Whether you’re seeking culture, adventure or ambience, a day exploring Europe is best topped off with an exquisite dessert. Each country boasts its own sweet masterpieces, and without an insider tip you may pass by the most life-changing tastes without ever realising it.
These are just a few of the wonderfully indulgent desserts that you may sample as part of your European excursion; they’re aromatic, appetising, and waiting to be pulled out of the oven just for you.
Wachauer Marillenknödel - Apricot dumplings
Knödel is the word for dumpling, marillen means apricot, and Wachau is a region on the River Danube that produces the most luscious peaches in the country. These little bundles of delight contain a freshly pitted peach stuffed with a sugar cube and then encased in a dough mixture that contains potato or cheese curds, depending on the family recipe. Fluffy and wholesomely sweet, the marillenknödel are best eaten fresh with a dusting of powdered sugar.
Kluski z Makiem - Pasta with poppy seeds
This is a traditional Polish meal served during supper on Christmas Eve to promote prosperity for the coming year. Served warm, kluski z makiem consists of pasta, finely ground poppy seeds, honey and a variety of dried fruits and nuts.
Kürtőskalács - Chimney cake
Sweet, yeasty dough is spun around a baking spit, coated with sugar and then roasted over charcoal while being drenched with a melted butter. It was traditionally a festive treat, but is now enjoyed every day. Variations are rolled in cocoa, cinnamon or nuts, and sweet, crispy strands of pastry pull apart perfectly for sharing.
Buchty - Sweet, soft buns
Originating in Bohemia, these incredibly fluffy rolls are akin to the scone and can be pumped full of plum jam, doused with vanilla sauce or eaten plain, straight out of the oven. Served either as a dessert or a main dish, these buns feature frequently in Czech fairytales, in which the hero would often pack a lunch of buchty before setting out on an adventure.
Eccles Cake - Sultana and pastry cake
These indulgent bites are named for the northern town of Eccles, where the cakes were first peddled on the street back in 1793. Bursting with butter and sweet sultanas, this flaky pastry makes a fantastic couple with the iconic cup of English tea. Keep an eye out for the authentic type – slightly squashed looking and shining with buttery goodness.
Île Flottante - Floating meringue
Translated literally as ‘floating island’, Île flottante is a creamy delight comprised of airy meringue nuggets swimming in a thin custard. There are variations that toy with cookies and jam, but the original is simply sprinkled with chopped nuts, chocolate flakes or drizzled with caramel sauce.
Torrija - Deep-fried sugar bread
Similar to French toast but uniquely flavoursome, the torrija is a stale piece of bread that has been soaked in sweet wine or milk overnight, and then fried up in a batter of beaten egg. Modern twists on this traditional Easter dish include a chocolate coated or honey drenched torrija, a treat that is marvellously easy to make at home.
Salame de Chocolate - Chocolate salami
Named for the shape rather than the ingredients, the salame de chocolate is a roll of crushed cookies, butter, eggs, chocolate and fortified wine. If the cutesy appearance doesn’t tickle your fancy then the flavours and textures certainly will – you can’t really go wrong with a mixture of the ingredients above. The slices will be firm when served cold, but eventually thaw to become a rich, fudgy mouthful.
Engadiner Nusstorte - Nut tart
Switzerland’s very own nutty tart originated in Graubünden, which is a hotspot for world-class bakeries, each with their own jealously-guarded nusstorte recipe. Caramelised sugar, walnuts and cream make up the rich filling, and one slice is all you need to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Sfogliatella Napoletana - Filled, flaky pastry
Delicate waves of airy pastry overlap to form the shell of this historic Italian treat, which has its roots in a Campania convent. Stuffed with a sweet semolina, ricotta and candied orange peel filling, this is a delicacy that is imitated around the world but is at its best when purchased fresh from a bakery in Naples.
Insight Vacations offers Authentic Dining Experiences as a key feature of their tours, because they know that any true exploration includes an insight into the local cuisine. Travel Associates is currently offering some great specials for Insight Vacation's range of European tours. Get in touch with your local consultant today and start planning a sweet escape!