European cuisine


European cuisine


European cuisine, sometimes referred to as Western or continental cuisine, is an umbrella term for the diverse cuisines of Europe, as well as the European-influenced cuisines of North America, Australia, Oceania and Latin America. European cuisines vary considerably from country to country, from region to region - from living conditions, cultural traditions and food preferences - yet they share a "European", continental origin. Despite the differences - common to European cuisine are the abundance of meat and vegetable dishes, as well as the secondary role of various seasonings and sauces in cooking (due to the characteristic desire to preserve the true flavour of components), the abundance of products with wheat flour. In addition, often before the consumption of a particular dish is consumed "aperitif" - quality alcoholic beverages that help to increase appetite and improve digestion. Eggs are widely used in European cuisine - fried, boiled, as one of the ingredients of flour dishes, and even as a base for some drinks. Throughout the centuries, integration processes have been observed - in the course of which dishes from different European cuisines find approval and admirers in countries characterised by other cuisine traditions. European cuisine can be divided into Central European, Eastern European, Northern European, Southern European and Western European cuisines.

Aperol, a popular aperitif in Italy, awakens the appetite, which allows you to feel the flavour and gastronomic properties of dishes more acutely


Central European cuisine

Central European cuisine usually includes Czech, Hungarian, Polish, Romanian, Slovak and Slovenian cuisines, although German and Austrian cuisines are sometimes included. For example, Austrian and Czech cuisines are similar. Czechs, as well as Austrians, consider steaks, chops, goulash borrowed from Hungarians as the main traditional food. Germany and the Czech Republic have become trendsetters for good beer. And who does not know apple strudel or Bavarian sausages? Let's also remember the contribution of Austria, which spread such an invigorating and tonic miracle as coffee to the Old World. Central European countries are also characterised by very high quality and tasty pastries and the widespread use of various fruit liqueurs and infusions.

Roast pork with dumplings (a boiled product made of dough or potatoes in the form of a ball or loaf) and cabbage - a traditional Czech dish


Eastern European cuisine

Apart from the well-known Russian, Ukrainian and Belarusian cuisines, Eastern European cuisine also includes Armenian, Georgian, Moldavian, Bulgarian, Tatar and Crimean Tatar cuisines. All these cuisines are rather united by territorial principle. For example, Belarusian, Moldavian, Western and Central Ukrainian cuisines, as well as the cuisines of some western regions of Russia, were formed in very close connection with Central European cuisine. At the same time, the spicier, more spicy cuisine of Transcaucasia, Bulgaria or, for example, the Crimean Tatars is connected with the influence of Eastern (Asian cuisine), primarily Turkish, as well as some southern European countries.

Cabbage patties are traditional in the cuisine of the Eastern Slavs

One of the dishes of Georgian cuisine - khachapuri in Adjarski style.


Northern European cuisine

North-European cuisine, as a rule, refers to the cuisines of Britain - English, Scottish, Welsh, Irish; Baltic - Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian; Scandinavia - Danish, Finnish, Swedish and Norwegian; also often to the North-European cuisine refer to the cuisine of northern peoples: Sami, Nenets, Nganasans, Dolgans, Evenks, Yakuts, etc., calling them polar cuisine.


The most unifying factor for the countries belonging to the North European cuisine is the wide use of fish and seafood in dishes. For Scandinavians, seafood in general forms the basis of cuisine. Almost every day on the table of Danes, Swedes, Finns and Norwegians there is fish. Salads, first and second courses are prepared from fish.

A traditional Norwegian dish is lefse (Norwegian pancakes) with rakfisk fish, onion rings and sour cream


Apart from seafood, the cuisine of the Baltic peoples traditionally uses the gifts of local nature very extensively. Rye, barley, rutabaga, cabbage, peas, mushrooms and forest berries (mainly blueberries, lingonberries and cranberries), fish (herring, Baltic herring, snapper, burbot and pike) - these are the main components of Baltic cuisine.


