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We could sit here all day and wax lyrical about the benefits of an authentic French onion soup for the soul, a Neapolitan pizza to lift your spirits, or a sunny day in Portugal bookended by a golden and flaky custard tart…well, just because they are delicious and addictive. But the chances are you have been there, done that and bought the recipe book. So today we would like to shine the spotlight on some major culinary contenders around Europe’s dining table that we feel may have been slightly overlooked. We’ve taken an example from Northern, Central and Southern Europe, so gastronomic adventurers, take note – Your tastebuds are in for a treat.

Starting at the Finnish

The Finnish menu is a seasonal celebration of locally sourced ingredients. Expect warming soups, potatoes and salmon with lashings of dill, pies stuffed with bright berries and the stalwart of the Scandinavian cuisine that is rye bread slathered with butter and taken morning, noon or night.

There are also unexpected specialties that set the Finns apart from their neighbours. Halloumi-like Leipäjuusto, for example, is baked over an open fire and eaten with cloudberry jam, producing a satisfying squeak. Christmas lovers may want to avoid Poronkäristys, but vitamin-rich and tender sautéed reindeer meat can be found served alongside creamy mashed potato at any time of year. Sorry Rudolph, but it’s absolutely irresistible.

More on Finnish cuisine: https://www.novasol.co.uk/holidayhome/finland/cuisine

Accommodation in Europe: www.novasol.co.uk

Polish your meal off

The Poles have one of the most comforting, indulgent cuisines and proof of the pudding is in the Pierogi. These plump, pillow-like morsels filled with ground mince and topped with crispy fried onions are practically sacred in Poland. Unlimited to the savoury sphere, Pierogi can even transcend the boundaries of the menu when eaten for dessert with sweet berries and dressed in cream.

Smoked meats and cabbage also feature largely in the typical Polish diet. From Kie?basa and Sauerkraut to Bigos and Go??bki, these ingredients make for very hearty and flavourful fare. Veggies, fear not! There are also plenty of meat-free menu options, including crisp potato pancakes, vegetable soups and a whole host of baked goods.

More on Polish cuisine: https://www.novasol.co.uk/holidayhome/poland/cuisine

Accommodation in Europe: www.novasol.co.uk

Love thy neighbour

Slovenia’s largely landlocked geographical position means traditional cuisine there has familiar elements shared with Italian, Austrian, Hungarian and Croatian gastronomy. The landscape, which includes mountains, fields and even a small Adriatic coastline, offers an enviable bounty. You’ll find everything from mushroom soup served in a hollowed out bread loaf, to dandelion and egg salad (don’t knock it until you’ve tried it).

Pasta lovers, we’d also like to introduce you to Žlikrofi – dainty dough parcels stuffed with herby meat and doused in rich rabbit or mutton sauce. Meanwhile the Slovenian charcuterie is nothing to be scoffed at: wind-cured Prosciutto (Pršut), sharply pickled turnips (Kisla repa) and a plethora of impressive cheeses grace the table.

More on Slovenian cuisine: https://www.novasol.co.uk/holidayhome/slovenia/cuisine

Accommodation in Europe: www.novasol.co.uk

Where to stay

The most seasoned food fanatics will know that the best way to get to the heart of a national cuisine is to pack your bags and make the pilgrimage. Whether your Mecca is a particular market, a backstreet restaurant or a vineyard, our number one tip is to book a villa or apartment right in the centre of the action. Our friends at www.novasol.co.uk have over 50,000 holiday homes all across Europe, so you’ll find the perfect base with them for your tasty travels.

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