Local Food Experiences in Europe
One of the best parts of traveling is sampling culturally unique foods from new places. The history and personality of an area is experienced in its flavors, and this is especially true in Europe. Below is a helpful overview of the culinary traditions and foods you’ll find on your Christian tour through Europe.
Culinary Traditions of the Czech Republic
Breakfast in the Czech Republic is traditionally served cold and consists of simple fare—often a slice of dark rye bread with butter and jam. As the traditional main meal of the day, lunch is more substantial and includes three courses. The first dish is hot soup, the second is meat (pork, duck or goose) sometimes a side-dish and the third is usually something sweet (and coffee) or a small vegetable salad. Dinner is most often comprised of light snacks. Popular beverages include Kofola (similar to Pepsi), Vinea (grape-based carbonated drink) and coffee.
Polévka, a hot soup usually served as the first course at lunch made from smoked meat, tripe or fish.
Knedlíky, steamed and sliced bread-like dumplings served with gravy. They can be wheat or potato based, and are sometimes made from a combination of wheat flour and stale bread or rolls.
Sauerkraut, a side dish of fermented cabbage.
Houbova Polevka Myslivecka, also known as Hunter’s mushroom soup, it’s made from local forest grown mushrooms, onions and bacon.
Culinary Traditions of England
The traditional English breakfast is called the ‘Full English’ sometimes referred to as ‘The Full English Fry-up’, it consists of eggs, bacon, sausages, fried bread, baked beans and mushrooms. Lunch is typically a sandwich, bag of chips, a piece of fruit and a drink. Sandwiches are also known as a ‘butty’ or ‘sarnie’ in some parts of the UK. A typical British meal for dinner is a meat and two vegetables with hot brown gravy, traditionally made from the juices of the roast meat. This gravy is eaten on the meat and usually the vegetables. Much of Modern British cooking also draws heavily on influences from Mediterranean cuisines, and more recently, Middle Eastern, South Asian, East Asian and Southeast Asian cuisines.
Bangers and Mash, is a traditional British dish made of mashed potatoes and sausages. It is sometimes served with onion gravy, fried onions, baked beans and peas.
Shepherd’s Pie, a meat pie with a crust of mashed potato.
Toad in the Hole, a traditional English dish consisting of sausages in Yorkshire pudding batter, usually served with vegetables and onion gravy.
Ploughman’s Lunch, a cold meal of cheese, chutney, and bread. The dish can also include such items as boiled eggs, ham, and pickled onions.
Culinary Traditions of France
Breakfast is traditionally a quick meal consisting of slices of bread with jelly or jam, along with coffee or tea, but a traditional full European breakfast will be available at the hotels. Lunch is typically a sandwich, followed with a dessert. Popular sandwiches are on baguettes, with the most traditional choices being cheese or ham and cheese. You may also be able to find boiled eggs, tuna, and salami as well. Dinner often consists of three courses, appetizer or sometimes soup, main course served with vegetables and potatoes or pasta, and a cheese course or dessert. The meal is often accompanied by mineral water and still water is available upon request.
Moules à la crème Normande, mussels cooked with white wine, Normandy cider, garlic and cream
Coq au vin, chicken braised in red wine, lardons and mushrooms
Pan-bagnat, sandwich with whole wheat bread, salad, hard boiled eggs, tomatoes, tuna or anchovies and olive oil
Ratatouille, a vegetable stew with olive oil, aubergine, courgette, bell pepper, tomato, onion and garlic
Culinary Traditions of Germany
Breakfast is light, usually toast or bread with cold meats and cheeses. Lunch is the perfect opportunity to go to local butchers and bakeries that sell sandwiches and other take-out food or visit stalls that offer traditional snacks (sausage and frites). A typical German dinner (main meal) consists of meat, potatoes (or noodles) accompanied by a salad or vegetables. Modern German cuisine can be a bit lighter and influenced by other European countries like Italy and France. Popular beverages include Apfelwein (apple cider), coffee and tea.
Döner Kebab, a Turkish lamb or chicken stuffed into bread, similar to Greek Gyros.
Bratwurst, a sausage usually composed of chopped veal, pork or beef which is then grilled, pan fried or cooked in broth or beer. Most commonly they are served in a Brötchen (white bread roll made from wheat flour) and eaten with hot German mustard.
Pommes Frites, fresh fried potatoes that are crunchy on the outside, soft inside and fried twice. They are dipped in exotic mustards and mayonnaise, drowned in vinegar, curry sauce, or peanut satay sauce.
Koenigsberger Klopse, literally means “meatballs from Koenigsberg” and are made from minced pork served in a white sauce with capers and rice or potatoes.
Culinary Traditions of Switzerland
There is a wide assortment of bread rolls available and many Swiss enjoy bread and cheese for breakfast. The main meal of the day is lunch which consists of various meat and potato dishes with a green vegetable or salad. Dinner is also a light snack of bread and cheese followed by delicious rich Swiss chocolate. Popular beverages include Rivella (soft drink), apple juice (and cider), and Ovomaltine (known in the USA as Ovaltine).
Raclette, melted cheese with boiled potatoes, small gherkins and pickled onions.
Rӧsti, a favorite potato dish with layers of sliced potatoes and swiss cheese browned into a pie shape.
Zürcher Geschnetzeltes, thin strips of veal with mushrooms in a cream sauce.
Älplermagronen (Alpine herdsman’s macaroni), an all-in-one dish with macaroni, potatoes, onions, small pieces of bacon, and melted cheese.
Each morning you can expect a European full breakfast which includes traditional choices such as eggs, a selection of breakfast meats including bacon and ham, fresh fruit, a variety of breads and fruit juices. In addition breakfast typically includes an assortment of cold cuts and cheeses, muesli, cooked mushrooms and roasted tomatoes. Lunches include a variety of options from buffets to intimate restaurant experiences. For dinner, you can expect large buffets which offer a nice blend of cultural choices and traditional food with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. The water is safe to drink, and bottled water is available throughout Europe. Coffee and juices are served at breakfast; all other meals offer water though additional beverages can be purchased.
Special Dietary Needs
If you have a specific food allergy or special dietary needs, we recommend that you plan for your unique needs in advance of your trip. For the most part you will find enough variety on the buffets or in restaurants for all meals to enjoy the foods of the region while still maintaining your diet. You may want to bring some heat resistant snacks to supplement your diet during touring days.
For more information please call one of our Reservation Coordinators at 800 247 1899, Monday through Friday between 8:30am-5:00pm, Pacific Time.