The roaring fire, the smell of deep dark sauces stewing away and a glass of wine while the snow (or rain) trickles down from above. This is the time of year when it’s OK to stay in and snuggle up to your warm plate or bowl of extra warming food.
But what is the best thing to eat over winter? Like our foodie trips showcase, Europe is blessed with so many different but complementing food cultures that there is a dish for everyone and every occasion.
We think bears have it right and winter is the perfect time to stock up on carbs for the months ahead! Read on for our thoughts on the best comfort foods in Europe…
Warning: you may salivate and waistlines may expand….
We can’t really start a blog about food without mentioning France at the start can we?! The cassoulet is a favourite of ours and when we’re in Paris over winter is one of the first things we seek out for a hearty meal. Originally from the Languedoc region it is a stew made from beans, meat and sausages. It’s long prep and cooking times is comfortingly apt in this case.
French Onion Soup
A winter classic that has crossed over to the mainstream. Available at all Alpine huts when skiing or snowboarding as well as fine dining restaurants in London, New York and Melbourne. There are a few variations with some suggesting a slice of bread on the top and others with it gratinéed to create a crusty layer of cheese. Further proof that melted cheese makes everything better!
Staying with cheese (as if we needed encouragement), we have the Swiss to thank for this yummy dish that ticks all the boxes - shareable, cheesey and adaptable. Common on the mountain ranges of Europe, a large wheel of firm cheese, Raclette is usually cut in half and then melted, before being enjoyed with a range of different accompaniments like potatoes, pickles, tomatoes, ham and cured meat. Best eaten beside an open fire and a glass of glühwein!
When it comes to picture postcard shots of Italy, there are lots of places you could go! The Lombardy region in the north of the country is home to one of the most beautiful lakes in the world, let alone Italy - Lake Como! The Bellagio in winter is very festive and although northern Italy has an abundance of filling comfort food (hello panetonne 😋), for us it’s the soft, thick and doughy dumplings that gets top billing. An Italian staple since Roman times, it perfectly compliments both creamy and meaty sauces which keeps you full through the winter nights.
These German egg noodles are the perfect winter food that you can swap your pasta, noodles or carbs out for! Their doughy & springy structure absorbs all the juice, broth or stew that you pair it with. Due to the load of dough in it, they will definitely fill you up for the night & make you sleepy - which is a dreamy way to say night, night…
Perhaps not one to eat before going out in Berlin for the night!
We could have gone on and on with this list and there are many dishes we could have added - Boeuf Bourguignon, Schnitzel, pizza and strudel to name just a few - but maybe we’ll leave that for another time!
What would you add? What is your favourite winter comfort food?
If this has got you hungry for more, check out our foodie trips around Europe where you travel with your tastebuds 😋