When we started researching for our list of the most iconic dishes around the world, the goal was to unveil the things that travelers simply had to eat when visiting a region. Here are the dishes we found that seemed to really define the quintessential culinary landscape of Europe.
Of course, Europe is a big continent made up of intricacies big and small, but from pâté de foie gras to currywurst, we took a look at the most iconic and popular foods that make that part of the world turn. Dishes of all shapes and colors made this list, from schnitzel in Austria to frikadeller in Denmark and from mille feuille in France to Irish colcannon, revealing more than just the distinct tastes of their home countries — these dishes often touch on the histories and cultures of the countries they represent. And of course, what got them on this list in the first place are the debates and passions they’ve ignited in locals.
So take this list as an overview to the culinary makeup of Europe as you make your way there this spring and summer. These are the things you’ll want to try upon arriving and use as a jumping off point for sampling even more uniquely regional meals — whether it’s discovering the mouthwatering simplicity of a dish like spaghetti al pomodoro in Italy or asking as few questions as possible before tucking into a plate of the unknown anywhere from Macedonia to Malta.
We’d love to know if you’ve tried any (or all?) of these dishes, or even if you have nominations for iconic meals you think we missed.