European cuisine

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Spanish paella
French baguette
Italian pasta

European or western cuisine is the cuisines of Europe[1] and other Western countries,[2] including the cuisines brought to other countries by European settlers and colonists. Sometimes the term "European", or more specifically "continental" cuisine, is used to refer more strictly to the cuisine of the western parts of mainland Europe.

East Asians contrast Western cuisine with Asian styles of cooking,[3] the way Westerners refer to the varied cuisines of East Asia as Asian cuisine.

Grilled steak

The cuisines of Western countries are diverse, although there are common characteristics that distinguish them from those of other regions.[4] Compared with traditional cooking of East Asia, meat is more prominent and substantial in serving size.[5] Steak and cutlet in particular are common dishes across the West.[dubious ] Western cuisines also emphasize grape wine[dubious ] and sauces as condiments, seasonings, or accompaniments (in part due to the difficulty of seasonings penetrating the often larger pieces of meat used in Western cooking). Many dairy products are utilised in cooking.[6] There are hundreds of varieties of cheese and other fermented milk products. White wheat-flour bread has long been the prestige starch, but historically, most people ate bread, flatcakes, or porridge made from rye, spelt, barley, and oats.[7][8] The better-off also made pasta, dumplings and pastries. The potato has become a major starch plant in the diet of Europeans and their diaspora since the European colonisation of the Americas. Maize is much less common in most European diets than it is in the Americas; however, corn meal (polenta or mămăligă) is a major part of the cuisine of Italy and the Balkans. Although flatbreads (especially with toppings such as pizza or tarte flambée) and rice are eaten in Europe, they are only staple foods in limited areas, particularly in Southern Europe. Salads (cold dishes with uncooked or cooked vegetables with sauce) are an integral part of European cuisine.

Formal European dinners are served in distinct courses. European presentation evolved from service à la française, or bringing multiple dishes to the table at once, into service à la russe, where dishes are presented sequentially. Usually, cold, hot and savoury, and sweet dishes are served strictly separately in this order, as hors d'oeuvre (appetizer) or soup, as entrée and main course, and as dessert. Dishes that are both sweet and savoury were common earlier in Ancient Roman cuisine, but are today uncommon, with sweet dishes being served only as dessert. A service where the guests are free to take food by themselves is termed a buffet, and is usually restricted to parties or holidays. Nevertheless, guests are expected to follow the same pattern.

Historically, European cuisine has been developed in the European royal and noble courts. European nobility was usually arms-bearing and lived in separate manors in the countryside. The knife was the primary eating implement (cutlery), and eating steaks and other foods that require cutting followed. In contrast in the Sinosphere, the where ruling class were the court officials, who had their food cut ready to eat in the kitchen, to be eaten with chopsticks. The knife was supplanted by the spoon for soups, while the fork was introduced later in the early modern period, ca. 16th century. Today, most dishes are intended to be eaten with cutlery and only a few finger foods can be eaten with the hands in polite company.



Early modern era[edit]

In the early modern era, European cuisine saw an influx of new ingredients due to the Columbian Exchange, such as the potato, tomato, eggplant, chocolate, bell pepper, and pumpkins and other squash. Distilled spirits, along with tea, coffee, and chocolate were all popularized during this time. In the 1780s, the idea of the modern restaurant was introduced in Paris; the French Revolution accelerated its development, quickly spreading around Europe.

Central European cuisines[edit]

All of these countries have their specialities.[9] Austria is famous for their Wiener Schnitzel - a breaded veal cutlet served with a slice of lemon, the Czech Republic for their world renowned beers. Germany for their world-famous wursts, Hungary for their goulash. Slovakia is famous for their gnocchi-like Halusky pasta. Slovenia for their German and Italian influenced cuisine, Poland for their world-famous Pierogis which are a cross between a Ravioli and an Empanada. Liechtenstein and German speaking Switzerland are famous for their Rösti and French speaking Switzerland for their fondue and Raclettes.

Eastern European/Caucasian cuisines[edit]

Northern European cuisines[edit]

Southern European cuisines[edit]

Western European cuisines[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Culinary Cultures of Europe: Identity, Diversity and Dialogue. Council of Europe.
  2. ^ "European Cuisine." Accessed July 2011.
  3. ^ Leung Man-tao (12 February 2007). "Eating and Cultural Stereotypes". Eat and Travel Weekly. No. 312. Hong Kong: Next Media Limited. p. 76.
  4. ^ Kwan Shuk-yan (1988). Selected Occidental Cookeries and Delicacies, p. 23. Hong Kong: Food Paradise Pub. Co.
  5. ^ Lin Ch'ing (1977). First Steps to European Cooking, p. 5. Hong Kong: Wan Li Pub. Co.
  6. ^ Kwan Shuk-yan, pg 26
  7. ^ Alfio Cortonesi, "Self-sufficiency and the Market: Rural and Urban Diet in the Middle Ages", in Jean-Louis Flandrin, Massimo Montanari, Food: A Culinary History from Antiquity to the Present, 1999, ISBN 0231111541, p. 268ff
  8. ^ Michel Morineau, "Growing without Knowing Why: Production, Demographics, and Diet", in Jean-Louis Flandrin, Massimo Montanari, Food: A Culinary History from Antiquity to the Present, 1999, ISBN 0231111541, p. 380ff
  9. ^ "Cuisine from Central Europe". Visit Europe. Archived from the original on 23 August 2012. Retrieved 1 July 2013.

Further reading[edit]