Europe is famous the world over for its rich and varied gastronomic traditions. From the very best of sophisticated fine dining to delicious local, rustic cuisines made with fresh, seasonal ingredients, travelling in Europe can be an exciting culinary adventure.
Here are five of our favourite cities for foodies in Europe.
1. Paris, France
Always top of the list when it comes to culinary treats, Paris has more than its fair share of elegant fine dining establishments. Something of a food revolution has taken place in the French capital in recent years, which has seen many top-notch chefs moving away from the rigid French culinary traditions to become a little more experimental. This change has created a buzz about the city’s restaurant scene, which makes now a great time to visit. But one of the enduring joys of Paris, and what makes this a must-visit for foodies travelling in Europe, is the number of excellent, reasonably priced local restaurants which line the city’s streets.
2. Lyon, France
Lyon may be France’s second city but its culinary credentials are second to none. Home of France’s chef royalty Paul Bocuse, the city is at the cutting edge of French modern cuisine. But that is not the whole story, because alongside some of France’s most famous and elegant restaurants, visitors to Lyon will discover local bouchons on every street corner serving hearty, traditional regional fare. This is a city that loves its food, and its restaurants are always full and bustling with conversation and delicious aromas. A visit to Les Halles food market is a must for foodies who will want to buy everything at this beautiful, historic market.
3. Madrid, Spain
While Madrid has its fair share of world-class dining establishments, it is the city’s rustic Castile culinary traditions that make this a fascinating destination for food lovers travelling in Europe. From dense stews and fragrant roast meats, Castile food is warming, wholesome fare, created to see the locals through the region’s bleak winters. Try specialities including garlic soup, roast suckling pig, cocido madrileño and, of course, jamón Ibérico.
4. Copenhagen, Denmark
Famous for the world-renowned Copenhagen Cooking Festival in August, Copenhagen has had a gastronomic awakening in the last ten years or so and now happily celebrates its authentic Danish culinary traditions. From smoked fish to cured meats – there are plenty of speciality foods to enjoy here, but for a real gastronomic treat visit Noma (voted the world’s best restaurant in the San Pellegrino top 50 list).
5. Brussels, Belgium
There are two very good reasons why foodies should fit Brussels into their itinerary while travelling in Europe: one is to sample some of the city’s famous chocolate creations and the other is because Brussels actually has more Michelin-starred restaurants per head than Paris! Enjoy a meal of elegant delicacies at the dramatic Kwint before sampling some of the delicious chocolates from the city’s many chocolatiers. If you’re looking for something a little more down to earth, the city is also brimming with really good local bistros serving traditional Belgian fare.
Patrick Chong is the Managing Director of InsureMore, an award-winning team of specialists in global single trip, family and annual travel insurance for those travelling in Europe and beyond. Besides offering great deals on travel insurance, Patrick also collects and shares the best free travel competitions to help his clients get the most out of their holidays.
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