Typical European Foods

We invite you to learn a little about the history of European gastronomy and the typical foods of each country. Take note, surely you are interested in some!
Typical foods of Europe

In this article, we suggest you take a trip without leaving home; a journey of flavors, as they say. Next, we present you the typical foods of Europe and what are their magical ingredients that make them stand out internationally.

When we imagine the typical gastronomy of a city, region, country or even an entire continent, we are immediately transported to that place. By tasting these exquisite and varied flavors, we take a trip without having been physically transported. If you have the possibility to go and try those delicious dishes, go ahead! It will be a sensational experience.

Europe has 50 countries, so it is difficult to talk about all of them at one time. However, each country is unique and has typical foods that characterize it. Therefore, we will only mention the traditional dishes of some countries. In addition, we will know a little about the history of European cuisine.

Northern European gastronomy

In northern Europe there are harsh and cold climates, so that the fields for cultivation and raising livestock are scarce. The origin of northern Europeans dates back to the Viking era, and since then, their food has been typical of their climate and situation.

Those foods were fish, those obtained from hunting, and farmed meats, such as sheep, pigs, goats, cows, and poultry. In addition, they grew vegetables and gathered berries and fruits.

Meat is a typical food of northern Europe.

Legumes, cheeses, butter and ‘skyr’ —a thick milk, similar to yogurt— were also important in their meals . Sour milk continues to play a leading role today.

On the other hand, Central European cuisine uses cereals, potatoes and cabbages a lot, among other vegetables, since they have more land available for cultivation. Nordic, Baltic and Central European cuisine share a strong and caloric cuisine.

Some of its typical dishes or ingredients most used are pork and game meats, smoked fish —such as salmon, herring, eel and cod—, sour cream and yogurt sauces, butter, rye and fermented, marinated and smoked foods.

Mediterranean gastronomy

Olive oil, bread and wine have been three staples of food in this area for 5000 years. Later, vegetables, fruits and cereals were combined to complete the well-known Mediterranean diet.

Main ingredients of the Mediterranean diet.

Egypt, being a Mediterranean country – although not European – began to make beer and bread, developed beekeeping and incorporated fishing. The Egyptians cultivated vineyards, wheat, legumes, vegetables, and fruits. Likewise, Greece was influenced by Egyptian gastronomy and they began to make dishes with some of these ingredients.

In addition, the Roman era shaped the character of Mediterranean cuisine by providing products and techniques from those countries they conquered. The influence of the Arabs in Spain contributed to its gastronomy and the irrigation system for crops. The latter, together with Turkey, provided spices, nuts, new fruits, and seasonings.

With the conquest of the Europeans to the American lands, new products also came, such as potatoes, corn, tomato, peppers, strawberries, pineapple, turkey, avocado, chocolate, etc. This, together with the aforementioned, added new flavors and ways of cooking to Mediterranean Europe.

Typical foods of Europe

Now, let’s move on to the long-awaited: the typical foods of Europe. Take note if you are attracted to one of these dishes to make at home or to try it when you visit one of these countries!


Italian food represents a true delicacy. They use a lot of vegetables, fruits, meats, fish, rice, pasta and breads. Their pastas, their pizza, their risotto and some desserts, such as tiramisu and ice cream, which they call gelato, are world famous.

Pizza plate, one of the typical foods of Italy.


We cannot talk about Spanish gastronomy without mentioning paella, a rice-based recipe that is cooked in a pan along with other ingredients — such as vegetables, chicken or seafood. In addition, the Spanish omelette, Galician octopus and ham, among others, are very present.


Some typical dishes are prepared with cheese of different varieties, such as raclette , tartiflette or fondue . We also have crepes or ratatouille – a recipe that many of us met in the animated film of the same name. On the other hand, the French bakery is internationally known as one of the best. Bon appétit!

United Kingdom

Some of their typical dishes are fish and chips (traditional in Yorkshire); the English Breakfast (typical English breakfast with eggs, bacon , mushrooms, toast and sausages); the roast beef or haggis, typical of Scotland. Also, a British tradition is tea time at five in the afternoon.


The characteristic ingredient, as we saw before, is olive oil, present in many dishes. Lamb, sheep, kid and poultry meat predominate.

The best known foods are the musaca, a kind of lasagna based on aubergines, or the gyros , which is meat roasted in the oven vertically.

Moussaka in Athens
Moussaka – Tina H / Flickr.com


The typical German dish consists of meat, potatoes, sauce with vegetables or salads. Its gastronomy has had a lot of influence from France and Italy. Some typical foods are rinderroulade , pork browning, pork knuckle or currywurst.


As in France, raclette is a typical dish. So are the Älplermagronen —alpine macaroni with apple compote—, the loin with rösti , the cheese fondue or the gefülte alphnörn.

Likewise, it should be noted that Swiss chocolate is known worldwide. Therefore, if you travel to this country, something you have to try yes or yes is chocolate.


Many of their dishes are soups or contain meats. Among the soups, we have the borsch , made from vegetables, especially beet; the uja , salmon or cod soup with potatoes; or the shchi , which is a soup with cabbage and meat. Other foods are shashlyk (prepared with meat and onion), palmeni, and red or black caviar.

Do not miss the opportunity to taste these dishes!

By way of conclusion, we can say that typical European foods are very varied, rich and almost endless. With so many countries, it is difficult to stop at each one of them, but of one thing we are sure: each place has its unique culture, including its typical foods.

We have seen a little which are the most used ingredients, why they were incorporated into its gastronomy and, in addition, we have presented you with a short list of the most traditional dishes.

Now you know what you can try when you visit any of these countries, or you can encourage yourself to try some of these dishes at home by making it yourself!

Traveling with the palate: 5 Italian pasta recipes

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button