, followed by a secondo (second) course which is usually fish or meat.
The dishes you thought you knew are actually very different (and a lot tastier) when sampled on Italian soil and that goes without saying. Because even though Italian cuisine seems uncomplicated, nobody can pull it of as Italians do!
5. Minestrone soup. There is no set recipe, this soup is usually made from the vegetables of the season and will be individual to each establishment. This really is Italian cooking at its finest.
6. Carbonara. A popular pasta dish but you haven’t really tasted it until you’ve eaten it in Italy. Unlike the rest of the world, in Italy carbonara is rarely made with cream. The creamy richness of the sauce comes from the eggs. I must admit that I’m a bit of posh eater and I just do not eat carbonara outside of Italy, it is completely different dish.
7. Risotto alla Milanese. Saffron is more expensive per gram than gold and this saffron-infused dish is worth every penny (though it’s actually not too expensive). Do not leave Milan without trying it.
Sticking with the Mediterranean theme Greek food is famously healthy. With fresh vegetables, olives, grains and bread making up a fresh taste platter. I have always found Greek people to really enjoy eating, they can talk about food for hours while keep on ordering more and more dishes.
To really experience the culinary delights of the region you should try:
8. Moussaka. Originated from Middle East, served hot or cold. It is aubergine and meat (mixed with other vegetables and spices) layered and finished with a topping made of yoghurt and cheese.
9. Dolma. Vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers and vine leaves are stuffed with seasoned rice and meats. Dolma is a bit problematic dish, as more than 10 countries claim dolma as there national dish. Places like Azerbaijan, Armenia and many many more.
10. Gyros. Pieces of meat are roasted on a vertical spit and cooked until moist and crisp. The whole mouth-watering concoction is then served in a grilled pita with salads and sauces. It is considered fast food, and if all fast food would be as healthy as in Greece we would be one healthy civilisation.
The foods of southern Europe are as tasty as they are varied, so try new things and don’t be afraid to experiment. Get there and get eating!