Five scrumptious lesser known European foods
It’s no secret that Europe is home to some of the most unapologetically delicious food on the planet. There’s the mouthwatering pizzas of Italy, the chocolate-drizzled crepes of France, and England - of course - is home to the good old fashioned fry-up. Hungry yet? While Europe’s most famously scrumptious foods are now exported around the world, if you look a little closer you’ll discover so many more yummy dishes you may never have even heard of. Dishes you need to visit the origin country of to truly appreciate.
Here at Citybond, we believe eating is one of the greatest joys of travelling, especially with the likes of authentic pancakes stuffed with cottage cheese; a revolutionary open-faced sandwich; pitas stuffed with sausage and cream on the menu. There are street foods, pub snacks and restaurant cuisine, not to mention delicious desserts. And that’s only the beginning.
Let the Citybond team take you on a European culinary journey as we run through our lesser-known favourite foods from the continent.
Kepta Duona: Lithuanian ‘snacks to beer’
Picture the scene: it’s a snowy day in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius and you head to one of the city’s many cosy watering holes to warm up with a hearty pint of craft ale by a roaring fire. Could this scene get any better? Thanks to the magical Lithuanian creation Kepta Duona (“snacks to beer”), it actually could. As their name suggests, they were invented to be eaten alongside ale. Order Kepta Duona and you’ll be served slices of heavily fried rye bread, rubbed in garlic and salt and accompanied with a cheese sauce. It’s the ultimate Lithuanian comfort food and, for some reason, the combination of this dish with ale is simply mouth-watering.
Štruklji: Slovenian cottage cheese pancakes
Traditional Štruklji are a delicious crepe-like dish made of filo pastry. While they can have a variety of fillings, from apple to chocolate, traditionally they are filled with cottage cheese or walnuts. You’ll find this versatile dish in both sweet and savoury forms: it can be served salty as a side with a meat dish, or sprinkled with breadcrumbs as a dessert. However, recent years have seen a variety of new flavours hit the market, with popular options including baked apple, carrot, mushroom, lemon and even chocolate and banana. Yum! This dish is unique to Ljubljana, so make sure to swing by the capital if you want to sample an authentic Štruklji.
Smørrebrød: Danish open-faced sandwich
If you consider sandwiches to be top-tier food, you’ll to be excited to try the Danish variation on the humble sarnie. The first and most important thing to know about Smørrebrød is that the sandwiches are open-faced - or ‘deconstructed’ as hipsters might term it. Your standard Smørrebrød combines buttered rye bread beneath some variation of eggs, cheese, meat and/or fish. Yet the foodies in Denmark haven’t left it there: newer incarnations of this national classic include red caviar, shrimp, and roast beef and horseradish. Top tip: while you’d never normally go at a classic sandwich with a knife and fork, when it comes to the Smørrebrød, cutlery is a must as it helps to keep all the ingredients intact for optimal enjoyment.
Cevapi: Bosnian sausage pittas
Cevapi is a delicious Balkans dish with a story. During the Ottoman occupation, those on the run from the regime would skewer these skinless mini sausages on sticks and cook them over campfires. Later, these sausages would become a hugely popular street food in the Balkans. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, they’ve been given a delicious twist. Here, the sausages are served on pittas and coated with kaymak: a creamy, cheesy dairy product similar to clotted cream. Some describe these Cevapi pitas as kebab-like, but we prefer to think of them as seriously upgraded sausage sandwiches. You’ll be able to find them in restaurants, but for a truly authentic dish, seek out a street food stall.
Barbajuan: Monaco’s salty-sweet treat
Although Barbajuan can be found in Italy and France these days too, Monaco is its true home. ‘Barbajuan’ means ‘Uncle John’ in Monégasque, and is especially eaten on 19 November, the National Day of Monaco. The consistency of the small appetiser falls somewhere between a fritter and a ravioli and, even better, the salty pastry is stuffed with ricotta, Swiss chard, spinach and caramelised leek. While this is the typical recipe, the filling can vary depending on where you dine. It can serve as a sumptuous starter, or act as a main, accompanied by a salad. Sounds delicious right?
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