Museums, castles and historical old towns are all well and good when exploring the culture of a new city in foreign lands. However, to really immerse yourself in local life, we’d recommend seeking the delicacies and eateries favoured by the locals. To help you discover exactly where to look, here are 9 of the most delicious foods mainland Europe has to offer, and where exactly to find them.
Stroopwafel - Amsterdam
Providing much-needed bursts of energy as you cycle around the Dutch capital, stroopwafels can be purchased from street vendors throughout the city. The intoxicating smell of the sweet snack makes it easy to simply follow your nose and quickly track down your closest supplier. Caramel-like syrup is sandwiched by two thin layers of baked dough in the shape of a waffle – creating a decadent hand-held snack which is simultaneously gooey and crisp.
Moules-Frites - Antwerp
Mussels and chips might not have really permeated the British culinary scene but they are hugely popular on the continent. Originating in Belgium, Moules-Frites is a surprisingly well-balanced dish, and Antwerp locals won’t look down upon you when mopping up the rich sauce with a delicious Belgian chip. The Restaurant Maritime, on the banks of the River Lys serves some of the best Moules-Frites in the city.
Sarma - Belgrade
A traditional comfort food of the former Ottoman Empire, many countries of the Middle East, Balkan and Central Europe have their own variations of the dish – but Belgrade has really perfected sarma. Ground meat, rice and seasonings are wrapped in cabbage leaves and slowly simmered for hours in large pots with lard and layers of smoked pork.
Venison Sauerbraten - Black Forest
Perhaps the best place to sample traditional German cuisine, the Black Forest region has its own unique culture and culinary delights. Whilst the eponymous gateau may be the first thing which comes to mind, there is a whole lot more to sample in the south-western mountain range.
The traditional meat dish of the region, sauerbraten can be made from beef, lamb or pork, but the venison variation has the most authentic Black Forest taste. Marinated until decadently tender in vinegar and seasoning, and served with potato dumplings; it’s a decidedly delicious and heavy meal, so schedule this for after an exploration of the beautiful region.
Bryndzové Halušky - Bratislava
Although more commonly associated with Italy, Gnocchi is arguably Slovakia’s most popular dish, and bryndzové halušky (sheep cheese gnocchi) must be sampled during a whistle stop tour of the capital. The dish can be taken to a whole new level with small pieces of bacon and chives placed atop the soft potato dumplings.
Belgian Chocolate - Bruges
A fairy tale medieval town set upon criss-crossing canals, Bruges is rich with places to explore and sights to behold. However, your first stop in beautiful Bruges should be to one of the city’s endless chocolatiers. The Old Chocolate House specialises in Truffles Chocolates Pralines, all handmade by the master chocolatier, using fresh cream and 100% cacao butter.
Halászlé - Budapest
Hungary has a love affair with big hearty soups, from the national dish, goulash, to chicken paprika; the nation’s menus are full to the brim with soup options. However, the finest soup on the Danube is halászlé, a fisherman’s paprika-rich fish broth. The classic hearty soup often features a mix of river fish or a massive fillet of carp within a spicy stock, and can be found in just about every Budapest eatery along the river.
Apfelstrudel - Vienna
A micro-culture of culinary offerings, Viennese food is markedly different from simple Austrian food. And the city is experiencing a huge surge in street food popularity, unsurprising when you consider the beautiful places to explore on foot through Vienna. The city is famous for its decadent apfelstrudel (apple strudel) – perfect for powering you through a tour of beautiful Vienna.
Himmel un Ääd - Cologne
The literal translation of ‘heaven and earth’, himmel un ääd is a mixture of apples and potatoes; resembling mashed potato, but with a zingy apple twist. Served in beer halls with blood sausages and massive servings of the local ale; himmel un ääd certainly is a small slice of the former.
We’d recommend heading to Früh Brauhaus at Am Hof 12-18 for some of the finest himmel un ääd that Cologne has to offer.
Emerald Cruises can help take you on a culinary tour of Europe, enjoying the finest fare the continent has to offer. For a full range of river cruise deals, visit the Emerald Cruises homepage or call our dedicated team on +44 161 236 2537.