Europe’s Finest Summer Dishes

Post Thumbnail

Summer has landed! Open those blinds, retire that raincoat (joking, this is the UK), and step outside to experience longer days and warmer nights.

As we all know, nothing screams summer more than gathering your nearest and dearest to spend an evening incinerating sausages. The summer BBQ, a rite of passage for any individual hopeful for the coming months. Let’s be honest, our love of discovering and consuming food is one of the main reasons we ever set sail; some reports suggest that our ancestors were importing and trading food up to 4,000 years ago!

With this in mind, and in lieu of today’s celebrated National Cream Tea Day – a day to butter, slather and dollop to your hearts content – I endeavour to take you through the best summer dishes that Europe has to offer.

Sicilian Pasta



View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Cucine d’Italia (@cucineditalia) on

The beauty of Italy is that every region has a unique and multi-faceted food scene. Head to Umbria for tagliatelle with truffles and wild boar, to Naples for napoletana, and Calabria for a macaroni concoction including eggplant, pork and ricotta. Palermo’s street food market, Mercato del Capo, is where you can find both the bizarre and the beautiful. From deep fried, cheese stuffed arancini to stigghiola (intestines on a skewer), this lively city of Arabian influence will have you asking for more – I mean, other than the entrail sticks. When in Sicily, you must also try its signature pasta con le sarde. Sit on a sun terrace, order yourself an Aperol, and dive into this spaghetti-based dish which includes sardines, fennel and juicy sultanas. True summer bliss.

French Pastries

The tiny town of Menton, which stands on the French side of the Franco-Italian border, is said to produce the best tarte au citron in all the country. Every year the local community gathers together to celebrate the beauty of the lemon by adorning banners with citrus fruits and parading the streets fuelled by zesty snacks and gallons of wine. Pull up a pew in the French Riviera this summer season and delight in this dessert’s perfect balance between the sweet pastry crust and refreshingly zingy filling. Treat your body to some vitamin D while gobbling up that vitamin C.

Andalusian Gazpacho



View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Ilaria & Serena (@una_cucina_a_pois) on

Would any overview of summery European dishes be complete without a mention of gazpacho? Many a guffawing hater will say, “it’s just cold soup”. Yes, it is essentially cold soup, but it is by no means laughable. This bodacious little number has mentions as far back as ancient Greek and Roman literature and is arguably the most celebrated national dish of Spain. In the southernmost region of España, Andalusia, people pride themselves on their gazpacho recipes. Considering its geographical position teetering on the edge of that equator, people of southern Spain need the refreshing, flavoursome properties that gazpacho provides. If you head to Seville be sure to grab some cold soup, croutons, and a pitcher of sangria, then sit in the sunshine and savour its sweet simplicity.

Swedish Gravlax



View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Kristen Rasmussen (@rootedfood) on

Contemporary Swedish cuisine has its roots in the days of the Vikings. The fermentation, dehydration and pickling of food was once used in preparation for long sea voyages and even now these methods still have a stronghold over this vibrant country. The Swedish smörgåsbord is the OG of the buffet world; expect everything from pickled herrings to cinnamon buns, kroppkakor (potato dumplings) to an egg and anchovy mix called Gubbröra. Of special note is is gravlax: a quintessentially Nordic dish of cured salmon best served with dill and potato salad – it’s light enough for those hot summer months and ideal with a glass of snaps.

Athenian Figs



View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Punica Sadece Nar Europe (@punicanareurope) on

The humble fig has a not-so humble backstory. It is amongst some of the world’s first consumed fruit, believed to be over 2,000 years old! This glorious little syconium originally made a mammoth journey from Northern Asia to the Mediterranean in the backpacks of Greeks and Romans. It also possesses a few cheeky mentions in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. Take to the streets of Athens this summer and dine like a true Grecian with a fig and feta salad or just sweet honeyed figs.

British Cream Tea



View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Forever Home (@forever.cottage) on

In the red corner we have Cornwall, and in the blue, we have Devonshire; In the deciding round of, ‘who serves the best cream tea?! It’s a competition that will never meet its grizzly end as we all secretly love indulging in that time-consuming cream over jam debate. For now, let’s just celebrate the glory that is the light and fluffy scone, laced with juicy currants and slathered with lashings of clotted cream and sweet strawberry jam (in whichever order you prefer) – alongside a steaming teapot, of course. Journey to the South West of England for your opportunity to load up on ammunition (sugary treats) for the next instalment of cream tea wars.