Of particular importance for Baltic cuisine has been the influence of German cuisine. Although Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian cuisines have only partially adopted the composition of German dishes, they have largely learnt the technology of German cuisine. Hence the predominantly boiled rather than fried, unleavened rather than spicy or spicy dishes in the Baltic cuisines, where butter, cream, milk or sour cream are most often used as seasonings.


A large number of cereal, potato, flour and other starch-containing dishes (e.g. kisel, bread soups, pastry), as well as the use of pork sausages and the use of beer as a component of dishes are other common features of all Baltic cuisines.

Cold Lithuanian borscht


British cuisine has established a reputation for not being overly refined but paying attention to the quality of ingredients, which are usually locally sourced. The sauces and condiments of traditional British cooking are also relatively simple and are used to accentuate the natural flavour of food rather than alter it. During Britain's heyday as a colonial power, British cuisine was heavily influenced by the cookery of 'overseas' countries, most notably India.

English Sunday roast consisting of roast beef, roast potatoes, vegetables and Yorkshire pudding


Southern European cuisine

In terms of the number of peoples and countries belonging to it, Southern European cuisine is perhaps the most extensive. It brings together the traditions of numerous southern peoples and ethnicities from all the countries and provinces of the Mediterranean, including the islands. Among the most popular and influential are Greek, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Serbian, Croatian and Turkish cuisines. Each of these cuisines is very colourful and diverse, and is the subject of separate articles and even books. The most important unifying factor for the cuisines of southern Europe is the Mediterranean coastline, which is generous in sunshine, warmth and moisture. In addition, the Mediterranean Sea has historically served as a bridge connecting European, Asian and African cultures and, in particular, cuisines. The abundance of seafood, various, including exotic, fruits and vegetables, meat, cereals, cheese and other dairy products, the cult of olive oil and various wines, various sweets and nuts inherited from the East - all this has put the cuisines of the peoples of the European Mediterranean in the rank of the most favourite and revered all over the world.

Greek salad

Souvlaki - Greek kebabs

Sicilian marzipan (a mixture of almonds ground into flour and powdered sugar syrup) fruit


Western European cuisine

French, Belgian, Dutch and Swiss cuisines, and sometimes German and Austrian cuisines are categorised as Western European cuisine. As much as German and Austrian cuisines are historically closely related to the cuisines of Central European countries, French cuisine, one of the most revered in the world, has borrowed the traditions of the above-mentioned southern Mediterranean countries. But, at the same time, French cuisine is quite unique and unrepeatable. Conventionally, it can be divided into two main branches - regional folk and refined aristocratic.


Regional cuisine includes dishes that have been cooked for centuries by the inhabitants of different historical regions of the country. Aristocratic French cuisine was formed at the Bourbon court, when Paris became the trendsetter of the world. Its unique dishes were characterised by variety and sophistication.


A traditional French meal may start with appetisers, followed by soup, then main course, salad and cheese. The meal is rounded off with dessert or fruit. The main dessert is cheese, of which there are more than 200 varieties. It was in France that such a dish as soup with clear broth was formed. A special pride of the French is wine. The kings of French wines are Bordeaux and Burgundy. Cognac is also world famous.


The French have an offensive nickname "frog people", thanks to their use of frog legs, but this dish is more of a delicacy than an everyday meal, and is not served in all restaurants. France is the largest importer of frogs from Asian countries for consumption.

French "frog" delicacy


Swiss cuisine is closely related to French and Italian as well as German cuisine. But it is world-famous (as well as Dutch cuisine) thanks to its magnificent cheeses.

Famous Swiss cheeses


Such a classification is rather conditional and is made, rather, on the territorial principle. Nevertheless, physical proximity and historical ties have greatly influenced the formation of this classification of European cuisines. To get a detailed idea of the national cuisines of different European nations, we suggest you visit our pages specifically dedicated to the cuisines of different European countries.

Neapolitan pizza