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Edible Europe

Learning about a country through its culinary arts is one of travel’s principle pleasures. Food is a tangible reflection of geography, history, and culture; there are few more pleasurable ways to become well acquainted with a country than through its gastronomy, and each region has something unique to add to the menu. From breakfast to dessert, exploring the many flavors of Europe will be one of the most fulfilling parts of your trip.

 

Ireland traditional food restaurant
Ireland traditional food restaurant

 

Start with the most important meal of the day: breakfast. In Ireland and the United Kingdom, the full breakfast, or “fry-up,” of bacon, sausage, eggs and a variety of sides will fuel an exciting day of sightseeing. Or, you might go for the European continental breakfast of pastries, fruits and cheeses before heading out into the city to explore the shops and museums. And no breakfast in Europe is complete without a cup of tea or coffee.

If you find yourself hungry around lunchtime in Benelux, be on the lookout for the region’s classic pairing of moules frites. Fresh mussels are sautéed with white wine, onion and other vegetables and served up with crispy fries, which often come with a side of mayonnaise instead of ketchup. Wash them down with an iconic Belgian beer and then embark on a brewery tour to learn more about the Belgian brewing tradition.

 

Norwegian salmon
Norwegian salmon

 

Pause for a tasty afternoon snack of meze in Greece. These appetizer-like dishes are available at bars and cafes throughout the country and are often enjoyed in a festive atmosphere. Meze come in many flavors, hot or cold, and are made with meat or seafood. Just add some ice-cold ouzo and you’ll be making new friends and feeling like a local in no time.

 

Gelato comes in hundreds of different flavors and is the sweet of choice throughout Italy
Gelato comes in hundreds of different flavors and is the sweet of choice throughout Italy

 

When it’s time for dinner in Scandinavia, opt for dishes like fresh-caught Norwegian salmon from the famous fjords of Norway. In addition to their famous meatballs, Sweden offers world-class dining in traditional as well as modern settings, and is rapidly becoming a sought-after destination for award-winning cuisine. Discover even more innovative contemporary cuisine in Finland and Iceland.

Every good meal should end with a delectable dessert and after-dinner drink. Whether it’s sweet and creamy gelato in Italy or a heavenly slice of Viennese Sachertorte in Austria, always be sure to save room for dessert. It will be a delicious ending to your explorations of the many flavors of Europe.

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Through the Grapevine

Wine has influenced the culture of Europe for centuries. Dating back to 1600 BC, the Romans spread wine grapes throughout Europe and quickly became skilled at classifying grape varieties and colors, observing characteristics, and building fertilization techniques. By the first century AD, wine was being exported from Italy to Spain, Germany, England and France. The world’s oldest operating winery, the Château de Goulaine in France, is still open to visitors today and was a reason the country and its surrounding area quickly dominated the world wine market.

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Catch Some Waves, Sun and Sand

Searching for the perfect beach can be a difficult task, especially in an area you are not familiar with. However, in Europe, you’ll know you’ve found the ideal surf and sand thanks to an iconic marker – a blue flag. Europe’s Blue Flag Beaches meet strict standards for water quality, safety and eco-friendliness, making them the ideal spot for sunbathing, swimming, and playing. Luckily for travelers, there are over 4,000 beaches that have achieved Blue Flag status in the world – and Europe has a large majority of them.