A Menu of Central Europe's Essential Eats with Collette
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Meals are so often the highlight of a trip. Besides the basic need to eat, simply trying foods from countries and cultures other than one’s own satisfies another craving – for a connection to the places we travel. And so, when taking a tour through Central European countries, ample opportunities are on the table. Eat up every chance to experience the unique and overlapping cultures and traditions by tasting the staples of the region.
Across Central Europe, many traditional dishes are simple and hearty (and delicious). Meals built around meats and starches were once vital in the face of harsh winters. Across Germany and Austria, sausages are the name of the game. Rich cheeses and dairy-derived delicacies are the thing in Switzerland. Across this region, you’ll find the dessert game is on point.
What follows is a menu of items you may encounter over the course of a trip through Central and Eastern Europe. May your curiosity and cravings to sample each country’s cuisine serve you well!
Starter: Polish Pierogi
Photo: A plate of Poland’s famous Polish Pierogi.
These filled, fried dumplings are a Polish specialty. Try some, or better yet, learn how to make your own pierogies, too, during a cooking lesson in Wroclaw.
Where to try it: Wroclaw, Poland
Main Course: Schnitzel
Photo: The delicious Schnitzel served to perfection
A tender, breaded pork cutlet is the common form in Germany. Or in Austria, a traditional wiener schnitzel is made with veal.
Where to try it: Berlin, Germany and throughout the region
Photo: Charles Bridge in Prague, Czech Republic.
Roasted pork knuckle, served with red cabbage and horseradish. This Prague pub specialty is crisp on the outside, tender on the inside.
Where to try it: Prague, Czech Republic
Photo: Mazel Tov restaurant in Budapest, Hungary.
A most-traditional dish of stewed meat and vegetables, proudly served with a helping of history. Gulyás, as it’s called locally, originated as a meal cooked over an open fire by Hungarian shepherds.
Where to try it: Budapest, Hungary
Photo: Sachertorte served at the Sacher Hotel Vienna.
An iconic chocolate cake, invented for an Austrian prince. Don’t let a slice pass you by as you explore the sights, sounds, and flavours of Vienna.
Photo: An Austrian strudel made with chocolate, apples, and nuts.
A sweet, layered pastry, considered the national dish of Austria. Sample and compare throughout the region, or let locals teach you to make it during a community-hosted lunch in Dunaalmas, Hungary on your Imperial Cities tour.
Drinks: Swiss Wines
Photo: A cocktail being served in Switzerland with mountain views.
Best sipped while surrounded by vineyards and chatting with some winery owners. Let your Swiss rail journey whisk you to the Lavaux Vineyard Terraces (UNESCO).
Where to try it: Lavaux, Switzerland
Photo: A breathtaking view of the sun setting in Cologne.
While cruising along the Rhine, dip into a Cologne Brauhaus and sip a crisp, cool Kölsch beer in the place it originated.
Where to try it: Cologne, Germany